72 Hour Emergency
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has stated that it may take hours or even days for you to get
assistance in an emergency. Their idea is that if each person were to be prepared to survive without external help
for 72 hours (3 days), they can likely be rescued and survive the entire event. This means that you would need to
have your own supplies of water, food, shelter and other supplies for you and your family. Such a collection is
called a 72 Hour Kit.
It works best if there are separate 72 Hour Kits for each member of your family. In addition, you might want to
have other kits that contain items which are common to all members of the family.
Your 72 Hour Kits should be stored in a safe place that is readily accessible. Make sure all family members know
where they are. Ideally, your kits will be stored in a location that is close to an exterior door just in case you
need to make a quick exit. Teach all family members what is in each 72 Hour Kit.
To get the most mileage out of your 72 Hour Kits, consider putting items in zippered plastic bags and squeeze
the air out or use a shrink wrap machine if you have access to one. This will not only reduce the space occupied by
each item, it will also keep the items from spoiling each other, such as the insect repellant being next to the
Each year, you should get out your 72 Hour Kits and examine them. Be sure to honor the expiration dates on food,
water, medicines and batteries. Rotate perishable food. Update any clothes for those whose sizes may have changed
during the past year. Make sure there are no critters or leaks. Mark the date you put it in storage on each
perishable item as it is stored.
If you want a portable 72 Hour Kit, consider getting some heavy duty backpacks or used military duffle bags.
They go on sale from time to time and it works well to get one for each family member and some extras for the
The 72 Hour Emergency Kit can be very helpful in times of need. It does take some advanced planning and there is
some cost, but the peace of mind it brings is worth it. Below is a list of items for you to consider putting in
your 72 Hour Kits. This list is quite general, so just prepare with those items that relate to you. For each item
on the list, there is likely more information elsewhere on this website.
The best way to know exactly what you should have in your 72 Hour Kit is to practice using it. You could stage
an "event" that would cause your family to grab your kits and leave home. You could hike somewhere or get in the
car and spend a day or two without using any outside help. The lessons learned from this experience can help you
correct any mistakes in your 72 Hour Kit. Try it when the weather is not necessarily the best. This just might
become your most memorable vacation.
Blanket - Wool is the only material that keeps you warm when
it is wet, so try to store a wool blanket. Get one that is at least 70% wool. If you have money and budget, store
more than one.
Another kind of blanket that is easy to store is called an Emergency Blanket. These are made of Mylar and are
small, silver lined and packed neatly into a pouch.
To see some Blankets, try these links:
Bungee Cord - These cords can come in very handy
to tie things together or hold things down. Consider putting some in your 72 Hour Emergency Kit.
To see some Bungee Cords, try these links:
Candles - Some are made to keep you safely warm
in a car. They can provide heat and light. Be sure to have a safe way to use them without causing a fire.
Click here for more on Candles.
Case - Every kit needs a good case to be stored
in. Be sure to get one that will fit in the allotted space in your vehicle.
To see some Cases, try these links: