Basic Items That Should Be Included With A Complete 72 Hour Kit

With all the calamities in the world being able to care for our own needs in an emergency is becoming more and more necessary and important. To be self reliant includes an emergency kit that would allow us to evacuate our homes on short notice and be able to take with us enough supplies to sustain us until further help is available. This is usually called a 3 Day or 72 Hour Kit. We need to realize that in case of a major disaster, such as an earthquake, the Fire Department, Police and Public Services CAN NOT immediately help everyone. Their first priorities must be to government, public utilities, transportation, hospitals, schools, etc. The healthy individual is their last priority! From past experience it usually takes about 72 hours after a disaster for organizations such as the Red Cross to reach the area, set up, and get organized to handle the needs of the emergency. Therefore it is important that we have on hand, and at quick access, a disaster kit that will help us survive those first few hours and days.

Remember a 72 Hour kit is for the purpose of surviving. It can not have all the luxuries that we would sometimes like, but it needs to have the items necessary. Therefore an easy carrying backpack is ideal. It will not allow you to pack more than you can carry, but if you plan well, there is enough room to hold the necessary items to survive.

Each person needs to have their own kit. It is possible that family members could get separated, and each member needs to have some supplies with them personally. If walking, a child would not be able to carry very much for a very long period of time, but does need to have some items that would help them survive. A larger, more extensive family kit may be added to your preparations, but should be kept separate from the 72 Hour individual kit that is expected to be carried.

In making your emergency preparations, there are ten areas that need to be considered. These are listed below with some ideas for each area. It is also important to have various sources for each area. For example: food should not all be canned, or frozen or dried. But a variety of methods gives you a more versatile means of coping with whatever kind of disaster might come. Be careful that you donít plan heavily in some areas and ignore other areas. All are necessary for survival.


There are many alternative choices when we consider food. A variety of food preparations are important. It is important that food can be kept for long periods of time without refrigeration. Dehydrated food is compact and light, but water is needed to reconstitute it. Canned food is convenient although bulky and heavy. Choose foods that need minimal cooking. Some foods can be eaten out of the can cold if necessary. Some good choices are bouillon cubes, powdered drinks (hot chocolate, cider), dried fruits and nuts, jerky, and candy to suck on. These kind of foods give energy, nutrition, and help to boost the morale.


An adult needs 2-3 quarts of water a day. This would be too much to carry in most instances, so it is important to include means of collecting and purifying water. Water can be stored in the home in various sizes of containers, but small 1 or 2 liter size for carrying are very important. 2 liter pop bottles are ideal. Collapsible containers are handy for storing in a pack since they can be folded when empty. Large clear plastic bags are very useful in collecting water from dew or rain. Water can also be boiled, distilled, or purified with purification tablets or a water purification kit. All of these methods should be included in your kit.


There are many products available in this area. A tube tent is small enough to fit into a pack and very versatile. It is basically a ground cloth with tie ropes that can be easily made into a shelter, used as a ground cloth, or a cover to keep a pack dry. Emergency "space" sleeping bags and blankets and emergency ponchos are also very good to keep body heat in and wet weather out. These are light weight and take up little space in a kit. A small travel size blanket and pillow allows you to "stake out your space" in a shelter and gives much comfort.


Fuel is probably the hardest thing to store safely, but it can be done, if done properly. Charcoal is definitely the safest source of fuel, but maybe not the easiest to use. Charcoal must be used outside where there is good ventilation. But with a bag of charcoal and a Dutch oven, you can have warmth and cook just about anything. However they are bulky and heavy. There are several sizes of sterno or instant heat that is available. A rack to sit over a can of sterno takes up very little space and can heat water, soup, and cook simple meals. Cooking utensils can be very bulky and heavy also. You want to plan to cook, drink, and eat from the same item. Waterproof matches, fire starters, disposable lighters, and compressed fuel tablets are only a few items that can be very helpful .


There are many kinds and sizes of oil lamps that are available to have in our homes for when we lose electricity. These are the easiest maintenance and probably the safest. In a pack a flashlight (store the batteries out of the flashlight to last longer) is an essential item. There are also hand powered flashlights that need no batteries. Flashlight radios can run off multiple sources for power including solar and hand cranking. Light sticks are excellent for light and signaling for help.


This is often one area that we forget to include in our planning. There are a few simple items that can be very helpful. A whistle can be blown with less energy and heard farther than your voice. Also a mirror is excellent for signaling for help. A radio with multiple source possibilities for power is very important also, to know what is happening, where authorities are asking people to go or what to do.


There is nothing better that a few simple hygiene items such as a comb, tooth brush, razor, or shampoo to boost morale. Small versions of these items can fit into a pack easily. Bathroom needs and laundry needs are very essential to keep the spread of germs and disease at a minimum. A portable "john" is a must.


Of course a First Aid Kit is a must for any emergency situation. Basic items and a simple first aid instruction sheet needs to be included in every kit.


A change of clothing, especially extra socks, underwear, and a jacket need to be added to your kit. A hat, gloves, and hiking shoes would also be very helpful. Comfortable clothing such as a sweat shirt and sweat pants are very useful since you will probably be up and down from the ground or low cots in a shelter. Other personal items such as feminine items, baby diapers, medications, extra glasses or sun glasses, "comfort toys", book, writing material, and card games are very needed and helpful.


It is very important to have a packet of copies of all your important papers such as: insurance and other legal papers, wills, birth certificates, marriage certificate, bank account numbers, mortgages, car registrations, church documents, genealogy, list of friends and family addresses and phone numbers, and recent family photos. If someone has become separated it is very helpful to be able to give the authorities a recent picture of who you are looking for. In a stressful situation it is easy to forget or mix up addresses or phone numbers that you normally would know. Be sure to include some money in your kit, both small change and larger amounts.

There are many other items that could be added to an emergency kit. You may want a more extensive kit available at home, plus each personís individual 72 Hour kit that can be carried. All of the above needs have been carefully considered in organizing items to be included in our 72 Hour kits. We have tried to include items of most importance and necessity and that will help you survive in an emergency. Our four units of 3-Day Food, Basic, Personal, and First Aid, along with a one Gallon Water pouch, packed in a back pack is designed for you to survive with for three days. You may wish to include a Sanitation kit, Multiple Source Flashlight Radio, Water Purification Kit, Dutch Oven and charcoal, Long Term Food Storage, and personal needs such as medications, diapers, feminine needs, extra glasses, clothing, etc. to supplement your preparations.

Remember some items need to be rotated. It might be a good practice once a year when you change your clocks to daylight savings time, and change the batteries in your smoke alarm, to also rotate and update any items in your 72 Hour kit that need to be changed. That way it will always be updated and ready for an emergency.