The recent derailment of a train containing hazardous chemicals helps to illustrate why our local communities should take steps today to be prepared for such events. On February 3rd approximately 50 rail cars of a Norfolk Southern train went off the tracks in Ohio. 10 of these trains contained hazardous chemicals like butyl acrylate and vinyl chloride. An evacuation was ordered (that included over 5,000 people). This continues to be a dangerous situation and looks to be somewhat long duration disaster. A 72-hour kit, also known as a "go-bag" or "bug-out bag," is a collection of essential items that can help you survive for up to 72 hours in case of an emergency or disaster, specifically if an evacuation is needed. Here are some reasons why you should consider having a 72-hour kit:
Emergencies can happen anytime: Natural disasters, power outages, and other emergencies can happen unexpectedly and can leave you without access to essential items like food, water, and shelter. Having a 72-hour kit can help you be prepared for such situations.
Convenience: A 72-hour kit is a convenient way to keep essential items in one place and ready to go in case of an emergency (residents had not warning about the trail derailment). This can save time and help you respond quickly and effectively to unexpected situations.
Peace of mind: Having a 72-hour kit can give you peace of mind, knowing that you have essential items to help you survive in case of an emergency or disaster.
What should a 72-hour kit include? While the specific items you include may vary depending on your exact location, climate, and personal needs, here are some essential items that a 72-hour kit should include:
Water: At least one gallon of water per person per day.
Food: Non-perishable food that can be easily prepared and does not require refrigeration. This food should last all members of your family approximately 3 days.
First aid kit: Including bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary medications.
Clothing and shelter: Including warm clothing, a sleeping bag, and a tent or tarp for shelter.
Personal hygiene items: Including toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and hand sanitizer.
Emergency tools: Including a flashlight, extra batteries, a multi-tool, and a whistle.
Important documents and cash: Including identification documents, copies of insurance policies, and some cash or coins. A thumb drive or digital storage device is a great option to keep digital copies.
By having a 72-hour kit that includes these essential items, you can be better prepared for unexpected emergencies and increase your chances of survival in case of a disaster. Keeping this bag updated and easily accessible will also aid in an expedited departure from your home in case of emergency.
The Emergency Preparedness Team at the Southeast Utah Health Department is available to assist the public with training and building these important 72-hour kits.