Saturday, March 29, 2014

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Starting my emergency kit

This was my pantry before we purchased a second set of shelves two years ago...
This past week our local PBS show aired an hour long program during prime time hours about preparing for an emergency.  It was an excellent show and inspired me to put together an emergency kit.  I haven't, yet... but I thought perhaps I could think out loud in this morning's post as I will begin this week.

Last night before going to bed, I was wondering if I should do so and then I awoke to the news California had a 5.2 earthquake.  Hmmm... perhaps it is a sign I need to share my plan?  Not to mention we've recently had numerous severe weather updates on our local news since we are entering tornado season.

One of the points the PBS program was making was how storms are more severe when they occur, that they are happening in various places, and that there are more natural disasters.  (Hmmm... sounds Biblical to me.)  I was reminded that the worst tornado outbreak we have experienced in years happened last year in a month we rarely have tornadoes.  Thankfully the two schools hit were not in session at the time.

I never gave much thought to an emergency kit because I keep a lot of items where I can safely find them and I never planned to have to leave home (aka: bug out).  But two summers ago when we were under extreme drought, our county was experiencing grass fires.  One field fire was not all that far from our county road and as we live in a heavily wooded area, the forest was extremely dry.  So for the first time since living here we were faced with fire danger.

I decided this week to begin assembling an emergency kit... on a budget... starting with what we have on hand already... and adding to it little by little.  Now, I'm not talking about an extensive bug out bag here.  That wouldn't work for us. 

But I'm talking about having emergency items in one place and some of them in a bag in case we do have to leave home.  Should we (as is most probable) experience an emergency and be able to stay put, it is still a good idea to have a portable emergency kit.  That is where my thinking has changed.

I'll write more next week when I've had time to see what I have already but here is what I plan to do right away...
  1. Search the garage and Christopher's closet for a gym bag or backpack.
  2. Write down emergency numbers, contact numbers, and where important documents are located.
  3. Check the portable file holder that contains the documents to see if everything of importance is in there.
  4. Go through our First Aid kit and see what needs replacing and updating.  Check the expiration date on such items as the antibiotic cream.
  5. Look through emergency supplies to see what I have that can be kept in a bag and what I may need.
  6. Make a list of  lightweight portable food that can be packed in the bag and then rotated as needed (for instance something like protein bars).
  7. Go through clothing and find one outfit for each of us that can be packed and we won't miss it (like that pullover I never wear because it makes me look like a hippo).  Consider purchasing one package of men's gym socks that can work for any adult.
  8. Along with doing some more research, that is it. 
That's all I'm doing this week.  

Oh, if you do decide to research on your own, do not feel overwhelmed should you read what is recommended for an emergency kit.  Especially if you will use it as a bug out bag.  One site I went to had something like 100 "essential" objects.  I think it would kill me just carrying the bag to the car.

Some of you will need to give even more attention to a more portable emergency kit than I will.  Those living in hurricane zones as well as areas known for fast moving forest fires are well aware of the possible need to move fast and with little warning.

The one hour PBS program was excellent because it taught the truth of being prepared and balanced it with good science.  For instance, one woman (I think she was the seismologist) assembled a small bag for each of her children that is kept just under each bed, along with a flashlight and a pair of shoes.  For she knows an earthquake can hit at any time.

I have long put my shoes on during a tornado watch (when severe weather was actually approaching) and had my kids put on shoes or keep them nearby.  When in high school, my best friend's house was hit by a tornado.  Her sister was not wearing shoes and she severely slashed her feet on glass when they walked out of their basement.

Another point numerous people in the PBS special made was one I have read over the years... and is so very true.  The more you prepare for a possible emergency situation, the less you tend to fear them.  Although I still hyperventilate during tornado warnings!

Next week I will share what I've been able to put together without making any purchase.  And hopefully a few good links!


Anonymous said...

for the past 13 years i have kept a bag in my car and my husband car. We both work an hour away from home,in the bag I put a complete change of clothes, including extra shoes, toothbrush and paste, soap, towels, blanket,
water and some snacks. 1st aid and boots and heavy coat for winter. some money. I also have bags at home in the cellar should the need arise.

Anonymous said...

Brenda, I have been thinking along the same lines for the past year. We have always kept our vehicles supplied for emergencys(flashlights, water, food, first aid supplies, chargers for cell phones, etc) and the house is well supplied accept for I'm still working out a rotation water supply for just in case. The one thing I really need to get at is a "bug out bag" due to the hubby's medications, the dogs needs, etc. One question, you mentioned a portable file. What do you keep in it???
Thank you, I'm looking forward to next weeks post to help me get us better prepared in case we have to leave our home.

May God bless you, Marsha

Vee said...

Thanks for sharing the bit about the provided just the levity that such a post needs. I laughed out loud! Gosh, I was just telling John last night that I didn't want to put a blanket or supplies in the trunk of the car because every time I do I have come upon an accident where it was needed. This whole topic gives me the willies, but it is true that one never knows and it is best to be prepared.

mdoe37 said...

I haven't put bags together yet. But I did find that actual bags at Goodwill. I was lucky enough to find three nested upright rolling suitcases. I guess that's what they are. They were $8 for three and then I found another nice one for $3. Nice extension handles for pulling them along. One for each of us, one for the pets (litter box etc), and I thought one with the foods stuff as it won't fail that we will have a sugar crisis at the wrong moment-and gear like flashlights, toiletries, radio--preferably one that will charge phones and extra cords to go with etc.

The problem is finding a place to store them packed. They sit so nicely nested. lol

Anonymous said...

I have a cat who is going with me if something happens. I keep copies of essential documents in his carrier. I don't know if I'll have the presence of mind to remember some things, but I know that I will not forget my cat. So it made sense for me to put those things there.

Anonymous said...

I have a cat who is going with me if something happens. I keep copies of essential documents in his carrier. I don't know if I'll have the presence of mind to remember some things, but I know that I will not forget my cat. So it made sense for me to put those things there.

Anonymous said...

I alwys have a ready to go bag because of hurricanes. Also, keep a stash one ones and fives in case ATMs aren't working.
Your idea about wearing shoes when storms strike is great.

Mrs.Rabe said...

I have family living in CA near the earthquake epicenter! I asked my niece tonight if they have their emergency kit ready and she said no. She knows she needs to and hopefully will get it done. They have a young son, too. I think it is easy to get complacent thinking it won't happen to me. Then it does. Better to be prepared. Good for you to do what you can.


BECKY said...

Really interesting! I missed that PBS show. I'll be back to read more!

Deborah Montgomery said...

Although we do have extra supplies in case of emergencies, we don't currently have a bag as you describe. We've talked about it, just haven't done it. Thank you for the timely reminder. I look forward to your next post about this.