Every year, many people have to evacuate their homes on short notice due to emergencies. Learn how to build you 72–hour kits so you are prepared in the event of an emergency.
Just recently we have had three wildfires in the mountains right above our home. One of the fires broke out in the middle of the night (due to an unattended campfire) and quickly got out of control due to winds. Before the fire department could even get there, It had burned 8 structures, in which three homes burned down completely. The homeowners literally had minutes to get out of their homes.
WHAT IS A 72 HOUR KIT?
In the event of an emergency, you may have to survive on your own for several days. This is why it is recommended that every family has a basic disaster kit with enough food, water, medicine, and other supplies to last at least three days. So if you have to evacuate your home and go to a shelter or elsewhere, you would have the necessary items needed to survive for a few days away from home.
ESSENTIAL ITEMS FOR YOUR 72 HOUR KIT
It is so scary how quickly an emergency can happen and it is nice to be as prepared as you can possibly be for an unexpected emergency. We have had our 72 Hour Kits for several years…since the kids were little. We try to update them every 6 months by changing out the food items and the clothing (so it fits) and we know we are ready to go.
You should only pack what you can realistically carry in an emergency situation so you can move as quickly as possible.
- Non-perishable food
- Fixed-blade knife
- Flashlight (make sure to check batteries every 6 months)
- Waterproof lighter or matches
- Sleeping bag or blankets
- First aid kit
- Change of clothes
- A list of emergency numbers, including family contacts (keep in mind your cell phone might run out of batteries or be damaged during an emergency)
WATER AND NON-PERISHABLE FOOD
Water—Water should be the most important item on you 72 hour kit list. However, storing enough water for you and your family can be difficult. The recommended of amount of drinking water is one gallon per day, per person. If one gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds, that is going to be difficult to pack and carry. We each have a couple of water bottles in our 72 hour kits and these Seychelle water filter bottles. Other items that would be great for a water supply would be the following:
Food—Don’t just get non-perishable food. You will want to look for food items that do not need to be cooked or have any other ingredients added to them. You don’t want to have to rely on a stove, fire, or any other cooking mechanism in an emergency situation. This will make it so you don’t need any extra cooking supplies which will save space and weight in your packs.
You need enough food for three meals per day per person for three days and some snacks. These meals are only meant to help you survive, but you should pack items that you know you and your family will actually eat, especially if you’re packing for a small child. The following ideas are good examples of non-perishable, non-cook food items:
- Beef jerky
- Boxed almond milk
- Trail mix
- Dried fruit
- Granola bars
- Protein bars
- Canned beans
- Canned meat
- Tuna packets
- Peanut butter
ITEMS NEEDED FOR 72 HOUR KIT
There are some specific items or equipment that you will want to make sure you add to your 72 Hour Kit (also known as a bug-out bag). Some of these items are listed below. But remember that every family is going to be a little bit different, so make sure you customize it to fit your family’s needs.
GEAR AND EQUIPMENT
- First aid supplies(kit)
- Can opener
- Emergency two-way radio
- Extra batteries or solar charger
- Dust Mask
You will want to personalize your 72 hour kit with items that are specially needed for your own personal needs.
- Toilet Paper
- Change of clothes
- Warm socks
- Cash. Other valuables to have:
- Credit card
- Prepaid phone card
SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR 72 HOUR KITS
There are some special considerations to make when planning ahead for an emergency scenario. As every family will have different needs, you will want to sit down and spend some time making plans for how to handle things in the case of an emergency.
These are the 72 Hour Kits backpacks my parents got for us as Christmas gifts several years ago and we have added additional items to them to make them personalized for our own family.
- Infant needs—If you have an infant, you will need to make special considerations for them. Making sure you have enough food, formula, bottles, diapers, wet wipes, etc. so their needs can be properly met.
- Children’s needs—Children may need some entertainment in the form of toys, puzzles, and special snacks to keep them taken care of in your time spent away from the home. You may need to remember to bring their special comfort items like blankets or stuffed animals so you don’t have to deal with them missing those items along with a disaster situation.
- Immunizations up to date—Are you immunizations up to date? Disasters can make you more susceptible to accidents or being exposed to illnesses if you are in a rescue shelter with a lot of other people.
- Do you know how to work all the equipment?—Make sure you know how to use all the items in your 72 hour kit so you know how to use them and know that they actually work. During the disaster is not the time to find out that the batteries or dead, or you forgot to pack something vital.
- Pets—You will want to pack a bag for any pets you have that you will be rescuing with your family. Items like a pet collar with family contact information, leash, harness, food, water, and bowls, and a pet carrier should all be packed and ready to go in a moments notice.
PRINTABLE 72 HOUR KIT LIST OF SUPPLIES
Print this 72 Hour Kit List so that you can use it to daily grab your supplies and fill your emergency kits.
HOW TO GET CURRENT INFORMATION DURING EMERGENCY
During an emergency, it’s important to have current, updated access to reliable information from first responders. One of the best ways to stay in the loop is to sign up for the Federal Emergency Management’s (FEMA) text messages.
FEMA sends out regular preparedness tips for each of the specific natural disasters listed below. You can also sign up to get information on open shelters and disaster recovery centers in your zip code:
- Hurricanes: text HURRICANE to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Home fires: text FIRE to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Wildfires: text WILDFIRE to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Tornadoes: text TORNADO to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Earthquakes: text EARTHQUAKE to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Winter storms and extreme cold: text WINTER to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Power outages: text BLACKOUT to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Floods: text FLOOD to 43362 (4FEMA)
- General monthly safety tips: text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA)
- To search for open shelters: text SHELTER and a Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA)
- To search for open Disaster Recovery Centers, text: DRC and a Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA)
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