Are you ready? Are your kids?
UPDATE: spreadsheet available at this link
Alright. I know you all know about 72 hour kits and there are tons of websites with ideas and information about these, but as I was updating mine, I had a lot of people ask about what I put in it and how to go about it (how did people know I was updating you ask? Never mind that it all graced my living room for almost a month)…so I thought maybe some of you might want to know as well. Wow. I think I just set a record for the longest run-on sentence.:) Good thing I have an English degree. Anyway, if you already know what to put in yours but haven’t done them yet…consider this your kick in the pants. Ouch! If yours are finished and sitting nicely in your easily accessible closet…way to go! You rock!
For years, this has overwhelmed me. Every time it was time to rotate one thing, everything came out of ALL the packs. There was stuff everywhere that all needed to be organized…again. I got smart this time. It’s about time. This system helps me wrap my brain around these kits, and as an added bonus: keeps everything dry. I decided to group like items into categories and put them into ziplock bags according to their assigned category. Clothes, Food, Light, Hygiene, etc. Now instead digging through an entire pack to rotate the food, I will just pull out the food ziplock bag and replace it with a fresh one. You’ll see what I mean…
I took pictures for you.
*NOTE: I am in NO WAY an expert, this is just what I came up for my family after studying a lot of information. There is SO MUCH that you CAN have in your packs, it can be overwhelming. Just start somewhere and get the basics, you can always add to it. Also, this is just the KIDS pack, our PARENT packs contain more supplies.
Everything in the pack. I used old school back packs to hold everything.
long sleeve shirt, sweat pants, jacket, 3 underwear, 2 socks, warm hat, gloves, poncho, shoes (not pictured)
I used to stress about changing the clothes out for the different seasons but I read somewhere that you can just cut off the pants and the shirt if it is THAT hot and now you have summer clothes. This same person recommended sweat pants because you can buy them a bit too big and they will still work, and then your kids can grow into them and you don’t have to replace them as often. My boys are two years apart so I was able to just use all the stuff from my first boy and put it in my second kid’s pack. My third is a girl and she will be wearing boy clothes in an emergency cause my second boy’s clothes were passed to her.:)
I am thinking of tying the shoes to the outside of the pack because I am out of room inside.
3 water bottles, emergency energy food, snacks and goodies my kids like (z bars, dehydrated fruit, fruit snacks, sucker, jolly ranchers, flavor packet for the water)
1 gallon of water per person per day is recommended, but my kids can’t carry that much weight so I went with 1 water bottle per day in their packs and then I have some water purifying tablets in my pack if we can find water. If we need to evacuate by car, we will be able to grab our cases of extra water.
I used to stress about rotating the food and having enough calories from what I put in, but then I found these emergency food bars at an emergency preparedness store. They last 5 years and have enough calories to last for 72 hours. They are great for me, because now the snacks I rotate are just for comfort and not for nutrition or energy so I don’t worry as much about what is in there or if it slightly expired:) At least not for 4 more years. If you do pack food, try to choose food that doesn’t take a lot of water to digest (animal products take more) or food that is really salty – it will make you thirsty.
small first aid kit, emergency blanket, 6 hot hands, whistle/compass, pocket knife (not pictured), face masks
toothbrush, toothpaste, chapstick, soap, washcloth, antibacterial gel, tissues, sunscreen, shampoo
flashlight, batteries, matches, candle, glow sticks
The batteries need to be rotated every so often and make sure to include an extra set (not pictured). I use glow sticks at halloween time so this is an easy and fun thing to use and rotate.
small bills and coins
My older children’s packs have their own money in them, just in case. I know it is important to have cash at least in your pack. If there is no electricity, there are no credit card machines. A lot of the stories I have read say to be sure and have cash and in small bills because people won’t be able to make change, necessarily.
post-it notes, notepad, crayons, pen, pencil, bean bag, dice, card game
If you have a reason to use your packs, your kids will have a reason be stressed and most likely scared. Have something for them to occupy their mind.
One important thing not pictured is to have your child’s records, even if it is a copy. Some things to include: current family picture, social security number, addresses and phone numbers, emergency contacts, emergency plan, and immunization records.
I would also like to add a tube tent and a rolled blanket tied to the bottom of the pack.
How do I keep track of it all? I just labeled columns in a spreadsheet with the categories (you can get it, here - copy and paste it into your own program, then add and delete things to make it fit your own needs). Under each category lists what is in that ziplock. I turn it green if it is something that needs to be rotated every six months (snacks) and yellow for every year (check batteries, clothes, water, toothpaste). I printed this off and keep a list with each pack as well as one on my computer for easy access. Now when it is time to rotate things, I can just pull out a couple ziplock bags, fix what needs to be fixed, and be done!
Whew! All lined up and ready…except the baby pack, still working on that one – it has a whole other set of needs. Hopefully now that you have a visual, it won’t be hard to get it together!
Need more ideas?
Here is a great link with information to help you decide what to put in your packs.
For a complete (expert) list of what is recommended, the American Red Cross has a list for you.
Let me know what I am missing.
PS I spent way to many hours on this blog. She is an american mom who has been living on a base in Japan for the past three years. She is blogging about her whole experience from scary earthquakes, no electricity, and trying to stay positive with so much grief around her. She has little kids and has some great insight into what you might want to have in your packs. She is actually having other people post every Monday about what they experienced and what they wished they had in their packs. VERY informative.
*Update: the following information is no longer current*
Also, I mentioned in the post I did about raising money for Japan about wanting to do something hands on that kids could help out with. This same girl tells about a girl scout troop in her area (Misawa, Japan) who is taking donations for fun packs to give out to the children. It’s called
Taken from their website, “Our mission is to provide comfort and a message of love to the kids of Japan who have lost everything in the recent earthquake and tsunami. We will distribute the packs after transportation and mail delivery becomes available in the affected areas. We will include a short note letting our Japanese friends know about all the people involved and where the donations originated.”
They have a list of ideas of what to put in the pack and an address of where to ship it when you are ready. They are accepting donations until May 15th, so get one put together this week and give it time to ship over there.
I think it is an AWESOME idea.