Wednesday, June 15, 2011

72-Hour Kit Wednesday - Tips

We have been working on our kits for 5 months now and should have them all ready to grab quick in an emergency. Depending on where you live, what your biggest disaster threats are (even though no one really knows for sure) and your climate factors, your kits have to be personalized to meet your needs.
I am posting a tip list this week so we can each evaluate our kits and see if we have forgotten anything that we might wish we had remembered. One of the greatest tips I ever received about a 72-hour kit was given to me by a friend who used to be a Civil Defense Specialist. He brought his 72-hour kit to show us and it was in an old Army Duffle Bag. As he starting pulling stuff out I know my mouth must have dropped open because I was astonished at all the things he pulled out of that bag. I remember asking if we needed all those things in our kits and his reply was, “You are the only one who can answer that.”

He then went on to explain that the best way to find out if your kit is really ready to go is to try it out. We need to rotate our kits every 6 months anyway, so his suggestion was to choose a weekend and a scenario and use nothing but what is in our kits. Whether it’s a camping trip or just and outdoor adventure in the backyard with the kids, live out of that kit for three days and make a list of what you needed that you didn’t have and then add it. He added that one family he knew planned a fake emergency and learned a lot about what they would need in the event that emergency really happened.

After our kits are complete, one of the hardest things to do for me is to remember to rotate the food, medicine and anything else that might need to be checked. I chose a date in the spring and in the fall, 6 months later, to do the rotating. Choose any days that will be easy for you to remember. Don’t be afraid to add extra items to your kits if you want. If there is something your family really likes or needs, make sure to pack it in.

Here is a list of good tips for your kits. If you have any other thoughts, experiences or ideas please feel free to share.

72-Hour Kit Tips:
1.Pack soap and smelly foods like jerky, or gum separately.
2.When you get new glasses put a set of old ones in your kit.
3.Duct tape is very handy for many things
4.Can opener in ever kit
5.Purification kit
6.Unscented soap is good
7.No pop-top cans
8.Old shower curtain liner make great ground cover for bedrolls
9.Remember things like candles, gas lighter extra butane can, flashlight with spare bulb and batteries, a sharp locking pocket knife, gel hand warmers, water purification tablets (or non-scented bleach/chlorine -which can be used as 2 teaspoons to around 10 Liters of water and mixed, then left to stand minimum 30 minutes), new boot socks and Army/Outdoor mess kit. I also pack tinned baked beans, canned tuna, meat paste sealed in small jars, sealed crackers, boiled sweets (candy) and biscuits (cookies), as well as instant soup portions. Don’t forget water – remember we CAN survive on just ONLY water for 2 weeks, without it, we could die in 3 days.
11.Undergarments (several)
12.Rain Coat/Poncho
13.Blankets and Emergency Heat Blankets (that keep in warmth)
14.Cloth Sheet
15.Plastic Sheet
20.Water-Proof Matches
23.Pen and Paper
25.Pocket Knife
27.Personal Supplies
28.Toiletries (roll of toilet paper- remove the center tube to easily flatten into a zip-lock bag, feminine hygiene, folding brush, etc.)
29.Cleaning Supplies (mini hand sanitizer, soap, shampoo, dish soap, etc. Warning: Scented soap might "flavor" food items.)
30.Personal Documents, Legal Documents (Birth/Marriage Certificates, Wills, Passports, Contracts, etc)
31.Insurance Policies
33.Infant Needs (if applicable)
34.Update your 72 Hour Kit every six months (put a note in your calendar/planner) to make sure that: all food, water, and medication is fresh and has not expired; clothing fits; personal documents and credit cards are up to date; and batteries are charged.
35.Small toys/games are important too as they will provide some comfort and entertainment during a stressful time.
36.Older children can be responsible for their own pack of items/clothes too.
37.You can include any other items in your 72 Hour Kit that you feel are necessary for your family's survival.
38.Some items and/or flavors might leak, melt, "flavor" other items, or break open. Dividing groups of items into individual Ziploc bags might help prevent this. Use a bag sealer/vacuum packer if you have one.
39.Winter clothes for extreme temps, gloves, hats, masks, extra socks etc.

No comments: