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Thursday, February 5, 2009

72-hour kit distribution: Who carries what?

A few weeks ago, someone asked us how we determine what goes in each person's 72-hour kit. Who carries the food? Who carries the money? Does everyone need to carry some of everything?

So, Abs and I spent a couple hours last week making sure our kits were complete, and packing them according to what we thought was important. The kits we are putting together here are for 4 people - two adults and 2 small children. This was a bit challenging because obviously kids can't carry much in their packs. So, keep their packs light for two reasons: 1) so that they can carry them as much as possible, and 2) you could carry it easily in a free hand if necessary, without weighing you down too much (assuming you are carrying your own pack on your back).

There are a couple things to consider when you put together 72-hour kits. In our worst case scenario, we figured that we would need to carry our packs and be on foot. So, we only packed the ESSENTIALS in these 72-hour kits (pretty much everything on our list on the blog).

First things first: Abs pulled out everything she needed in her kits. She hadn't been actually filling her backpacks yet because she was waiting to have everything collected.

We dumped all the food on the floor and separated it out. We thought it was important that each person at least had SOME food in their own packs, so we took out the snacks and packed them into little white plastic mugs (the mugs are what they will eat out of for the 3 days). We also put 6 packs of oatmeal (the breakfasts) in each person's pack. Additionally, we added a stack of saltines to each person's pack. As for the rest of the food, we put it all in Abs' pack. She still needs to get the rest of her dinners bought, but there was room left over for that (Abs and Mountain Man each have a large backpacking backpack for their kits).

We put the small entertainment items in the kids' packs. These included some crayons, pens, and coloring books, and a couple decks of cards. We also put the toilet paper and diapers in with the kids' packs, since it's so light and would have taken up valuable space in Abs or Mountain Man's packs.

Everyone carried their own set of clothing, emergency blanket, and a baggie of plastic utensils. Each pack should also have a flashlight, a small hand sanitizer, some water, a garbage bag, and a light stick. Everyone should also carry their own prescription medicines.

Besides food (lunches/dinners/candy), Abs is also carrying the set of scriptures, sewing kit, diaper wipes, candles/matches, feminine products, shampoo, disinfectant, mosquito repellent and sunscreen.

Mountain Man's pack consists mostly of the water (which Abs still needs more of). Yes, it's heavy, but thankfully Mountain Man is a backpacker so he can handle it. He is also carrying the solar powered radio, and camp stove.

A five gallon bucket can be carried and will hold the ax and shovel and the work gloves.

Abs and Mountain Man split the money between them - each has $50 in their packs. This consists of small bills and rolls of quarters. They also each have copies of their important documents.

Of course, you can pack your 72-hour kits differently - this is just how Abs did it for her family. Finally, here are some points to consider when it comes to 72-hour kits:
  • Assume the worst: to us, that is that we will be carrying our packs, and that you will be leaving in a moment's notice.
  • If you ARE carrying your packs, bring a stroller and/or wagon, if you have them! Kids can ride in the strollers for part of the time, or you can load your packs onto them for some relief.
  • Empty out your boxes. We saved a lot of room in the backpacks by taking things out of their original packing (take the bag of crackers out of the bulky box!)
  • Don't worry about the non-essentials. For example, if you DO have the opportunity to bathe in the 72 hours, you don't need to condition your hair - shampoo is fine. In fact, you could even just pack body wash and use that for your hair AND body. That would save even more room. It's an emergency, people!
  • Have a "supplemental" box in case you are able to leave in your car. For us, this includes some extra food, sleeping bags, a heavy dutch oven, extra blankets, more entertainment items, a tent, etc... all the little "luxuries" that don't fit in your backpacks but would be really nice to have.
  • You can also make a little list of things you could grab to take with you if you have time to gather it all. For example, if we were evacuating for a forest fire, hurricane, etc., we would have some time to prepare to leave. Besides our 72-hour kits, I would load my car with family pictures and mementos. I'd also bring my sewing machine, which is about 70 years old and was a gift from my mom. Make a list of where these important things are so you don't waste time searching the house for them, and so you don't forget something.
  • Along those same lines... don't worry about your things. It's just STUFF. Assuming you have homeowners insurance, stuff can be replaced. Don't waste time packing up your plasma TV, all your computers, or your Bosch.
Do you have any other tips for 72-hour kit distribution?


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