Using Your 72-Hour Kit
If you have assembled your 72-hour kit according to our items list (congratulations on your completed kit!), you may have some questions about how all the items are to be used. The following are basic instructions and ideas on how to make the most of your kit. They are arranged in order of urgency. Remember, you have 3 minutes to get to adequate air and address emergency first aid issues, 3 hours to find adequate clothing/shelter, 3 days to find drinkable water and 3 weeks to find food.
Air—If you find yourself in a situation where the air has high levels of particulates or someplace where you are concerned about airborne illness, put on your dust mask. It will not filter out everything, but it will add a layer of protection.
First Aid—Check yourself and the members of your party over thoroughly for life-threatening medical emergencies and use the items in your kit as needed.
Shelter/Clothing—Change or add to your clothing as needed. Your kit contains a blanket, poncho, hats, gloves and body warmers.
Put on your “neck safe”—this contains your identification, keys, map, and vital info and should be kept on your person for the remainder of the emergency. For more info, see this post.
Water—There is enough water in your kit for just 16 ounces per day. This will keep you alive, but you will not be comfortable. Make it a priority to find water! Water purification instructions: Unscrew lid while keeping cap closed and completely covering straw. Open one coffee filter and spread it over the mouth of your bottle. Hold in place with your hands or an elastic hair band/rubber band while you fill the bottle from your water source. Pretreat water with 3 drops of iodine for one 20 ounce bottle. Replace lid. Open cap and drink through straw without touching the straw with your hands. It is essential that the straw remain clean! Alternately, you can use your water purification tablets according to the directions on the bottle.
Food—Ration your snacks. The emergency food bars will get you through, but you will likely miss the variety and time spent eating that you are used to. Save your snack foods for the times when you need them most.