Monday, April 21, 2008

72 hour kit

When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it's best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth; not a weekend at the Four Seasons.

You can't eat that Disaster Elephant whole, so take a basic simple tiny manageable bite. One bite, then another, then another.

Thor and I have our kits stored in five gallon buckets with snap tight lids, we had to be creative, but it fit. Back in the day when we had all five kids at home we stored our kit in a 33 gallon lawn/garbage can with wheels, turned the lid upside down and set a small round table top on it. We put a long tablecloth over that and set it near the front door as a side table. In an emergency we could just toss the table top and cloth, turn the lid right and snap it shut, and roll it wherever we needed it to go. Tacky? Perhaps, but it worked.

Currently our buckets (yes we have more than one because I want to not just survive, I want my chocolate and some amenities during those three LONG days without indoor plumbing! No one says you can't have additional supplies!) -they are stored in a small space near the garage door just inside the garage. We have backpacks filled with smaller, less cozy 72 hour kits in our cars.

Whatever you choose to use make sure it is easily available and near an exit; light weight enough to be carried, or on rollers to be pulled/pushed. Use items that can withstand elements/temperature change if you are storing outside or in your car. Label everything with expiration dates! Check your supplies once a year. Rotate dated items according to dates recommended. I list all items on both the lid and the outside of our buckets. For backpacks I write in permanent ink right on the back. I use block lettering so anyone can identify what is inside without having to unpack the whole shebang.

We always pack a set of sweats for layering, socks, and a pair of shoes we have broken in and know are comfy for walking. Kids clothing can be a year ahead in sizing, better too big than too small. Change out yearly along with other dated items.

Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit (from ReadyAmerica):
  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place (during our fires they instructed us that 'regular dust masks' won't do much good in a serious situation, better to purchase a 'particulate matter' mask. We found ours at the local paint store.)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation (garbage bags are also good for insulation, as a poncho, and I even cooked a chicken in one!)
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities (you may also want to add the info/instruction on how to turn off utilities.)
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food) (Thor and I try to store pop top cans whenever we can.)
  • Local maps

Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Prescription medications and glasses (I just save the previous years glasses and switch them out as I get new ones.)
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container (You can pack zip drives or dvd with your info as a back up.)
  • Cash or traveler's checks and change (chances are banks will be closed)
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from (Or grab a Scout Handbook or Young Women's Camp Manual.)
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate. (Be mindful that you never know what time of year you'll need this stuff!)
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container (You can make your own by dipping regular wood matches in paraffin wax. When you scrape the waxed tip over a rough stone or brick the wax peels off, the match ignites, and any remaining wax acts as a fire propellant.)
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items (Can you imagine being without them?)
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil (We also added a permanent marker. I.D. infants and children with names and pertinent information between their shoulder blades on their back. Adults can be I.D. as well with SSI# etc. on ribcage or abdomen. =lesson learned from Katrina Victims)
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children (lots of batteries for hand held video games?)
After Katrina I saw a lot of good ideas. One was to add a fresh/new permanent black marker to your kit (see above). When disaster happens make sure to write children's names on their back in between shoulder blades and other pertinent information...just in case. Adults can also i.d. themselves in a discrete body location. Write full name, SSI#, and other I.D. info, again, just in case. Icky to think about, but better to know who I am than to become a "Jane Doe".

Adding extra thick plastic trash bags and having those five gallon buckets can be put together and used as an impromptu potty. Add some t.p. if you want to go the "extra mile"!

If you are unsure of camp cooking or skills, and first aide has been a thing of your youth, invest in a Scout Handbook or Young Women's Camp Manual -they have all the info you need in a concise and easily read format.

Keep your vehicles up to date on fluids and fuel. When electricity goes out so do the gas pumps. (Lessons learned from those stuck on the Bay Bridge during the last big San Francisco quake.)

Chocolate never hurt anyone. Toss a bag of M&Ms in there for mom, Tootsie Pops for the kids. Also, remember those Jiffy Pop popcorn pans? Um, yeah, that would be a great idea too!

So the above is the basics PLUS! Get the BASICS first, then add those things that will bring you comfort.


Not to worry! Tomorrow I will have an even more basic 72 hour kit. One that, seriously, will sustain life for three days, yet be small enough to pack in a # 10 can!

add to sk*rt


chronicler said...

It is overwhelming. I think that is why most people don't do it. I think if it could be done on a checklist, it would be helpful to get the endorphins flowing as you check it off.

I lov ethat you used the family word: shebang. Yep that's us. Next I expect kittenkaboodle.

S'mee said...

Sis, good idea. I thought of that about 3/4 way through the post...ugh maybe a redo is in order!

chronicler said...

No, I think you're fine. You've given enough info that anyone should be aable to make their own to-do list. That's how they'll own the process.

Boy Mom said...

A few years ago I just kept a gallon of water in my car for each of us i figured I'd just rehydrate all the chicken nuggets, French fries and fruit snacks in every nook and cranny of my car. Now that they are actually eating their food I have a back pack in the front coat closet for each of them. The cheese crackers and apple sauce probably need to be replaced, and I think I'll add a book, a notebook and writing supplies for each one. I do have an assortment of travel games and treats.
Thanks for the reminder.

The Pea said...

Wow it is overwhelming, But I am glad you are doing this. i have always wanted to get more organized and now I feel like I am being pointed in the right direction!

S'mee said...

Thanks again Sis, always good to have two heads...

Boy Mom, re-hydrating chicken nuggets...that cracks me up! Sounds like your family is on the right track!

Pea, it is, but you can do it! Just a bit at a time. I found a few things, I just need a few days and I'll post some great 'helps'.