As a child, Michelle Ann Lloyd (BS ’99) had a sack of supplies ready to throw out the window in case of a fire. She always wanted to be prepared. Now the visiting assistant professor of food science has a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study emergency preparedness. She keeps 72-hour kits at home, in her car, and under her desk at work; here are her ideas for yours.
Q: What items should be included in a 72-hour kit?
A: Water is vital. Have at least three gallons of water per person for drinking and sanitation. You can tie sanitized, water-filled soda bottles together at their necks, making them easier to transport in an emergency. Also, have a method to purify water.
Choose foods that you would want to eat that store for at least six months and require minimal preparation. I prefer ready-to-eat foods and drinks in single-meal serving sizes, since refrigeration may not be available. Consider having a way to heat up your food; I have a small camp stove. Also, pack eating utensils and dish soap.
Q: What else?
A: Include a first-aid kit, flashlight, battery-operated radio, clothing, important documents and phone numbers, cash, and a family photo, in case you get separated. An external hard drive is a great way to include important files.
Q: Where should I keep my kit?
A: Find a container like a plastic bucket (free from a grocery store bakery), backpack, or suitcase.
Be aware that a car is not the best place to store food, as temperatures inside can reach extremes. In my car kit, I have a sleeping bag, a change of clothes, and other items. I bring food when I travel a significant distance.
Q: Is there upkeep?
A: Make sure your kit is accessible. Check it periodically (perhaps every general conference) and replace the food, water, and clothes (especially for kids). Recently I’ve given my family 72-hour kit supplies for Christmas. It’s a tradition to eat the food that is near its “best by” date and replace it with new food.
Q: How else can I prepare for emergencies?
A: Make a plan for your family and practice disaster drills. Keep your car’s gas tank above half full. Maintain a financial reserve. Make a list of items around your house that you could grab quickly if you had to evacuate.