72-Hour Kit Essentials

To provide maximum protection in an emergency, a 72-hour kit should be:

Portable. Your kit won’t be of much value in an evacuation if you can’t carry it. Keep it compact and lightweight.

Easily accessible. Keep your kit near an exit door, where you can grab it and go. Don’t bury it under clutter.

Up-to-date. Rotate food and medications at least every six months. Check the clothing annually to make sure it fits. Check expiration dates on batteries.

Complete. Check your kit regularly to make sure you have everything your family needs for three days’ survival.

Waterproof. Put all items inside ziplock bags or tied plastic garbage bags, so they won’t be ruined by rain or flood water.

Usable. Make sure you know how to use everything in your kit, and that the supplies are of good quality. Don’t weigh down your kit with junk.

Divisible. Provide a backpack or portable container for each family member, in case you get separated.

Personalized. No commercial kit or generic supply list will completely provide for the unique needs of your family. You will need to adjust the contents and check them frequently to make sure your current needs such as medications, baby supplies, and so forth, are met.

. Make sure your kit contains supplies for sheltering at home as well as for evacuation.

Checklist for Building a 72-Hour Emergency Kit

Choose the items from this list that would be valuable to you in an emergency or evacuation situation. Pack them in easy-to-carry containers and label the containers clearly.

  • Portable, hand-crank or solar-powered radio.
  • Hand-cranked flashlight.
  • First aid kit.
  • Cash and coins.
  • Copies of personal identification, such as driver’s licenses, passports, and work identification badges, and copies of medical prescriptions and credit cards.
  • An extra set of car keys and house keys.
  • Matches in a waterproof container.
  • Map of the area marked with places you could go and their telephone numbers.
  • Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, pacifiers, powdered milk, and medications not requiring refrigeration.
  • Special items, such as denture needs, contact lenses and supplies, extra eyeglasses, and hearing aid batteries.
  • Items for seniors, disabled persons, or anyone with serious allergies.
  • Food—a three-day supply in the kit and at least an additional four-day supply readily accessible for use if you are confined to home. You may want to consider stocking a two-week supply of food and water in your home.
  • Comfort/stress foods — cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant beverages.
  • Portable water filter
  • Water—three gallons per person in the kit and an additional four gallons per person readily accessible for use if you are confined to home.
  • Kitchen accessories: manual can opener; mess kits or disposable cups, plates, and utensils; utility knife; sugar and salt; aluminum foil and plastic wrap; resealable plastic bags.
  • Medications—Prescription and non-prescription that are regularly used. Check with your physician or pharmacist on storage requirements.
  • Household liquid bleach.
  • For each person, one complete change of clothing and footwear, including sturdy work shoes or boots, rain gear, and other items adjusted for the season, such as hat and gloves, thermal underwear, sunglasses, dust mask.
  • Blankets or sleeping bag for each person.
  • Small tent, compass, small shovel.
  • Paper, pencil; needles, thread; small A-B-C-type fire extinguisher; medicine dropper; whistle; emergency preparedness manual.
  • Sanitation and hygiene items: toilet paper, towelettes, soap, hand sanitizer, liquid detergent, feminine supplies, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, comb and brush, lip balm, sunscreen, plastic garbage bags (heavy-duty) and ties (for personal sanitation uses), medium-sized plastic bucket with tight lid, disinfectant, household chlorine bleach.
  • Entertainment, such as games and books. Favorite comfort dolls, stuffed animals for small children.
  • Roll of duct tape (10 millimeters thick) and scissors.
  • Plastic sheeting pre-cut to fit shelter-in-place room openings.

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