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What You Need: 72-Hour Emergency Preparedness Kit

What You Need: 72-Hour Emergency Preparedness Kit

Are you prepared for the worst? More than 60% of Americans are unprepared for natural disasters.

Most people go their entire lives without experiencing any emergency, but the fact remains that disaster can strike at any moment. And when it does, one thing is certain: your ordinary, daily routine will likely change your access to basic necessities and services. It's wise to be prepared for just about anything. But where do you start? 

In a survival situation, you should be prepared to survive for at least seventy-two hours. This means having whatever you need on hand to stay alive and well until help comes. And in the aftermath of an emergency, help might not come immediately—whether it's due to poor infrastructure, damage to roads and bridges, or the level of impact in general. It's never a bad idea to have a three-day backup kit on hand at all times—one that will get you through the first few days after an emergency has struck.

There are many different ways to prepare for an emergency, but we've found that the easiest way to get started is with a 72-hour kit. This is a collection of supplies you can keep in your car, at home, or at work, so they're always on hand and ready to go when you need them most.

If you're wondering what you should pack in a 72-hour emergency kit, here's what we recommend:


Prepare at least three gallons of water per person. You can use smaller containers if you want to avoid lugging around water jugs, and then fill them up at your nearest source of potable water. You'll also want some way to purify the water if it is unsafe to drink straight from the tap (like a filter or chemical tablets).


Include nonperishable foods that won't spoil or require cooking. Look for foods that are high in calories, protein, and carbohydrates. A good rule of thumb is to prepare enough food for three meals daily for at least three days. 

First Aid Kit

Your kit should include adhesive bandages in assorted sizes, antibiotic ointment packets, insect bites pads, burn cream packets, gauze pads (4x4 size), cotton swabs (Q-tips), a small roll of 1" adhesive tape, scissors, tweezers. If you find this list overwhelming, check out this 200-Piece Professional First Aid Kit.

First aid kit

Flashlight and batteries or fuel source (if applicable)

Your flashlight should be large enough to provide ample light but compact enough to carry easily. One example is this built-in high-power LED flashlight that lights up hard-to-see areas for search, rescue, and treatment. Otherwise, you'll be lugging around an enormous lantern that's difficult to maneuver when it comes time to evacuate!



Copies of your driver's license, passports, social security cards, and insurance policies; list of family contacts with phone numbers; extra copies of important documents such as birth certificates and wills.



You may not be able to use your credit card if there are power outages or communication problems after an emergency, so make sure you have cash on hand for emergencies!



Pack enough clothing and shoes for each family member to stay warm and dry while you wait out the storm. Be sure to have extras on hand so everyone can be comfortable during the disaster's aftermath (when stores may not be open).


Shelter options

Blankets or sleeping bags; tarps for rain protection; tools for building a shelter if need be; flashlights with extra batteries or solar-powered lights if possible; candles (in waterproof containers); matches and lighters; paper plates/cups/utensils; a whistle to signal for help.


Extra prescription medication(refills, too!)

This includes prescriptions for things like asthma inhalers and insulin, as well as over-the-counter pain relievers and allergy meds if you use them regularly.


Important reminders

A well-stocked emergency kit can be a lifesaver in an emergency, but it's essential to keep in mind that the contents of your kit should depend on the type of disaster you're preparing for. For example, if you live in an area prone to wildfires or earthquakes, you should have a first aid kit on hand—but if you're expecting a flood or hurricane, you would need additional items like a waterproof bag and food that doesn't need refrigeration.

First and foremost, keep your kit in an easily accessible place. You want to avoid looking for it when an emergency strikes! Make sure the kit is waterproof or water-resistant, like this 72-hour survival backpack, so that if water gets into it while trying to escape your home or office, it won't damage your supplies. 

Survival gear

survival gear set

Second, keep it lightweight—you don't want to be overloaded with items when you need to evacuate quickly. 

Third, try to keep things simple: buy items that are easy to use and store and that don't require complicated preparation or cooking.

Fourth, remember that this is just a starting point—you might need more than three days' worth of supplies depending on where you live (like if there's no electricity), how much food you eat in one day (if there's no water), etc.


Key Takeaway

The truth is, it's nearly impossible to predict when an emergency might occur. You could be going about your day, thinking everything's fine and dandy when suddenly you're faced with one (or several) after a natural disaster has struck your area.

Or you could be in the middle of a long day at work when traffic is brought to a standstill, or the power goes out. Whatever the circumstances of the disaster, nature is ruthless and can strike without warning, so it is vital to be prepared.

Always having an emergency kit with you is always a good idea. The goal of an emergency kit is to have the bare essentials ready at all times so that if something happens, you can get yourself out of the situation quickly and safely—and that's what our kits are all about.

Make sure you're always ClimaGuard ready! For more emergency preparedness tips, visit our blog site.