Sunday, April 3, 2011

72-hour kit, Part 1 of 2

It's an emergency!

Well, not yet it isn't. But the whole idea of emergency preparedness is to prepare BEFORE the emergency, right?

The American Red Cross, Department of Homeland Security, and Federal Emergency Management Agency all recommend that everyone have an emergency kit
in their home. Why? Because even though all those agencies try to help when there's a disaster - like a hurricane, wildfire, earthquake, power outage, or, heaven forbid, some type of warfare - it can take days for help to arrive.

Disasters often shut down transportation routes, and even when government agencies and charitable organizations have all the supplies ready to go, it takes time to distribute everything to the people who need it. Think of Hurricane Katrina. Or, you may have to evacuate your home in a hurry, and if everyone else is doing that too, store shelves can empty fast. Think of the California wildfires. So it's just common sense to have some supplies of your own to last until the situation ends or help comes.

A standard recommendation is to have enough supplies to last for 72 hours, or 3 days. You need to think about what your family would need in the way of food, water, clothing, sanitation and bedding/shelter.

I've heard several people say that General Conference is a good time to work on your 72-hour kit because it comes around every 6 months, and that's a good time period for checking to see if any food is close to expiring, or if your kids have outgrown their emergency change of clothes. We've had some emergency-type supplies kicking around for the last few years, but it was never really organized and it was definitely never comprehensive, so I decided to get my act together this weekend!

My in-laws gave us this Red Cross emergency pack for Christmas, and it was a great starting point. It comes with water pouches, ration bars, 2 foil blankets, 2 warming pads, a little first aid kit, 2 ponchos, some Kleenex packs and feminine hygiene products, 2 whistles, a flashlight and a foldable 2 1/2-gallon water container. I added the baby wipes and TP you see below.

Since the Red Cross bag came with two blankets and we have a 4-person family, I put two fleece blankets in a water-tight bucket, along with 3 days worth of diapers, hand sanitizer and a bunch of garbage bags. If there's no plumbing available, you can line the bucket with a garbage bag and... PRESTO! You have a commode. I know, I know, I don't like to think about it either, but if you had no other choice it would be better than sitting on a sagebrush, right?

I have young kids, so I packed just a small backpack for each of them to carry: a complete change of clothes, a coloring book and crayons, a small toy, and a whistle in case they get separated from us. It seems funny to bring entertainment for the kids when you're trying to pack light, but it is important to keep morale high during a stressful situation, and if the kids are stressed out with nothing to distract them, everyone will be miserable!

My sister-in-law made these darling little drawstring bags and they are just perfect; the girls love them.

Read on for part 2!

1 comment:

  1. Good for you for getting that all put together! And yay for posting on your blog, I love it!