If an emergency occurs, the minimum amount of time you should be able to take care of yourself and your family is 3 days. 72-hour preparedness is incredibly important, and the worst thing you can think is “It will never happen to me”.
When it comes to being self-sustaining and safe for those few days, there are two things you’re going to need: An emergency kit and a plan!
Let’s start with the kit.
Creating An Emergency Kit
Items in an emergency kit are either essential, must-have things that every basic kit needs to include, or recommended additions that can make things even easier and safer.
- At least two litres of water per person per day. Include small bottles that can be carried in case of an evacuation order.
- Canned and dried food, energy bars, or other food that won’t spoil. Replace food and water once a year.
- Manual can opener.
- Crank or battery-powered flashlight. Replace batteries once a year.
- Crank or battery-powered radio. Replace batteries once a year.
- First aid kit.
- Extra house and car keys.
- Some cash in small bills and coins.
- A copy of your emergency plan.
- Medication, infant formula, equipment, or other needs specific to your family.
- Two additional litres of water for cooking and cleaning.
- Candles with matches or a lighter. Be careful, place them in deep containers, and never burn them unattended.
- Changes of clothing, footwear, sleeping bag, and a warm blanket for each household member.
- Hand sanitizer.
- Garbage bags.
- Toilet paper.
- Water purifying tablets.
- Basic tools like a hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdriver, work gloves, dust mask, and pocket knife.
- A whistle (to attract attention).
- Duct tape.
Your kit should be easy to locate and carry, so feel free to split it up into multiple backpacks if you have multiple people to carry them.
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With the creation of a plan taking only about 20 minutes, there really is no excuse not to have one. It is a lifesaving tool you really need to have in place.
While many of these things will apply to all plans, the first step you should take is to understand what risks and emergencies are most common where you live.
A Meeting Place
When an emergency occurs, your family might not be all together. Everyone needs to know where to meet, so you can do a head count and make sure everyone is safe.
Talk with your neighbours to see if anyone might need extra help in the event of an emergency. Update your information every year.
Protect Important Documents
Make copies of important things like birth and marriage certificates, passports, wills, land deeds, and insurance. Keep copies both inside and outside your home.
Plant For Your Pets
Some evacuation centres won’t allow pets, so be sure to do a little research and find pet-friendly hotels or pet boarding facilities if an evacuation order is issued.
For more information about 72-hour preparedness and creating an emergency kit, plan, and various forms for emergency contact information, click here.