Everyone should have a 72-hour emergency kit. It is an essential part of being ready for emergencies that may happen at any time. Whether you are at home or in the car, it is important to be prepared for anything life can throw your way. This blog post will give you three-day emergency kits ideas on what to include in your kit and how to pack it properly so that when something does happen, you are ready!
Put together a bag with everything you might need in an emergency.
Make sure that the bag is waterproof and easy to carry.
The items should be of high utility, meaning that they are necessary for day-to-day life as well as during emergencies. For example, a whistle would be useful in an emergency but it isn’t something you need every day so it wouldn’t make sense to put it in your bag.
Include things like water, food, first aid supplies, and other necessities
This one requires a bit more planning and maintenance to manage. Typically, a person needs about 2 liters of water per day. This means that if you have a three-day kit, it should include at least six liters of water.
Pack items like granola bars and trail mix to keep your energy up until help arrives or you return home. You may also want to pack some snacks for your kids in case they get hungry while you are waiting for rescue personnel to arrive.
A list of some important items: a flashlight, extra batteries, a first aid kit, water, and non-perishable foods (like canned goods), blankets/sleeping bags, toiletries like toothpaste and soap.
Keep the bag in your car or near your front door so it’s easy to grab if needed
From experience, our bag is in the closet of the main entrance to the house. Anytime we need something like a headlamp, first aid kit, or thermometer; it’s there quick and easy to access.
Maintain a list of emergency contact numbers located on your 72-hour kit. It is also helpful to keep the number for poison control, as well as animal bites or insect stings in case anyone needs medical attention while you are waiting for help to arrive.
If there are children living at home with you, it’s important that they know where things like the band-aid are, or items they can use safely.
Add items as necessary – for example, add blankets if you live somewhere cold or sunscreen if you live somewhere sunny.
The most important thing to remember is that a 72-hour kit should be tailored to your specific needs. Make sure to stock up on any medications you might need, as well as food and water that will last for at least three days. Be prepared, and stay safe!
Be sure to pack extra clothes and shoes for yourself and any children who are living with you because they may not have enough of their own clothes or if you need to leave the house quickly, you may not have time to grab clothes, etc.
Don’t forget to put in any food or supplies for your pets!
For more information on what else you may need, look up these resources:
This article is about wiring your house to use a generator in an emergency. With power out, and no water or sewer service available, many people are left without light and the ability to cook food. We will discuss how you can wire your house for these occasions by installing a transfer switch that will allow you to connect the generator safely to your home’s electrical system so that all of these needs are taken care of until power returns! Also related is our 72 hour emergency family go bag.
Selecting the right transfer switch
There are a few things you will need to consider when selecting the right transfer switch for your home. The first is the size of the generator you have. You will also need to know what type of electrical service your house has, either single or three-phase. Most homes in North America have single-phase power, so we will focus on that one, but really this is something that we did not have to consider.
The last thing you will need to consider is the method of installation. There are two types: hard-wired and plug-in models. For our purposes, we opted for a plug in model because it made things easier when wiring up everything before turning on power with the generator switch—which we recommend doing outside your home’s breaker box!
There are two types of transfer switch that we considered: typical wall mounted switch which is next to your home main breaker box and the meter mounted type (Generlink) which required the power utility to come in and install it from the outside. The Generlink switch is more expensive, but it does not require any additional wiring in your home.
Both cost the same, but we opted for a traditional wall mounted switch as the other type was not easily available in our area and had some reliability issues at the time.
Picking the right generator size for your home
Picking a right generator size is probably one of the most difficult parts of getting prepared. If you get too small, it will have trouble keeping up with your energy needs and then you’ll be out in the dark anyway. However, going big will mean that you’re spending more money on gas to run it than if you had gotten an appropriate sized generator.
Luckily I had a friend who also went through this process and during hurricane Dorian, he made a rush purchased and got a 3000 watt generator. Unfortunately for him, he actually had to use it a few times and found that it could not power the basics in his home: water pump, water heater & fridge.
If you are not getting city water or sewer and need electricity to power things like your well then you need to consider the starting amps when these motors turn on. This is the important factor to consider when sizing your generator.
We opted for a generator with 6800 starting watt and with a constant of 5500 watts. This should provide us with enough power and get a room heated if we have an outage in the winter.
