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72 hour Emergency Kits: for Zero kits to 10 Kits in 4 days and for less than $200

I have only 10 minutes…10 minutes! That statement went through my head and slowly began to count down as I raced through the apartment gathering winter clothing, food, diapers, blankets, sleeping bags, personal hygiene things and the play-n-go. I was gathering enough supplies for my five children and myself. The 10 minutes turned to 9 minutes, then 8 minutes, and so forth. I wasn’t in a race with a hurricane, a tornado, or any other natural disaster. I was on a race for my life.

Think about it, if you only had 10 minutes to grab what you could from your house, could you do it? I was in pain as I made choices of taking clothing over pictures and baby books. I knew that leaving certain toys behind, even though Garrett’s melt down was going to be over the top, was necessary. Ten minutes…ten minutes. My biggest challenge was finding all the things that I needed as quietly as I could, packing it in the van, and then gathering my sleeping children from the bed and driving away into the snowy night.

This has been my thought following a “are you prepared” talk from church last Sunday. As soon as he started I went through the list of items I knew that I didn’t have: first aid kit, food for 72 hours, backpack for everyone, blankets, ponchos, water….I was starting to overwhelm and panic myself as I continued to listen.

My head split into my “positive” and “negative” side. Negative: yep, you don’t have that…or that…and better yet, how are you going to put that together with no money. Positive: well, I have $200. I will look at the emergency stores, dollar stores, other stores, and educate myself. Negative: good luck. There is no way you can get this done. Positive: hum, really? I’ll have it ready to go before Saturday morning.

Well, the challenge was “on” in my head which meant that I had set a goal and it was going to be accomplished. Here is how it turned out for each backpack:

  • Backpacks for everyone (rolling bag for Rhetten and April Rose complete with their diapers, jackets, bottles, food, water, and blankets).

  • One gallon zip plastic bag with mini first aid kit (Isaac has an emergency inhaler as well), toothbrush, and food (jerky, nuts, granola bars, raisins, cereal, and crackers) for three days for each person in each bag (each divided into plastic zip bags and labeled day one, two and three).

  • Water: three water bottles (one per day so the backpack isn’t too heavy—I know not enough, but it is a start).

  • Zip Baggie with emergency poncho, hand warmer, and emergency blanket on the outside pouch of the backpack—for quick access.

  • Baggie with one extra pair of underwear, socks, and a hat

  • One fleece blanket

  • One fleece jacket

  • One flashlight

  • Cards, or games to fight off boredom.

  • Mom’s backpack has first aid kit, hygiene kit, food and water for Scott and April, my jacket, and medicine: Tylenol, pain meds, allergy meds, asthma meds, cold and flu meds for adults and kids, anti diarrhea meds, antacid meds, vitamins, and night vitamins.

  • Scott’s backpack has the emergency radio, extra food, water, water purification pills, three tub tents, gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, knife, tools, rope, ponchos, emergency blankets, matches, source of fuel, and his jacket.

  • 6 gallon water tank This turned out better than I had hoped for $200. I know I still need to add a few more items (hard candy, some more meds, more tools), but we would make it for three days.

We started with no 72 hour kits, and in the end have 10. I feel blessed, strengthened and I learned a lot going through this process. If I had these kits when I had to flee nearly 8 years ago, I could have had more of a 5 minute start then counting down to the last second. I learned from the process and I vow to be as prepared as my circumstances allow.

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