This past weekend we had lovely Irene blow through our neck of the woods. Thankfully, she didn’t wreak as much havoc here as expected and we didn’t have to evacuate. But all the excitement got me thinking about how prepared our family is, and more particularly about our 72-hour kits. We’ve only had them for the past 2 years and they could certainly use some improvement but I’d like to share with you some things I’ve learned in putting them together.
First, the most important thing is to just start! Even though I wanted to be prepared, I was always too afraid to start putting kits together. I figured it would be expensive and time-consuming, so I put it off. Until 2 years ago. That’s when my oldest son came to me asking for help with his family night lesson on being prepared. I was still a bit daunted but I decided we’d just go for it.
Start with what you’ve got. I was amazed at how much of what we needed we already had. It was just a matter of getting it together in one place. I even found an unused bag or backpack for everyone! You will probably be missing some things and that’s ok! If it’s really important, put in on your shopping list to get later.
Make lists. You can find lists of things to put in a kit everywhere online. They are a helpful place to start, but ultimately only you know what will help you and your family feel most comfortable in an emergency situation.
Make it portable! Most sites list so much stuff to put in a kit that it would be impossible to fit it all in one bag. This is for an emergency, you don’t need to include the kitchen sink! Especially take care not to stuff so much in your children’s bags that they can’t carry them. I certainly don’t want to have to worry about carrying their bags in addition to everything else I’ll be worrying about if we need them.
- 72hours.org – this site has all kinds of preparedness resources
- A good basic kit checklist
- ready.gov has a great preparedness website for kids
Here is what I have packed in my kit, just for an example. Each family member’s pack is slightly different. It’s not complete, but it’s better than nothing!
A fleece blanket, a hygiene kit (see below), toilet paper, a change of clothes (long sleeves and pants) and undergarments, combo crank led flashlight/radio/alarm/charger (really cool), small stove with fuel, Sea World poncho (a useful souvenir).
We got these cool hygiene bags last summer from the airline when our flight was canceled. They’ve come in handy for storing all the loose little stuff in our kits. Emergency blanket, bandages, toothpaste (I know, no toothbrush. I told you it wasn’t complete), baby wash, pre-soaped disposable wash cloths (I love these), pain reliever/fever reducer for all ages, compass (not that I’d know how to use it but you can’t be really prepared without a compass, right?).
What about the food? I haven’t forgotten, but that’s another post.
Do you have a 72-hour kit? What’s in it? What are your favorite emergency preparedness resources?