Before a Disaster – Emergency Preparedness – 72 Hour Kit: How to Be Ready for the Worst

Before a Disaster - Emergency Preparedness - 72 Hour Kit: How to Be Ready for the Worst

When disaster strikes, it can feel like your world has been blown apart. The process of recovering and rebuilding can be lengthy and challenging, with many communities struggling to get back on their feet. In the wake of events such as hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the effects of these natural disasters are still being felt years later.

It is crucial to be prepared for the worst before a disaster occurs. Acting early can help reduce the trauma and ensure the safety of individuals and families. One key initiative is to create a 72-hour emergency kit. This kit should include essential items that will help sustain you and your loved ones during the critical period immediately after a disaster.

Depending on the specific event, such as a hurricane or typhoon, the contents of your emergency kit may vary. However, there are some universal necessities that should be included in every kit. These include food and water supplies, first aid materials, important documents such as identification papers and insurance information, and suitable clothing and blankets to protect against the elements. It is also essential to have tools and supplies in case of infrastructure damage, such as a flashlight, batteries, and a basic toolkit.

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In addition to these basic necessities, it is also crucial to consider the specific needs of individuals, especially children, the elderly, and those with medical conditions. Having extra supplies of necessary medication, baby supplies, and comfort items can make a significant difference in the aftermath of a disaster.

Proper planning and preparation can also help in the event of an evacuation. Knowing the evacuation routes, understanding the local drainage and flood control systems, and having a plan for pets and livestock can all contribute to a smoother and safer evacuation process.

Recent events, like Hurricane Irma, have shown the importance of having a well-stocked emergency kit. In the wake of Irma’s devastation, many people found themselves without power for an extended period. Having the necessary supplies allowed them to better handle the outage and its effects.

The IEEE, a professional association for engineers and workers in the technology industry, suggests that everyone should have a disaster plan and preparedness kit. They provide valuable references and resources on their website to help individuals and communities prepare for various disasters.

Importance of Emergency Preparedness

During times of disaster, essential services such as electricity, water, and communication infrastructure may be disrupted. In order to stay safe, individuals and families should have a properly stocked emergency kit with supplies that can last for at least 72 hours. This includes food, water, medications, first aid kit, and other necessary items.

Preparation should also include having important documents, like identification papers and medical records, in order to expedite any necessary processes during and after a disaster. This can help ensure that any required assistance or resources can be provided in a timely manner.

The aftermath of major disasters, like Hurricane Katrina or the earthquake in Haiti, showed the importance of preparedness. These events caused immense trauma and loss of life, which could have been minimized with proper planning and preparation.

Even after the immediate danger has passed, the effects of a disaster can continue to be felt. This includes the displacement of people from their homes, the destruction of infrastructure, and the loss of valuable resources. Having a plan in place for post-disaster recovery and rebuilding can help communities get back on their feet more quickly.

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National and local governments play a crucial role in emergency preparedness. They should have proper systems in place to analyze potential hazards, create evacuation routes, and communicate important information to the public. This includes sending out timely and accurate messages to keep people informed and mobilizing specialized groups to provide assistance and reinforcements when necessary.

Why Being Prepared Matters

Depending on the type of disaster, whether it is a natural one like a hurricane or a man-made one like a terrorist attack, the infrastructure may be severely damaged. This can result in power outages, disrupted communication, and limited access to food and water. Having a 72-hour kit stocked with essential supplies and personal documents can provide a solution to those who need to evacuate or stay at home.

In order to reduce the hazards and prevent injuries during a disaster, it is crucial to check the safety of your home and fasten any loose objects that may become projectiles in high winds. Reflect on the lessons learned from past disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and use them as a guide for preparing for future events.

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During a disaster, emergency workers may be overwhelmed and unable to reach everyone in a timely manner. In such cases, having a stock of food, water, and other necessary supplies can help you and your family stay self-sufficient until reinforcements arrive. It is also important to have a communication plan in place and know the evacuation routes in your area.

Even if you live in an area that is not prone to natural disasters, it is still important to be prepared. A study by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) showed that only six out of ten Americans have a plan for what to do in a disaster. By preparing in advance, you can guard yourself and your loved ones against unforeseen events and ensure their safety.

