Lisa: Hi, Tim. So, are you doing some last-minute shopping before the weekend?
Tim: Well, actually, I'm looking for supplies to put together 72-hour kits for each member of my family.
Lisa: [A] 72-hour kit? What's that?
Tim: Basically, a 72-hour kit contains emergency supplies you would need to sustain yourself for three days in case of an emergency, like an earthquake.
Lisa: An earthquake?! We haven't had an earthquake in years.
Tim: Well, you never know; you have to be prepared. Hey, if earthquakes don't get you, it could be a flood, hurricane, snowstorm, power outage, fire, alien attack. [Alien attack!] Well, you never know. Think of any situation in which you might find yourself without the basic necessities of life, including shelter, food, and water, for over a period of time.
Lisa: Hum. So, what do you keep in a 42-hour, um, . . . I mean 72-kit?
Tim: Well, you should have enough food and water to last you three days, and you might want to pack a basic water filter or water purification tablets in case your only water source turns out to be a murky pool of bug-infested water. [Ugh!]
Hey, sometimes you don't have a choice, and as for food, you should keep it simple: food that requires no preparation and that doesn't spoil. And no canned goods because they are often too heavy and bulky. [Okay, that makes sense.] And unless you have a can opener or the can has a pull-tab lid, you'll have to use a rock or something to open them. [Ah, instant mashed green beens.] Yeah, and oh, energy bars, beef jerky, and a mix of nuts, raisins, and chocolate are possibilities.
Lisa: Huh, the food might be nasty, but I guess you could survive . . . barely.
Tim: Well, the food doesn't have to taste bad; just select things that are easy to prepare, and you might want to include some basic comfort foods like a couple of candy bars. Then, you have to decide on the type of shelter you might need.
Lisa: A hotel sounds nice.
Tim: Yeah, but that's really not an option. The reality is that you might have to evacuate to a shelter, possibly with hundreds or thousands of other people.
Lisa: That doesn't sound very fun . . . everyone packed together like sardines in a can. Unsanitary conditions. Disease.
Tim: Ah, now you're sounding paranoid, but if a shelter isn't available, you might be completely on your own, so I always pack an emergency sleeping bag or small, lightweight tent in the event that I have to survive on the street or in a park.
Tim: And among other things, you should pack a flashlight, portable radio, extra batteries, a small first-aid kit, personal items like a toothbrush or toothpaste . . . Having a change of clothing is also important.
Lisa: What about money? I have a credit card.
Tim: Right. Like that's going to help when the power is out. You'd better be prepared with coins and cash, and having small bills is a must.
Lisa: So, what do you do to communicate with other family members in case you get separated?
Tim: Oh, in that case? I always pack two-way radios to communicate with the group. You can never depend on cell phones. [Okay.] Plus, you should decide on a meeting point in case your family gets separated.
Lisa: Well, that sounds like a detailed plan, definitely.
Tim: Oh, that's not all. You never know what weather conditions you might encounter, so packing a rain poncho, a jacket, and something to start a fire with could be very useful.
Lisa: Like Matches?
Tim: Matches? (If) You drop those in a puddle of water, you're toast. You need to pack at least three forms of fire starter: a magnifying glass, a high-quality lighter, and waterproof matches.
Lisa: Wow. I never thought about those either. So, what do you do if you have small kids? They'd probably go stir-crazy under such conditions.
Tim: You're exactly right, so a little extra preparation for them is needed. If you have to evacuate to a shelter to wait out a disaster, kids soon will be bored out of their minds, so you have to pack small card games, paper, or something like pencils or crayons to draw with.
Lisa: You know, preparing a 72-hour kit makes perfect sense . . .
Tim: Yeah, but most people thinking about it after it is too late.