Build your 72-hour emergency preparedness kit
In the event of an emergency, responders may be busy assisting those in immediate danger. The 72-hour kit holds supplies to support you and your family for three days in an emergency situation.
Along with a 72 hour kit, you should also put together an emergency action plan. It will ensure that you and your family members know what to do and who to call.
What is in a 72-hour kit?
Store four litres of water per person per day.
Ideally, you should replace the water bottles everytime you change your clocks. If necessary, you can use the water in your toilet tank or hot water heater.
A minimum of three days’ food that won’t spoil and requires minimal preparation, such as canned or dried food and energy bars.
Check food expiry dates when you change your clocks and replace as needed. If you stock canned food, include a manual can opener in your kit. If you include a camping stove, do not use it indoors.
Include any prescription medication that you or your family members take.
Ideally, you should swap the medication out regularly for fresh medication. If you cannot store extra medication in your kit, make sure you take it with you in an evacuation. You may also want to include vitamins and medications to guard you against getting sick.
If you receive medical treatments from a clinic or a hospital, ask your health care provider what you should do in an emergency.
First Aid kit
First Aid kits should be easily accessible in your home and vehicle and should generally include:
- gauze pads
- a variety of bandages
- needle and thread
- instant ice packs
- survival blanket, if space allows
Wind-up flashlight and radio
Wind-up flashlight/radio combination models are available from many outdoor retailers. If you are using a battery-operated flashlight or radio, be sure to stock extra batteries and replace them every year.
External battery pack or wind-up phone charger
You could be without power in your home for days, or you might have to evacuate. It is important that you are able to use your cell phone to call for help or to receive information. If phone lines are too busy, you can still receive updates and alerts on your mobile device.
Dust masks and duct tape
These supplies will help you shelter-in-place.
A whistle will help attract attention if needed.
Personal sanitation items
Consider including moist towelettes, garbage bags and toilet paper.
Warm clothes and blankets or sleeping bags
Blankets or sleeping bags are much warmer than survival blankets. You may want to pack both, but survival blankets do not replace real blankets.
Have emergency contact information as part of your family emergency plan. Store this information and important documents in your 72-hour kit. Consider including digital copies of important documents, music, photos, and anything else you might want to keep. Review documents periodically and ensure that they are up to date.
Cash in small bills and coins
You should include cash because debit and credit cards may not work in an emergency situation or if the power is out. You might need coins in case you have to use a payphone or coin-operated laundry facilities.
Supplies for your baby and pet
If applicable, stock your kit with baby food, diapers, formula, extra clothes, and baby wipes. If you have a pet, have an evacuation plan for your pet, water, food and toys.
You may want to consider including non-power consuming entertainment for children and adults, such as games, card or books.
Making a 72-hour kit as a senior or a person with a disability
There are additional items you should consider adding to your kit depending on your disability or needs. Follow the link that applies to your situation.
How do I store my supplies?
- Ideally, supplies should be stored in a waterproof, wheeled suitcase or container. Your kit must be portable in case you have to evacuate your home. If you have luggage, bag your supplies and store them in your luggage when you are not travelling. You can remove the bags for travel.
- Store medications, cash, and important documents in an external pouch for easy access. Your First Aid kit and water supply should also be immediately accessible.
- Make sure that you check your kit and replenish/swap supplies as needed. An easy way to remember is to check your kit when you change your clocks.
Tips for making a 72-hour kit on a budget
- Store what you can today and accumulate other items bit by bit.
- Spend an extra 5% on groceries per month to accumulate the food you need for your 72-hour kit.
- Certain books and online resources can teach you how to pickle, can and preserve food. This is also a good option for those with allergies or dietary restrictions.
- Although it is safest to use commercially bottled water, you can also store water in thoroughly washed containers with a good seal. Plastic containers such as soft drink bottles work best. Never use a container that held toxic substances. Seal storage containers firmly when not using your water.