Last thing is the power cord to use. We have a 30 amp cord and it plugs right into the generator from outside the house. We should not run the generator inside the house – ever.
Now that our house is wired for a generator, we are ready for anything. Stay safe out there!
Happy New Year! Get ready for a good old fashioned Nor’ Easter Winter Storm or blizzard the first week of 2018.
Note quite what I was expecting this winter season. It’s been very cold in our region of Halifax Nova Scotia. Knowing that the jet stream will determine if we will get rain or snow for this specific storm coming up the Eastern Shore.
Satellite View Of The Storm
This was a classic long comma counter-wise winter storm. It was something to see when Boston was being pounded by snow, we up here in Halifax was getting rain and the whipping wind.
How strong were the winds? Well the helipad at the children’s hospital IWK recorded wind gusts of 125 km/h (77 mph) pretty much the entire evening. Around 120 thousand people across the province of Nova Scotia has no power as the temperature dropped to below freezing.
We were lucky, where we only had to deal with three hours of no power, but many had about 12-18 hours for this storm.
Waiting For The Lights To Go Out
Once the lights started the go out for 10 seconds then returning, I glared at my emergency bag and started to think what we would need first. Our power went out a bit before 5pm. Priority was getting light and to keep the four year old calm.
What We Did To Get Ready
Every situation is different, but we did a number of things to prepare for the power to go out.
Bought easy food, like sandwiches, fruit, rice, pasta etc… Stored in freezer what we would need for day 2 in terms of meats.
Filled up our Water Cooler with 12 litres of water
Get our emergency bag on the dining rom table
Kept all devices charges and tablet loaded with Netlifx movies / TV episodes for the little one.
Prepped Coolers to go outside once the fridge/freezer started to thaw.
One advantage of a winter nor’Easter is that it’s cold. Keeping food outside instead of spoiling in your fridge is something to think about how to approach.
We Were Lucky
We only had three hours without power. Luckily we didn’t need to deploy measures for longer durations, but as soon as the power came on, we plugged in whatever we had in case it went out again. Sometimes power utilities need to create outages in order to manage the real dangers.
How Our Emergency Bag Worked
Taking time to assemble a bag for emergency situations is smart. You can put together the basics from your extra camping gear in the basement and within an hour get whatever is missing. We’re talking about maybe 100$ investment depending how fancy you want to be.
Being able to go to the dining room table and look inside my bag for whatever we needed was worth it. I didn’t have to think. It was in the bag.
What Worked, What Didn’t
Although we had a short duration, I certainly thought that my kit needed some improvement. It’s so hard to know until you get to use it what you really need.
Do not underestimate the value of having proper lighting. A combination of 12 tea lights / candles were enough to keep the three areas of the house lit and to provide some comfort. Artificial lights like the LuminAID lantern and a strong 900 lumens flashlight came in real handy. In retrospect I’m packing in more tea lights and looking at getting more LuminAID & Anker products as backups.
We charged up every battery bank, device we had until the last minute. Over the last few years, many of my devices are USB rechargeable so having enough stored was important. It’s too easy to chew up battery with your smartphone without thinking about power management.
What I really missed was having a larger battery box, like an actual car battery. I’m looking at a few products, but I want something with a deep crank and that I can recharge.
Radio / Twitter Lists
Using that smartphone for something useful. I had setup an EMO emergengy list where I can stay up to date with the latest news. Some accounts were on the ball. Others … kinda sucked.
One piece of gear that I’ve had for a few years but never got to use in a real situation was my Eton FRX1 radio. Boy was I frustrated with it. I don’t know if this was normal operation but the dynamo was 1 min of crank : 1 min of power. That’s not good. The DC port which I thought would be charging a small battery didn’t work. In short, this didn’t do the job at all. I’ll be looking at something else. The point here is that having a functioning radio is important.
We are on city water and while we didn’t think we would run out in an outage. We filled up our bathtub to operate the toilet and filled up a water cooler with 3 gallons. It could be overkill but for those on a well and not hooked up, what else could you do?
We had lots of sandwich stuff, apples, bananas, #stormchips to keep us going for an overnight. Provided that the fridge kept things cool overnight we had breakfast and could do up beans & rice. The freezer was a concern. Since temperatures would be dropping below freezing, I had a food cooler waiting to be filled once it got to the point where it needed to go outside. Lucky that we didn’t get there.
