I. Pre-Listening Exercises [Top]

Do you have any supplies in your house or at your apartment you can use in case of a natural disaster or emergency? If so, what are they? What things are most needed in such an emergency to get you by for at least 72 hours?

HELPFUL TIP: Having a family or individual emergency plan in case of a natural or manmade disaster is vital to your survival. Such a plan might include food, shelter, and first-aid supplies. Don’t wait until it is too late to start preparing.

II. Listening Exercises [Top]

Listen to the conversation by pressing the “Play Audio” button and answer the questions. Press the “Final Score” button to check your quiz.

1. What kind of emergency does the man NOT mention?

A. power failure

B. snowstorm

C. tornado
2. Which idea was stated in the conversation about water?

A. You should buy spring water in bottles in advance.

B. Having a water filter to clean water can be helpful.

C. Bacteria in water can cause serious illness.

3. What is one basic principle behind food in a 72-hour kit?

A. Packing sweets is unwise for health reasons.

B. Cooking warm meals can lift people’s spirits.

C. Buying easy-to-prepare foods is ideal.

4. What is the woman’s image of an emergency shelter?

A. people working together in a difficult situation

B. a very overcrowded building that is dirty

C. a facility lacking adequate food and drinking water

5. What advice does the man have for people with small children?

A. pack plenty of snacks and treats

B. carry a portable DVD player with movies

C. be prepared with some basic art materials

Score =
Correct answers:

Lisa: Hi, Tim. So, are you doing some last-minute shopping before the weekend?
Tim: Well, actually, I’m looking for supplies to put together 72-hour kits for each member of my family.

Lisa: [A] 72-hour kit? What’s that?

Tim: Basically, a 72-hour kit contains emergency supplies you would need to sustain yourself for three days in case of an emergency, like an earthquake.

Lisa: An earthquake?! We haven’t had an earthquake in years.

Tim: Well, you never know; you have to be prepared. Hey, if earthquakes don’t get you, it could be a flood, hurricane, snowstorm, power outage, fire, alien attack. [Alien attack!] Well, you never know. Think of any situation in which you might find yourself without the basic necessities of life, including shelter, food, and water, for over a period of time.

Lisa: Hum. So, what do you keep in a 42-hour, um, . . . I mean 72-kit?

Tim: Well, you should have enough food and water to last you three days, and you might want to pack a basic water filter or water purification tablets in case your only water source turns out to be a murky pool of bug-infested water. [Ugh!]

Hey, sometimes you don’t have a choice, and as for food, you should keep it simple: food that requires no preparation and that doesn’t spoil. And no canned goods because they are often too heavy and bulky. [Okay, that makes sense.] And unless you have a can opener or the can has a pull-tab lid, you’ll have to use a rock or something to open them. [Ah, instant mashed green beens.] Yeah, and oh, energy bars, beef jerky, and a mix of nuts, raisins, and chocolate are possibilities.

Lisa: Huh, the food might be nasty, but I guess you could survive . . . barely.

Tim: Well, the food doesn’t have to taste bad; just select things that are easy to prepare, and you might want to include some basic comfort foods like a couple of candy bars. Then, you have to decide on the type of shelter you might need.

Lisa: A hotel sounds nice.

Tim: Yeah, but that’s really not an option. The reality is that you might have to evacuate to a shelter, possibly with hundreds or thousands of other people.

Lisa: That doesn’t sound very fun . . . everyone packed together like sardines in a can. Unsanitary conditions. Disease.

Tim: Ah, now you’re sounding paranoid, but if a shelter isn’t available, you might be completely on your own, so I always pack an emergency sleeping bag or small, lightweight tent in the event that I have to survive on the street or in a park.

Lisa: Wow.

Tim: And among other things, you should pack a flashlight, portable radio, extra batteries, a small first-aid kit, personal items like a toothbrush or toothpaste . . . Having a change of clothing is also important.

Lisa: What about money? I have a credit card.

