Putting together 72 hour kits for each person if your family can be overwhelming.... Which is why I had not done it even though I only have myself and my husband to take care of so far. I couldn't pull myself together to buy the supplies needed and assemble them. So, I made it easier on myself; it is still a lot of work but this way I could do it and you can too!
Steps to a 72 Hour Kit
1) Print the list
provided below - you can also reference the list on the www.Ready.gov, which is FEMA's Emergency
Preparedness website. They have a page
with a list of the basics, which is great:
2) Pull out everything you already have and put it on your kitchen table - I was amazed at how much I had.
3) Don't feel like you have to have every single thing on the list - once you look at what you have you can evaluate the things you don't have and decide on the priority.
4) Put together one giant 72 hour kit instead of one kit for each person including every item on the list. Having one for each person is fantastic but there are a lot of items you can share so it may not be necessary; if doing this makes it easier for you then go for it. Not purchasing one for each person saves money, stress, space and time. Although, the obvious downside to this is that if you get separated you won't each have what you need.
For my husband and I, having a 72 hour kit at all is better than not having anything so I went for one giant kit for both of us. If there is an emergency we have a planned place to meet and can find each other even if it takes a while - one of us will have the kit based on who was closest to home to go get it.
Here is my list - I realize it is huge. The one at www.Ready.gov is shorter so go for that one if you are feeling overwhelmed. This includes what I hope will be everything we would need. I personally would rather prepare now and have items we don't need in an emergency than wish I had taken a day to put this together later, or include more items.
I will include links to some of the products I reference, but not all. Please do not use these links as the end all be all - most of them are general and may or may not be the product we decided to purchase. These are simply for reference so you have a general idea what I am talking about.
For some items on each list I have listed the item and then the quantity we packed next to it; if no quantity is listed we packed one of that item. We are only prepared for 2 people though so please adjust for your family size.
Food & Water
Food and water are infinitely important for obvious reasons; water is even more important than food. Make sure you have enough of these items.
- Water - Enough for 3 days for each person. At least one gallon per day per person.
- Get a Camelback
- Get a Camelback filtration device
- Get water bottles that automatically filter water so it is potable
- Get iodine tablets
- Get emergency water pouches
- Make sure you have enough water for drinking, making food, and sanitation for each person.
- Food - Make sure you have 9 meals per person, 3 meals per day for 3 days.
- We got MRE's, which are Meals Ready to Eat.
- My husband served in the military and has experience with MRE's so we went that route. They do take some water to cook them so we will pack extra water. Most meals like this do require some water.
- MRE's hold both the meal but also snacks, and some other essentials like sugar. Each box came with a variety of meal choices.
- Snacks - Bring a few, even if you think you won't need them or that you are just trying to survive. You will need some sort of comfort in an emergency situation, and if that comes in the form of fruit snacks, so be it.
- Power bars - 3 each (one per day); 3 different flavors
- Fruit snacks
- Hard candy
You never know what you will run into during an emergency; we have tried to pack as many medicinal supplies as possible while also being reasonable. Most of these items are small and fit in to a travel toiletry bag along with some of our sanitation supplies.
- Alka Seltzer – 4
- Gauze – square patches
- Airborne, travel size
- Aleve, travel size – 1 pack (10 tablets)
- Medicine tablets, variety: Excedrin, Aleve, Ibuprofen
- Medicine dropper
- Band-Aids, variety – 2 packs
- Vaseline, travel size
- Anti-diarrhea medicine, 12 pills (this is more important than you may realize in case someone drinks bad water and gets sick)
- Icy Hot
- Tums – small bag
- Cough drops
- Athletic tape – 2 rolls
- Stretchy tape (this is something we just had on hand, not mandatory)
- Super tape (this is something we just had on hand, not mandatory)
- Instructions on how to tape an ankle etc
- Instant cold compress
- Arm sling (we just happened to have one so we packed it)
Without the ability to stay sanitary, sickness can quickly follow.
- Hand sanitizer, travel size – 2
- Toilet paper – 2 rolls
- Tampons – 2 small boxes
- Soap – 2 bars
- Wet ones antibacterial wipes, travel size – 3
- Latex gloves – 8 (2 sets per person)
- Kleenex, travel size – 2
- Paper towels
- Liquid detergent (Tide), travel size – 8
- Zip lock bags, variety - gallon, quart, sandwich
Personal Hygiene Supplies
Many of the items on this list can be used for other purposes as well; these are great to have just in case you need them. Personal hygiene during an emergency is also pretty important even though it is easy to say you can live without many of these items. Additional problems can occur if we are not able to take care of our personal hygiene.
