Thursday, May 26, 2011

Autumn Asks: How Prepared Are You? Part I

We have all been watching in complete heartbreak the crazy weather catastrophes all over the world the last few years. It defies words.

The last two days we have had our share of alarms and warnings and sirens, etc. Luckily (??????) my kids are well rounded on the disaster front.

In Iceland it was volcano's and white-outs.  We had to even keep packed suitcases under all of our beds for immediate evac.....and had exercises to practice exactly how it would happen. It was a huge ordeal.

Texas and Nebraska had the tornado's. In Nebraska we had a pretty good plan and safe place in the Texas we did not. That house was not meant to keep you safe in a tornado-- which is really stupid when you consider the number they get a year.

Florida we had hurricanes.  One was coming in as I gave birth to Songbird. Another chased us out of the state when she was a month old. We lived right on the water and were never sure if the house would be standing when we returned. Thankfully it always was.

So now we are back in tornado country again. Heck, right now it looks like the whole country is tornado country. Very scary stuff.

And last night we had all the sirens going off and we had to "seek shelter immediately".  I'm happy to announce that my children handle this so very well.  And it all starts with....

The 72-hour kit.  Its an obnoxious orange backpack that hangs on the wall in the garage. You can't miss it. But this time it so happened to already be on the couch because this is the time of year I pull it out and replace all batteries and expired stuff, etc.  And the Hubs and I had been talking about beefing it up a bit with some more things.  So I had just inventoried and made a new shopping list.  As a matter of fact we are going to add another backpack to hang beside it with some more food stuffs and clothing and such.

So the orange backpack was placed in the hall and the girls know to grab their stuff also. MM brings a laundry basket that she fills with books and stuffed ladybugs. Everyone grabs a pillow and blanket. The Rat is placed in his crate and put in there. We grabbed Cinders bed but not her crate as it was too big. I think we need to rectify that somehow as she walked all over us. Its a very very small hall. I imagine she could have hurt one of us if we were actually hit. She would be safer contained I think.

Since we have been having these storms....with more to come today...I thought I'd talk a little bit about being prepared.  I'm not talking about "end of the world" stuff....just storms and such.  Most of us will not be hit catastrophically -- and if we are, no amount of prep work is going to really help that much.  But many of us can experience electric and water outages for days - serious but not un-livable home damage and be stuck living in an area where there is no gas for the gas stations because of damage and everything could be rather serious, with the shelves of the stores stripped bare. That is not the time to begin thinking about this.

So lets start with a 72 hour kit.  For us this is just a backpack.  In it you will find enough food to keep us in sufficient calories for 3 days.  Without added water or electricity.

We also like to toss the extra's from MRE packs in. My kids think its a treat when daddy brings home MRE's and we have an MRE dinner night. (No this does not happen often as they are made with a gazillion calories to keep warriors in the field fed and ready to fight.) Anyways, you will also find bagged water and the drops to purify water.  This is emergency rations, so we are not worried about taste and such...its all about survival.

You will also find a small bag of toiletries.
This needs to be supplemented some more right now. Currently it has two travel size "girl stuff", 5 toothbrush/paste, a couple of shampoos, a couple travel sewing kits, a disposable razor, a travel comb/mirror combo and two bars of soap.  As you can see most of this is hotel fodder. The other are from the travel sized stuff.  As long as your house is still standing you will have most of this.  But if you run to a shelter its good to have the things for a couple of nights...until the donations are set in motion or you are allowed to return home.

A word on the soaps -- remember, in an emergency situation that soap can be used as shampoo, to wash clothes and to wash dishes.  This is not optimum for dishes but it is better than nothing.  So I will be adding a few more bars of soap.

The first aide portion of the backpack is where we are sorely under prepared.  Now, we do have kits in both cars and an extra in the garage and one in the camping gear.  This is one reason I have waited until last to beef it up.  Currently it has one mask, disposable gloves (need several pairs to add), a small first aid kit, biohazardous waste bags -- oh, and the can opener that should be with the food. NEVER go without a can opener. There is nothing crazier than having canned food at hand...and no way to get into it without compromising the food inside.

Lastly, we have some basics: duct tape, a utility wrench, lighter, multi-purpose tool, an emergency whistle, plastic sheeting to seal off doors and windows, a weather radio and earphones and a flashlight.  Batteries will need to be replaced yearly  (in my opinion) and the lighter swapped out with a fresh one.  I also want to add a magnesium fire starter and some of the cheap fire starters you can buy at the store.  Remember, we are talking about no electricity.  How are you going to cook?  Also, I need to get a roll of toilet paper in the bag.

We should have a stash of cash in the bag also, but we have that under lock and key in a safe instead. Just not comfortable otherwise.

Remember - no electricity means you cannot pump gas.  You cannot go out to eat unless you find a place with electricity.  You cannot use ATM's.  Many stores will not accept credit/debit if there is no power - its cash only.  You will NEED some cash.   If you have ever survived a nasty hurricane evac you are well aware of these situations.  Also, the sewage seems to get backed up easy so you might be going in the bushes. Not kidding. Been there, done that.

So that is our current kit -- it is no where near complete but we add to it each year.

How about you? Do you have a 3 day kit? What do you have that I am missing?

In part two I will show you more of what is done around the house at all times to be prepared. It's the little things that make such a big difference when that snow storm knocks out the power for days....or whatever the situation.  

Are you prepared?


  1. But do you have tactical bacon? We don't have a 3 day kit; we have a 30 day tub of stuff. Though I'm sure it comes as no surprise that hubby is prepared on all fronts...and we don't even live in tornado country.

  2. Okay, I am so going to have to put one of these together! Thanks so much for sharing!