Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My 72 Hour Kit Journey***Warning: My Opinion Runs Rampant Throughout This Post!

Getting a 72-Hour Kit together can be a daunting task. I know—I put it off for years. Then, I put off rotating it for years. I just barely cleaned out and started over, and only because of the guilt I felt for contributing to this blog and not having a working 72-Hour Kit. Guilt can sometimes be a good thing, apparently.

I hope to share a few tips to help you in your own 72 Hour Kit quest. (Keep in mind this is only my opinion, so you may actually have to think for yourself. Bummer, I know.)

I. An emergency evacuation plan:

Why are you creating a 72-Hour Kit? For what purpose? How will you transport it? I plan for the worst possible situation because I'm a pessimist. In attempts to lighten up my attitude I have added expecting the best to my repertoire. I’ve learned that planning for the worst and expecting the best is often the most practical scenario.

Planning for the worst would entail me carrying my 72-Hour Kit somewhere. Therefore, it must be easily transportable. I chose backpacks because my husband is a backpacking fanatic and we had two extras lying around. If I had to carry one of them I could. I'm hoping for the best, which would mean I could use the car. Well, the best would be not to have to use it at all right? But, if I needed to Mountain Man could carry one backpack (the heavy one, ba ha) and I could carry the other.

If I needed to evacuate my area and there was a car available, I could throw my kits in the back of my car and go. But where would I go? Does it matter, you ask? Yes. You should look at a map and find out how far you can go on your tank of gas. Research evacuation stops in each of the four directions. You never know what will come at you (hurricane, earthquake, a nuclear something etc.) so you should know escape routes in all directions. When you make your perimeter, look for areas where you could stay. Mountain Man and I would head for a state park as far as we could get on our tank of gas. A state park would have water available that we could filter and use and it would be a place to pitch our tent and stay a while. Make a note of where you would go and keep it in your car with your atlas. You should have an atlas in your car (my opinion).

2. Meal Plan:

Most of the items on the list are self-explanatory but the food is left open to interpretation. I made a plan for our family based on what we could fit in our kits and what we like to eat. Also, I have a couple of backpacking stoves that I can rely on to cook. Make sure you have fuel for the stoves.

I made a menu plan, planning for 3 meals a day with two snacks (worst case scenario remember).

Day 1

Breakfast: Instant Oatmeal

Snack: Goldfish crackers

Lunch: PB&J and crackers

Snack: Granola bars

Dinner: Ramen (high in calories and very light. Plus, I like it!)

Day 2:

Breakfast: Pop Tarts and fruit (in the little plastic cups--applesauce/cut fruit)

Snack: Fruit snacks

Lunch: Tuna fish and crackers (Spam for Mountain Man, he hates tuna.)

Snack: Trail mix/dried fruit

Dinner: Dry soup packets and crackers (most likely goldfish)

Day 3:

Breakfast: Instant Cream of Wheat packets

Snack: Goldfish (we have a ton of goldfish, can you tell?)

Lunch: PB&J and crackers

Snack: Beef Jerky

Dinner: More Ramen!

Wow, no veggies...oh well. I'm not really worried about having nutritiously balanced meals. I'm worried about surviving (remember this is my opinion.) But I do have a bunch of dehydrated veggies in Mountain Man's backpacking cupboard I could throw in.

Do you see how this is going? I'm planning my menu based on what WE eat and on what's available to me. We don't have a lot of money so I'm not going to go out and buy special emergency food. What I am going to do is pick foods that are easily transported, high in calories, easy to prepare, don't require refrigeration, and yummy.

3. Put your kit together:

Oh, brother. This is where it gets tough for me. I'm really good at making lists, not so good at following through. What I did was go through my house and gather everything on the list (72-Hour Kit and my menu plan) that I already had in my house. I dumped it all on my guest bed two weeks before my in-laws were coming, thus giving myself a deadline. I measured out the necessary water and then packed everything I had into my backpacks.

I didn't/don't have everything on my list. I printed out my list (from the printables on the sidebar) and crossed off things as they went into the backpacks. I wrote my menu plan on the back of the paper so I wouldn't lose it.

Here it is, and you can see I've highlighted the things I don't have in yet. But I put it together anyway, because some food is better than no food! You ought to put a copy of this in your kit so you know what food you have without having to dig through your backpack or Tupperware.

I'm going to have to finish gathering items and do a repacking job, or enlist Mountain Man to help, because, quite frankly I'm not so swell at packing. But I loaded it all up anyway. Why? Because it's better to have something than nothing.

Obviously not everything fits in our backpacks. So I made a little list to tell me where everything is. If I got a call that I had to be out of my house in ten minutes or less I would probably be freaking out, understandably. So I am posting this note in my kitchen, on the pantry door, where I am most of the time (kind of sounds like I like to eat, eh?) and also by my 72-Hour Kits in the guest room closet. I guarantee that I won't be thinking clearly during an emergency, so I want to make it as easy for me as possible.

I had a Relief Society President who once handed out an emergency sheet she used. It had a list of items she would grab from her house depending on the time she had. I wish I could find it to scan it in. But basically she had a list of things she would grab if she had ten minutes (72-Hour Kits, etc). If she had 20 minutes she would grab more things, and so on. I think this would be a great FHE activity. Determine what is vital for survival, then what would be helpful, and finally, maybe some things that are important to each family member IF they had the time to grab it. Knowing the location of these items would also be helpful.

After sticking everything in you have, make a wish list of the things you need still. Start with the cheaper items at the top and chip away at it when you can. Ask for the larger things for Christmas gifts if you want. I think I'm turning into a food storage nerd.

To reiterate: Make an emergency evacuation plan, make your meal plan, and put it all together. Don't wait until you have everything!

P.S. Don't forget to rotate your food, clothing, and batteries...


Heidi A. said...

Thanks for a GREAT blog! It's a good reminder to all of us. You've inspired me to get our caught-up today. They've been lining the hallway for two weeks as we were supposed to go through them at Conference time -- but we didn't get to them.
I'm going to get to them TODAY!!!
Thanks for such true and simple reminders and clarifications!

Karen said...

Thanks for the motivation - I know it's way past time to rotate our 72-hour kits. I thought I'd pass on something I learned the hard way. I used to have cans of tuna in my 72-hour kits with the pull tops (no need for a can opener!), but somehow one of the cans got bent, the seal broke, and by the time we found it, who-knows-how-many years later, we had fuzzy black tuna covering all the food. Luckily it was all in a ziploc bag! Anyway - it was totally gross and I wouldn't wish that experience on anyone else:) Now I avoid any easily opened packaging.

The Pabsts said...

In our area (highly earthquake prone) our ward building has been designated a place for members to go. That's an easier evacuation site than a state park we'll never make it to because of traffic. Thanks for the reminder to rotate, I think I still have size 3 diapers in ours for my 3 year old, who is now potty trained. It's been a while. Love the blog!

jayna said...

hello! i don't know you, but i love your blog. we could totally be friends because i'm so into this stuff. thanks so much!!

nick said...

This is an absolutely fantastic post. I just thought you should be aware of that. got here via commander zero's blog, by the way.

amy said...

just wanted to thank you for putting your time into this blog. i really appreciate it and am thrilled i stumbled across it this morning! i have hours of reading/preparation ahead of me and i couldn't be happier. thanks for this invaluable resource! :)
you rock.

Heidi said...

Great ideas, you inspired me to make some changes in our kits and add new things. I like the idea of the list of items to grab based on time you've got. We're also burning a back up of our computers for our 72 hour kit with family pictures, files, etc. We have an off site back up but I like the idea of having a hard copy with me if I have to grab a backpack and go.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting blog.

May I suggest highlighting the things on your list you have, rather than highlighting the things you don't have in yet. That way you can highlight them when you get them - since its hard to unhighlight....

Danielle said...

Thanks for the inspiring post. My 72 hour kit is very lacking, so lacking in fact, it barely exists and we would be lucky to support one of us for 1 day on what is in it. We are preparing to move next month and think I will pack our 72-hour kits as part of our packing process. Thanks again.

The Buffats said...

Just wanted to say thanks for a great blog- I appreciate the printables and love your method for the 3-month supply. I am always inspired and motivated when I visit here. Your recipes are a great tool- I've copied them into one document that I keep adding to. Thanks again!!

Wilson Family said...

I put off my 72 hr kit for a long time. Finally we did a FHE where I treated it like a scavenger hunt. Each kid had to find their backpack, clothes, flashlights, underwear, socks, etc. With all 6 of us working together we got the kits done in 30 mins or less. It was great, and not as hard as I thought it would be. This weekend, we went camping and each kid just grabbed thier 72 hr kits and we were able to see who was missing certain things and what clothes had been outgrown, etc. It was great.

Danielle said...

I posted a link to this article on blog Thursday. Here is the link: http://juanshappywife.blogspot.com/2008/10/this-week-thursday_23.html

Stacy said...

Just wanted to pass on a tip I use for my 72 hour kit. I store my Go Bag in the hall closet by the front door, but I keep my reminder list (such as you made) inside the bag itself. This way I can quickly look at the list with no thought.

For a drive-away evacuation (best case scenario) I have all of the "gear" (e.g. camp stove, propane, hatchet, folding shovel, tent, sleeping bag, etc.) stored in an ordinary rectangular laundry basket with handles. I can pick it up and walk out the door, without having to go around the house to various rooms/garage to get those items. I can put the basket in the car with no thought and won't forget anything.

JBSquared said...

Thanks so much for your blog! I am learning so much - you've made me feel like the goal of a great food storage system is totally attainable!! Thanks for being so clear, helpful, and informative. Keep it coming!

Todd said...

Since I have received so many emails, I am thinking of putting together an extensive list
of items that should be in your 72 hour kit & Bug out Bag.The most important thing you need
is water & since you cannot carry much water, you will need a small water filter. I carry
a small pump water filter that will filter out 99.999% of micro-organisms. I also carry a
straw type filters that filter as you suck through the straw. Just in case I also carry a
bottle of purification pills. Second you need nutrients & the best source of nutrients is
life caps, not only are they pure, real food, easy digestable & you can live on life caps &
water alone, they are light & easy to carry. Great for children & adults, they have all the
vitamins & minerals including iodine to sustain life. When a tragedy or emergency hits,
people do not realize the importance of water, vitamins & minerals during stressful situations.
Fatigue & illness occurs because of lack of nutrients & water. Most of the time the hunger
is not there because of the stress. YOU NEED TO REMEMBER TO TAKE GOOD VITAMINS & DRINK WATER
IN AN EMERGENCY TO STAY HEALTHY & HELP YOURSELF & OTHERS. What is the first thing you do in
an emergency situation on a plane, you put the oxygen mask on yourself then take care of others
around you. First thing in an emergency, you should take life caps & drink water before you do
anything else. You cannot do yourself or anyone else any good if you fall due to stress.
Many elders & children die before people realize they need more than double the vitamins & water
during a stressful situation than during a normal day. Elders & children die because of lowered
immune systems during emergencies.
Please find good water filters, purification pills & get some life caps at lifecaps.net. Type in
"Heathcaps" as your coupon code to save 33%. I did a Google search to find the straw type filters.
The straw filters are made by Aquamira, but do not buy off there site, I found them for 1/2 the price on
other sites.