Saturday, April 16, 2011

Preparedness Challenge #5 (72 Hour Kits)

It's much more fun to prep with the idea of staying at home, but the reality is you may need to evacuate and fast! Do you know what you'd grab? What would you leave behind? And here's the rub... you're going to be flustered and unable to think clearly. Think you could pull it all together in 5 minutes or less? I couldn't, unless I had planned ahead.

72 Hour Kits go by various names: BOB (Bug-Out-Bags), ALICE (Advanced Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment), and GOODY (Get Out Of Dodge, Y'all) are all aliases for kits you would take with you to leave your home quickly. What goes into these bags varies as well, but there are things you should consider when putting a kit together. And depending on where you live and what kind of crisis you are prepping for will determine what goes in your bag. Those living in the city may need a few things that rural folks won't and visa versa. 

Consider what you'll put your supplies in before you begin. If your kit is for your car, a bucket will work, but if you think you'll have to walk out, you'll need backpacks. Keep in mind how much each person can reasonable carry while hiking, climbing, and walking over obstacles.

My goal here is not to be detailed, but rather to list categories for your consideration and to get your mind working on ideas. If you have infants or toddlers, you'll need to add additional items such as disposable dipers, etc. It will help if you think of a camping trip where you're roughing it. And don't forget your pets or animals. Have a plan! We had a fire up on one of the mountains here last summer and people had to get their livestock out fast and take them someplace. 

Packing List

1. Water. Pack some water, but also have something that can purify water that you can find wherever you are. Don't depend on FEMA or the Red Cross to always be there purifying it for you. Have some tablets or something as a back up.

2. Food. Your goal here is to keep calories in everyone for fuel. A few snacks for the kids are fine, but you can't carry too much. Consider MRE food bars that are designed specifically for this purpose. 

3. Clothing. At least one change of clothes per person is necessary. Also, pack several pairs of extra socks in case feet get wet. They can also be used for temporary gloves along with hand warmers. Each person should have a bandana or two as well for covering the face, keeping hair back, etc.

4. First Aid. If there is a crisis going on, there's a good chance someone may need first aid. If not your family, someone else. And because getting medical help might be difficult or impossible for a few days, knowing what to do and having some supplies is necessary. Don't forget that if someone is on prescription medication, you're going to need to throw that in at the last minute. Keep a paper in the top of the bucket with a reminder of what to grab.

5. Hygiene. Dental care, feminine hygiene, deodorant, and soap are all important, but don't forget to include some baby wipes for quick clean ups when water is scarce as well as some hand sanitizer. In a crisis situation, disease can spread rapidly!

6. Protection From The Elements. This could include temporary shelter, rain gear, and starting a fire. Don't get overwhelmed with this; check into some sites such as USA Emergency Supply to see what they are recommending in terms of light weight gear.

7. Must Have From The House. This category would include information from your hard drive such as family photos, banking and billing information, insurance records, home inventory, etc. Also, you should have your passports, copies of birth certificates, and other important documents.

You can pull these items together yourself, but you must be diligent to actually get it done and complete or it won't do you much good. Periodically you will need to update it to replace items that might expire. I suggest that as you use up something in the house, purchase a replacement item and then trade it out for the one in the kit. Keep an inventory of list of your kit inside it and once or twice a year be sure you go through it to update anything you may have missed or to include things you might need.

Another good idea is to include emergency phone numbers of family and friends, some cash, a roll of quarters (for vending machines and such), a couple of maps, any evacuation procedures, and a phone number for the highway department (to find out about road closures, detours, etc).

I know I haven't been exhaustive, but having some of this is better than not having anything. If you find that you're packing out, you really will have to be selective and think survival, not so much for comfort.

How I Prepared This Week

You guessed it... I worked on my 72 hour kit. I'm not done, but I did make some progress. I need to order some water and food bars as well as collect some document copies. Oh, and back up the photos. I've been intending to do that for ages. Time to finish that task! 

I'm posting a photo to prove I actually got it started! Seriously, I need you to hold me accountable. I actually have a bit more, but I lifted some of it out for you to see inside. Perhaps I'll post a list when I get it finished. 

I also picked up several packages of matches (the kind that strike anywhere) and my husband brought home some more firewood. Not bad for one week!

Please share what you did this week to prepare! Write a post and then link up or leave a comment below.


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