Ever wondered what happens when people need to get out of their house NOW due to fire, flood, hurricanes, etc? They run around trying to figure out what to take with them? Often there is NO time to grab valuables, clothes, etc. It is difficult to decide what to take on a moments notice. Imagine how you and or your family would feel to have nothing to carry away. If decisions are made beforehand and worked on as a family, then everyone can have input into what basic things go into their own 72-hour kit. These kits are for those times when there is no time to decide.
Backpacks are suggested for 72-hour kits because they can be carried by most people, even children, and you can buy them relatively cheaply especially right before school starts. Each person should have their own backpack. If you have small children who are unable to carry a backpack, you may want to get a larger backpack for an adult and include the child’s things in with the adults. They don’t have to be fancy or any special kind. Just large enough to put in some basic items. Perhaps stay away from the cute ones with stuffed animals sticking out from them or wings that are attached. These are for emergency use so they need to be plain and simple.
These 72 hour kits are a good way for people and parents to be ready when the unexpected happens. They should be kept near an exit door where they can be quickly grabbed as you are heading out. Along with this preparation of the kits plan on having a fire drill or emergency escape drill for you and your family. Give a sample emergency and practice getting out of different rooms, grabbing the 72 hour kits and go to a predetermined spot in your yard away from the house.
Know where to meet so everyone can be accounted for in the panic of an emergency. This prepares you and your family to know what to do. Some of you may just need a little guidance to make these. Once you get thinking about various things you will be able to come up with your own ideas as well. Think about basic things each individual will need. This can be a great family activity with children and or grandparents living in the home. As parents you can help your children to decide that putting in their favorite giant stuffed giraffe into the backpack may not be such a good idea. It shouldn’t be frightening if we have a plan and 72 hours kits to help during those first hours and days after the unexpected happens.
Plan for 9 meals, 3 meals for 3 days. This is food that will sustain life not fill stomachs. Think small, easy open, eat out of the can items. Beenie Weenies, peanut butter, canned tuna, canned chicken, deviled ham products, canned beans, etc. There are many items available these days that are ready to eat in small containers. Tuna salad and crackers; Chicken salad and crackers; packed fruit like raisins, banana chips, Yogurt covered fruit, etc. Don’t forget a can opener if the cans aren’t flip top. Only pack those foods will be eaten. Packing tuna when no one likes it is a waste of space. Might want to have some hard candies or mints.
One gallon per person is recommended….However, it would be difficult to carry that much water for 3 days inside your pack. A suggestion is to buy or fill a 2-liter bottle with water and put it in the backpack first then pack food around it.
Seven days of RX medicine is recommended, if possible. These need to be rotated at least once a year. Each year when a RX is written by the Dr, replace the old with new medicine. Keep in original bottle so Pharmacy and RX # can be readily identified.
Flashlights with extra batteries, glow sticks that glow when bent.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, feminine products, diapers, contact solution, and old pair of glasses to be worn if contacts and or glasses are lost or broken.
Shelter Or Coverings:
Ponchos, all purpose tarp, or silver ‘blankets’ that hold in body heat.
One change of lightweight clothing would be nice but not essential. Infants may be an exception especially if they are in diapers. These can be tied with rope to the outside of the pack. The following items can be dispersed throughout packs of family members or in an extra pack:
- Extra keys for house and car- you may not have time to find your car keys to move it in case of a fire. A key to the different doors of the house will give you a way back in another door
- Extra cell phone charger
- First aid kit with extra bandages
- Important papers: Phone numbers of family, insurance companies, copies of birth certificates, copies of residency papers, a printed copy of your bank statement with account numbers, etc. You can even make a CD of all the photos and important files you have on your computer. Place all these inside a gallon ziplock bag to keep dry.
- Once a year take the opportunity to have a practice drill so everyone grabs their backpacks, meets at the family meeting place and have a picnic with the year old items then refill it with fresh ones. Place new information in your zip lock bag with a new CD of photos, changed accounts, etc. Some people, especially children will need to have their clothes replaced with a larger size!