Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Emergency Preparation Step #1: 72 Hour Survival Kit

Pumpkin checks out the main 72 hour kit.  I think she wants to get in!

One of my goals this year is to get my family prepared for emergencies.  I'm not talking about the apocalypse or total economic collapse.  I'm talking about stuff like:
  • What if we lose power?
  • What if we can't drink the water out of the tap?
  • What if we can't get groceries?
  • What if we got stuck on the highway for hours because of an accident down the road?
In recent memory, I think of the Northeast Blackout of 2003.  There was no power.  You couldn't buy gas.  There were no deliveries to the grocery stores for a few days because gas couldn't be pumped to fuel the trucks that transported the food.  This is the type of thing that I want to be prepared for.

I used to make fun of my mother for all the stockpiling she did.  When the preparation for Y2K was going on in 1999, she had their basement stuffed to the gills with provisions.  I thought it was funny.  I feel a little different now that I have children myself.  Right now we are absolutely not prepared for anything and that concerns me.  I started doing some research about emergency preparedness.  The general consensus on where to start is to assemble a 72 hour emergency kit.  This kit is supposed to cover the basic needs for all the people in your house for that time period if you need to evacuate.  There are lots of places to go to on the web for suggestions of what to put in your kit and how to do it.  I based mine predominately on suggestions found at the Survival Mom blog and was also helped by the ladies over at Food Storage Made Easy, but modified it somewhat because my family would never eat stuff like freeze dried food and beef jerky or drink Tang unless literally starving.

I made a kit for our minivan (this is the vehicle we use for most of our transportation) and a more pared down version for the Cobbler's car that he drives to work.  His car isn't the most road worthy so I don't imagine we would want to use that for evacuation purposes.  I figured his kit should just cover the bare minimum just in case we were to get separated.  This is not a likely scenario since he works less than a mile from our house, but I guess you never know.  I got out two duffel bags that we already had and filled them with the following list (Items that are starred are ones that made the cut to get put in the Cobbler's bag as well, but only enough for him. The kid provisions are only in the main bag):

Food---All cans have pop tops so we don't need a can opener
*4 Canned pasta and meatballs (1 for Cobbler)
4 Canned soup (not condensed)
*7 Canned fruit in heavy syrup (1 for Cobbler)
*16 Packets of Gatorade powder to mix with water (8 for the Cobbler)
*12 Granola bars (4 for the Cobbler)
*20 individual packages of raisins
4 packets of tuna (none for the Cobbler who hates fish)

*Clorox disinfecting wipes
*Rolls of toilet paper squished flat to fit in a gallon Ziploc (we got 3 rolls.  Cobbler got 1.)
*Small box of tissues
*Paper towels
Pads and tampons (enough for 1 cycle...I would need them with my luck.  And I hear tampons are good for bullet wounds too.  Not like I'm planning on getting shot or anything)
*Hand sanitizer
*Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss
Diapers (I will celebrate the day I can take these out of the kit)
bar of soap
20 pack of water purification tablets

First Aid
*First Aid Kit (bought at Target for around $10)
*Thermometer (added to kit)
*Super Glue (added to kit)
Children's Benadryl
Children's Ibuprofen

*8x10 tarp
*5 pack of dust masks
*Duct tape
*Rain ponchos (Cobbler gets 1)
*Waterproof matches
*2 flashlights (Cobbler gets 1)
*Extra batteries for flashlights
*4 glowsticks (Cobbler gets 1)
*Leatherman (it's like an extra fancy Swiss Army knife but with pliers.  Makes a good manly gift.  My husband has 3 of them at least)
*hand and toe warmers
Folding shovel
emergency radio
2 heavy duty trash bags
*3 - 1 gallon jugs of water (1 jug for Cobbler)

Other stuff
Read aloud books (I packed Charlotte's Web and Little House on the Prairie)

There are some other items that I still need to purchase and put in.  Here's my "to buy or to find around the house" list:
*10 packets of instant oatmeal
*5 packages of gum
*8 packets of hot cocoa mix
1 package of Triscuits
*Hard candy
12 fruit rollups
*10 envelopes of Lipton noodles
1 package of beef jerky (The Cobbler decided he would rather have that than the tuna)
*5 sets of reusable silverware (1 set for Cobbler)
A campstove or some wingstoves with fuel pellets to heat the cans
A deck of cards and some Uno cards
*Comb or hairbrush
Trial size disinfecting wipes and regular wipes for the Cobbler (the full size containers were too big for his smaller bag)
*4 emergency blankets
*work gloves
*bungee cords
*safety pins
sewing kit
*paper and pencils
nail clippers
*tire repair kit
*change of clothes for each person
*$20 in small bills and some change

Then, you're supposed to rotate and check expirations on everything in the kit annually.  I'll have to mark my calendar for Valentine's Day next year.  I love you all enough to keep our car stocked for emergencies.  It's my Valentine's Day gift to you.  Just kidding...

Are you already prepared for an emergency?  Or if you're not prepared, do it together with me! You'll see some other blog posts down the road about what we're doing as a family to get ready for emergencies.


Harvest Moon by Hand said...

Very comprehensive list. It's a good idea to be prepared. In Minnesota, there are quite a few tornadoes and serious storms that can knock out the electricity for hours (or days). As it gets closer to storm season, I'm going to refer back to your list.


Che said...

WOW! Just reading this blog made me exhausted! You are one heck-of-a-woman! :)

Rebecca Johnson said...

Hi, Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog... Your blog has inspired me i really need to get organised. I have a small food starage but should really get a 72hr kit together.. Thanks for the boost!! xx

Rebecca said...

This is a great idea. In our corner of the world, and just in the last 6 weeks, we have had towns flooded, a city devastated by earthquake and large towns hit by cyclones. It is good to be prepared!