I've been meaning to have some emergency supplies in place for us for a couple of years now, but it seems as though it's been one of those things I just never get around to doing. Last week, I found a really great blog, Food Storage Made Easy, that inspired me to take some action.
I used their very convenient printable lists and step by step ideas to start putting together some home/evacuation 72 hour kits for myself and Ben. The car kit will come after I finish these completely and will duplicate some of these items, but duplication in different locations seems to me to be better in an emergency than not having something where you need it to be. The car 72 hour kit will also need to include some different kinds of foods that won't melt and can be frozen and are more shelf stable.
The food kits were packed into gallon jugs, and can be taped up when they're complete. I haven't completely packed mine because I have to find small folding stoves, and solid fuel to add to these. I used the lists found on the site for this, with just a couple of changes. I'm going to add a small camping cup for the heating, since cooking right in food cans is really bad for you (there's plastic coating in them that will melt into the food), and I wrapped the gum up really well with a couple layers of tinfoil to keep the mint and fruit smells out of the rest of the food.
We put together two supply kits (the food kits go inside here as well), that have pretty much the same things in each. I wrapped the moist wipes and soap in tin foil to keep the one moist longer and keep the smell of the other out of everything else.
There are still a number of things that have to be added to these kits, such as all the emergency contact info, copies of all the important papers, battery cell phone chargers for our phones, emergency whistles, ponchos, prescription meds, small first aid kits, spare glasses, etc. But it's a start, and now I have a specific place to gather all these things.
We bought the bags at the Salvation Army, a really good back pack and a messenger style bag, for about $5. And while I was packing the things into them, I found an old gameboy game in one of the pockets. Ben was smart enough to suggest trading it in at the used game store, and we got $5 trade in for it! I thought that was pretty funny.
These kits are stored in the walk in closet (our storm sheltering place) along with 7 gallons of water (one gallon per person per day, plus one for the cats), along with the spare bag of cat food. I figure it's a good place in case of high winds damaging the house enough to trap us in place during a storm, we'll have them with us, and they're close at hand to two exits (the bedroom back door and the garage door) as well, in that closet.
After I've completed these kits, we'll put one together for the cats, along with a plan for carrying them during evacuation. Any ideas about that? It's very frustrating to think of evacuating with pets, since I'd never leave them and the FEMA site says not to leave them, but be aware that shelters won't let them in. So where can they go? Anyway, that's the next step, Kitty 72 hr kits, then the car kit, and working on water storage in case of extended power outages.
I actually have a plan for water storage I think might be sort of clever. I was thinking about all the canning jars, which take up as much room in the house whether they're filled or empty. My thought is that after emptying a jar, it could be filled with water and then put it back into storage. I don't know whether I'd have to actually water bath and seal these, or if just capping them with sterile lids would work well enough, but I'm going to do some research on it and see if I can find out.