Basic Emergency Evacuation Kit

Basic Emergency Evacuation Kit


Disaster can strike any of us at any time.  While we may not be able to prepare for every scenario, we can prepare a basic 72-hour kit to help us through the initial three days.

My favorite idea is a backpack (one for each person) containing what that person might require during the initial 3 days of an emergency.

Here Are A Few Tips To Get Started

  • One backpack Per Person.
  • Inside the backpack, divide groups of items (listed below) into individual Ziploc bags (to prevent leak accidents & to keep organized).
  • Keep it in your car (in case an emergency happens while you’re away from home).


When planning your pack, use the Rule of 3’s. You could be dead in:

  • 3 minutes without air (or from some wounds and extreme freezing conditions)
  • 3 hours without shelter in severe weather
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food

Remember, ounces add up to pounds and pounds add up to pain and/or less mobility.

Please note: many foods have a longer shelf-life if kept in a cool, dry place. If in a hot vehicle in the summer, this may significantly reduce shelf-life and items should be rotated more frequently.





Don’t get overwhelmed with having an extensive kit (especially if this is your first time creating one).  Having a few of the most important items will be far more valuable than not having any of them!

The essential categories include food, water, breathing, warmth, and light (see the detailed list to the right).

Keep your supplies in a small, lightweight backpack (so it’s easy to carry and hands-free, to keep you nimble) store it in your vehicle so it’s ready to go whenever (or wherever) you are.




  • Water/Water Filtration LifeStraw /Water Packets
  • Food/Snacks
  • Warm Coat, Gloves, Socks & Tennis Shoes
  • Dust Mask (N95 Respirator) (for ash, etc.)
  • Flashlight (that runs without batteries) or Head Lamp (for hands-free light)
  • Rain Poncho (to stay dry)
  • Emergency Blanket (to stay warm)
  • Hand Warmers
  • Moist Towelettes (for sanitization)
  • Multitool (with knife, etc.)
  • 5 in 1 Tool – With matches, compass, emergency mirror, whistle, etc.
  • Any medications, medical supplies, glasses, contacts, etc.
  • Physical map of your local area, roads, trails, etc.
  • Photocopy of identification and insurance.  Written names, addresses & phone numbers of friends and family.
  • Cash (enough cash for food, a ride, and a hotel stay) (in case ATM’s are down or stores cannot accept cards due to an electrical outage).


The Backpack Emergency Evacuation Kit

The ideas below can make for an extensive, well-equipped, although large and heavy kit.  Adjust your supplies by prioritizing your personal needs – to create a kit that works best for you – balancing essential supplies with realistic size and weight to be carried by each person.  Thankfully, there are supplies that come as multi-tools to help you keep your backpack light and keep you nimble!  For example:

  • 5 in 1 = waterproof matches and flint starter, a compass and an emergency mirror and whistle all in one small tool
Preparedness Mantra



  • Water 1 gallon (4 liters) per person, per day
  • Water per pet, per day (as needed, per size)
  • Disposable water packets/pouches
  •  LifeStraw or Portable Water Filtration System
  • Include at least 1 reusable container (for filtered water &/or electrolytes mixes
    • Possibly use a Camelbak liner, Dromedary or LifeStraw container


  • Protein Bars
  • MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat)
  • Canned Tuna/Turkey/Beans
  • Crackers
  • Powdered Electrolytes
  • Powdered Superfood Greens (organic micro nutrition)
  • Trail Mix (lots of nuts)
  • Dried Fruit
  • Beef Jerky
  • Instant Oatmeal
  • Instant Coffee
  • Pet food
  • Comfort Food (MRE brownies, hard candy, etc.)