In summary, being prepared is not a luxury but a necessity. It can make a significant difference in how you and your family cope during a disaster. Start the process of emergency preparedness today by creating a 72-hour kit, ensuring proper documents are in order, and reflecting on past disasters to understand the hazards specific to your area. Being prepared is the best way to stay safe and reduce the impact of a disaster on your life.

Key Components of Emergency Preparedness

1. Emergency Kit

One of the most important things to have in your emergency preparedness plan is a 72-hour emergency kit. This kit should include essential supplies such as food, water, and medical necessities. It should also include special supplies like medications and documents that may be needed in case of evacuation or damage to your home.

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2. Stock Up on Supplies

In order to be prepared for any disaster, it is important to stock up on essential supplies in advance. This includes non-perishable foods, water, batteries, flashlights, and other items that may be needed during a disaster. Depending on the type of disaster, you may also need to have supplies such as masks, gloves, or tools to prevent further damage after the disaster has occurred.

It is also important to check and maintain your emergency supplies regularly. Make sure that food and water are not expired and replace any items that have been used or damaged. Proper maintenance of your emergency supplies will ensure that they are ready for use when needed.

3. Establish an Emergency Communication Plan

In case of a disaster, it is important to have a communication plan in place to ensure that you can stay connected with your loved ones. This plan should include designated meeting areas, emergency contact numbers, and alternative modes of communication in case the infrastructure is damaged.

In addition to a communication plan, it is also important to have a plan for evacuation routes and a backup plan in case the primary routes are blocked or impassable. Understanding the drainage routes and potential problem areas in your area can help reduce the effects of a disaster and ensure a faster recovery.

4. Stay Informed

Keeping up with the latest news and updates related to disasters in your area is crucial. Whether through local television and radio stations, official websites, or social media, staying informed about potential disasters and their effects can help you take proper precautions and respond accordingly.

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It is also important to study and learn from past disasters. Reflecting on the actions and responses taken during disasters like Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Maria can provide valuable insights and lessons that can be applied in future emergency situations.

Creating a 72 Hour Kit

References to disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Maria, and the Haiti earthquake show us that personal preparation is necessary to fill the gap before reinforcements arrive. In the wake of Katrina’s destruction, it became evident that supplies, such as food, water, and medical essentials, could quickly become scarce. The elderly and children, who are more vulnerable during such events, can especially benefit from having a 72 hour kit readily available.

In order to create an effective kit, it is important to start with thorough research. Check the official websites for emergency response organizations and research the specific disaster risks in your area. Understanding the potential effects and preparation recommendations will help you make the best choices for your kit.

The first step is to gather all the essential supplies. These include food, water, first aid items, and medications. The American Red Cross recommends at least three days’ worth of non-perishable food and water for each person. Additional items like flashlights, batteries, and a portable radio should also be included. Extra clothing, blankets, and personal hygiene items are crucial as well.

Since disasters can cause severe damage to infrastructure, it is essential to have important documents on hand. Make copies of important paperwork, such as identification, insurance documents, and medical records. Store these in a waterproof and fireproof container as a way to safeguard them during an emergency.

In order to prevent trauma and reduce stress during an event, it is important to include items that can bring comfort and entertainment. For children, having favorite toys or books can help provide a sense of security. For adults, a deck of cards or a journal can help pass the time and provide a distraction during stressful situations.

Another crucial aspect of creating a 72 hour kit is to consider individual needs. For example, those with medical conditions may need to include extra medication or medical equipment in their kit. Similarly, those with dietary restrictions may need to pack specific foods to ensure proper nutrition during an emergency.

It is also important to have a plan for transportation and communication. Research and map out evacuation routes and keep a list of emergency contact information. Ensure that your cell phone is fully charged and consider having a portable charger on hand to ensure communication capabilities during an event.

Fasten and secure the kit in an easily accessible location in your home. Avoid placing it near windows or in areas that are prone to flooding. Also, designate a specific person in your household to be in charge of the kit and ensure that everyone knows where it is located.

What is a 72 Hour Kit

The 72 Hour Kit is based on the premise that during the initial stages of a disaster or emergency, it may take some time for emergency response teams and relief organizations to reach affected areas and provide necessary assistance. This kit is therefore intended to bridge the gap and ensure that individuals and families have the necessary supplies and resources to stay safe and take care of their basic needs until help arrives.

