Short-Term Emergency Preparedness Kit: What to include

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post called Are You Prepared? Short Term Planning. I provided some questions to think about in preparation for any disasters which might occur in your area, whether they be a common house fire or a natural disaster such as earthquake, tornado, hurricane/cyclone, flood or bushfire/wildfire.

I also provided some information on short-term planning  designed to help you prepare for emergencies. Today I wanted to share with you a list of items you might like to include in your short-term (72-hour) emergency survival kit. Although 72-hours is the minimum recommendation, it might be worth putting together a kit which will feed and protect you and your family for at least ten days. Ten days may seem like a lot but during Hurricane Katrina, many people waited a week for water and food to arrive.

You can buy ready-made emergency kits or you can put together your own. We already had most of these items because we go camping, so we’ve put together our own kit.

Consider placing all of the following items in your 72-hour survival kit:

  • Portable emergency radio (preferably one that can be recharged without power by hand crank or solar cells)
  • First-aid kit (including first-aid and survival book)
  • Water, water purification chemicals and/or purification filter (enough to supply 1 gallon (4 Litres) of water per person per day)
  • Waterproof and windproof matches (in water proof container) and butane lighter.
  • Wool blankets or sleeping bag plus a waterproof space-blanket.
  • Flashlight with spare batteries or a solar recharge flashlight.
  • Candles and light sticks.
  • Toiletries, including toilet paper, toothbrush, soap, razor, shampoo, sanitary napkins (also good for wounds), dental floss (good for sewing and tying things, sunscreen, insect repellent etc.
  • Food for three days per person, minimum. Use foods that you’ll eat and that store well such as nuts, sports bars, canned vegetables, fruit, meats, dry cereals or military-type preserved meals.
  • A Swiss Army knife or Leatherman Multitool with scissors, can opener, blades and screwdrivers.
  • Map, compass and whistle.
  • Sewing Kit with heavy duty thread.
  • Towel or dishcloth.
  • A camping ‘Mess Kit’: knives, forks, spoons etc.
  • Tent and/or roll of plastic sheeting for shelter.
  • Extra clothing, such as long underwear, hat, jacket, gloves, raincoat or poncho, sturdy boots etc.
  • Special needs such as extra eyeglasses, prescription medicine etc.
  • 25 kitchen-sized garbage bags and powdered sewerage treatment chemicals.
  • heavy-duty nylon string or light rope.
  • Record of important telephone numbers and bank numbers
  • Spare cash or checks (cheques).
  • A compact stove with fuel.

For more resources, FEMA has a good disaster preparation guide which includes videos.

I can also recommend the textbook When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency. With nearly 500 pages of in-depth information, this book would be a worthy addition to any home library.

Photo by: postaletrice

One comment

  1. Thank you for posting this fantastic reminder post about getting your 72 hour kits together. In the wake of the major earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, your post couldn’t be more timely. Please let your readers know that they can find additional resources such as ready-made emergency kits, free templates for making family emergency plans and a disaster response resource library at Ready Set Go Kits ( an online emergency preparedness store.

    Please let me know if there is anyway I can help.

    Amy Sandoz
    Ready Set Go Kits

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