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72-Hour Emergency Kit: What should it include?

We often do not like to think about the chance that a natural disaster could affect our community, but those who fail to plan ahead are the ones that are affected the worst when problems arise. A 72 hour kit is a basic tool you can use to keep your family protected while you wait for help after a serious emergency situation.

In the event of a disaster, having a 72 hour kit could mean the difference between survival and destruction, yet few households have taken the time to invest in one of these. With just a little bit of forward thinking, you can be prepared for whatever nature throws your way.

A 72 hour kit is designed to give your family the means with which to survive for three days after a serious natural disaster. In most cases, this is enough time for you to be rescued or to evacuate to safer areas. So, the items in the kit are items for your basic survival. For a more comprehensive read on further ways to be prepared, check out the Government of Canada Get Prepared page.

Want a quick refence for  what a 72 emergency kit should contain?  Click the image below to take a closer look at our infographic:Emergency Kit Infographic


4 Key Categories to pack in a 72 Hour Emergency Kit:

Essentials for Survival

  • First Aid Kit: The first item to pack in your 72 hour emergency kit is a well-stocked first aid kit. It should include bandages, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, scissors, tweezers, pain relievers, and any prescription medications you or your family members may need. Make sure to regularly check the kit for expired items and replace them.
  • Flashlights and Batteries: Having a reliable source of light is crucial during emergencies, especially when the power goes out. Include high-quality flashlights with extra batteries to ensure you can see and navigate in the dark.
  • Multi-Tool or Swiss Army Knife: A multi-tool can be incredibly handy for a variety of tasks, from opening canned food to cutting rope. It’s a versatile tool that can serve multiple purposes.
  • Hygiene Supplies: Maintaining personal hygiene is important for your overall well-being. Pack items like soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, and sanitary supplies to stay clean and comfortable.
  • Emergency Blankets: These compact, lightweight blankets are designed to retain body heat, providing warmth during cold nights. They are an excellent addition to your kit for maintaining core body temperature.

Food and Water Supplies

  • Non-Perishable Food: Select a variety of non-perishable food items such as canned goods, energy bars, dehydrated meals, and nut butter. Aim for items with a long shelf life and those that don’t require cooking or refrigeration.
  • Water: Adequate hydration is crucial for survival in a 72 hour emergency kit. Pack at least one gallon of water per person per day, and don’t forget a portable water filter or purification tablets in case you need to collect water from natural sources.
  • Cooking Supplies: If possible, include a portable camping stove, fuel, and cookware for heating food and boiling water. This can be particularly useful in situations where you have access to shelter but no power.
  • Eating Utensils: Lightweight, durable utensils and dishes should be included to make eating and drinking easier and more sanitary.

Clothing and Shelter for a 72 Hour Emergency Kit

  • Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Pack extra clothing suitable for the climate in your region. This may include warm layers, waterproof jackets, sturdy shoes, and a change of underwear. Don’t forget to include items like hats and gloves for added protection.
  • Tents or Tarps: Shelter is essential for protection from the elements. Include a small tent or durable tarps and cordage for creating makeshift shelters.
  • Sleeping Bags or Blankets: To stay warm and comfortable during the night, include sleeping bags or additional blankets in your kit.
  • Hand Warmers: These small, disposable packets can provide much-needed warmth in cold conditions.

Communication and Safety Gear

  • Battery-Powered or Hand-Crank Radio: In emergencies, you’ll need to stay informed about the situation. A portable radio can help you receive important updates and information.
  • Cell Phone and Chargers: Keep a fully charged cell phone in your kit, along with portable chargers or solar chargers to maintain communication.
  • Whistle and Signal Devices: A whistle can be heard from a distance and is a great tool for signaling for help. Additionally, consider including signal flares or mirrors for long-range visibility.
  • Important Documents: Make copies of essential documents such as identification, insurance policies, medical records, and emergency contact information. Store them in a waterproof container within your kit.

In conclusion, building a 72-hour emergency kit is a critical step in your disaster preparedness plan. By including the essentials for survival, food and water supplies, clothing and shelter, and communication and safety gear, you can ensure that you and your family have the necessary resources to weather a crisis. Regularly review and update your kit to keep it current and effective, and don’t forget to personalize it to meet the specific needs of your household. Being prepared today can make all the difference in tomorrow’s emergency.


Looking for ready-to-go 72 hour emergency kits for you or your family?  Check out the wide variety of 72 Hour kits available at Total Prepare! Premium 72 hour Emergency Kit 1000px



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