During the month of January, gather a few toiletries and a container for you 72-hour kit. If finances are tight and you can’t afford a large backpack or carry on luggage, put items in a plastic tote and gather throughout the year. You can still load it in your car if you need to evacuate. Keep the toiletries lightweight and to a minimum in case you must evacuate by foot.
- body wash
- toilet paper (enough for 3 days) or cleansing wipes (baby wipes in a baggie)
Put your toiletries in a plastic bag to prevent spills. Label the bag with the date you packed it so you can replace it in a few years. An inexpensive idea for toiletries is to use the ones you get from a hotel. Adapt the toiletries for the age and needs of each family member.
LARGE BACKPACK OR CARRY-ON BAG
- All emergency supplies will NOT fit in a large backpack, so be very picky about what you do put in your backpack. A carry-on suitcase works well if you think you will struggle carrying a backpack walking to a shelter.
- “A backpack shouldn’t weigh more than about 25% of the weight of the person carrying it. So if a person weighs 125 pounds, the total weight of the backpack should be no more than 31.25 pounds. Of course it should be lighter if a person does not have strength to carry it.” (Barbara Salsbury from the book “Preparedness Principles”)
- Backpacks on a frame can withstand bad weather and rough handling and can carry a sleeping bag. However, those on a frame are not suitable for small children or seniors.
- Label your kit with your name or first initial and last name. Can you imagine the number of bags at an evacuation center? Put your phone number on the inside. We use duct tape and a permanent marker to put our names on our bags.
- If you have an infant, keep it well stocked as this will become your child’s 72-hour kit.
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