Are you updating your 72-hour emergency kit often enough?

When an emergency hits, it’s crucial to be prepared with adequate amounts of water, food, and basic necessities. It’s not a fun prospect to be stranded at home (or anywhere else) without basic necessities after an emergency hits. A 72-hour kit, also called a disaster supply kit, is a small collection of things that you would need in an emergency. These supplies can come in handy if you’re unable to function normally because of a disaster or emergency. For example, during a flood you may not be able to reach a grocery store to buy food. A 72-hour kit should contain enough food, water, clothing, and basic supplies to get you through 72 hours after an emergency. Not only is it important to assemble a 72-hour kit, but it’s essential to update it regularly so it stays relevant over time. 

Assembling an emergency kit

dfBy the time an emergency strikes, it’s too late to build an emergency kit. Since an emergency or disaster can happen at any time, build your 72-hour kit so that you can have it on hand as soon as possible. You should include anything you might need during a 72-hour emergency. This can include:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Clothing
  • Blankets
  • Toiletries such as a toothbrush, deodorant, or soap
  • First-aid kit
  • Cash
  • Copies of important paperwork and documentation
  • Flashlight, pocketknife, and a can opener (for cans of food)

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Updating your 72-hour kit

Unfortunately, the best emergency kits are frequently updated. You might have different clothing size needs, foods (even canned foods) expire, batteries in flashlights must be checked and replaced. Go through your emergency kits for your family every six months and evaluate how to keep them updated. One way you could remember to do this is to choose a certain time, like the change to Daylight Savings Time. Every time that date comes up, you know it’s time to go through your 72-hour kit. You could also use your smartphone to set a reminder on your calendar to update your kit.

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Where to keep your 72-hour kit

Finding the right place for your emergency kit might seem like a pain. It’s hard to carve out space for a bulky bag or container in your home. Several containers if you have a family. Even still, the point of a 72-hour kit is to have needed supplies accessible in the event of an emergency. Not to mention that not all emergencies happen while you are at home. Here’s where FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) recommends you keep a 72-hour kit.

  • At home. Keep your kit in a safe place (cool and dry). Your storage spot should be easily accessible. You may not have a lot of time to grab your kit before you need to evacuate or leave your home.
  • In your car. You should have a small emergency kit in your car in the event you become stranded or cannot make it home during an emergency. As you build this kit, plan for fluctuations in temperature that come along with being in a car. Include car specific items (such as road flares). Aim to keep a full tank of gas in your car as much as possible.
  • At work. You won’t need a full emergency kit at work. However, you should be prepared to be stranded at your place of work for at least 24 hours. This kit needs to include food, water, and necessary medications for one day.

Being prepared for an emergency isn’t easy. It requires effort to put together and maintain a 72-hour kit. But knowing that you’ll be prepared for anything will give you peace of mind.