Wednesday, November 04, 2009

72 hour kits

Part 2 in an Emergency Preparedness series. Read part 1 "Emergency Preparedness", Read part 3 "Food storage"

Just as important as a fire alarm, a 72 hour kit can provide your family with resources and peace of mind in case of emergency. The Department of Homeland Security, Washington State Emergency Management Division, Pierce County Department of Emergency Management, our local city and fire district and even our elementary school all stress the importance of having emergency supply kits prepared and set aside in an easily accessible location in case of emergency. This 3 day kit should include water, food, and a few basic supplies.

There are several forms of 72 hour kits that you may want to consider assembling. First is the Home 72 hour kit in which you assemble all your items in one or two large Rubbermaid bins. Second is the backpack 72 hour kit which is personalized for the individual who will be carrying it. Third is the car 72 hour kit modified for the storage capacity of your car and needs on the road. And last is the school or work 72 hour kit condensed to fit into a desk or file cabinet.

In their pamphlet Preparing Makes Sense. Get Ready Now. the Department of Homeland Security encourages families to store a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation purposes. For a 72 hour kit that would be 3 gallons of water per person. If you remember that a 2 liter soda bottle is about equal to 1/2 gallon and do some quick math you'll figure out that 3 gallons of water is about six 2 liter bottles of water. That's a lot of water! For my family to have water for 3 days I need 36 2 liter bottles of water. This amount of water will not fit into any emergency kit so I store it under the kids beds. It is easy to access, everyone knows where it is and it is out of the way (and it keeps the kids from storing junk under their beds!). Whenever we empty a 2 liter soda bottle I rinse it out, remove the label, fill it with cool water and an 1/8 t bleach, seal it tightly and store it. Every few years I empty the water and refill the bottles. I keep six (one for each family member) 2 liters in my home emergency kit bins so we have some water on hand if we're evacuated and I keep a few 2 liters in the back of the suburban with my car emergency kit. Emergency backpacks each have one 2liter (if it is not too heavy for the individual to carry) and school/work emergency kits have one bottled water each.

You could probably survive a few days without food if you had to but really, who wants to? Your 3 day emergency kits should all include non-perishable, no-prep foods. Some foods to consider packing are: protein and granola bars, fruit snacks, canned fruits and stews (with pop-top lids), beef jerky, chocolate, hard candies, dry cereal, peanut butter, crackers, baby food. You don't have to pack enough for full meals but do make sure that there is enough to provide the energy you and your loved ones will need to keep up with the demands of the emergency situation. And don't forget plastic eating utensils. Be sure to rotate your food in and out of your kits at least once a year.

My son's favorite part of emergency kits is the emergency supplies. He likes to make sure we have plenty of duct tape, plastic sheeting and cool stuff like face masks and latex gloves. It is also important to keep flashlights with fresh batteries (a hard-to-find commodity in our house. A few years ago we traded our battery powered flashlights for hand-crank flashlights. Well worth the investment!!), candles, matches, first aid kits, battery or crank operated radio, pocket knife, toilet paper, hygiene products, soap, garbage bags, wrench or pliers, a whistle, a local map and cash. Having these all in one spot really makes you feel like MacGyver--ready for anything! You generally don't have to rotate these items in and out of the emergency kit but it is a good idea to check that they are still in working order every year when you rotate your food and/or water.

Almost all the basics are covered: water, food and safety. (Reads kinda like Maslow's hierarchy of needs.) Next up is warmth. Make sure you pack a blanket for each person and make sure they have warm clothes, a coat and boots, a cap and some mittens. This doesn't all have to be in the emergency bin but you could easily fit a few pairs of mittens and caps and some thin fleece blankets in your kit. Stuff them into corners or line the top or bottom with the blankets.

Last, if there is anything your family NEEDS put it in the kit. Do you need medication? Do you need diapers and wipes? Do you need paper and pens? Do you need playing cards? Do you need extra chocolate? If you need it put it in your kit.

