How to build a 72-hour emergency kit

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 emergencies happen with very little notice and warning. Building a 72-hour emergency preparedness kit is a simple way to ensure you and your family are ready and have enough supplies to meet your needs for at least three days following a disaster.  

What items are 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 supplies and items to include 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. Additional emergency kit supplies include:

  • 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 this emergency kit checklist isn’t exhaustive, you can make 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 the supplies in your emergency kit

  • Place supplies and items in a waterproof container. 
  • Store your emergency kit in an easily accessible place.
  • Check your 72-hour kit supplies annually. Replace batteries and water supplies if necessary.

For more information, consult the document Your Emergency Preparedness Guide prepared by Public Safety Canada. 


 

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