Survival Kits: 96 Hours of Help

backpack survival kit

Survival kits contain items that provide a person with protection against the elements, provide food and water to meet basic health needs, provide first aid, signal rescuers, and assist in finding help. The American Red Cross recommends that we keep our supplies in emergency preparedness kits that are easy to carry in case we need to evacuate.

I mentioned in an earlier post that government officials now recommend 96 hour survival kits because experience has shown them that it can take up to four days before help will arrive after a major natural disaster. Basically, you should add enough supplies to your 72 hour kit to last an extra day.

You can find survival kit checklists all over the place on the Internet. Or you can find kits already made that you can purchase online. Look for kits locally at retail stores like Walmart, Emergency Essentials, etc. I found two-person kits that range in price from about $40.00 on up to several hundred dollars. It all depends on what is included in them. Consider your own personal needs when putting together a survival kit.

Just remember that you might need to travel with your kit, so size and weight should be considered. Water weighs approximately eight pounds per gallon, so weight can add up quickly. Consider having water filter straws in your kit to lesson the weight load. I like putting my kits in backpacks for easy carrying, but you might consider other options.

I found some good information for building 96-hour survival kits from the Salt Lake City Emergency Management page. I like how they place items into nine categories which they call PLAN9Nine Items That Can Save Your Life. These categories are: Water, Food, Clothes, Medications, Flashlight and extra batteries (a good light source), Multi-tool/Can Opener, AM/FM radio, Hygiene items, and First Aid.

I have made a list below following the general outline from PLAN9. I have added some additional items to the list that you might consider including. Remember, your survival kits should be geared towards you and your family’s needs. This list is a guide to help you with some ideas.

96-Hour Survival Kit Checklist

Items and Noteschecklist

  • Water
    • Drinking Water: Four gallons of drinking water stored for each person
    • Sanitation Water: Two gallons of washing water for each person (or have a plan for accessing water)
  • Food
    • Four-day supply
    • Realize that this is for survival conditions (store non-perishable, high carb food, which helps in stressful conditions. High calorie food like Ramen Noodles is another option)
  • Clothes
    • Consider changing out your clothing in your kit twice every year (once for cold weather and once for warm weather). Long pants and long-sleeve shirts should always be in your kit. It’s important to include extra underwear (to prevent rashes) and socks. Gloves can be very helpful as well. Properly fitting shoes are a must. You don’t want blisters or other injuries from ill-fitting shoes, because these can quickly become a life-or-death situation. You need to take care of your feet.
  • Medications
    • Prescription medicines taken regularly (Consume every six months and replace with a fresh bottle). It is critical to include medications for medical conditions that you have. Talk to your doctor to see if he/she is willing to prescribe an additional amount for your kit.
    • If you have insulin in your fridge, put a note on top of your kit to remind you to get your insulin (remember to place it in an insulated container in your kit).
  • Flashlights
    • One for each person – LED type preferred
  • AM/FM Radio with batteries (Self-powered “Freeplay” type preferred)
    • Alkaline or lithium batteries (Enough batteries to run all flashlights and radio continuously for four days)
    • Rechargeable batteries are a good idea for any battery powered items in your kit. You can purchase solar powered charging devices that can be attached to the outside of your kit. These solar chargers can charge batteries, phones, etc. during daylight hours.
  • Tools
    • Multi-tool
      • Knife
      • Bottle Opener
      • Flat head screw driver
      • Phillips head screw driver
      • Pliers
    • Can Opener
    • Include shovel, hatchet or axe, pocket knife
  • Hygiene Items
    • Do not scrimp on hygiene items. Lack of hygiene is the number one cause of illness in a disaster.
    • Items to consider are soap, toothbrush/paste, wet wipes, toilet paper, hand towels, nail clippers, hand sanitizer, etc.
    • Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide (very inexpensive and excellent sanitizers)
    • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • First Aid kit and supplies
    • First aid manual
    • Burn gel and large dressing
    • Latex-free gloves
    • Gauze rolls or pads
    • Assorted bandages
    • Antibiotic ointment
    • Alcohol wipes
    • Medical tape
    • Bottle of saline solution
    • Bottle of Colloidal Silver
    • Medical scissors
    • Butterfly strips, super glue
    • Elastic bandage
    • Suture kit
    • Splints

backpack snow

Some additional items to consider adding to your kit:

  •  Shelter
    • Tent or pre-planned location for gathering and shelter
  • Wool-blend blanket or sleeping bag
    • One for each person, in a waterproof bag or container
  • Camp stove and fuel
    • Store fuel in safe, yet accessible location
  • Cooking pots & utensils
    • Include a manual can opener
  • Long-burning Candle
    • Preferably in “hurricane” fixture or other safety enclosure
  • Mantle lantern
    • With extra mantles and sufficient fuel for 4 days continuous use
  • “Cyalume” light sticks
    • For use as markers and to comfort small children
  • Windproof/waterproof matches
    • In waterproof container
  • A second method to start fire
    • Butane lighter or sparker
  • Disposable plates, cups, utensils, and paper towels (In plastic bags)
  • Ziplock bags (Various sizes)
  • Duct tape (Six large rolls)
  • Plastic sheeting
    • Six large 2-mil tarps minimum. More is better, thicker is better.
  • Bottle of potassium iodide tablets (In case of radiation exposure)
  • Emergency battery pack for cell phone
    • Make sure phone is accessible and operational in shelter location
  • 50-foot nylon rope and heavy-duty nylon tarp with grommets
    • For emergency shelter construction
  • Whistle with neck cord (One per person)
  • Makeshift toilet
    • Can be made from a 5-gallon bucket and toilet seat
  • Toilet paper (In plastic bags)
  • 13-gallon trash can liners
    • For toilet-liner and other uses
  • Nitrile rubber gloves (Small and large sizes)
  • Dust masks (One per person)
  • Bottle of disinfectant
    • Lysol and/or Clorox
    • Hydrogen Peroxide
    • Vinegar
  • Personal comfort kit
    • Soap, toothbrush and paste, comb, tissue, sanitary napkins, razor, and other needed items. Sewing kit.
  • Spare eyeglasses (In case the main set is broken or unavailable)
  • Pet food and supplies
    • Include extra drinking water for petdog drinking water drops
  • Fire extinguisher (Class ABC type)
  • Money
    • At least $500 in the kit. Include small bills, quarters for phone calls, large bills for bribes.
  • Important Papers
    • Copies of important documents: wills, birth certificates, insurance forms, emergency phone numbers
  • Pillows and foam sleeping pads (Not essential but very nice to have)
  • Stress Relievers
    • Games, books, hard candy
    • For children: small toys, paper, pens, pencils, crayons, small stuffed animal
  • Extra Clothing
    • A complete outfit of appropriate clothing for each family member. Include extra socks, underwear, hat, sturdy shoes, and gloves.
  • Emergency reflective blanket (Several per person)
  • Durable water-resistant duffel bag, frame pack or day pack (In case of evacuation)

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