Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Making Do for 72 Hours -PART ONE: 72 Hour Kits & First Aid Kits

  I've been thinking a lot lately about the things my family would need in order to get by outside our home for 72 hours. We have been doing quite well at obtaining a long-term food storage and building a water supply, but what would happen if we had to evacuate our home immediately and only take the necessities with us? Or if we were suddenly stranded away from home? My husband has an off-roading vehicle and our family loves spending time in the mountains exploring. If that vehicle were to break down, or a freak storm suddenly hit, would we have what we needed to sustain our family for a short period of time? 
  It has become very important to us to make sure we have "72-hour kits" not only in our home so we can grab them and go in case of immediate evacuation, but also smaller versions of those kits in our vehicles. A thought occurred to me the other day that should my husband be away from our home during a natural disaster, I would want to make sure he had all the supplies to sustain himself until we could be reunited.
  Shelf Reliance has a fantastic online calculator to help your family figure out exactly what would be needed in the event of an emergency; it's like the THRIVE Planner, but for emergency supplies. I have also collected a lot of emergency preparedness information and pamphlets over the years and would like to share some of it with you.

  The following list is from a pamphlet entitled "Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit" from the American Red Cross and FEMA. You can find much of this information on their websites-www.redcross.org and www.fema.gov

Items marked with an asterisk (*) are items you would most likely need during an evacuation. These items should be in an easy-to-carry container as your "Disaster Supplies Kit" or "72-Hour Kit".

1 gallon per person per day (2 for drinking, two for cooking/sanitation)
Keep a 3 day supply per person

Ready-to-eat meats, fruits and vegetables
Canned Juices, milk, soup (If powdered, store additional water)
Staples-Sugar, salt, pepper
High energy foods-Peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix
Foods for infants, elderly persons or persons on special diets
Comfort/stress foods-Cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops

Sterile adhesive bandage in assorted sizes                    Assorted sizes of safety pins
2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)                                     Medicine dropper
4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)                                     Cleaning agent/soap  
Hypoallergenic adhesive tape                                       Latex gloves (2 pair)
Triangular Bandages (3)                                               Sunscreen
2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)                           
3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)                          Non-Prescription Drugs:
Scissors                                                                       Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
Tweezers                                                                    Anti-diarrhea medication
Needle                                                                        Antacid (for upset stomach)
Moistened towelettes                                                   Laxative
Tongue depressors (2)
Tube petroleum jelly or other lubricant

Tools and Supplies:
*Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils                    Needles, thread
*Emergency Preparedness Manual                                            Shut-off wrench
*Battery operated radio and extra batteries                             *Whistle
*Flashlights and extra batteries                                                Plastic sheeting
*Cash in small bills                                                                   *Map of area (for shelters)
*Non-electric can opener, utility knife                                     *Work Gloves
Fire extinguisher: small canister, ABC type                              
*Tube tent                                                                           Sanitation:    
*Pliers or multi-tool                                                             *Toilet paper, towelettes    
Duct tape                                                                            *Soap, liquid detergent 
*Compass                                                                             *Feminine supplies   
*Matches in water-proof container                                        *Personal hygiene items 
Aluminum foil                                                                       Plastic garbage bag, ties
Plastic storage containers                                                      Plastic bucket with tight lid
*Signal flares                                                                         Disinfectant  
paper, pencil                                                                         Household chlorine bleach

Clothing and Bedding:
*Sturdy shoes or work boots                                                    Hat and gloves
*Rain gear                                                                              Thermal underwear
*Blankets or sleeping bags                                                       Sunglasses
*Seasonal clothing (including extra pants, shirts, socks, underwear, coats)-Long pants are your best option for 72-hour backpacks as they can always be altered for warmer weather in an emergency.

Special Items:
*For Baby:                                                                 *For Children:
Formula (If you are nursing,                                        Medications
it may not be an option in a high-stress situation)        Favorite foods for comfort
Diapers                                                                       Books and small toys
Bottles                                                                        Item of comfort (ie. teddy bear, blankie)
Powdered Milk

*For Adults:                                                               *Entertainment-games and books   
Heart and high blood pressure medications                  *Important Family Documents
Insulin                                                                     Keep these in a waterproof, portable container
Prescription drugs                                                      -Will, insurance policies, contracts,
Denture needs                                                           deeds, stocks and bonds
Contacts lenses and supplies                                      -Passports, social security cards,
Extra eye glasses                                                        immunization records
                                                                                -Bank, credit card #s and companies
                                                                                -Inventory of valuable household
                                                                                goods, important telephone numbers
                                                                               -Family records (birth, marriage, 
                                                                                death certificates)

Suggestions and Reminders:
-Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the "Disaster Supplies Kit" or "72-Hour Kit" in the trunk of your car.
-Keep items in air-tight containers.
-Change your stored water supply every six months. Alternatively you could use the Aqua Mira treatment to extend the water life to 6 YEARS.
-Rotate your stored food every six months
-Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothing etc.
-Ask your physician about storing prescription medications.

  The above list is a great way to get started on kits for your family. Once you have a basic outline, its easy to manipulate it to fit your family's needs.

  This is a 72-hour food pack I created for all our extended family for Christmas. I made these packs with the intention of putting them in our smaller kits for the cars. I vacuum-sealed each food pack so they will hold up for an extended period of time before requiring rotation. It has enough food for one person for 3 simple meals plus snacks for 3 days.
  I plan to create a 3-day meal plan for our family and purchase all the required foods for those meals in THRIVE pouches. I love how light-weight the pouches are and we could make several meals with them. Watch for my meal plan in the segments to follow.

  These are pictures of my family's current first aid kit. We chose to go with a tackle-box (we purchased at Walmart) because it has individual dividers allowing us to open boxes of bandages and place them in the compartments for quick access. I love the tackle-box approach because it's compact and easy to grab. We take this with us when we go camping and will grab it in case of evacuation. Obviously it still needs quite a bit added to it.

  Watch for PART 2 which will include ideas for creating a "Grab-n-go" or "Red File" and a fully-balanced meal plan for your kits.

Autumn Christiansen    Independent Consultant-Shelf Reliance    435-723-0977    autumnchristiansen@gmail.com 

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