A couple of years ago I read something written by a survivor of Hurricane Katrina that clarified the way I thought about 72-hour kits. He recommended that we assemble them as 60-second evacuation kits. The items we include need to provide us the essentials to sustain life and to help hasten our return to normalcy, but that easy portability is a key consideration when we are faced with a sudden and serious emergency. A house fire would be a prime example of this situation. Recommended evacuation time in a fire is less than two minutes—just enough time to grab something near at hand, pull on a pair of shoes and make ones way out of the building. Our list is based on his list and addresses all of the essentials, with some redundancy (remember the preparedness motto: “two is one and one is none”) and even an ingenious solution for preserving important papers.
The total cost for one complete adult kit is about $150 (average monthly cost, $12.50) if you have to purchase everything new at full price. This amount can be reduced by buying quality used, where possible, or by shopping sales—I will do my best to alert to you sales as we go. You may also determine that you do not need every item for every pack, for instance, that your four-year-old does not need to carry a full first aid kit and cell phone charger/radio. You will also want to make weight adjustments according to physical capacity of the pack owner. My generous estimate is that the completed packs will weigh about 17 lbs which is far too heavy for most children. However, that includes 3 lbs of water, a 3 lb adult change of clothing and a nearly 1 lb D-cell flashlight, so you can see that by adjusting for size and making slight alterations to purchases one can bring the weight down fairly quickly. Heavier items can also be shifted to the packs of stronger family members. Also note that some items are part of multipacks (body warmers, respirators, toilet paper) so if you are assembling only one or two kits, you could make purchases with a friend who can split costs and use up the excess.
Good luck as you work towards completing your kits. Store them under your beds next to a sturdy pair of shoes and perhaps everyone will sleep better at night!
- 1 Large backpack
- Emergency Essentials $12.95
On sale this month for $9.95
- 1 complete change of clothes
- 2 changes of underwear
- 2 pairs of socks
Other items on sale this month:
- Emergency blankets—Emergency Essentials (save .20)
- Datrex 4 oz. water packs—Emergency Essentials (save .04 per pack, $2.45 per box)
- Berkey Sport Bottles—ebay from oneromanticrose (save $6.00)
- Mainstay Food Bars—Emergency Essentials (save $1.01 on 3600 calorie pack)
- Radio/Charger/Flashlight—Emergency Essentials (save $6.04)
- 5-in-1 Survival Whistle—Emergency Essentials (save $1.45)