Wednesday, May 4, 2011

72 Hour Emergency Kit Update

Since we are still recovering here in the state of Alabama following the historic tornado damage last week, this is an addendum to my last post titled “TWISTER Revisited”.  It is my sincere hope that many of you have been working on putting your 72 Hour Emergency Kits into being. They can mean all the difference in a myriad of emergency situations. None of us know what is coming and what we may have to face in the coming days, weeks, months and years.

One very important hint is to ROTATE the water and food and sometimes clothing (we have both summer and winter clothing) in your kits. Make sure your MEDICATIONS are fresh as well and up to date with what you are currently prescribed.

Change these items out twice a year and the best time I can recommend is when the time changes both spring and fall. Rotate batteries as well. 

Make sure that you have cash in small bills (since in many emergencies credit debit cards won’t work) Make sure you keep your gas tank half full.  If you need it, make sure you have a manual can opener in your kit. Be sure to include hygiene items such as toothbrush, trial sizes of toothpaste, hand sanitizer, wet wipes and other items YOU feel would be necessary.  A small first aid kit is essential.

Store foods that don’t necessarily need to be heated in order to be palatable and nutritious. Peanut butter is my favorite for it provides protein and will help stabilize blood sugar whether it gets too high or too low. Also include chewing gum, candies or other comfort foods.

On the top of our container, we have sealed in a large ziplock bag: copies of important documents such as wills, birth certificates, marriage license, insurance policy numbers,  and a notebook containing important family information and other contacts. Our kit includes a DVD with photos of our home and inventory of it for insurance purposes. There is some cash in this bag as well and some matches (make sure they are stored in a waterproof way). In the event we get stuck in a shelter for an extended period of time, we have included a set of scriptures, a needlepoint project and some card games, a notebook and pencils for writing down thoughts and other information.
** In addition, we have a second container that we don’t need to rotate items in. It is complete enough that the two of us would have shelter, toilet and more in the event our home is destroyed like so many thousands during last week’s horrendous storms.

This container is also a large plastic garbage can on wheels. Inside we have a small pop up tent, sleeping bags, an extra pair of shoes for each of us, a folding shovel, a 5 gallon bucket and lots of plastic bags. The bucket can be converted to a toilet by lining it with a plastic bag, which also makes for easy disposable of the waste. You can use it to carry all sorts of other things. It can become a seat when turned upside down.  We have a 40 hour emergency candle which can used for light, heat or heating up food.  I will include the directions for this candle below. With this second container, we could essentially camp out for a number of days.

An emergency candle will aid you when you need a heat source. Emergency candles will give you light and heat, and will allow you to cook food in a difficult situation. Once you make emergency candles, you need to store them in ideal locations, such as your 72 hour kit, cars and camping backpack, to ensure that you always have one ready for any situation.

things you'll need:
  • Tin can (a 46 oz. empty juice can is what we use)
  • Double boiler
  • Duct tape
  • Old candles or paraffin wax
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Wood chips or sawdust (check your local lumber yard for this)
  • Candlewick
  • Slotted spoon (optional)
1 -  Place the old candles in a double boiler, or melt enough paraffin wax to fill the tin can. If you melt too much wax, you can always store it for later once it hardens. Watch the wax as it melts, and stir it to encourage the melting.
2 - Cut corrugated cardboard into strips. The strips only need to be as tall as the can. Roll the strips into a tight coil.
3 - Pack wood chips into the tin can. Compress the wood chips tightly around the candlewicks. Fill in the holes and saturate the cardboard to fill the tin can completely with the melted wax.
4 - Pour the candle wax to cover the cardboard and wood chips. Lay a candlewick horizontally across the candle wax. The candlewick needs to be as long as the tin. Light the candlewick in an emergency, and the flame will spread across the top of the tin can.

Tips & warnings:
·  You can make a double boiler by filling a large pan with water, placing a smaller pan on top of the larger water filled pan, and then placing your wax in the smaller pan.
·  When melting old candles, remove the wicks and debris from the melted wax with a slotted spoon.
When we lived in a colder climate, we always carried one of these in the trunk of our car. If trapped in ice and snow while on the road, we could keep warm from a candle like this.
This size will burn for approximately 40 hours.

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