Mama Says … Are You Prepared?


California has its droughts (which we are in right now) and its wildfires (which we experienced just a couple of months ago. I had friends and acquaintances who had to evacuate their homes because the fires would literally in their back yards.) The Northwest has its rainstorms. The Midwest has its tornadoes and dust storms. The East has its blizzards and ice storms. The South has flooding and hurricanes.
     Have I captured an overall picture of the events across the United States that can put people in a state of emergency? Whoops! I just remembered another joy that Californians get to enjoy – earthquakes! Lately, it seems that Mother Nature is pretty upset as there are now the tremblers in other parts of this wonderful country.
     You know that I am not a doom and gloom person. I really am an optimist and love to see the glass at least half full. So then you may be wondering why I am listing some of the unpleasant weather conditions that we all experience instead of speaking of sunny days and picnics, etc. Well, because I know these things happen. When, I don’t know, but they will come. And I believe that if we are prepared the shock and trauma may be controllable.
     How do we lessen the fear and trauma? By something as simple as having 72 Hour Kits. Have you heard of 72 Hour Kits? Why 72 hours and not a week? Because the disaster experts have figured out that if you are displaced from your home in an emergency situation you will need 3 days worth of supplies before disaster services will be fully in place. In the meantime services may be spotty. There is a wonderful saying that goes like this: “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”
    How do we make a 72 hour kit and what goes in it? Use a large backpack and have smaller ones for the children. These kits should be kept in a place where you can grab it quickly and carry it if you have to walk a ways to get to a safe location. The kits shouldn’t be hidden in some back closet with golf clubs, skis, etc. on top of them. My children and I have 72 hour kits that are in the rolling luggage that you see at the airport. Big enough to hold what we need and yet easy to pull instead of carrying something heavy on our backs. What you choose is up to you as long as it holds what you need and is portable.
     Before I forget to mention this, set a date every year to twice a year in which you pull out your 72 hour kits and go through them. I haven’t managed to be good at doing it twice a year, but at least we get them out and go through them the day after New Years. Adults and children can grow and change clothing sizes. Some of the food contents may need to be rotated, adding fresher items to the kit and using the items from the kit for snacks or lunches, depending on what you put in them.
     Pack clothes to cover hot and cold temps. Have you seen those reflective blankets that look like a sheet of tin foil but are flexible and fold up into little squares the size of a man’s wallet? They really do work to keep a person warm and water runs off them. You’ll need flashlights and extra batteries. A supply of medications for those family members who need them. A first aid kit. Pack $20 dollars in your kit and get pre-paid phone cards. (Why not your cell phone? Because what if the disaster has interrupted the electric supply? You won’t be able to charge your phone.) While you are at it tuck in some important phone numbers. When in an emergency situation everyone gets a little rattled and phone numbers may slip your mind. Lighter, matches, flares, a portable radio so that you can hear updates as they come in. (There are radios that can be wound up and then you don’t have to worry about toting extra batteries for a radio. We each have one. They weren’t that expensive.)
    Other items to include: a tube tent, 50 feet of nylon rope, shovel, sewing kit, whistle, and of course, duct tape. It does have a thousand and one uses! Food for each person and water purification tablets. The food can be in packages like granola bars5 or canned. Pick items that your family will eat. If your family members won’t eat Spam (and I agree with that) don’t put it in your kit. If they’ll eat tuna, put that it in the kit. Base your kits on your individual family’s needs. Hand sanitizer and a 2 gallon sized ice cream bucket, minus the ice cream, to use as a port-a-potty if you can’t dig a hole in the ground. Grim detail, but you have to prepare for anything.
      And if you have kiddies don’t forget baby formula, diapers, diaper wipes. (We call them butt wipes for short and even grown-ups might need these.) Take a deck of cards and some crayons and portable games. You might leave the hand-held Nintendo at home since it will run out of batteries in no time and let’s face it, batteries are heavy. You may have to tote them around until you find a safe shelter.
     Last but not least, important papers. Copies of medical info, birth and marriage certificates, SSNs, insurance, wills and up to date photos of family members.  If you should get separated it will be a lot easier for the rescue workers to have a picture of who they are looking for.
     This is by no means an exhaustive list. I just didn’t have enough room to list everything. You can contact the American Red Cross as they have plenty of info and recommendations for a 72 hour kit. Or drop us a line and we’ll be happy to send the info we have to you.
     So sorry I haven’t blogged lately. I guess I need to improve my time management skills. (I’m reading a book on that now.) Have a great week!
                                             Blog you later!! 🙂


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