In our emergency bag, I had enough dry food to last us another 24 hours if needed.
We didn’t get there, but the plan was to simply pile on layers and get underneath wool blankets. We had a catalytic propane heater we would have used but I just don’t like using those type of devices in the house due to carbon monoxide.
Dealing with freezing water pipes, the simple fix would have been to turn on the tap to allow it to drip, or shut it all down if things dropped below 10C.
One thing we found was the tea lights we were using to light up the area, also generated a surprisingly high amount of heat. At one point I had a bunch of terracotta pots where I was going to make a heater, but it’ll have to wait until next time.
Keeping Kids Occupied
After the initial thrill of being in the dark like camping wore off, I didn’t really have anything for the little one to keep busy. Props to items like the LumiAID lantern, that became her “light” and was great seeing her help us giving up light as we roamed the house.
Luckily I remembered after a few hours that I had downloaded episodes from Netflix. Sure it would only last a few hours, but was a nice distraction before bed time.
A deadly and busy 2017 Atlantic hurricane season so far (Harvey, Irma, Maria) has kept us glued to the TV. At one point, my wife looks at me and asked “So, what’s our plan”? I answered that I’ll get back to her. Traditionally our organized camping gear was the usual answer IF we were stuck in the house during a blackout due to a blizzard for a few days or similar scenarios. But We didn’t have anything for the situation that we needed to get out of the house and evacuate immediately.
Luckily there are a number of resources from emergency measures offices and organizations like the Red Cross. They are all are consistent with their messaging so you simply need to find the one you prefer and they do encourage you do modify your kit based on your needs. For our plan and getting an emergency kit ready – I decided to use the resources at getprepared.gc.ca to come up with our personalized emergency kit. I consider what I came up with is a robust 24 hour kit.
Know The Risks
First thing we did was to list out the emergency risk events that we would need to be concerned with. We are located in Halifax- Nova Scotia, so our risks would be similar to any coastal city as opposed to a location in Manitoba or Kansas. Just look at all of the hurricane tracks that ended up landing Nova Scotia until 2009! Sure not all were Category 1 (black square) by the time they made it to us, but take a closer look at the wind speeds in the image below.
Our risk event list ended up looking like this:
Terrorism, Dirty bomb (Halifax is home to a naval base and we are within a “red zone”)
Make A Plan
We focused our plan on an evacuation of the house. I am only 400m walk from my work, so our evacuation vehicle is at home and full of gas or 3/4 full. This will give us a range of 700-1000kms, enough to get well into the mainland or be mobile for a few days. Oddly enough we experienced a gas shortage in 2015 and really saw how the supply chain worked. If evacuation is necessary, our plan is to get to New Brunswick.
This is one part of the plan where things get complicated. With only one main highway, the prospect of being stuck on the highway either in an evacuation lineup or stuck during a blizzard where we could be in the vehicle for up to 24 hours would be probable.
On the flip side we are located literally on a highway ramp for work, school and home, so if we can get out fast enough we should be on the road within minutes.
Health Needs & Pets
Luckily we don’t have any medical issues where we need essential medication, so we got the usual over the counter medication to supplement our first aid kit. What about your pet? Part of plan is to account for the additional water, waste and food for our kit. It’s very, very easy to forget about them.
Leverage Your Smartphone
It can be argued that the smartphone is our generation personal computer. The amount of information that can be stored on the device or can be accessed via wifi or cellular is simply incredible when you think about it. So why not leverage the technology?
Update your contacts
Snap pictures of documents you need but don’t carry all the time.
Setup reminders to swap out expired items in your emergency kit
Personalize Your Emergency Kit
There is no shortage of options when it comes to your emergency kit. You can purchase dozens of variations wither from the Red Cross or Amazon. But if you are on a budget, take a minute and rummage in your basement, you will probably find a number of items. In my case I still needed to spend almost 80$ which was mostly related to long term food and drugs for our first aid kit since we are 3 people and a dog.
Emergency Kit Contents
This is what I came up with after thinking about the risks, evacuation plan, previous events and evacuating quickly.
