Disaster preparedness has become much more mainstream in recent years, with hundreds of thousands of people getting interested in what items they should have to provide for themselves and their families in the event of an emergency. If you are getting started in disaster preparedness, the first thing you should be putting together is a 72-hour kit, sometimes also called a bug out bag. This is a light, portable pack that can easily be carried with you and which will give you the supplies you need to survive for at least three days. Here are five of the top items that should be in everyone’s 72-hour bag.
Personal Water Purifier
Getting fresh water is one of the most difficult parts of dealing with a disaster situation. The amount of bottled water you would need to survive for 72 hours would weigh you down and severely inhibit your mobility. A better option is a personal water purifier. These filter-based devices are small, straw-like systems that will remove dirt, debris and even bacteria from water. Be aware that some toxins, such as heavy metals, and viruses will not be caught by these filters, so it is still important to choose your water source carefully.
If you’re on the move in a disaster situation, it may be necessary for you to remain mobile at night. If this is the case, a good LED flashlight is absolutely essential. LEDs are both brighter and more energy efficient than normal bulbs, making them a more reliable option in a real emergency. Even though they are energy efficient, it’s also a good idea to keep at least one set of spare batteries for your flashlight in your pack.
In a disaster scenario, you may have to move several miles a day or otherwise exert yourself physically, meaning you will need calories to fuel your activity. There are survival food bars that are specifically intended to serve this purpose, but other options are also available. High-protein snack bars make a decent alternative, as do canned tuna, peanut butter and instant pastas that can be prepared using only boiling water. Remember, in a life-or-death situation, the more calories that are in a given food, the better it is. You can also bring along a small pack of multivitamins to round out your nutritional needs.
A Good Jacket
You never know in advance what the weather may be like when you need to use your 72-hour kit, which is why it’s important to put a good jacket in your pack. Because it may be bitterly cold, it’s best to have a heated jacket that can keep you warmer than your body heat alone can. As with your flashlight, be sure to bring along a spare battery for your heated jacket, as it could mean the difference between life and death in extreme temperature conditions.
In an emergency situation, the possibility of injury is always a risk. One of the key components of your 72-hour kit should be a basic first-aid kit that will allow you to clean and treat any injuries that may come up. This kit should also have common over-the-counter medicines in it to relieve symptoms of illness.
A disaster scenario is never something to look forward to, but with a little basic planning you can get through one without too much difficulty. Put your 72-hour kit together well in advance, and you will have everything you need to deal with an emergency. If you have a family, also be sure to put together a similar kit for each family member, as carrying all of the necessary supplies for everyone will be too much for any one person.