Could You and Your Family Pass This 2 Minute Preparedness Test?
By Harry R Weyandt, Nitro-Pak.Com Preparedness Expert
HEBER, UT-– Assuming you are at home or close by right now, could you and your family be able to quickly put together the below list of items and evacuate your home within the next 15 minutes? Let’s see if you can pass this test:
1) Would you be able to quickly grab your ready-made 72 hour bug-out bag for you and each member of your family (don’t forget Fido’s* kit, too)?
2) Have on hand a solar USB charger for your cell phones and personal electronic devices or emergency battery power supply for recharging?
3) Be able to grab a minimum of 3 gallons of water per person that will cover you and each family member for at least three days (including Fido)?
4) Have on hand a box or bucket of emergency just-add-water meals or military MRE’s to cover you and your family for a minimum of three days? These should that provide at least 1600 to 2500 calories per day per person.
5) Quickly be able to grab in one place all important legal papers like birth certificates, passports, your will, end of life directives, car titles, copy of driver’s license, health insurance cards, marriage license, property deeds, list of important relatives & friends out of the area, their addresses, phone numbers and emails, etc.?
6) To have immediate available at home or with you $100 to $200 cash in $1, $5 and $10 bills?
7) Be able to quickly grab all important heirloom family photos and genealogy documents to keep from possible destruction.
8) Have on hand a tote containing winter clothing, boots, jackets and gloves? (available year round)
9) Right now, does your car have AT LEAST a half tank of gas in your car ready to roll?
10) Could you immediately be able to grab a sleeping bag for each family member as you flee out of the house?
11) Do you have in one place all your prescription drugs and medications so you could quickly gather these up and leave right now?
12) Do you have an extra set or more of auto and house keys in case they get lost in the evacuation commotion?
If you answered no to any of the above questions or would need more than 15 minutes to get all these things together, you’re not alone. Nearly 99% of us would not be that prepared either. Now imagine you got that call or banging on your door at 2 am and were told, like the folks in the Oroville CA area, that a disaster was imminent or headed your way and everyone had to evacuate and leave NOW. Would you be ready??
Here are some suggestions on how to be better prepared for each of the questions asked above:
1) 72 HOUR KIT: Build your own or buy a good quality 72 hour bug-out kit that contains at least the items shown below (like NITRO-PAK’s Executive 72 Hr Survival Kit). For a good emergency radio, we recommend the Kaito KA500 or KA350 solar and dynamo powered am/fm radios. Some more extensive kits may already include these radios.
Your kit should contain at least the following supplies: emergency high energy food bars, hard candy, emergency water, quality first-aid kit, emergency thermal blanket, leather gloves, rain poncho, flashlight with spare batteries, toilet paper and sanitary supplies, waterproof matches, multi-function knife, light-sticks, pepper spray, playing cards, hand warmers, notepad with pencil, large trash bags, hand sanitizer, back-up water carrier, nylon cord, duct tape, N95 dust masks and a battery am/fm radio or solar & dynamo hand-crank radio. Optional: Water filter.
2) SOLAR PANEL RECHARGER/BATTERY POWER SUPPLY:
Get solar USB device recharger to repower up your cell phones and personal electronic devices or have a rechargeable back-up emergency power supply (or better yet, both). We suggest a minimum of a 16 watt or higher rated folding USB solar panel portable system. Always have extra batteries around for all battery operated devices like lanterns, flashlights, radios, etc.
3) WATER STORAGE CONTAINERS: One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to fill this requirement is to have on hand a large 24 bottle case of your favorite bottled water stashed at home (be sure to rotate them at least once per year). Figure about a case per person minimum. As an alternative, purchase a five gallon water storage jug for each person, or a Water-Brick® (about 3.5 gallons) or 2 cases of Datrex® Emergency Water Ration Pouches per person (about 4 gallons). The advantage of the foil sealed water pouches is that they have a minimum storage life of 5 years and are convenient for dispensing in an emergency.
