How to start with your 72-hour emergency kit

Here is how to start – begin with a box! It’s entirely possible that you will someday be faced with an evacuation situation. When it happens, you need to be prepared. Don’t just think about it – do something – now! Evacuation preparation is not an all-or-nothing thing.

In a crisis, any preparation, even a minimal kit, would be far superior to having nothing to rely on. Begin with what you have and build on it. Your goal is security – not luxury – in a kit.

There are many container options to choose from when creating a 72-hour evacuation kit. But until you have the time and budget to make that selection, begin right now by going to the grocery store and obtaining a sturdy waxed produce box with “handle holes”.

An apple box with the lid that fits completely over the bottom so that there are double walled sides is a good example. This can be used as a makeshift kit container.

You should replace it with a better container as soon as possible, but until you do, it’s a start to create your 72-hour emergency readiness kit. Since this box is not waterproof at all, placing the contents in an untreated trash bag and securely fastening it would provide some protection against water. (An untreated trash bag will be either clear or white.) Strapping or tying the box when it’s full will increase its stability and may even function as a handle.

Then you begin the gathering process: foods that will work, a complete change of clothing, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, fuel and fuel stabilizers, etc. Whatever you have on hand can make-do until you can replace it with something more appropriate or more efficient. It will very quickly become evident that you must adjust your mindset.

THINK SMALL. Everything needed for one person must fit into that container. Remember it could become your home away from home. And until you can replace these items with better ones, you can be satisfied that at least you’ve made a start with setting up your survival packages. Then make it a priority to add one or two items to your kits every payday. Just be aware that Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!

You will need a kit or box for every member of the household. Do your homework as to the kind of kit containers that will work for your household members.  You will need to be able to identify your kit in a sheltered area so clearly label and mark each kit. It should always include a stove, and Iodide pills are also a necessity. Use waterproof markers and then as an added measure cover the identification with several layers of clear strapping tape.

One way to involve family members is to allow children (and adults) to decorate their kit. While “decorating” use the opportunity to discuss the purpose of the kit, the important items that will be in it, who and how to contact help at the shelter, what will create security in that kit, such as a favorite blanket, bear or book, some lighting source, and most importantly that this is an important box/kit for them. It’s not a toy and it’s not a game. But by the same token, it’s NOT packed with fear. Just the opposite, it’s packed with confidence.

You may be considering buying a ready-made evacuation kit from a store. This may or may not be a good idea. There are many on the market that are good but there are also some that would be just a waste of your money. Carefully ascertain what items are in a commercially prepared kit before you buy to see if it will work for you. Either way, just don’t forget to stock up your supplies of antibiotics!

However, and I can’t emphasize this enough, any ready-made kit you buy is only a starting point. Commercial kits are not complete. Lists are generic. They must be personalized by adding your own clothing, personal items, medications, and other things that you individually will need.

If you want to start with a commercial kit, that’s fine. Read this post if you have no idea about how and where to start. Just don’t end with it in the same condition as you bought it. Make it your own, and make it work specifically for you. These are just a few thoughts to get you started with survival packages. Don’t wait. Start now.