It’s always good to be prepared for an emergency. Most disasters are the result of some force of nature. These can include hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, wildfires, and winter storms. While certain weather events can be predicted, some happen with very little notice and warning. Building a 72-hour emergency preparedness kit is a simple way to ensure you and your family have enough supplies to meet your needs for at least three days following a disaster.
What is in a 72-hour emergency kit?
Following a disaster, you should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least the next 72-hours.
The Canadian Red Cross recommends that you collect the following items in your emergency kit:
- A sturdy and easy-to-carry bag, like a backpack.
- Water: two litres of drinking water and two litres of water for washing per person, per day. Don’t forget about your pets!
- Food: at least a 72-hour supply of non-perishable food for each person. Include food for your pets as necessary.
- Manual can opener.
- Crank or battery-operated flashlight, with extra batteries.
- Crank or battery-operated radio, with extra batteries.
- Extra keys, for house and car.
- First aid kit.
- Cash in small bills.
- Special needs items (e.g., medications, infant formula).
- Personal hygiene items (e.g., soap, toothpaste, shampoo, antiperspirant, etc.)
- Important family documents (e.g., copies of birth and marriage certificates, passports, licenses, wills, and insurance policies).
- Copy of your emergency plan.
In the event of an evacuation from your home, at the request of the authorities or on your own initiative, other essential items must be carried:
- For young children: infant food, hygiene products (e. g. disposable diapers), toys, medicines, etc;
- For a pet or assistance animal: leash, food, medicines, transport cage, collar with identification plate, etc.;
- For people with special needs: drugs, medical equipment, specialized equipment, or devices.
While the list isn’t exhaustive, you can build your emergency kit according to your needs. If you prefer to buy a kit rather than building your own, you can also purchase an emergency kit from the Canadian Red Cross or at a retailer near you.
Helpful tips for packing and storing your emergency kit
- Place these items in a waterproof container.
- Store your emergency kit in an easily accessible place.
- Check its content annually. Replace batteries and water supplies if necessary.
For more information, consult the document Your Emergency Preparedness Guide prepared by Public Safety Canada.
The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice.
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