*Before you do anything, first create a budget and schedule a time each month to work on Emergency Preparedness. Dedicating one Family Home Evening a month is a good idea. You can purchase pre-made 72 hour kits but you will still need to add in some personal items. To view pre-made 72 hour kits, click HERE.
WHY HAVE 72 HOUR KITS?
An emergency can happen at any time! Emergency 72 hour kits give you a way to survive for the first 72 hour hours after an emergency. Your disaster supplies kit should contain essential food, water, and supplies for at least three days. Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
Additionally, you may want to consider having supplies for sheltering for up to two weeks.
- Backpacks are a must for “grab-and-go” bags that contain lightweight essential items (school packs, backpacking backpacks, backpacks with wheels). Items to include are the basic items listed on a standard 72-hour kit list (matches, calorie bars, purification tablets, clothes, flashlight, etc.) The goal is to keep the backpack as light as possible—you might have to carry the items for quite a while.
- Use plastic bins for other less essential but still important items. The bins help you to organize and store your items. They are water resistant, and can easily be loaded into a car. Example items to include in the bin are MRE’s, a tent, sleeping bags, blankets, portable stove, etc.).
- Inside the backpack and bins sort items by category and put into gallon Ziploc bags. Label and date the contents on each Ziploc
- On the outside of your backpack and bins put a water resistant list of the contents, dates, and location of each item. This will save considerable time and energy not only in an emergency, but also while putting together and maintaining your kit.
- Clean out and fill any plastic jugs that can be used as a water container. (Do not use milk jugs – even after cleaning thoroughly, protein from the milk will be left inside.) This is a short-term solution, until your budget shows that it’s ok for you to buy long-term water storage containers. Plastic jugs from the grocery store are biodegradable. The plastic will break down and your container will leak.
- When filling water storage containers, clean the container, but do not treat the water. If you are getting water from the tap, it has already been treated. Treat your water when you are in an emergency and ready to drink it. Use 1/8 teaspoon of bleach for every gallon of water. Let it sit for 15 minutes. This will take care of any bacteria that might have formed while your water was sitting. Remember to mark the date of when you filled the container up and when it needs to be rotated next.
- Keep your water in a cool, dark place and rotate it every year. If it is in the garage, rotate it at least twice a year. General conference is a good time to remember to rotate and check emergency items such as water.
- Each person needs a minimum of one gallon of water stored per day for two weeks (so one person needs a minimum of 14 gallons stored).
- Buy water bottles to put in your backpack and bins. Because of weight, you will only be able to put a couple of water bottles in your backpack. Your backpack must remain lightweight. Put the water bottles in Ziploc bags to minimize the danger of them leaking. Remember to rotate your water bottles.
- Purification tablets are a must. Buy Katadyn Micropur Tablets. They are the only EPA certified tablets on the market. They are the only tablets that can treat viruses, and they don’t leave your water tasting gross. Micropur tablets will get rid of cysts (Cryptosporidium, Guardia, etc.), bacteria, and viruses. Each tablet will treat 1 liter of water. Purification tablets are a lightweight, short-term solution to use in your grab-and-go backpack. You should have clean water stored for when you are home.
- Once you have water stored, water bottles, and purification tablets, then I would suggest looking at water filters. They are a great long-term water solution. But purchase a water filter only after you have your other emergency needs covered first.
- Buy 3600-calorie bars (3 brands/flavors: Mainstay, Datrex, S.O.S.). Each 3600-calorie bar has enough calories to sustain you for three days. They last for five years, are lightweight, affordable, non-thirst inducing and can withstand temperature from -40 degrees to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Perfect for your grab-and-go backpack and storing in a car.
- MRE’s. Precooked, ready to eat, affordable. Have an average shelf life of 5-7 years, but dramatically influenced by where you store them. Keep them in a cool, dark place for longer shelf life. Similar taste to Chef-Boyardee or other canned meals. Great to keep some in the bins. Easy meal for when there is no power. They can be heated using flameless, disposable MRE heaters ($1/each), boiling, or pretty much any other means of heating.
- Freeze-dried food (Mountain House, Backpackers Pantry, etc.). They need hot water to reconstitute, but then they’re ready to go and can be eaten straight from the packet. Super lightweight. Better tasting than MRE’s. Another great option to keep in the bins if you have plenty of water.
- Ziploc bag of ready to eat grocery store food. Good option for those that hate calorie bars. It will be heavier, and needs to be rotated twice a year. Ideas would be high protein items like tuna, beans, vienna sausages, nuts-canned items will have a higher sodium content and may induce thirst-but it’s better than nothing!
- Have at least 3 days worth of food for your grab-and-go bags. Have at least 2 weeks worth of easy-to-eat food at home.
TOOLS & EQUIPMENT
- Flashlight with extra batteries, and/or crank/dynamo flashlight (better than shaker flashlights, a head lamp is another ideal alternative because it keeps your hands free- the cheap ones are only like $7)
- Small emergency radio
- Mini-pry bar
- First aid kit
- Rain Poncho
- M-95 Respirator Masks
- Duct Tape
- Extra medication (especially Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and Pepto Bismal)
- Extra ID
- Money (it’s also good to carry extra cash with you at all times)
- Change of Clothes (keep in plastic bags to ensure it doesn’t get wet)
- Extra Glasses
- Walking Shoes and socks (in case of heels [for Crystal] or flip flops or something)
- Waterproof Matches
- Toilet paper or baby wipes you can buy compact versions in the travel size toiletries section at the grocery store)
- Mylar blankets (and regular blankets if space permits)
- Hand Sanitizer
- Soap and other toiletries (individual wet wipes are great to have on hand, the grocery store travel section is great for this as well)
- Books, Playing Cards, Travel Games (to pass time)
- Laminated pictures of family members with ages and description of looks on the back (to help you find them if you are separated)