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Tornado season is upon us and already there has been an outbreak of twisters across the heartland of America. Are you ready for this or some other disaster? Now is the time to either check the supplies in your 72-hour kit or pack one. It’s estimated that it takes 3 days for relief to get into an area where a natural disaster has occurred. Your 72-hour kit could mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.
Your kit should be tailor-made to suit your family’s needs and adjusted according to the size of your family, but you should have the following essential items kept separately from your normal everyday household items.
Clothing and warmth items for your 72-hour kit
- At least one complete change of clothing for each member of the family (include extra socks, underwear, shirts, hats, gloves, mittens and sturdy shoes)
- A comfort kit including soap, shampoo, razors, sanitary items, toilet paper, toothbrush and cleaner.
- Tent or other shelter
- Blankets and/or sleeping bags
- Rain gear/poncho/slicker
- Reflective gear
- One gallon per person per day is the minimum amount of water you should have on hand. Don’t forget extra for pets.
- Method of water purification including an extra storage container
- Waterproof matches plus a second method to start a fire
- 72 hours of food — High protein easily cooked or rehydrated foods are better in an emergency situation. Foods such as energy bars, nuts, sunflower seeds, beef jerky, dried fruit, MRE’s, tuna packs, etc. If you are including foods that need to be heated up, include a heat source, pots, pans, can opener, etc. Plastic utensils and camp-style cup and plates
- First Aid Kit
- Burn gel and dressing
- Pain Medication
- Whistle with neck or wrist cord
- Nylon Rope
- Duct Tape
- Signal Mirror
- Pocket Knife
Light Sources and Communications
- Flashlights with extra batteries
- Glow Sticks
- Radio that also has weather band info and extra batteries or extra source of power
- 2-Way Radios with extra batteries
- Copies of legal papers such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, wills, and insurance forms stored in waterproof zip lock bags. If you’ve created a Grab-n-Go Binder, you already have these documents in place.
- Credit card information and insurance information stored in waterproof zip lock bags
- Games, books, cards, or other sources to entertain and relieve the stress from yourself and your family
- Money on hand in small bills including some change as well
- Sunblock and/or insect repellant
- Special medications, extra glasses etc.
- Zippered Storage bags/trash bags
- Baby wipes can be used for all kinds of cleaning
Your 72-hour kit should be in a portable container near an exit of your house or in the safe room of your home. Each family member should have their own 72-hour kit that they can carry. Be sure to personalize your 72-hour kit for each member of the family. Adjust clothing for winter or summer needs. Check your kit every 6 months and rotate items that are soon to expire.
This is just the basic framework for your 72-hour kit. Now you need to think further. Do you have small children? Do you have pets? Do you have a special needs family member? Do you care for an elderly parent? If the answer is yes, you need to adapt your 72-hour kit for them as well. You’ll find tips for these specialized kits in Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios.
Practice is also essential when it comes to survival. You need to have a plan and run some drills. You should know exactly where your kit is. You should know how quickly you can get it loaded into your vehicle should you have to evacuate. The more familiar you and your family are with your gear and how to use it, the more likely you will be calm and level headed in an emergency.
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