To recap: You need to have an emergency kit in your home with everything you may need included in it. You should also have modified kits in backpacks (one for each person in case you have to evacuate by foot), in your car and at school/work. These kits should include essentials like water, food, emergency supplies and something to keep you warm. Don't forget medications or anything else you or a family member may need.

Your Home Emergency 72 hour kit could include:
  • water- 3 gallons per person
  • food-3 granola/protein bars, 3 pop-top soups/stews, tang, 3 packages fruit snacks, 3 pop-top fruit servings, 1 candy bar, 1 pack of gum, 3 packs peanut butter or cheese crackers, plastic utinsels. Per person.
  • duct tape
  • plastic sheeting
  • face masks-3 per person
  • latex gloves-3 pairs per person
  • battery powered or crank radio
  • battery powered or crank flashlight per person
  • extra batteries
  • matches
  • candle
  • pocketknife
  • whistle
  • local map
  • cash including coins
  • first aid kit (including bandages, pain/fever reducers, antibiotic ointment, sunscreen, tweezers, etc.)
  • hand sanitizer
  • toilet paper
  • hygiene products
  • soap
  • garbage bags
  • pliers or wrench
  • thin fleece blanket per person
  • mittens and cap per person
  • coat and boots
  • paper and pen?
  • deck of cards?
  • medications?
  • baby supplies?
Your personal backpack emergency 72 hour kit could include:
  • water- a 2 liter bottle
  • food-3 granola/protein bars, 3 pop-top soups/stews, tang, 3 packages fruit snacks, 3 pop-top fruit servings, 1 candy bar, 1 pack of gum, 3 packs peanut butter or cheese crackers, plastic utinsels.
  • face masks - 3
  • latex gloves-3
  • battery powered or crank flashlight per person
  • matches
  • pocketknife
  • whistle
  • local map
  • cash including coins
  • small first aid kit (including bandages, pain/fever reducers, antibiotic ointment, sunscreen, tweezers, etc.)
  • small hand sanitizer
  • toilet paper
  • hygiene products
  • soap
  • garbage bags
  • pliers or wrench
  • thin fleece blanket
  • mittens and cap
  • coat and boots
  • deck of cards?
  • medications?
  • baby supplies?
Your Car Emergency 72 hour kit could include:
  • water-Two 2 liters
  • food- granola/protein bars, pop-top soups/stews, tang, packages fruit snacks, pop-top fruit servings, candy bars, pack of gum, packs peanut butter or cheese crackers, plastic utinsels.
  • duct tape
  • battery powered or crank flashlight
  • local map
  • first aid kit (including bandages, pain/fever reducers, antibiotic ointment, sunscreen, tweezers, etc.)
  • hand sanitizer
  • toilet paper
  • hygiene products
  • soap
  • garbage bags
  • basic car tools
  • thin fleece blanket-2
  • paper and pen
  • baby supplies?
Your School/Work Emergency kit could include(This should easily fit in a gallon ziploc bag but it likely won't last you 3 days):
  • small hand sanitizer
  • 1 water bottle
  • 2 juice boxes
  • 3 granola bars
  • 3 bags fruit snacks
  • 3 pkgs. snack crackers
  • 12 jolly ranchers candies
  • 1 pack gum
  • 3 beef jerky sticks
  • utensils and napkins
  • personal hygiene as necessary
For more information on 3 day emergency kits visit these government and private emergency preparation guides:
3 days, 3 ways
Emergency Preparedness: what can you do?
Ready.gov
Emergency Preparedness and Response
_______________________________________________
Part 2 in an Emergency Preparedness series. Read part 1 "Emergency Preparedness", Read part 3 "Food storage"

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this list! We have some backpack kits we got for Christmas 2 years ago, but I don't know what is in them or anything. I'm making this our next FHE!

    ReplyDelete

Hi Friend! I know you have something very important to say. So, what do you think?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Followers