This is National Preparedness month. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) promotes October as a time when families should review their preparedness plans in the event of a disaster. They publish a zombie survival guide which is a relatively light hearted way of thinking through what you need to survive if a disaster does strike.
The current Ebola virus has given the issue of emergency preparedness more visibility this month, and I noted in a blog a few weeks ago that we were going to update our own family emergency kit.
I am glad that we did as our kit was sorely, sorely out of date. I put this kit together about eight years ago and many of the supplies and most of the food was out of date. More embarrassingly I had obviously put the kit together in the summer expecting something akin to an extended summer camping trip – we had no real wet weather gear and nothing that would keep us warm in freezing conditions.
The clothes that we had stored for our then five year old daughter would have only been effective as rags – she has grown somewhat in the last eight years!!!
So we have gone through the kit, replaced the food, updated other emergency supplies, warm and wet weather gear. We still need to store 65 gallons of water (the American Red Cross recommends 3 gallons per person per day), and we need to scrounge up things like spare eyeglasses, spare medications etc.
We ended up buying large 27 gallon storage totes from Lowes to store all of the stuff. We now have seven of these containers packed to the gunnels with just the core items on the Red Cross and CDC recommended lists. I thought that this would be a quick once over check off this gear and it has turned into a significant projects over three weekends. We are also now left with the problem of where to keep all of the stuff. It needs to be dry and safe and obviously accessible in the case of an emergency.
We are now better prepared, and we hope that we never ever have to depend on these kits. Even at seven totes this is the bare minimum and it makes you realize how much we take our shelter, our warmth, our ability to cook and clean and stay safe for granted.