Build a Kit

Assembling a 72-Hour Family Survival Kit

In a disaster situation food, water and electricity can be cut off for days. Preparing emergency provisions can turn a life threatening situation into a manageable problem. Families should be prepared to take care of themselves for up to 72 hours after an emergency occurs. Assemble a kit containing things required to meet the essential needs of your family. There are six basics: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and special items.

Water. Store one gallon of water per family member per day. A family of four should store at least 12 gallons of water. Use for drinking, food preparation and sanitation for 72 hours.

Food. Store a supply of non-perishable food. Keep foods that require no refrigeration, cooking or preparation. Some examples are: ready to eat canned meats and fish; fruits and vegetables; smoked or dried meats; crackers; nuts; health food bars; hard candy; vitamins. Rotate food out of the kit at least every six months.

First Aid. Keep first aid kits in your home and in each vehicle. The American Red Cross is a good source for pre-assembled first aid kits containing a variety of supplies. 

Tools and Supplies. Some key supplies for your 72-hour kit include:

  • Flashlight
  • Battery operated radio
  • Extra Batteries
  • Multi-function Knife
  • Lantern
  • Spare Keys for car and home
  • Matches
  • Toolbox
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Money
  • Paper and Pencil
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothpaste and Toothbrush

Clothing and Bedding. Boots, rain gear, hats, gloves, blankets and sleeping bags are all good items to include in your emergency kit.

Special Items. These items are specific to the needs of your family. They may include prescription drugs, eyeglasses, baby formula, diapers, games, books, magazines, and copies of important family documents.

The 72-hour kit should be as compact as possible. Select and pack items carefully in a duffel bag or plastic storage container. Many supplies can be placed inside water-proof plastic storage bags for extra protection.

Personalize your kit so it meets the unique needs of your family.

Have a Car Emergency Kit

Cars should be equipped with supplies that could be useful in any emergency. Consider the following for your car emergency kit:

  • Battery operated radio with extra batteries
  • Blanket
  • Booster cables
  • A-B-C Fire extinguisher
  • First aid kit with manual
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Non-perishable snack food
  • Maps
  • Shovel
  • Tool kit
  • Flares
  • Water
  • Extra clothing
  • Cell phone

It may not be necessary to carry all of these supplies at all times, however when traveling between cities or taking a long trip it is recommended to have as many of these items as possible.