Tim: Right. Like that’s going to help when the power is out. You’d better be prepared with coins and cash, and having small bills is a must.

Lisa: So, what do you do to communicate with other family members in case you get separated?

Tim: Oh, in that case? I always pack two-way radios to communicate with the group. You can never depend on cell phones. [Okay.] Plus, you should decide on a meeting point in case your family gets separated.

Lisa: Well, that sounds like a detailed plan, definitely.

Tim: Oh, that’s not all. You never know what weather conditions you might encounter, so packing a rain poncho, a jacket, and something to start a fire with could be very useful.

Lisa: Like Matches?

Tim: Matches? (If) You drop those in a puddle of water, you’re toast. You need to pack at least three forms of fire starter: a magnifying glass, a high-quality lighter, and waterproof matches.

Lisa: Wow. I never thought about those either. So, what do you do if you have small kids? They’d probably go stir-crazy under such conditions.

Tim: You’re exactly right, so a little extra preparation for them is needed. If you have to evacuate to a shelter to wait out a disaster, kids soon will be bored out of their minds, so you have to pack small card games, paper, or something like pencils or crayons to draw with.

Lisa: You know, preparing a 72-hour kit makes perfect sense . . .

Tim: Yeah, but most people thinking about it after it is too late.

Key Vocabulary [Top]
  • sustain (verb): keep yourself alive
    – You need a lot of water to sustain yourself in the hot desert sun.
  • flood (noun): a large amount of water that covers an area that is generally dry
    – We lost a lot of our possessions in last week’s flood.
  • power outage (noun): a period of time when you do not have electrical power
    – The power outrage lasted over 10 hours, and we had to use flashlights and candles to see in the dark.
  • shelter (noun): a structure used for protection from weather or danger
    – After the hurricane, many residents fled to shelters because their homes had been destroyed by wind and water.
  • pack (verb): fill or put things into a container like a suitcase or box
    – Hurry and pack your suitcase. We need to leave in 15 minutes.
  • purification (noun): the process of removing dirty parts from something (also a verb purify)
    – You really need to purify the water from the stream because it probably contains bacteria.
  • murky (adjective): dark and dirty that is difficult to see through
    – The water that comes out of the kitchen faucet is really murky due to the fact that the city is working on some of the water lines in this area.
  • spoil (verb): go bad or decay so you cannot eat or drink something any longer
    – The food in the refrigerator started to spoil after the power had been off for two days.
  • bulky (adjective): something difficult to carry because of its size
    – Your backpack is too bulky to carry easily in case of an emergency; you should remove some of the items and then repack it.
  • nasty (adjective): having a bad smell, taste, or appearance
    – The food looked so nasty that I couldn’t bring myself to try it.
  • evacuate (verb): move from an unsafe place to safety
    – In case of fire, the school will evacuate all of its students to a safer location.
  • be packed together like sardines (idiom): be crowded together in a small place
    – The emergency shelter was only designed to accommodate 100 evacuees, but because all other shelters were overcrowded, this shelter accepted everyone who came, and the people were packed together like sardines for two days.
  • unsanitary (adjective): very dirty and unhealthy
    – The unsanitary conditions at the refugee camp were terrible, and nothing could be done until additional aid arrived.
  • poncho (noun): a light coat made a one piece of material to protect you from wind and rain
    – I always carry a poncho in my backpack when I hike in case it starts to rain suddenly.
  • be toast (noun, slang): be in a desperate or very difficult situation
    – If you don’t have supplies during a severe emergency, you’re toast, and no one will there to help you.
  • stir-crazy (adjective): very nervous or anxious
    – Many of the people at the shelter have been there for a week, and they are beginning to feel stir-crazy because they have nothing to do, and they don’t know their futures.
  • wait out (phrasal verb): wait until something unpleasant finishes or passes
    – We should just wait out the storm before we attempt to cross the river.
  • be bored out of your mind (idiom): very bored
    – The students were bored out of their minds during the lecture on ancient religious practices.