72-hour bags used to be what you needed for survival, or so we thought for a very long time. I can’t remember when I first heard about 72-hour bags or 72-hour kits, but it has to be over 40 years ago. I think the American Red Cross recommended them, then churches, city and county groups did as well. I remember telling you about the time Mark and I purchased a home in Farmington, Utah in 1983, and as we finished moving the rest of our belongings into the house, we knew the area was going to possibly be evacuated because of excess rainfall that caused the mountainside to slide down the hill. The city called Bountiful, Utah was starting to be flooded and they had evacuations as well.
Unfortunately, the families (hundreds) that did evacuate to the churches and schools did not bring any 72-hour bags or 72-hour kits. We laughed about it weeks later because the community had been told to put one together. It’s not funny, it’s just that we called that a trial run that failed. I’m sure some did have the bags but didn’t think to bring them to the schools and churches where they could sleep if they were evacuated. Mark and I lived high above the flow of the water, so our home was okay, but we did help sandbag homes and clean mud from several houses that were not so lucky.
One of the many good things about Utah is the snowfall we get each winter. We feel blessed to have our beautiful mountains covered with the white fluffy snow. That snow provides water for our communities as it melts the next spring and summer. Now, in the spring some years it’s been a little scary because if the snow melts too quickly the water coming down may start flooding in different neighborhoods. Thank goodness several cities have geared up after that 100-year storm we had in 1983 to divert and store the water.
I can’t even imagine how Texas is dealing with the devastation right now from Hurricane Harvey. It is not just Texas now, I understand, the damage is spreading to Mississippi and Louisiana according to the news we are hearing here. We are all donating money to help all the people and praying for all the emergency responders, families, etc.
I think the 72-hour bag is a thing of the past, don’t get me wrong, it’s fine, but to be honest a 72-hour bag does not hold a lot of stuff. I’m not saying don’t put one together, Mark and I have ours ready to grab and go when needed. The picture above shows the bag of food, our 72-hour bags and I have our emergency binder as well. Those are the three evacuation items I would grab. I will grab the WaterBricks with water stored next to them as well. They are heavy and so is the water. I bought the bags with wheels. Yes, I’m a wimp and I own it. I used to be very strong, I’m just not as strong physically as I used to be.
This is a very small list, but you will get an idea of some things to get you started. I have a long list here: Adult bags by Linda
By now you know we need a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day to survive. I prefer four gallons per person per day, but that’s me. I highly recommend practicing carrying the water containers you have chosen to see how many you and your family can carry. They are heavy. My WaterBricks (3.5-gallons) each weigh about 27 pounds when filled with water.
Here’s the deal with food, only buy what you will eat. I grew up on Vienna sausages, nope they are not in my pack of food. I did buy some soups that I could add water to and cook at the school, if they have power. If not, I purchased freeze-dried food I can eat right out of the can. Don’t forget a can opener. You may be the only one at your place of refuge who has one.
I have talked about my FREE download for an emergency binder. If I’m asked to evacuate I’m not leaving without all of my important documents. Here’s the link if you missed it. It will be a PDF loading on the bottom of your computer on the left-side.
Food Storage Moms FREE Printable Emergency Binder
I made tags for my 72-hour bags to remind me to get my prescriptions and my dog’s 72-hour bag. Here’s a link if you can use them. You basically add your name and phone number so people know who the bag belongs to in case you get separated from your bag. Plus, it will remind you to grab your prescriptions and your pet’s bag.
Free: Emergency Tags
Over The Counter Drugs
Now, these drugs could be in your first aid kit. But remember we can only carry so many things, so purchase small containers and have them available if you need them. If they are in your first aid kit, that’s awesome.
First Aid Kit
I have put together a list of first aid kit ideas which is extremely long. When we are talking about our 72-hour bags you can only put so many items in that bag. Please check off the ones that you would need if all the stores and pharmacies are closed for a short period of time. This is a list I have for first aid supplies in my home: First Aid Kits by Linda
N-95 Masks/Non-latex gloves
If there is one thing I learned from taking the Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T) class, you must have N-95 or N-100 masks and non-latex gloves. We don’t know what we will be exposed to at a shelter if we need to be evacuated.
I added some clean underwear, that’s about all I could squeeze into our 72-hour bags. If you have children you will need extra clothes and underwear, and don’t forget training pants and diapers if you have little ones around your house. It sounds like underwear and socks are needed in shelters after a storm. Throw in a few different sizes to share with others.
Personal Hygiene Stuff
If nothing else, I want to be able to brush my teeth and use some fresh deodorant. If I could wash my hair that would be awesome, throw in a small bottle of shampoo. A bar of soap in a plastic case would be fabulous for me. I never want to be without toilet paper so I have two rolls in mine and two rolls in Mark’s. Just think big here, those places of refuge will only have so much toilet paper, right? Please add a few items for women who may need sanitary supplies. It would be great to share with those in need at a shelter. Diapers are another thing. We will all need to help one another.
I have a confession to make, I’m a snacker, so I have some granola bars and licorice in my stash. I rotate them every six months. I keep them in the house with my food bag shown above. Please add some of your favorite snacks. Those vending machines, if they work at the schools or areas we have to stay, will be expensive.
Boredom will soon set in at any center, so a book you enjoy reading could be added to your bag. Some games that small groups could use will help take some of the stress off the chaos at hand.
I don’t know about you, but I hate the dark, so a flashlight is in my bag. I actually have one in each bag. Some use batteries that I rotate and some are solar and hand-crank flashlights. In our C.E.R.T. class, we were taught to always carry a good headlamp with extra batteries, which I rotate. I think everyone should have a multitask knife, right?
You can never have too many garbage bags. If everyone brought two or three we would be able to move the trash outside the building. Remember, when things go south there will probably not be our weekly garbage pickup. Just making sure we all think about the trash building up inside the building.
If you have a pet, be sure and put together some 72-hour bags for them. Please keep a copy of medical records, and some dog or cat dishes with enough food to last a while. Please remember the cat will need a litter box and cat litter and lots of bags. Throw in some baggies for dog poop. We have to be real here, right? A reader suggested a crate and a blanket and a special toy our pets love to bring to centers. Ask your Vet if a tranquilizer is appropriate for your animals.
If at all possible if we can charge our phones that would be awesome to communicate with family outside our community. If you have an extra charger or two throw them in your 72-hour bags. Hopefully, somewhere we will be able to charge our phones, tablets, or laptops.
Great comment from Jacque: One thing I noticed being glued to the TV and watching all the rescues, is that 1 in 3 people didn’t have adequate footwear if any at all. I remember my grandfather drilling into our heads the importance of dry clean feet whenever possible and having the right footwear. Maybe adding shoes, waders, hiking boots, etc to the list would be essential. Thank you for your post it helps to remind us to check and update our own BOBs.
Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. If you have some 72-hour bags you are one step ahead of the game. We need more than the above items if we’re going to be away from home for very long, but it’s a darn good start to being prepared. Please pray for all involved in the path of Hurricane Harvey. Thank you, and God bless this world.