- Q-tips, travel size – 2
- Chapstick – 2
- Eye drops
- Hair ties, hair clips, bobby pins
- Toothpaste, travel size – 2
- Toothbrush, regular size – 2
- Toothbrush holders – 2
- Fingernail clippers
- Lotion, travel size
- Loofa – 2 (clearly not mandatory but we had extra and they can be used for other purposes, such as cleaning anything)
- Shampoo, travel size – 2
- Conditioner, travel size
- Washcloths – 2
- Shave gel
- Disposable razors
- Contact lenses and supplies
- Deodorant, travel size – 2
- Any personal prescriptions
- Mirror (this item can be used to reflect the sun and send a signal to others as well)
The likelihood that you are camping in a crisis is high; if your home has been destroyed in and earthquake or flood you will need to find another place to stay.
- Insect repellent moist towelettes, travel size – 2
- Flashlight - 2
- Extra D batteries – 8 (for the flashlights)
- Dishes – plate, bowl, cup, spoon, knife, fork – 2
- Folding shovel
- Not only do you need this for sanitation but in case you need to dig a moat around your tent due to rain
- Trail tent
- Camp axe
- Candle lantern
- Tub candles – 6
- Waterproof matches – 4 packs
- Emergency blanket – 2
- Waterproof pouch or a dry bag
- Fire starters – one pack (12 sticks)
- 50 foot rope
- Poncho – 2
- Blow up pillows (came with our air mattress; they were small and easy to pack so we did)
- Utility knife (we like the Gerber brand)
Cold Weather Gear
If you are living in a climate where cold weather is possible you will need to plan for extreme temperatures.
- Heat packs (Hotties) – 8
- Blankets – 6 (4 small, 2 big)
- Scarves – 2
- Sweatshirts with hoods – 3
- Windbreakers – 2
- Gloves – 4 pairs (2 lightweight and 2 heavier duty)
- Beanies that cover our ears – 2
- Snowboard pants – 2
- Wool socks – 4 pairs
- T-shirts – 3 (sizes Medium, Large, Extra Large)
- Long underwear pants – 2
- Windbreaker pants – 2
- Leg warmers – 1 set
These are actually important items that did not fit in to another category; don't disregard the Miscellaneous section.
- EMERGENCY DOCUMENT BINDER (This
is very important to put together; there are many things you can include. See below for details.)
- Shut off wrench (to turn off household gas and water)
- Sewing kit - needles, thread, scissors, measuring tape, buttons, thimble, safety pins, plastic case, threading helperSafety pins, variety
- Hand gun (not packed; do not pack this if you are not comfortable with a gun; my husband was in the military and he trained me as well so we feel comfortable.)
- Ammunition (this is pre-packed but the gun we would have to grab in addition to our 72 hour packs.)
- Map of the area – both a street map and a topographical map (laminated)
- Bleach – a quart in a sealed plastic container
- Portable, battery operated radio
- Extra batteries for the radio
- Fire extinguisher: small canister, ABC type
- Whistle – 2
- Signal flare
- Cash – small bills and coins
- Sunglasses – 2
- Aluminum foil
- Masking tape – 1 roll
- Scotch tape – 1 roll
- Notepad – 4 small size
- Pens – 3
- Baby carabineer
- A laminated list of everything included in our 72 Hour Kit
- Cards – 2 decks
- Keychain size Rubik cube
- Pigs game (we felt that a few small games to lift our spirits and keep our minds active would be beneficial)
That is our list! I hope it was helpful to you and you will be able to start your own 72 hour emergency packs for your family. When I started going through our closets I was amazed at what we had already that was extra or that we weren't using that I was totally fine putting in to my 72 hour pack instead of continuing to store it in our closet. I hope the same goes for you!
Emergency Binder Documents
There are many options when it comes to documents to put in to your emergency binder. This is based on personal preference. Here is a list of ideas of what documents you can put in to your binder:
- Title Page (download worksheet here)
- Flier page for each person in your family; you can use these as 'missing person' fliers if needed (download worksheet here)
- Main emergency contacts - contact information (download worksheet here)
- Photocopies of passports
- Photocopies of ID's - any and all ID's that you have for each person
- Photocopies of birth certificates
- Photocopies of social security cards
- Photocopies of any vaccines you have had for each person
- Photocopies, front and back, of all insurance cards (medical, dental, vision, car, home, AAA)
- Banking information (download worksheet here)
- Photocopy of marriage license
- Photocopies of any wills that are in place
- Photocopies of any religious documents you would like to save
- Contact information for any friends or family who you would like to contact in an emergency (download worksheet here)
Place all these items in one location, such as a binder or a manila envelope and place it in a safe location where you would be able to grab it in a hurry if needed.
I have made simple templates for some of the emergency binder documents listed above in hopes that it helps you get started. Feel free to use them! You can download them above.
Good luck getting prepared!