Having a Plan

During this time when Hurricane Harvey is doing so much damage down in Texas, it makes me remember what we always called the “Just In Case”. This is a get-it/grab-it bag that holds the necessities that might be needed in a crisis or evacuation. Or, if it happens that you are confined to your home during a power outage, etc., it’s a good idea to have a plan of action, including a 72-hour emergency kit.

Why 72 hours? That’s the average time it usually takes for power to get back on, tree branches to be removed, and so on. The following list is an outline of what might come in handy should something unforeseen happen.

As the Girl Scouts always say, “be prepared.” And to that good advice I’ll add this: “Be prepared; not scared!

The following is a 72-hour emergency kit that you can adjust to your own particular needs. The hope is that you won’t ever need it, but who knows? It can’t hurt to be prepared.

The 72-Hour Emergency Kit

A 72-hour emergency kit should include the necessities for food, clothing, and shelter for each member of the family and pets, enough to last for 3 days. Remember that food items should be of the type that can be consumed when no refrigeration or cooking is available.

Food and Water

  • Protein/granola bars
  • Trail mix/dried fruit
  • Crackers/cereals (for munching)
  • Canned tuna, beans, turkey, beef, Vienna sausages, etc. Remember that “pop-top” cans that open without a can-opener may not always open correctly, so make sure you have at least one working can opener.
  • Canned juice
  • Candy/gum
  • Water (1 gallon/4 liters per person)

Bedding and Clothing:

  • Change of clothing (short and long sleeved shirts, pants, jackets, socks, shoes, etc.)
  • Underwear
  • Rain coat/poncho
  • Blankets and Emergency Heat Blankets (the foil ones that keep in warmth)
  • Cloth sheet
  • Plastic sheet/tarp to use as a tent
  • Sleeping bag(s)

Fuel and Light:

  • Battery lighting (flashlights, lamps, etc.
  • Extra batteries
  • Flares
  • Candles
  • Lighter
  • Water-proof matches


  • Can opener
  • Dishes/utensils
  • Shovel
  • Radio (with batteries!)
  • Pen and paper
  • Axe
  • Pocket knife
  • Rope
  • Duct tape
  • Trash bags

Personal Supplies and Medication:

  • First aid supplies (see next section for Pet First Aid supplies)
  • Toiletries (roll of toilet paper- remove the center tube to easily flatten into a zip-lock bag, feminine hygiene, folding brush, etc.)
  • Cleaning supplies (mini hand sanitizer, soap, shampoo, dish soap, etc.)
  • Immunizations up-to date
  • Medication (Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, children’s medication etc.)
  • Prescription Medication (for 3 days)

Personal Documents and Money (place these items in a water-proof container!):

  • Legal documents (birth/marriage certificates, wills, passports, contracts, etc)
  • Vaccination papers
  • Insurance policies
  • Cash
  • Credit card
  • Pre-paid phone cards


  • Bag(s) to put 72-Hour Kit items in (such as duffel bags or back packs, which work great). Make sure that you can lift/carry it!
  • Infant/Elderly Needs (if applicable)
  • Update your 72-Hour Kit every three months (put a note in your calendar/planner) to make sure that: all food, water, and medication is fresh and has not expired; clothing fits; personal documents and credit cards are up to date; and batteries are charged.
  • Small toys/games are important too as they will provide some comfort and entertainment during a stressful time.
  • Pet food, dishes, water, leash, collar, carrier (be sure carrier has a waterproof label stating pet name, your name, address, phone number, & email), temporary litter box, blanket, toys, etc.

Pet First Aid Kit

Note: Be sure to check with your vet about what pet first aid items can or cannot be used for dogs, cats, etc.

Items for your pet first aid kit should include:

  • Latex gloves
  • Cotton (balls, sponges and rolls)
  • Cling wrap to bandage (such as Saran Wrap or Vet Wrap)
  • Splint material
  • Adhesive tape
  • Small scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Needle-nose pliers (for removing foreign objects from wounds)
  • Nylon Leash
  • Towels
  • Muzzle (soft fabric muzzle for dogs and restraint bag for cats)
  • Thermal blanket
  • Pediatric rectal thermometer; water-based lubricant
  • Antiseptic (such as Betadine)
  • Antihistamines (such as Benadryl, consult veterinarian for dosage)
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Activated charcoal
  • 3 % hydrogen peroxide (induce vomiting and cleaning wounds)
  • Blood stopper such as Kwik Stop
  • Sterile saline wash for eyes
  • Emergency phone numbers for the vet and poison control
  • List of all pet’s medications and dosages
  • Board to strap pet with possible back injury
  • Baby aspirin


  • Pets and children read your body language. Be calm and don’t project hesitation or guilt.
  • The popular antibiotic Baytril comes in a chewable tablet; ask your vet about it.
  • Use Pill Pockets, which are edible food-grade material you put the pill inside.
  • Some pharmacists will put medication in beef, seafood or chicken.
  • Try Flavorex, liquid medication that comes in pet-friendly flavors.
  • Many pets will lick the liquid out of a spoon. Otherwise you can use a plastic syringe and squirt it into the corner of the pet’s mouth.
  • Medicated creams can be rubbed into the hairless part of your pet’s ear, and it will be absorbed into its system.


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