Kitchen Supplies


Camp/Sleeping Supplies


  • Leatherman Multifunction Tool – that includes:
    • Knife
    • Pliers (to remove your bowl from heat of the fire)
    • Scissors (to cut rope, etc.)
  • Shovel (can be used as a weapon too)
  • Knife or Axe
  • Zip Ties/Small Bungees
  • Pen & Paper (write in the rain)
  • Rope or Nylon Strap (25’)
  • Duct Tape
  • Dust Mask – N95 Respirator (for volcanic ash, etc.)
  • Goggles or Face Mask (eye protection)
  • Plastic Garbage Bags & Twist Ties (can be used to cover your backpack in the rain, also for personal sanitation)
  • Dog collar & leash
  • Disposable Camera


  • Radio (wind-up or with batteries) and/or a NOAA Weather Radio
  • Burner Phone/Pre-Paid Phone with charger and backup battery
  • Walkie Talkies (1 per family member) (with batteries for each)
  • Whistle (to signal for help) (Combo Whistle or Slim Rescue Howler)
  • Local Map (printed)(showing terrain, roads, pathways, etc.)
  • Compass
  • Phone List & Addresses (written on paper) of neighbors, friends, and family

Personal Supplies and Medications

  • Toilet Paper
  • Feminine Products
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste & Floss (with toothbrush holder or plastic bag)
  • Mouthwash
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Washcloth
  • Lip Balm
  • Sunblock
  • Bug Spray (or Repellent Wipes)
  • Lotion/Coconut Oil
  • Medications (Midol, Allergy Meds, Ibuprofen, Prescriptions, Eye drops, etc.)
  • Glasses
  • Ear Plugs
  • A brush or comb, and hair ties (to keep your hair out of your face)

Personal Documents and Money

  • Cash (if ATM’s are down or stores cannot accept cards due to electrical outage)
  • In varying bills, in case there’s no change. Enough for food, a ride, or a hotel.
  • Copies of important documents (driver’s license/ID card, insurance policies, etc.)

Dry Clothes

  • Socks (2 sets)
  • Underwear
  • Work boots or Tennis Shoes
  • Thick Pants
  • T-shirt
  • Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Warm Jacket (that compresses tightly – in small space)
  • Work Gloves
  • Rain Poncho
  • Watch (for time, date and alarm clock)
  • Waterproof Hat (for the Pacific Northwest)
  • Shemagh (can be used as a pillow, shoulder pad, cover, collecting food, dust or smoke mask, towel, tourniquet, washcloth, water filter, bug net around neck, etc.)

Personal Protection/Self Defense

  • Whatever you’re most comfortable with, and you’ve been trained in

First Aid Kit

This can be widely varied, depending on your needs and medical training.

  • Epi-Pen (s)
  • Band-aids
  • Chlorhexidine or Betadine
  • Gauze
  • Compression wrap
  • Blister Pads, Moleskin and/or petroleum jelly w/ nonstick pads
  • Sports Tape
  • Ace bandage
  • Quik Clot
  • Steri-strips
  • Gloves


(items for stress management)

  • Cards (to play games)
  • Inflatable pillow
  • Family Photo
  • Keep a lightweight sleeping bag (or wool blanket) in your car
  • Massage Ball (for rolling out stressed or tight muscles)
  • Walking Stick

Example of a Young Child’s Backpack




Have a Plan – and practice it

  • Have several meeting locations (at least 3)
  • Have practice sessions with your family, evacuating as fast as possible (day and night trial runs)
  • Plan out-of-state telephone contacts
  • Try out your kit to see if it needs modifications
  • Evaluate each kit once per year and make changes/updates as needed

Get Educated

  • Take a CPR class
  • Learn at least the basics of First Aid care
  • Learn Morse Code (at least SOS) (it can be sent by mirror, lantern, whistle, etc.)
    • S (dit dit dit)
    • O (dah dah dah)
    • S (dit dit dit)
  • Whatever your choice of self-defense, practice it regularly

Work on Fitness

  • Build your stamina & cardiac conditioning to survive a quick evacuation
  • Regularly walk &/or hike with a fully loaded backpack


I pray that some of these ideas will help you and your loved ones stay safer and more comfortable during the initial hours of an emergency.

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