You may need to shelter-in-place at your home on your own for a period of time after an emergency when outside help does not arrive right away. Perhaps you’re forced to leave your home following an earthquake, fire, or severe weather event. Whatever the case may be, you’ll want to have sufficient supplies to survive for at least 72 hours.
You want to have some means of providing for all of the body’s basic survival needs:
- Maintaining body heat
- Purified water
The Survival “rule of three” says a person can survive:
- 3 minutes without air
- 3 hours without shelter
- 3 days without water
- 3 weeks without food.
At a minimum you will want to have your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last at least 72 hours.
Recommended Supplies to Include in a Basic 72 Hour Kit:
Keep in mind your kit may vary depending on your individual needs and will also vary depending on whether it’s designed for sheltering-in-place or bugging out. You’ll want to store your supplies in a backpack or duffle bag (don’t make it too heavy). You may want to start with a pre-configured kit and then add to it as you deem necessary. The pre-configured kits come with decent backpacks, but you may want to upgrade to a larger bag like some of these backpacks from Walmart.
- Water – One gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation. You might choose bottled water or water pouches. It’s also recommended you have some way to filter and disinfect more water (LifeStraw and/or water purification tablets).
- Food – At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. This might include canned or freeze-dried foods. You should assume you’ll be without power and refrigeration for a period of time. Your food should not require gas or electricity to prepare. You’ll also want some snack food or other “comfort” food (Protein Bars, Energy Bars, Peanut Butter To-Go, Dry Cereal, Granola, Dried Fruit).
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
- Food bars – high in calories and don’t need to be cooked. These may not represent a lot of food, but they will keep you alive. So have one of these per bag (they usually last 5 Years!!) and then add backup food you can rotate out of your kits every year. That way, you will always have some food in your kit that hasn’t expired yet!
- Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Cell phone and means to recharge battery
- Basic First Aid kit and necessary prescription medications
- Whistle to signal for help
- Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Roll of toilet paper in Ziploc bag
- Hygiene kit – toothbrush & paste, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, moist towelettes, feminine items
- N95 Dust mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air
- Spare glasses if necessary
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- 50ft. Nylon rope or paracord
- Lighter and waterproof matches
- Multi-tool or Swiss style Army knife
- Emergency survival sleeping bag or blanket
- Pen and paper for making notes
- Personal/Legal documents, copy of birth certificate, contact list, IDs, passport, etc.
- Cash $50-$100 in small bills and $10 in quarters (also consider gold or silver coins)
- Extra car and house keys
- Don’t forget pet supplies if you have a pet.
Additional items you might want to add to your kit:
- Propane camping stove for cooking food and disinfecting water.
- Extra propane or fuel for stove
- Mess kit
- Eating utensils like a spork
- Change of clothing appropriate to season including socks and underwear and a poncho with hood for rain.
- A tent or tarp for outdoor protection
- Body warmers to keep you warm
- Working gloves
- Mirror for signaling
- Wrench or pliers to shut off utilities
- Hatchet, Axe, Machete or Larger Knife
- Shovel to dig sanitation holes
- Portable camping toilet as an alternative to digging latrine ditch
- Area light, lanterns, and spare batteries
- Emergency Candles, Flares and/or light sticks
- Portable solar charger
- Personal protection / self-defense
- Maps (local and regional)
- Pre-paid phone cards
- Entertainment and reading (books, Bible, games)
Baby supplies (infant formula and diapers) if you have baby
The above items are not necessarily comprehensive and you may add items you feel important and/or delete items to meet your needs.