Yesterday, here in Utah we had a state-wide emergency "shake down." This event was essentially a gigantic earthquake drill for anyone and everyone willing to participate. I think pretty much every school and government agency participated and I know lots of other businesses and families took part as well.
Our family was one of those. We try to stay up on emergency preparedness (as much as we can) but honestly we probably don't pay as much attention to it as we should.
Anyway, so at 10:15 Tuesday morning when the radio started broadcasting the loud meeping that alerts people to important announcements, we played right along. We ducked and covered under tables and on bunk beds in whatever room we happened to be in at the time.
Then, we all hurried to the basement to retrieve our emergency kits and met up in the living room for a little bit of a refresher course on family emergency protocol.
The kids were pretty excited to rummage through their emergency kits and see what was in there (the highlight of the kits was the cigarette lighter that each back pack held...some of those tried to sneak out of the room, but no worries, they were all returned to their proper places before the drill was done).
I do not profess to be any sort of expert on 72 hour kits, but we have done our best to put together what our family might need in an emergency. We divvied all the loot into eight backpacks (packed lightly for the smaller DeMouxs) and we've practiced running to the basement, gathering our packs and heading for the car many times over the years.
Each year we pull out the packs and remove old food and meds to replace them with new stuff as needed. Several years ago we invested in a whole bunch of MRE's (meals ready to eat) from the army/navy store nearby. These meals last approximately 10 years so in a few more years we'll need to change those out, but for now we're good.
Ellie enjoyed helping remove last years fruit snacks, canned chili, tuna fish, fruit cocktail and Ramen noodles and the like and replacing them with new ones. She had fun and I loved having her involved.
Here's (mostly) what we have in our packs:
There is a zip seal bag of food for each person for each day (3 day supply). We won't be eating like kings -- this is survival, not fine dining after all. Our meals include things like a packet of oatmeal, a package of Ramen noodles, some crackers and an MRE (we have one MRE per person per day so there will be one good solid meal -- maybe not delicious, but still filling). We also invested in heating packs for our MRE's so we can "cook" them with minimal water. We have things like canned chili, cup of soup mix, granola bars, hard candies to suck on, gum and other bits and pieces.
We included one bottle of water in each person's bag and we intend to have Josh and I each grab one of our 5 gallon jugs should we ever need to leave in a hurry. (Water is awfully heavy, especially for small people.)
Also in our emergency kit we've included a thermal blanket for each person, a couple of small cooking pots, plastic utensils, candles, matches, paper, pens, a bit of cash, a flashlight/radio combo, a couple towels, clothespins, a can opener and plastic plates and cups.
Our last treasures include diapers in varying sizes (great for babies, but also for bleeding, pillows, spills, splints and who can imagine what else), wet wipes, whistles, feminine hygiene products (also great for bleeding), basic medical supplies, lotion, soap and a couple of balls to play with (six kids, remember, we will definitely need something to do).
This year we got rid of our baby bottles and formula as that is no longer a necessity for us.
I realize that our packs are by no means complete or an exhaustive example of everything we could use in an emergency, but I feel pretty pleased that we have what we do and that in an emergency we would have something to help us get through.
While things weren't perfect, I'd still say this little drill was a pretty big success.
All packed up and ready to head out to find safety (except we need to get our shoes on first).