A 72-hour kit is one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about emergency preparedness. What do you need in a good 72 hour kit? What's the best way to adjust for your own family?
72-Hour Kit Supplies
- 1 gallon of water per person per day
- 3 day supply of non-perishable food
- Hand crank radio
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Whistle to signal for help
- Can opener (not the electric kind)
- Dusk mask to help filter contaminated air
- Cell phone charger, possible a solar charger
- First-aid kit
- Duck tape and plastic sheeting to build a shelter
- Hand Sanitizer
- Wet wipes/ toilet paper
- Infant formula and diapers for babies
- Comfort items for children (favorite snacks or toys)
- Prescription medications
- Pet food and water
- Veterinary records for pets
- Clean clothes and sturdy shoes
- Copies of important documents (insurance policies, medical records, etc.)
It is extremely important to keep your 72-hour kit up to date. Expired food and medications won't be very much help during an emergency. Water should be rotated every six months to a year. Food will need to be replaced as it expires. Batteries will corrode over time and damage the flashlight, be sure to replace the batteries regularly.
My father prepared our family's 72-hour kit. He packed infant formula and baby clothes for us when were small. As the years went by the formula expired and we quickly outgrew the baby clothes. Thankfully there was never a need to use them. But what if there had been a crisis? Would we have been prepared? Our 72-hour kit sat in the basement gathering dust. We thought we were secure in the knowledge that we had prepared, but that sadly was not the case.
Your 72-hour kit should be tailored to your family's needs. For instance, emergencies can be especially difficult for small children. A stuffed animal or game can help them stay calm. Infants won't last very long without a supply of clean diapers and formula. Do you have pets? Plan for their needs as well.
Store your 72-hour kit in a cool dark place. Keep it packed and ready to go at a moments notice. It should somewhere you can access quickly during an evacuation. As your family grows and changes you'll need to change the items in your 72-hour kit.
Challenge your family to live out of your 72-hour kit for 3 days. Get the whole family involved and pretend you are camping. It can be a fun game. Can you do it? Do you really have enough food and water? Is it food you like? Will the kids actually eat it? What about games or toys for the kids? Maybe you need a tennis ball or chew toy to keep the dog occupied. See what you are lacking and make the necessary adjustments. It is also a good way to rotate your supplies every now and then.