Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Emergency Preparedness - 72-hour kits

Today I thought I'd share something that is important to me and taking care of my family -- emergency preparedness.  As long as I can remember, we have received counsel from church leaders to be prepared and have a year's supply of food as well as emergency supplies for 72 hours.  Over the years, we put together bits here and there and figured we were good.  I even had small backpacks for each of the kids with some clothes and a few granola bars and some hard candy, thinking we would be good to go.
A couple years ago I started to feel like we needed to do more (living in tornado country, there is always the possibility that we might have to leave our home), so I started doing some research and found that although our preparations were okay, there was definitely room for improvement.  I found one site in particular that I used as a resource for much of my planning, especially food ideas.

I realize that there are many options for what to include in a kit and each person/family should individualize to their own needs.  Here's a breakdown of our 72-hour kits.
Each person has their basic supplies in a backpack.  This makes them easily portable if we need to evacuate.  Most of them are the standard-sized school-type backpacks on the left.  This provides several different pockets for storage and enough room for the basics.  The middle one is a small backpack for Bugaboo to carry.  His only contains his clothes and personal first aid kit.  His food and diapers are in one of the larger backpacking packs - parent packs in our case.
Here's the basic contents of a pack:  clothing, 3 food packs, water, money (right now, we have $40 in $1 bills in each of the parent packs).  Each pack also contains a personal first aid kit.

Our clothing consists of a jacket or sweatshirt, lighter shirt, pants, 3 pairs underwear, 3 pairs socks.  They're all packaged in a ziplock bag to help them stay dry.  We check the sizing every six months when we rotate some of the food.  Whatever doesn't fit gets passed down to the next child.
Each pack also has a personal first-aid kit.  I found the little beach safes in Target's Dollar Spot a couple years ago, but haven't seen them since.  (I did a quick google search and found some available inexpensively on Amazon or Oriental Trading.)  Each one contains a whistle on a colorful lanyard, tweezers, nail clippers, emery board, disposable gloves, gauze pads and several band-aids.  You could also add alcohol wipes, small pencil, paper, unbreakable mirror, safety pins, etc.
It may not be the greatest first-aid kit, but it will do for little emergencies.  We have a larger kit in one of the parent packs.

Food is one area where I've found the greatest variety in emergency kits.  You can find kits that utilize dehydrated food to be small and lightweight, MREs, etc.  In case of an evacuation, we will be dining on pudding, canned pasta, mandarin oranges, protein bar, 2 granola bars, pop-tarts, dried fruit, fruit snacks, candy bar, hard candy and raisins.
Each day has the same food, so you eat one bag per day.  The food contains about 2000 calories per day.  We figure that parents might need more, but we can use whatever the younger ones don't eat.  I opted to use food that is not dehydrated so we don't have to have as much water just to rehydrate the food.  Each pack also includes 6 half-liter water bottles, 2 for each day.  This is much less than the water we each need, so we need to figure out how to carry extra.  If we have a water source, we can always refill the bottles.
Other items included in the parent packs:  diapers, wipes, feminine needs (our teenage daughters have some in their individual packs), toilet paper (pull the core out of the middle so it smashes flatter).
Finally, something to keep us busy since we most likely won't have a tv if we have to evacuate.  We have a couple of card games, travel-size scriptures, and activity books.
This post is by no means a complete one size fits all kit.  We still need to add important documents, individual toiletries, bedding, etc.  But, at least I have some peace of mind that we have some supplies if we are in a situation where we need to evacuate.


Ladybird Ln said...

What a thorough kit! Very good ideas, and I like how they are so easy to grab and go! I found you at These Peas Taste Funny!


Terry said...

This is a great idea. We have a nook where we have emergency stuff stored, but I never thought to have the materials in a backpack for easy mobility. Brilliant. Thanks for sharing at our party this week.

JRoberts said...

We also change ours each time I go through them! :) It always ends up being a work in progress I find.

Thanks for sharing with me. I love new ideas.