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72 Hour Kit — With Kids in Mind

flooded neighborhood
Written by Jessika Firmage

Most likely you would all be able to build a basic 72 Hour Kit out of what you’ve already got.  When searching the internet, I found it difficult to find information on what you need for children in the event of an evacuation, natural disaster or emergency.  Outside of your loving arms, there are a few things you need.

I am going to start with a list of the basic items needed for a 72 Hour Kit, then I will add the section for children and babies.

72 Hour Kit Basics

  • Water – The consensus is one gallon per person per day.

  • Water Purification – Tablets or an appropriate filter.

  • Food – Things that are ready to eat, and non-perishable are the best.  If you must go outside of these perimeters, choose food which requires little to no water to prepare.

  • Can Opener & Utensils – Toss that extra manual can opener in, as well as a mess kit with enough plates, cups, spoons etc. to accommodate the size of your family.  If you don’t already have one, and need to buy one, there are many very compact options which make for easier storage and transport.

  • Flashlights – (and spare batteries)  I prefer headlamps rather than a standard flashlight, as they allow you to be hands-free.  With little ones, this is more than a preference, it is a must.

  • First Aid Kit – You may have a lot of what you need on hand already.  If you are going to purchase one, go for the compact, self contained kind.  Saves space, and stays organized.  Don’t forget medications your family needs.  As well as pain medication, etc.

  • Bug spray / Sunblock

  • Rain Gear –   This could be anything from large plastic trash bags, folded up plastic ponchos, to nicer rain gear.  Think compact.  Stay dry.

  • Heavy Work Gloves – Leather is best.  A pair for each adult, and teen-aged family member.  In case the need to move debris comes up, you’ll be glad you have them.

  • Hygiene Items – Feminine products, toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer, toothpaste, etc.

  • Sleeping bags – One per person, blankets can be substituted, however keep in mind sleeping bags are warmer and more compact.  Often come in a stuff bag and can be strapped to a back pack.

  • Basic Tools – Duct  tape, hammer, crow bar, wrench appropriate for turning off gas lines and water sources.  Plastic sheeting, I have painters drop cloth plastic, for covering broken windows, or building a temporary shelter.  A collapsible shovel for digging a poop hole. An axe.  Rope.  Pocket Knife.

  • Radio – Battery powered with extra batteries.  Absolutely crucial for receiving updates, weather information, evacuation notices, etc.

  • CASH – Need I say more?  Start an envelope, small bills are essential as you may not be able to get change, and add to it whenever you can.  The more the better.

  • Flame Source – Lighters, water proof matches (make your own by dipping wooden matches in melted wax), candles.

  • Pen and Paper – Or better yet a permanent marker, they don’t “run” in the event that your sign/notes get wet.

  • Clothing – A nice pair of warm gloves and beanies, a jacket, sturdy shoes for each family member.  Extra socks, underwear.  One extra outfit per person.  Obviously we are not trying to pack for a vacation or dress to impress, so throw those grubbies in.

  • Legal Papers – Copies of marriage certificates, birth certificates, Social Security cards, titles, bank account information, insurance policies, etc.

  • Solar charging kit for your phone, or at the very least external battery charging packs, and keep them charged! Extra cords.

With Children/Babies in Mind:

  • A writing tablet and crayons or pens

  • A few lightweight books

  • A favorite toy, if you already know what your child’s favorite toy is, it may be a good idea to purchase an extra and store it permanently in their “Go” bag.

  • Diapers, diaper ointment, children’s medication

  • Their own headlamp or flashlight (extra batteries should be in the main kit as they are not safe to play with)

  • A baby carrier/sling or backpack.  Make sure it is comfortable and allows you to have both hands free at all times.

  • If your child is big enough to carry their own bag, purchase or make something with them in mind, and fill it with these things.

Honestly, there is no end to what you might want to consider putting into your 72 Hour Kit.  This list is merely a beginning point.  I store mine in one large Tupperware bin, 3 adult back packs, and also then our camping gear is organized into Tupperware bins as well.  Something is better than nothing, so get started on yours as soon as possible.  I also think owning a wagon is a great idea in the event road travel in a car is not possible, and evacuation is necessary.

Some other helpful tips when keeping children in mind is to include them in planning and preparing your emergency plans and 72 Hour Kits.  Stay calm and collected as much as possible, and distraction.  That is where the crayons and paper, books, and their favorite toy come into play.

About the author

Jessika Firmage