This week I finished assembling 72-hr emergency kits for my two children. I have to admit, their kits are pretty minimalist.
This is what I included:
• 3 day supply of food
• 3 water bottles
• Wash cloth
• Travel size toothpaste and toothbrush
• Wipes and diapers (Sweet Bee only)
• Complete change of clothing
• Emergency blanket
• Family phone numbers
• Coloring book, crayons
• Softie (a special snugly item for the Sweet Bee)
I just used backpacks that I already had around the house. The Ant Bug's bag has wheels. It's too heavy for her to carry on her back, but she can use the handle and pull it.
This is the first time I have actually packed kits for children, so I decided to ask my more experienced extended family members for their ideas. Below are some of their very helpful suggestions.
Eliza's General Tips: I put things into the backpacks (72-hour kits) that I would need for my children for three days. So we start with diapers and wipes and plastic bags for garbage, and then food and basic cleaning supplies. I also have some diaper pins and cloth diapers in case we run out of the disposable diapers. Last year I made a small comfort blanket for each child (piece of fleece with a ribbon sewed around the edge) that is also stored in the 72-hour kit. I made each one in their favorite color. I don't put some of the first aid things in their backpacks, but I do have some family items scattered among all the backpacks. So, for example, one child might have more food than the others since Kirk's bag has the water purifier in it.
Katie's General Tips: I don't have everything packed and ready yet, but Kyle has a much larger pack than the rest of us. I only packed clothes and food in Kayla's bag which we could be carrying in our hands anyway. The older kids have all the basics except first aid stuff. Kyle has all that plus things like t.p. and water filter and gas stove, mess kit, etc. I've also included little activities for the kids such as coloring books or other books and playing cards. I've had to update Kayla's bag every few months as she grows out of things. I do that when I rotate her other clothes into storage.
Tiffany on Clothing: The clothing idea that I like is to have sweat suits for each person. In time of emergency--if it is summer than you can cut off the sleeves and shorten the pants, or if it is cold then you have warmer clothing. This supposedly solves the problem of having to rotate the clothing seasonally. (If you live in the desert you may or may not want to use this idea!) Of course, for growing kids the only way to make it work size-wise is to stay on top of rotating clothing. Easier said than done! But, I guess you could buy clearance or second-hand sweat pants/shirts--one in each size all the way up the size chart and just devote them to the 72-hour-kit cause.
Becky on Transportation: We got a nice wagon to help carry the load- we also have a bike trailer that could be used to transport children and backpacks. Our neighborhood has emergency drills about twice a year and it has been interesting to actually strap the backpacks on everyone and see how they do for a short walk. Paul and I have backpacking packs so that we can carry most of the items- the children can't really carry that much so we just keep their packs pretty light.
Tiffany on Transportation: My latest answer to the question of "how can the kids haul their kits?" was to buy a few of the rolling backpacks. That would make it easy for adults as well as children.
Tiffany on Food: My latest idea is to get a large see-through plastic storage bin to put in my pantry. I will then stock it with all the food for the 72-hour-kits and date the items. Then--the food should be easily at hand and visible so I can rotate it more readily! So, if we have an emergency at home we'll have the food and be fine. If we have to leave in a car then it will be easy to grab the backpack kits and the food box. If we need to we can easily distribute it into the individual kits. So, this isn't something I've done--it just seems to be my latest idea of something that might work for me.
I think the key is to just start doing something. I don't feel that our kits are exactly perfect yet, but I can keep adjusting things as we go along. At least we're a lot better off then we were just a few months ago!
Prepared LDS Family: This site is amazing and very helpful! Read it, and you'll be inspired to do something to prepare your family!
If ye are prepared ye shall not fear: This thought-provoking site explores issues of preparedness for the coming hard times.
Team Freeman: Project Prepared Part 3: A real-life example of a 72-hr kit.
Ready.gov: Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed.