Everyone needs to be able to take care of themselves for at least 3 days if any number of natural or man made disasters should occur. Consider the potential for blizzards, ice storms, severe thunderstorms, wind storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fires, gas leaks, even something as mundane as transformer failures or traffic accidents taking down power poles.
And a three day power outage (And we have seen three week power outages in the U.S. as recently as Superstorm Sandy for tens of thousands of people.) can be a disaster!
What are the basics for you to survive without electricity, water service, heat, cooling, or sewage disposal for 72 hours in your home? What is the least you need to survive this?
Think about a basic “survival box.”
The 72 Hour Box for In-Home Survival
- An LED flashlight with extra batteries.
- An LED lantern that is solar powered, hand crank or battery powered, with extra batteries.
- One gallon of water per person per day. More if you have a way to cook.
- Three days of canned, or non-perishable food, that can be eaten without cooking or minimal preparation and a MANUAL CAN OPENER.
- Paper plates, plastic utensils and paper towels.
- A battery powered radio with a NOAA Weather Radio tone alert, and extra batteries. Some emergency radios have solar and hand crank assist.
- Toilet paper, moist towelettes, antiseptic wipes, sturdy garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation. If it looks like the electricity will be off for more than 12 hours, line your toilet bowl with a garbage bag (or put 2 together for sturdiness), fold over and put down the seat. You can tie shut after every use if need be.
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, if notified to do so.
- An N95 reusable dust mask to filter the air if needed.
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place (This is considered specific to a nuclear disaster, but is important to survival in the winter as well to create a warm room.).
- Heavy duty aluminum foil—to heat food with a candle in the oven, to face shiny side outward on windows in the summer to reflect excessive heat, to face inward on windows in the winter to reflect heat inside.
- Whistle to call for help. SOS in Morse code, simplified version: short/long/short.
- A Mylar emergency blanket will reflect back 90% of your body heat. Ideal for winter if you put one under your sheet facing up and one over your sheet and under your blankets facing down.
72 Hour Survival Items for Children
- Formula and infant food for at least 3 days.
- Disposable diapers for at least 3 days.
- A handheld fan to keep them cool.
- Warm blankets and emergency blankets to keep them warm.
- Toys and games to entertain them.
Survival Items for Pets
- Pet food and water for at least 3 days.
- For sheltering-in, a “potty” corner with a lined tray and plastic baggies.
This is the absolute minimum you need to survive for 3 days without assistance. Do you have these items in your home? Easily accessible? Where you can find them in the dark if need be?