During natural disasters like hurricanes, typhoons, floods, or earthquakes, when electricity may be out, the roads may be impassable, and stores may be closed, having a 72 Hour Kit can be a lifesaver. It is recommended by various government agencies, such as FEMA or the Red Cross, that every household should have a 72 Hour Kit prepared and readily available.

The contents of a 72 Hour Kit can vary depending on individual needs and preferences, but they generally include a supply of non-perishable food items, water, a first aid kit, toiletries, flashlights, batteries, a radio, extra clothing, and important documents such as identification papers. It is also suggested to include a portable phone charger or a solar-powered charger to stay connected during extended power outages.

In case of evacuation, having a sturdy backpack or a waterproof container to store the kit is highly recommended. The kit should also be regularly checked and updated to ensure that all items are in working condition and that the food and water supplies have not expired.

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Initiatives such as the “Ready Campaign” in the United States or the “Get Ready” program in Haiti promote emergency preparedness and encourage people to have a 72 Hour Kit ready. Along with these initiatives, it is also crucial to have a proper disaster response and recovery plan in place to efficiently deal with the aftermath of a disaster.

Essential Items to Include

First and foremost, you should include a 72-hour supply of food and water for each person. This should include non-perishable food items that are easy to prepare and store, such as canned goods, energy bars, and dried fruits. Along with the food, make sure to have enough bottled water for each person, about one gallon per day.

Personal hygiene items are also necessary to include in your emergency kit. These include toiletries like toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and toilet paper. It is also important to have any necessary medications and a first aid kit to ensure you can take care of any minor injuries or illnesses that may occur.

Having copies of important documents is another essential item to include in your emergency kit. This includes photo identification, insurance policies, and personal identification information. It may also be helpful to have physical copies of maps and contact information in case digital devices are not accessible.

Along with these essentials, it is important to have suitable clothing and bedding items for each person. This includes items like a change of clothes, blankets, and sturdy shoes. If you have infants or young children, make sure to include diapers, formula, and any necessary baby supplies.

In the aftermath of a disaster, it may be necessary to have tools and supplies for cleanup and repair. This includes items like a utility knife, duct tape, and garbage bags. Having a basic toolkit can also be useful in case you need to make any repairs or adjustments to your surroundings.

Lastly, it is important to consider any special needs you or your family members may have. For example, if you have elderly or disabled family members, make sure to include any necessary medical equipment or supplies. If you have pets, include food, water, and any necessary medications or supplies for them as well.


Why is it important to have a 72 hour kit?

Having a 72 hour kit is important because it ensures that you have essential supplies and resources to sustain yourself and your family for at least three days in the event of a disaster or emergency. It helps you be self-sufficient until help arrives or normal services are restored.

What should be included in a 72 hour kit?

A 72 hour kit should include food and water supplies, basic medical supplies, personal hygiene items, clothing, emergency tools, important documents, and a communication plan. The specific items may vary depending on individual needs, but it is important to have enough supplies to sustain yourself and your family for at least three days.

Why is a communication plan important in an emergency?

A communication plan is important in an emergency because it helps you stay connected with your family members and emergency services. It ensures that everyone knows where to meet or how to contact each other in case of evacuation or separation. A well-developed communication plan can greatly assist in coordinating efforts and getting help when it is needed the most.

How often should the items in a 72 hour kit be replaced?

The items in a 72 hour kit should be regularly checked and replaced if necessary. It is recommended to review and update the kit at least once a year. This includes checking the expiration dates of food and medications, replacing batteries, updating contact information, and making any necessary changes to the kit based on changes in family size or needs.

Where should the 72 hour kit be stored?

The 72 hour kit should be stored in a readily accessible and secure location. It is recommended to keep the kit in a designated area, such as a closet or under a bed, where it can be easily grabbed in case of an emergency. It is important to inform all family members about the location of the kit and ensure that it is easily accessible to everyone.

What is an emergency preparedness kit?

An emergency preparedness kit, also known as a 72-hour kit, is a collection of essential items and supplies that can help individuals and families be ready for a disaster or emergency situation. It typically includes food, water, clothing, first aid supplies, tools, and other necessary items.

How long does a 72-hour kit last?

A 72-hour kit is designed to provide individuals and families with enough supplies to sustain them for at least three days, hence the name “72-hour kit”. The supplies in the kit should be able to meet basic needs such as food, water, and shelter for this period of time.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.