The 72 Hour Kit

( offers a 4-person 72 Hour Kit for $99.  This is a convenient way to go, but we made our own for less.)

One of the essentials of preparedness is the “72-hour kit.”  This kit is a duffle (or any bag or bucket) containing food, water, clothing, and supplies sufficient for each member of the family for 72 hours, in case there is an emergency in which food cannot be cooked.  It’s designed to be grabbed quickly in case evacuation is necessary.

We put MREs (“Meals, Ready to Eat”) in our kit and rotate them annually.  We also, over a period of months, build up a 72-hour reserve of essential prescription medications, again rotating annually.  Sweaters, first aid kit, blankets, solar/crank radio & flashlight, a fire starter, and a few other emergency items complete our kit, which we keep in an Austrian military surplus backpack in a closet near the back door.

What kind of emergency would require such a kit?  Natural events such as hurricane, flooding, wildfires, home fires, tornadoes, or earthquake.  Chemical or other hazmat spills.  Terrorist attack.  Mudslide or landslide.  There’s almost nowhere in the country (maybe the world) that is immune to such events.

One LDS (Mormon) site gives an excellent list of what should go into a 72-hour kit, including blankets, passports, and insurance policies.  The site also recommends geneological documents and scriptures— but lest you think this is a religious issue, the kits are recommended by various government agencies as well. Whatcom County, Washington, offers this list for a 72-hour kit for the office, in case a disaster strikes while you’re at work.

Like most people, such a kit seems like a good idea, but I’m prone to thinking that I would never need it.  And of course we all hope that’s the case.  But I also have to remember that one of our friends barely escaped with her life when the Santa Clara River near St. George, Utah, flooded a couple of years ago.  Her husband wasn’t as lucky.

Emergencies can happen anywhere, without warning.  That’s what makes them emergencies.  They only become disasters if we fail to prepare.

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