This is the week to TAKE STOCK of our 72-hour kits.
After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. First responders will be over-whelmed and basic services are often unavailable. In some scenarios, you will need to evacuate your home with very little notice. Having basic supplies in a portable 72-hour kit means you will have food, water, and other necessities to rely on for at least a few days. This basic survival kit has been a standard of Preparedness for decades and the concept has even been embraced by the American government.
If you are simply reviewing your existing kits, ensure the food in them will not expire in the next year, check that he clothing still fits, replace water, refresh any expired or expiring health and first aid items, and add supplies you may be missing.
If you are just getting started building your family’s kits (or re-started), there are many, many websites to guide your efforts but they can quickly make you feel discouraged or overwhelmed. This is not a project that can be done in a week. Just start with the basics and adjust according to your family’s needs. Start by acquiring a personal bag or backpack for each family member. Then start filling it with basic supplies.
The basics to include are: Food & Snacks, Water & Filtration, Clothing, Toiletries & Hygiene, ID & Important Documents, Health & First Aid, Warmth & Shelter, Cash. Additionally, if your family includes Infants & Toddlers and/or Pets you will need to include additional supplies for them.
Food & Snacks: Look for ready-to-eat foods, especially those that do not require additional water. Include food items that will last for one year. Don’t forget a spoon/spork, plate, and cup. If you need to cook/prepare food, you will have to include the means to manage that.
Water & Filtration: 6+ water bottles or water pouches, LifeStraw or filtering water bottle.
Clothing: ensure you have sturdy clothes that fit or are a little on the large size. Be mindful of local weather for high/low temps, precipitation.
Toiletries and hygiene: travel-size and sample packs are best for your emergency kit. Keep these items in a Ziploc bag to avoid leaks
ID & Important Documents: each bag should include a single-sheet document with photos of each family member and their names, birthdates, phone numbers, addresses, and any important medical needs, allergies, and blood type. Also include contact information for extended family members. Protect this by storing in a Ziploc bag. Grab your Important Documents Binder when you need to evacuate.
Health & First Aid: kids’ kits can include very basic supplies in a Ziploc bag and the adults’ bags (or a “family bag”) can include an actual first aid kit. Don’t forget to collect prescription medicines and supplies if you need to evacuate.
Other Essentials to consider:
Babies & Toddlers: even though they may be too little to carry their own bag, make a separate bag of their specific items that can be attached to another family member’s bag.
Pets: Keep a smaller backpack or cinch pouch ready to go with basic emergency kit pack of supplies for your pets.
Don’t let this overwhelm you! There truly is only so much you can Prepare for but: Do Something!