Emergency Preparedness

Updated: May 10, 2019

I've had a few people ask me what I keep inside the boxes labeled "72-hour kits" in my pantry.

Since I'll be rotating the contents this coming weekend, I thought it would be a great time to show you what's inside the boxes and explain my system for the rotation.

The 72-hour kits are big, 2-gallon sized ziplock bags that hold enough food to keep my family fed for 3 days - in the case of an emergency. While I hope that I never have to use the food in an emergency situation, I also hope that I would be prepared if necessary.

I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For decades, our prophets have encouraged us to become self-reliant and prepared for the future by preparing ourselves spiritually, saving money for a 'rainy day', avoiding unnecessary debt, and keeping a supply of food (among other things). Rainy days come in the form of natural disasters, loss of employment, sickness, tragedies, and other events that we can't predict. Several years ago, I participated in a church activity that helped me to get a food supply started for my family. I put together one 72-hour kit at the activity, then made more bags just like it when I got home (one for each member of my family). Let me share details about the contents of each kit!

Every item pictured above fits inside of a 2-gallon bag and lasts for at least six months. (I rotate the food from my kits every April and every October, so it works great for my family.)

Below is a list of everything seen in the picture:

When I assembled the first 72-hour kit with my church group, the person heading up the activity provided me with a "menu" of food to eat during the 72 hours (should an emergency occur). Obviously this isn't an ideal menu for 3 days straight, but it would keep a person fed and that's the point.

As I said, I rotate the food in my kits every six months. During the first weekends in April and October (every year), the prophet and other leaders of our church hold a "General Conference" that members (and non-members) all over the world are invited to participate in. My family always watches the sessions of conference on cable tv from our home - and as we watch, we rotate the food in our bags. My kids love doing this because there are several "snack" type items in the bags that are free game during Conference weekend!

I set up a spreadsheet that helps me keep track of the food in my emergency kits. Each time I buy replacement food for the kits, I make a note of the expiration date on my spreadsheet (individual bags of oatmeal, hot chocolate, etc don't usually list the expiration date - so I make sure to do this before throwing the boxes away). I use the expiration date of each item to gauge when I'll need to rotate (next April or next October). This weekend I will be rotating any food out that expires before October of this year, since that will be the next time I change anything out.

I use the last column as my grocery list, but complete the list 6 months before I need to do the grocery shopping. I made up this sheet in October of 2018, and will