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Emergency Preparedness: Building the Right 72 Hour Kit for Your Family

Posted by Emilcott Associates

Sep 9, 2015 11:00:00 AM

by Charles Peruffo, CSP emergency_preparedness

September is national preparedness month.  In the event of a disaster you and your family may be required to survive on your own for up to 72 hours until help arrives.  Anyone who has ever tried to buy flashlight batteries as a storm approaches knows it can be a nightmare.  A small amount of preparation can save a lot of stress in an already stressful time.  We have compiled a list of supplies and equipment for a basic 72 hr kit.

  1.       You will need at least 1 gallon of water per person in your family.  
  •         Additional water will be needed for children, nursing women and pets.
  •         If you store your own water, purchase food grade containers from camping or surplus stores. 
  •         DO NOT use any container unless you are sure it was never used to contain hazardous chemicals.
  •         Thoroughly clean the containers with dishwashing soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap.
  •         Replace the water every six months if not using commercially bottled water.
  •         Follow the use by date for store bought water.
  1.       Store enough non-perishable food for three days per person. 
  •         Plan for between 2000 – 3600 calories a day, this will provide you with the energy to make home repairs and help friends and neighbors. 
  •         Store food your family will eat, your child will get no nutrition from food they will not eat.
  •         Remember special dietary needs.
  •         Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.
  •         Avoid food that will cause dehydration.
  •         Store formula and bottles for infants, even if nursing. 
  •         BE SURE TO PACK A MANUAL CAN OPENER, P-38 style can openers can be purchased for under a dollar and can be taped directly to cans.
  •         Treats can do wonders for your family’s moral, a bag of marshmallows, or candy that will make your family smile in a bad situation.
  •         Disposable plates and utensils or a mess kit.
  1.       Medicine
  •         Have a weeks’ worth of extra prescription medication available. 
  •         Store over the counter medications such as pain reliever antidiarrheal medication in your 72 hour kit.
  •         Check the expiration dates on the packaging.
  1.       Flashlights and batteries. 
  •         Flashlights and extra batteries for each person in your family. 
  •         Hand cranked flashlight are also helpful, but still keep a few battery flashlight to use quickly. 
  •         Avoid candles, they are often the cause of fires after disasters. 
  1.       A first aid kit   
  •         Be sure to include waterproof dressing to keep wounds clean and dry.
  •         Periodically check your first aid kit for expired material.
  1.       A Battery powered or hand cranked NOAA radio with tone alert and extra batteries.
  •         Many new radios with tone alert can be set to specific locations, this cuts back on false alarms. 
  •         Some hand cranked radios have cell phone charging features.
  1.       Tools
  •         A signal whistle, use three blast off a signal whistle spaced three seconds apart to signal for help. 
  •         Gas wrench or Plyers to shut off utilities.  If you are unsure how you can contact your utility some will even provide you with a wrench free of charge.
  •         Cell phone car charger. 
  •         Waterproof bag or container to protect vital electronics like cell phones or radios.    
  1.       Personal Hygiene
  •         Moist towelettes or wipes to help keep clean.
  •         Garbage bags and plastic ties.
  •         Diapers for three days. 
  •         Feminine hygiene products.
  •         Toilet Tissue for three days.
  •         Toothpaste and brushes.
  •         Change of undergarments.
  1.       Personal protection
  •         Work Gloves.
  •         Dust masks.
  •         Work Clothing.
  •         Disposable coveralls are also helpful. 
  1.       Shelter
  •         Plastic Sheeting and duct tape to cover windows if needed. 
  •         A large tarp can be used to cover a damaged roof or make a temporary shelter. 
  •         Sleeping bags or warm blankets and sleeping pads or air mattresses.
      10     Documents
  •         Local Maps, mark evacuation routes, community centers and schools that could be used in an emergency.   If you are not sure contact your local office of emergency management. 
  •         Store vital documents in a water and fire resistant container.
  •         Keep copies of insurance policies and other vital documents as well.
  •         Keep a list of family phone numbers and addresses as well as a copy of your out-of-area emergency contact card in your preparedness kit.
  •         Cash in small bills. 
11   Pet Supplies
  •         Food, water and medicine
  •         Leashes and Carriers.


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