image: Raising Lemons
Hurricane season is upon us. Although in New England we rarely need to be concerned with hurricanes, we do have winter storms worthy of devastation. It is prudent to be prepared for a storm or other emergency. In the unfortunate event of a natural disaster, local officials and relief workers will be on the scene. However, they likely will not be able to reach everyone immediately. There may be a time when you will need to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You may even need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours.
To prepare for such a disaster you should assemble a 72 hour kit, a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
Your kit should be assembled well in advance of an emergency and it should contain items to help you manage during power outages.
With a well-planned 72 Hour Kit may alter your time after a disaster from a miserable experience to one that is not unpleasant. Plan your kit well, and inventory its contents every six months to change the types of clothing and items that may change with the seasons.
SUGGESTED CONTENTS FOR 72 HOUR KIT
72 Hour Supply of Water and Food
- 3 – 5 gallons of water per individual for sanitation and drinking
- Method of water purification
- Food – easy to prepare with a long shelf-life, 3 days’ worth per individual
Warmth and Shelter
- Windproof/waterproof matches
- Wool-blend blanket or sleeping bag
- Emergency reflective blanket
- Lightweight stove and fuel (sterno)
- Hand and body warm packs
- Second method to start a fire (such as a lighter)
- Emergency lanterns
- Flashlight with spare batteries
- Glow sticks
- Pocket knife
- Hatchet or axe
- Sewing kit
- 50-foot nylon rope
First Aid Kit and Supplies
- First aid kit
- Personal medications and supplies
- Personal comfort kit (include soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, tissues, sanitary items, razor)
- Full set of clothing
- Sturdy shoes
- At least $20 in your kit (small bills and coins)
- Copies of important documents- birth certificates wills, insurance forms, deeds
- Picture identification
- Family emergency plan
- Personal phone and address book (don’t depend on cell phone contacts as your battery may not last)
- Credit card information
- Cell phone and charger, external battery pack
- Cordless landline phone
- Hard candy
- Small toys
- Paper and pen
- Favorite security items for children
- Radio with batteries or other power source
- Whistle with neck cord
- Mess kits and cooking utensils
- Sun block
- Insect repellent
- Durable water resistant duffel bag
- Extra set of eyeglasses
Important Things To Consider
- In anticipation of power outages charge all cell phones and electronic devices, including external power sources.
- Your kit must be portable. Select a suitable container and keep it near an exit of your home. Do not overload the kit, as you may have to carry it for long distances to reach shelter or safety. Some items may be able to serve more than one purpose (you can get a shovel that is also a hatchet).
- Each family member should have their own kit with food, water and clothing. Distribute heavy items between kits.
- Wrap extra clothing, matches, personal documents and other easily potential smoke or water damaged items in plastic to protect them. You can use the plastic later for many uses.
- Keep your light source on top of the kit, so you can find it easily in the dark.
- Personalize your kit. Make sure the needs of your family have been met.
- Inspect your kit at least twice a year, rotating the food and water supplies. Adjust the clothing to meet seasonal needs. Check expiration dates on batteries, light sticks, warm packs, food and water.
- Consider the needs of elderly persons and those with special needs. Make sure appropriate supplies are packed for babies (diapers, wash cloth, ointment, etc.)
Remember to periodically check if items in your 72 hour kit are no longer safe to use by checking recalls and expiration dates.