As I’ve talked about in previous posts, I really believe that my family needs to do a lot more prepping. While I’m not particularly concerned with a zombie apocalypse or anything, I do know that even minor emergencies can leave an unprepared family feeling helpless. I wrote a post recently on how we have restocked our first aid kit as an important, though minor, first step to being more prepared.
Now I feel ready to take on the larger task of creating (and maintaining!) a 72-hour kit.
Creating a 72 Hour Kit
I often see the terms 72 hour kit and Bug Out Bag used interchangeably. To me, these are two different things, though some of the supplies can be used interchangeably. In my opinion, a 72 hour kit is something that I’m going to use when my family is staying on our property but might be facing a few days until help comes or utilities are restored. On the other hand, a Bug Out Bag would be maintained and used in the event that we have to leave our home for a few (or more) days. Obviously some supplies are necessary for both kits, but in the case of the 72 hour kit, size and weight aren’t huge considerations, as all the “stuff” will be staying put and only being used as necessary.
For the purposes of this post, I’m building a 72 hour kit, to be used on site. In the future, I’d like to also assemble a bug out bag.
What to Include in a 72 Hour Kit
- Water – Not surprisingly, this is essential. Contaminated or shut off water is not unheard of when it comes to even minor emergencies. However, we cannot live long without water. (I’ve read that a person can live maybe 3-5 days without water but a lot of factors can affect this.) A good rule of thumb is to include 1 gallon of water per person for 3 days.
- Food – Now, unlike water, a person can probably live about 30-40 days without food. However, as you might imagine, this would not be a very comfortable 30-40 days and would leave the person with significant health concerns. For that reason, having a good 3 day supply of non-perishable foods in a 72 hour kit is a good idea. Avoid foods that will make you thirsty (i.e. food with a high salt content). Instead, store food that has a high water content (canned soup, canned fruit, etc.) and remember that there may not be electricity. So having a manual can opener on hand is essential.
- Supplies – The supplies that you feel your family would need to survive 72 hours will definitely differ based on your family situation. Here is what I am including, but I’d love to hear what additions you have in the comments: – battery powered radio – flashlight – extra batteries – first aid kit – garbage bags, plastic ties, toilet paper and other needs for personal sanitation – basic tools – manual can opener – cell phone with solar charger – http://amzn.to/RGYTG5 (the solar charger is on a “wish list” for now) – extra food for our pets and livestock – cash – sleeping bag for each family member – extra clothes – water purification tablets – http://amzn.to/MQEQ4C – fire extinguisher – waterproof matches
Pulling this kit together was much easier than I expected. I felt silly for not doing it sooner. I placed most of the water, food and supplies on shelves in a closet that exists below our stairs. The biggest thing left to do is a create a food and water inventory to make sure I am rotating and using then replacing food as it reaches its expiration date.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic and how you would improve my kit in the comments.
For more information about 72 hour kits, check out these sites:
- US Government Site on Building a Kit – http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit
- The Survivalist Blog – http://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/lets-go-shopping-for-your-72-hour-survival-kit/
- City of Mesa, Arizona – http://www.mesaaz.gov/emergency/EmergencyPreparednessGuide/72HourEmergencyKit.aspx
You can also buy ready made kits from Amazon:
Standard, legally required, Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.