72 Hour Kits Whys and To-DosOften when I ask someone about their emergency preparation, they tell me they have 72 hour kits, or they need to make 72 hour kits, or their 72 hour kits are so old they need to be updated. Why so much talk about 72 hour kits??
Imagine with me for a moment, you're lying in bed one evening, and the bed begins to shake. Just a little swaying side to side. You hear a crash in the hallway as a picture frame falls off the wall. In less than 5 seconds the shaking stops and there is a eerie silence. Is this a warning of bigger things to come? What will happen if the shaking starts again, more violently this time.
Let me give you some ideas of what will happen. Older buildings and buildings closer to fault lines will have significant damage. Power will go out immediately and for an indefinite amount of time. The oil and gas lines may rupture or be seriously damaged, cutting off gas to our homes. Water and sewer systems may be damaged leaving us without safe water or a way to dispose of our waste. There will be injuries from small lacerations and cuts from glass to large breaks from things falling. The cell phone lines will jam and communication with them will be next to impossible. All this in a matter of minutes.
The city will be overwhelmed with need - most of the city emergency workers live in the area and will be affected as well. There will not be help available for days if not weeks. It will be up to you to help yourself and your family.
This paints a dire picture, but one that is very probable. Instead of being scared, let's be PREPARED!72 kits should be near the top of the list when you are preparing for an emergency. It will take 72 hours for ward, stake and/or community services to mobilize any kind of long-term help. So that first 3 days or 72 hours will be up to you. What a relief it would be to grab that bag and find a safe place for your family to wait it out until help is mobilized.
The big question is always, what should go in my kit?? You can purchase a pre-made 72 hour kit, and in a pinch that is so better than nothing. But because everyone is different, it's hard to make one size fits all kits and have them be what you really need.
If you would like to make your own, I've found a very up to date list and description here:Details about what to put in 72 hour kits
Here is another great list and resource you can check out: Family Emergency Packing list
I will summarize some of the high points below:
What to ask yourself before you pack your 72-hour survival kitConsider your family’s situation. How many people are in your family? Does anyone in your family need special consideration? Allergies? Medicine? Do you have an infant? All of these things will determine what you want to pack in your 72-hour survival kit. Keep in mind that your pack should be as minimal as possible—the more you pack, the heavier your 72-hour kit will be. Only pack what you can realistically carry in an emergency situation.
What you absolutely need in your 72-hour kitThese items are things that you cannot go without in your 72-hour kit.
1. Water and non-perishable food
Water—Water should be #1 on the list for every 72-hour kit; it is the most basic and most important thing you need to survive.
- Pack three one-liter bottles of drinking water per person (6.6 pounds per person) and getting a Life Straw Filter or Filter bottle like a Berkey Bottle to add to your backpack.
- Store the maximum amount of drinking water—at least one gallon per person for three days—in your home food storage.
- You don’t want to have to rely on a stove, fire, or any other cooking mechanism in an emergency situation.
- You need enough food for three meals per day per person for three days.
- Trail mix/dried fruit
- Granola bars
- Canned beans, meat, tuna, Chef Boyardee—Avoid “pop-top” cans. These can leak or explode in your pack.
2. Gear and equipment
- Backpack— Choose a backpack that has multiple compartments in which you can divide your survival gear.
- Can opener
- Knife—Have a Leatherman and a knife
- Flashlight— durable, lightweight flashlight.
- Emergency two-way radio
- BiC Lighter
- Extra batteries— You might even consider ordering a solar charger for your phone.
- Gloves— good protective gloves to keep from getting splinters or blisters.
- Tent— one tent for the entire family
- Poncho— quality poncho made from rip-resistant nylon, rather than going for a cheap plastic version.
- Blankets— Mylar thermal blankets
3. Personal supplies
First aid supplies
- Medications— Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, children’s medication, any other personal medication prescribed (enough for three days).
- Toiletries—Toilet paper, toothbrush/toothpaste (travel size), feminine hygiene products, contact solution (travel size), etc.
- Dust mask—The likelihood of dust and debris is high in any emergency situation.
Cash— Keep enough cash on you to survive for a week. Also a Prepaid phone card
Infant needs— diapers, wipes, formula, medications specific to the infant, etc.
What you’ll probably want in your 72-hour kit
- Dishes/utensils—Cup, plate, knife, fork, spoon set.
- Rope— 50 feet of rope or paracord
- Duct tape
- Sheets—Cloth and plastic sheets
- Shovel— folding shovel
- Bug repellant
- Disposable camera— to document the damage done to your home
What’s nice but not necessary in your 72-hour survival kitCopies of legal documents— Birth/marriage certificate, wills, passports, identification.
- Copy of vaccination papers
- Copy of insurance policies
Gum—but no mint - it will flavor everything in the pack
Pen & paper