Not all of you kids lived in Florida during 2004 when we were struck by four hurricanes: Charley, Frances, Jeanne, Ivan. FOUR hurricanes. It was unbelievable. Adam was in Puerto Rico and dealing with them there as well.
First came Hurricane Charley, then Frances. We had about a quarter of a million people without electricity. I remember packing our camping freezers full of ice to store our perishable food in in case we lost power at home. Then we had hurricane Ivan and hurricane Jeanne. I thought it was the end of the world at this point–not really, but it was nerve-wracking.
I have memories of racing to get home from downtown Tampa. I didn’t know if we would have to evacuate the area so I headed to the gas station. All the gas stations had cars lined up for gas and the lines were so long that I didn’t wait. When I got to our neighborhood I went straight to the grocery store. It was pointless. There was absolutely nothing on the shelves. Aisle after aisle was picked clean, even of items you wouldn’t think people would think to get.
Fortunately, I had prepared ahead of time with food and water and other supplies. Dad was out of town or I’m sure I never would have gotten up in the dead of night, about 3 AM, and driven to the store in search of more water. To my surprise, I was able to enter the store and saw men stocking shelves with boxes of water. I’d never heard of boxes of water but I got all my car could hold, even though we had quite a supply of bottled water at home.
During this time we had people going over to the church to hunker down there. Our building had the big storm shutters and those were pulled across the windows so the people inside were safe from broken windows.
We had strong high winds and many huge trees were uprooted right in our neighborhood. We stayed at home but if we had had to go over there, we would have needed and wanted to have had 72-hour kits to take with us. I think a lot of people expected their neighbors and church leaders to provide them with food and water. You need to get your own. It was sad to see the devastation in so many areas and to see people without food and water, desperately waiting for relief to arrive. It didn’t always come right away—sometimes it took several days. So, whatever you do, do NOT expect others will come or even can come to your aid and certainly not quickly. So be smart and plan today on getting at least a two week supply of water for everyone in your household. Then start to work putting together a 72-hour emergency kit for each family member. Here are some ideas. I didn’t address the issues of pet care since none of us have pets. Pack what your family will eat. Canned Vienna sausages may sound like a smart idea until you realize no one likes them. Been there done that. Some ideas to get you started:
Suitable backpack adapted to each person
Scriptures, games, playing cards
Water – Store at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for a minimum 3-day supply. This means a family of 4 needs 12 gallons.
Food – Packaged beef jerky, pouches of tuna fish, canned chicken, small jar of peanut butter, granola bars, trail mix, raisins, dried fruit, Crackers/cereal, canned fruit juice (pop-top), canned V-8 etc.; Snickers bars, gum
Bedding and Clothing – Change of Clothing (short and long sleeved shirts, pants, jackets, socks, sturdy shoes), Undergarments, rain coat, poncho, blankets and Emergency Heat Blankets, bandanna, Cloth Sheet, Plastic tarp, Sleeping bag
Fuel and Light/Power – Flashlights / Batteries; Lamps / oil; Battery powered, solar, or hand crank radio (I bought a NOAA Weather Radio), Extra Batteries, Radio with batteries, Flares, Candles, Lighter, Water-Proof Matches
Equipment – Extra set of car keys and house keys, Can Opener, Dishes and Utensils, cups, Plastic garbage bags (multi-uses with these), Dish soap, towel, Shovel, Pen and Paper, Axe, Heavy work gloves, Pocket Knife, Rope, Duct Tape, Extra cash, quarters, credit card, Maps of the area
Personal Items – Kleenex package, roll of toilet paper (remove cardboard roll inside), comb, small brush, shampoo/conditioner (in ziploc bags), deodorant, soap, lotion, chap stick, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, feminine hygiene, razor, wash cloths (Dollar Tree has the cloths that are in a tiny package and expand in water), hand sanitizer, Sun screen, fingernail clippers, whatever your family needs are, for example contact lenses, solution
Medicine – Immunizations up to date (record of it), Tylenol, Anti-diarrheal medicine, Tums, Allergy medicine, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Children’s Medicine, Prescription Medicine (for 7 days), First Aid Kit, add to it as needed: Neosporin or Bacitracin, tweezers, wet wipes and disposable gloves, burn gel, aloe vera, calamine lotion, safety pins
Personal Documents and Money – (Place these items in a water-proof container): Scriptures, Genealogy Records, Patriarchal Blessing, Legal Documents (Birth/Marriage Certificates, Wills, Passports, Contracts, etc.), Vaccination Papers, Insurance Policies, Cash – When we had the hurricanes in FL, we couldn’t use credit cards at the gas station, Credit Card, Pre-Paid Phone Cards, Coins for pay phones if needed, etc.
Babies and Toddlers – pack what they will need for 3 to 7 days: bottles, formula, baby food, diapers, clothing, blankets, pacifiers, games, toys, medicine, etc.
Pet Supplies – as needed. I know none of you have pets.
- Update your 72 Hour Kit every six months (I do this each conference time) to make sure that: all food, water, and medication is fresh and has not expired; clothing fits; personal documents and credit cards are up to date; and batteries are charged.
- Small toys/games are important too as they will provide some comfort and entertainment during a stressful time.
- Older children can be responsible for their own pack of items/clothes too.
- You can include any other items in your 72 Hour Kit that you feel are necessary for your family’s survival.
- Divide groups of items into individual Ziploc bags to prevent leaking, melting and messes.
- It’s smart to have emergency kits for your home, office, school, and car.
- Experts recommend keeping a flashlight near your bed, as well as a pair of sturdy shoes under the bed so you don’t have to walk about barefoot over glass from a broken window, etc.
- Once you’ve gathered your supplies, pack the items in easy-to-carry containers. Clearly label the containers, and store them where you can reach them easily. In a disaster situation, you may need to get your emergency supply kit quickly – whether you are sheltering at home or evacuating. Make sure to check expiration dates on food, water, medicine, and batteries throughout the year.