Here in the Pacific Northwest, we don’t get a lot of flooding, tornados or hurricanes. But we do have plenty of wildfires. They say there’s also a good chance of some massive earthquakes in our future. Wherever you live in the Pacific Northwest, it’s a good idea to pack and store a 72-hour survival kit for those times when the power is off, emergency personnel are out of reach, and your family simply needs to stay put and shelter in place.
According to the American Red Cross, Ready.gov, and FEMA, every family should have several days of food, water, and other essentials on hand. Below is a list you can use to build a kit for your family.
- Water (at least one gallon of water per person per day, or have the means to purify enough water quickly, such as filtration straws, tablets, or a way to boil water)
- Food (at least a three-day supply of food for each family member)
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio with NOAA Weather Radio capability
- Flashlights (one for each adult)
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Dust masks (one per person)
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to create a safe environment in your home)
- Personal sanitation (moist wipes, garbage bags, and twist ties)
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities (gas, water, electricity)
- Manual can opener
- Local, paper maps
- Back up cell phone battery (or an off-grid method to charge your phone)
The basics will help you and your family weather some storms and disasters. To really prepare, experts urge you to have the following in your 72-hour kit.
- Prescription medications
- Over-the-counter medications (pain relievers, antacids, etc.)
- Extra pairs of glasses
- Infant needs (formula, bottles, diapers)
- Pet food
- Cash ($100 in small bills)
- Important family documents (copies of insurance policies, banking information)
- Sleeping bags and warm blankets
- Complete change of clothing for each family member
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches (in water proof container)
- Paper cups, plates, napkins, and plastic utensils
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, and other non-electric activities
- Bleach and eye dropper (to sanitize water if needed
Pack the Right Foods
One of the first rules of storing emergency rations is to avoid storing foods that will make you thirsty. Some items you should store include
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
- Protein or fruit bars
- Dry cereal or granola
- Peanut butter
- Dried fruit
- Canned juices
- Non-perishable pasteurized milk
- High energy foods
- Comfort/stress foods
Maintaining Your 72-Hour Kit
Once you have your emergency pack ready to go, you’ll need to manage and rotate the food at least four times per year. It’s not as hard as you think. Just look for food that is about to expire, move it into your family’s pantry, and replace the item in the emergency kit. Also, replace the batteries in your kit every 12 months, and double-check that you have the means to purify enough drinking water for your family.
Extra Kits for Work and the Rig
You never know when an emergency is going to occur, which is why it’s a good idea to have a smaller kit at work and in your vehicle. These can simply include basic food and water, a whistle or other attention-getting device, a flashlight, and first-aid kit.
Compile Your Kit at Coastal
You’ll find a lot of the items you need to create your own 72-hour emergency kit at your Northwest owned and operated Coastal store. Stock up on non-perishable Mountain House freeze-dried food with a shelf life of 20 years, camping stoves from brands like Coleman, extra propane, sleeping bags, generators, flashlights, Yeti coolers, and a lot more in our camping and hunting department.