Prepare in a Year: April – Create a Three-Day Kit

Create a 3-day kit

So far this year, the Prepare in a Year series has covered creating an emergency plan, establishing an out-of-area contact and began storing enough water for an entire family. While the ultimate goal is to be ready for two full weeks, April is dedicated to assembling enough supplies to sustain a family for three days.

The devastating wildfires in California last year is a reminder that it is possible to have to leave in a moment’s notice. Having supplies pre-assembled to keep a family safe and comfortable is vital. A three-day kit is not going to include every item possibly needed during an emergency. Be sure to make your kit manageable. It is not required to go out and buy all new supplies either! Shop your home first to assess what you need, then make a list of items to gather throughout the year. Preparing for disasters is a long-term goal. Visit West Pierce Fire & Rescue’s website for a complete list of disaster supplies.

Start with a storage container, which needs to be portable enough to grab and go. A backpack is great; family members can customize one to meet their needs. A backpack has limited space, so be sure to add only the essentials.

Water: As discussed in March, one gallon per person per day is recommended, but can become very heavy to carry. Think about storing your water near your kit and adding 12-ounce water bottles to your pack. A water filtration system is another option but will be an additional cost.

Food: Add items that do not require water or cooking. Non-perishable canned food that is ready to eat such as meats, vegetables and fruits are ideal (remember to add a can opener). Canned food will add weight to your pack so balance with high protein dry goods like granola and protein bars. “Comfort” foods like cookies and hard candies will add a sense of normalcy during a stressful time. Add utensils and pay attention to serving sizes and calories. Remember, these are survival items; you will not get to eat until you are stuffed! Also, do not forget pets and their needs!

First Aid Supplies: In addition to the standard first aid items (bandages, tape, antiseptic, antibiotic cream, scissors, tweezers, non-latex gloves, aspirin and non-aspirin medication), add items to address your family’s specific needs such as: medications, sanitary pads or eyeglasses. Other items that will be useful (if space allows) are needle and thread, sunscreen, safety pins, insect repellent, instant cold packs and plastic bags. For a complete list, visit the American Red Cross.

Tools & Supplies: Having a flashlight with extra batteries is essential and a headlamp to be hands free is even better! Add a battery-operated or hand crank radio, preferably a NOAA Weather radio so you can receive verified emergency information. Other supplies to add to your three-day kit are pocketknife, duct tape, lighter, whistle, toilet paper and other hygiene items and pet supplies. Add at least one complete change of clothing (consider layers for inclement weather). If space allows, add games and books for entertainment.

Documents: Include your emergency plan! Other important documents include copies of insurance policies, inventories, account information, family records and photos and local maps.

May’s Prepare in a Year post will cover documentation in more depth, so stay tuned!

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