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By Kellene Bishop
Far too many folks I’ve spoken to have shared with me that they have their 72 hour kit and thus are ready for an emergency. Before I go into detail about the contents of 72 hour kits, I’d like to make perfectly clear that 72 hours kits serve one purpose and one purpose only – to aid you IF you are forced to flee your home and relocate somewhere else for safety and supplies.
That’s right. A 72 hour kit is not to live off of through the duration of a disaster. For crying out loud, you’ve got teenagers whose meltdowns last longer than 72 hours. What kind of a silly person would think that a 72 hour kit is intended as survival for anything else but to aid in a “bug out” scenario?
I will admit, I have 2 levels of “72 hour kits.” I have one that is VERY minimalistic in a large backpack, and I have another one that is much more inclusive and requires my rolling suitcase or a hand-pulled wagon to be mobile. If I’m unfortunate enough to have to travel in the midst of an emergency, then there’s a pretty good chance that I would be able to throw on the backpack and still pull the rolling 72 hour kit behind me as well.
That said, I want to remind folks that there should be sufficient consideration for providing mobility for those in your home who may not be able to carry their own 72 hour kit. I’ve seen folks pack enormous 72 hour backpack kits for their 4 year old daughter. Ugh! If you’ve got young ones or fragile elderly that are accompanying you on your emergency trek, be sure to pack sufficient supplies AND make sure that you’ve got a wagon or something to ensure that everybody and everything is mobile in case you aren’t able to travel via automobile.
Wagons, bicycles, bike side-cars, jogging strollers, carts, and rolling suitcases are great resources to transport your belongings. Be sure that you also consider a carrier for the young ones that don’t interfere in your own mobility. (I HIGHLY recommend the HugaMonkey Baby Slings. They work well with newborns in sleep/nursing position, as well as babies a bit older in the forward or on the hip position.)
Another consideration is the transportation of your pets. Are they the kind that can safely join you on a voyage or will they require that you carry them? Do you intend to take them with you? If so, do you have the necessary supplies so they can endure a 72 hour period safely as well? I’ve managed to raise two “sissys” with my little pooches. They aren’t the big husky kind of dogs. So a leash WITH a harness would definitely be necessary for them but so will some accommodation for relief from lengthy walking. I have foot covers for them so that they won’t experience too much strain on their feet in comparison to the carpeting. (Yes, I am embarrassed to say that I’ve raised two wimps.)
The key to a quality 72 hour kit is to minimize the impact of the size and space of everything you are packing. This is why I use coupons to obtain trial sizes of items (for free usually). Bug out or not, you still need to have everything available that you use on a regular basis. Hygiene, clothing, sanitation, food, water, clothing, medical, light source, utensils, shelter, self-defense, communication supplies, bug spray, sunscreen, sunglasses, some currency, etc., etc., etc. It’s not a bad idea to have a 72 hour kit available in your office as well. The likelihood of you being at work when all heck breaks loose is substantial.
You also need to be sure that you’ve properly packaged the items in your 72 hour kit. When I’ve done home assessments for emergency preparedness, 72 hour kits are frequently accompanied by granola bars that are old, dry, and pungent! Yuck! So, not only do you need to package items so they stay usable, but you also need to refresh items in your 72 hour kits. You can’t afford to create them and then forget them.
Important documents are also critical to have on hand in your 72 hour kit. Let’s face it. If you’re having to use your kit, it won’t be under ideal circumstances. Having copies of items such as your will, deed to the home, title to the car, drivers licenses, birth certificates, wedding certificate, etc. should all be a part of your 72 hour kit. Such evidence may make the difference between you being allowed into “door number 1” or a less desirable “door number 2.” You may also want to sock away an emergency debit or credit card in your kit as well.
Tomorrow I’ll provide for you a detailed list of supplies I recommend for your 72 hour kit. Until then, keep prepping!
Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved. You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.