4) COMPACT EMERGENCY FOOD SUPPLY: Here are a couple of options for just-add-water emergency foods. Mountain House’s 3-Day Emergency Food Supply box contains all real freeze-dried instant meals that will provide 1650 calories per day and have a 30 year shelf-life. These are the best tasting foods you can buy in our opinion. The WISE Company’s Ultimate 72 Hour Emergency Kit for 2 Persons provides not only 2100 calories per person per day but also includes a water filter bottle and fire starter, too. One other option is Nitro-Pak’s MRE Deluxe Food and Water Supply kit. These will provide two hot meals per day and about 2500 calories. These also includes 24 emergency water pouches. Shelf-life for these is about 5 years.
5) FIRE-PROOF VALUABLE FILE BOX: Purchase a fire-proof and waterproof portable file chest like the FirstAlert® #2037F. These will safely store your valuable records, deeds, passports, birth certificates, social security cards, car titles, photo CD’s and memory sticks, etc. We have used one of these in our home for years. They are ideal for this purpose. These fire chests typically can be purchased for under $75 and weigh about 40 pounds empty. A very worthwhile investment indeed!
6) CASH IN HAND: This might be the easiest step of all that you can get done today. Go to your bank or credit union and get up to $200 in small $1, $5 & $10 bills. Small bills work best in emergencies since cash change may not be available. Remember, in most serious disasters, credit cards will not be useable (no power or phone lines to verify) and ATM’s won’t be working either. Of course, banks will be closed…evacuating their families, too!
7) IMPORTANT FAMILY PHOTOS: We recommend taking time to scan your invaluable photos and documents. Scan them to a CD and/or USB memory stick and then up then put them in your fireproof file box you got under #5 above.
8) WINTER CLOTHING: Keeping a tote in your garage with winter boots, jackets and warm gloves so they can be accessed quickly in the event of a quick evacuation. These can come in handy even in summer depending on your locale when night temperatures dip and no heat is available. Jackets can be used as pillows in a pinch, too.
9) GAS IN YOUR CAR: Here’s a no brainer folks. As the normal course of living, preparedness experts have long recommended that anyone owning a car should keep their gas tank at least halffull. Just make it an on-going habit. This is a smart thing for all of us to do.
10) SLEEPING BAGS: If you do not have enough sleeping bags to cover all family members, get what you need now. These will come in very handy should you need to go to an evacuation center. Sleeping bags can also be used at home should you be caught in cold weather and you lose your heat.
11) DRUGS & PRESCRIPTIONS: Try to build up an extra supply of important prescription drugs and medications. You may have to get creative. See if you can get your doctor to give you a 90 day supply for added safety. Keep these in an area where you can quickly access them. Be sure to have photo copies of all drug prescriptions from your doctor. For those that may be on refrigerated medications, always have a portable insulated carrier at home that you can put bags of ice and /or gel ice packs into
12) HOME & CAR KEY SPARES: Always have a spare set of keys or multiple sets of spare car and home keys per-made up. Possible locations would be hidden under your car, in a home lock box or other exterior hidden location (hopefully you will not forget). Things get misplaced or lost quickly when things hit the fan so always have an extra set or more handy for quick access.
*A QUICK NOTES ON PETS: Most evacuation centers do not allow entry of pet into their complexes. You may need to make other arrangements or help should you need to stay at an evacuation center.
© 2017 Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center Inc. Click Here to see our full list of preparedness articles and blog posts.
Harry R Weyandt is the founder and owner of Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center Inc., one of America’s oldest and most respected preparedness companies. He has been a leading authority in the preparedness industry for over 30 years and has been interviewed by CNN, ABC News, FOX News, The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal among others as an expert in his field. He lives in Utah with this wife Vickie along with their children and grandchildren. His hobbies are boating, camping, international travel and anything to do with preparedness.