Alone for 72 Hours

Emergency preparedness is an individual responsibility and those who are prepared have a better chance of survival. Survival supplies that can keep us safe, nourished and sheltered will allow us to wait it out until help arrives. Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” What kind of preparation do we need?

Survival supplies come in many shapes and forms. Different emergencies require different preparation. Yet, it is not realistic to keep different emergency kits around. When emergency strikes, time is of the essence. Urgency requires that we have one area to go to where we have everything stocked. Or, we have one kit wherein contains the survival supplies to keep us going through the worst of the emergency.

In most emergency manuals and guides, individuals are expected to be self-sufficient for 72 hours or 3 full days. Popular novelist, Stephen King said, “It’s best to have your tools with you. If you don’t, you’re apt to find something you didn’t expect and get discouraged.” He was referring to writing, but this applies to survival supplies as well. Tools needed to survive in an emergency are battery powered or hand cranked radio. Devices that can transmit signals and messages will keep you connected to the outside world. Today’s reliance on the internet, satellite and televisions has left us unfamiliar with manual communication tools. Be sure to have extra batteries.

Flashlight, preferably more than one, will be helpful in dark areas and certainly through the night. Extra batteries for operating flashlights should be included. Generators and inverters may not be appropriate or available in all situations, but they are certainly useful to have over longer periods of isolation, particularly for individuals who live in rural or remote areas.

Other small tool items are loud, tested whistles to identify your location if you happen to be buried or hidden from plain sight. Masks will come in handy if the air becomes dense with smoke or dust. Wrenches, pliers, army knives/multi-tool units can condense the various tool types you need to turn off utilities, open food cans, cutting are a good idea. Compasses can confirm general direction.

Individuals who spend a lot of commuting time in cars or vehicles should have emergency kits and survival supplies close by. Blankets, reflectors, flares, jumper cables, and other typical roadside emergency supplies should be easily reachable too.

As warm-blooded mammals, we need food and water to live. A rule of thumb is to prepare one gallon of water per person. While this amount seems a bit much, we require water for sanitation. Food, the non-perishable kind, is best. For sanitation purposes, moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties will be appropriate.

Other handy supplies are duct tape, blankets, non-breakable containers, matches, candles, tinder, sewing kits, local area map with indications of where hospitals, schools, community centers, churches and areas that can gather people in times of emergency, fish hook if you are near bodies of water that may include sea-life, insect repellent, medicines like insulin and so on.  Waterproof coats or rain gear will help you stay dry.

One of the most important items is the first aid kit. Your first aid kit should be quite extensive. Plenty of bandages in different sizes, alcohol solution, gauze, surgical tape, medical scissors, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or burn kit are some suggestions. Refer to the American Red Cross or such organizations when putting together your first aid kit.

Survival supplies are not easy to find in non-emergency situations, and can take up time, cost money and require effort to assemble. However, if you were to find yourself in a tight spot, you will be very glad you did. In the words of Spock, “Live long and prosper.”

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