October 2, 2014

72-hour Kits: Three Ways to Make Sure Your Family is Prepared

Fall is the perfect time to reassess your 72-hour kits. When compiling your family's kits, don't forget menu cards, emergency ID cards, and seasonal items.

A menu card, detailing at what intervals food should be consumed, is vital to ensuring supplies are rationed appropriately. In a disaster, following a prewritten guide will be much more effective then attempting to make decisions midcrisis.

Likewise, an emergency ID card (free printable emergency ID cards here) can aid those too stressed to remember important details. Record name, blood type, birth marks or other distinguishing features, medical history, needs, and allergies, immunization dates, address, phone number/s, other pertinent family names (like spouse and children living in the same home), emergency contact numbers (including out-of-state), and Social Security number. Also add the addresses of two location options your family has designated to meet at after an emergency. Add photos and fingerprints to the card, which can then either be laminated or enclosed in a Ziploc bag and attached to 72-hour kits. Including a recent family picture can assist aid workers in knowing who to look for to reunite your family.

Since disasters have no regard for season, plan accordingly. Each spring and fall, reassess your family's kits. For winter, add thermal clothing, warm hats, gloves, and socks. In the spring, add bug spray and replace winter clothing (depending on where you live) with items intended for more moderate temperatures. For year-round use, include sunscreen, lip balm, hand warmers, and bandanas. Hand warmers not only warm extremities in the winter but also provide comfort for aches and pains year-round. Bandanas can serve as coverings for the head, hot pads, signal flags, washrags, and first-aid helps (tourniquets, slings, or bandages).

All it takes is a little advance planning to help keep your family prepared for emergencies. To help you out, we've designed a free printable emergency ID card for you. You can find it here on the Free Printables page.