Water & water filtering system
Long term food & snack items
Cook kit & stove
Radio, solar recharging kit
Knife & other survival tools
First aid kit, waste bags & over the counter drugs
Emergency blankets (ie – space blankets)
Headlamps & candles
Dog items (bowl & food)
Water for 3 people and a dog we estimated to be around 8 Litres per day. So for a standard 72 hour kit, we would need 24 Litres in total. I decided to have 4 Litre jug in the vehicle, a few more in the house and included in my kit a Nalgene bottle, 8 Litre water bag and Katadyn water filter system. I happen to have this in my surplus outdoor gear, but I will be swapping the water filter with a smaller Lifestraw or BeFree just to save space.
I opted for the Fjällräven Känken Maxi backpack (which was provided by Fjällräven Canada). This is an 18L capacity pack with a potential to expand another 9L. Clamshell opening, carry handles & rectangle shape. I thought this was a good option to pack my kit and store it in the entry closet or slide under the seat of my truck.
Camp Stove, Fuel & Pot
I opted for dehydrated food, so I wasn’t going to need a can opener, but I was going to need a way to boil water. For this I opted for a 750ml pot, Primus stove, small container of gas, UCO storm matches and of course a mini bic lighter. Rounding things out in this category are a 500ml collapsible bowl (for the dog) and 2 sporks.
Food and Snacks
I packed 2 Mountain House meals, trail mix, a couple of Probar meal bars and a Snickers bar. With that I just need to monitor the meal bars & snacks for expiry dates. For the dog, we will have 6 cups of kibble in zip lock bags. As I was packing this up, I realise that is about 24 hours of food for 2 adults and 1 child. Hopefully we would have a minute to grab more items from the pantry like mac & cheese or express rice packs.
Lights and Lanterns
I added some of the older headlamps, LED flashlight and candle lantern we had in my surplus outdoor gear. Obviously you got to think about batteries or at least checking them periodically.
First Aid Kit, Waste & Emergency Blankets
Basic Family First Aid Kit and a few emergency blankets. We complimented the first aid kit with common over the counter drugs we might needs, mostly for the little one. In case duty calls, I added a few packs of this single use toilet kit.
Gear & Tools
For this category I focused on a few criteria:
radio / weather channels
Multi-tool / knife
solar kit for smartphones
The radio is an ETON FRX2, which is one of those all-in-one radio/light/charger devices. However a 20$ Sony pocket am/fm radio that takes two AA batteries will be as good, if not better.
To maintain our smartphones, I have a solar kit that I put together a few years ago. Basically it’s a Goal Zero Nomad 7 solar panel with a couple of power banks and all the cables we would need to power our smartphones either at a location, in a vehicle or off-grid.
Before smartphones and LTE towers were the norm; your options for communications while hiking were limited. Basically you would go for your Ham Radio or Amateur radio certificate (call sign) and prepare a communications kit. Now with new technology like satellite communicators like garmin (delorme) inreach and spot, you save a lot of space in your pack.
What I want when hiking in the wilderness:
be in communication
be able to communicate with party
people are following me
check the weather
But I decided to dust off my kit to show you what I was working with. Make sure you add in the comments your setup.
Dual band short whip antenna
Long whip 2m antenna
SMA to coax adapter connecters
extra battery packs
With the above you can carry this in your pack with no problem, but if you are car camping or have a long term basecamp then these additional items can improve the gain.
DIY j-pole antenna using TV antenna wire & PVC tubes
telescopic painters pole
I chose going with COAX connectors as it was easier to get, better prices and easier to trade or find components at a flea market.
Building a J-pole antenna and finding parts to make a tower using a painters pole and a camera tripod. The benefit of a j-pole is that the higher off the ground, the better the gain.
This being all fun learning about radio theory but with new technology like inReach and SPOT, it saves a lot of room in your pack, so depending on your area it’s a toss up which option to choose.
Do you have your emergency communication kit for home ready? Out here along the Eastern coastline, we got to deal with hurricane season. Despite what you may think from watching CNN or the Weather Channel, once a hurricane passes Boston, it’s heading right at me, being based in Nova Scotia, 8-12 hours later. Depending on how the Altantic ocean waters are temperature wise; most of the time it veers into the open waters. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t get the tail end or tropical storms. Getting winds above 80 kms/h is not uncommon. Like Hurricane Juan, Noel.
The hurricane damage scale is usually good for our area, except that due to our low top soil depth, the tree damage tends to be +1 from conditions. That means power outages are fairly regular when we get these storms with high winds.