Monday, January 7, 2013

72-hour kits

After 2+ years in the Young Women's presidency, I just got released.

I'm not surprised and I was ready for it, but I wasn't quite ready for just how sad I felt about it. I've really loved getting to know our beautiful, smart, strong young women and I'll miss seeing their smiling faces multiple times a week.

I've been moved into Relief Society to serve as an instructor, which I'm quite looking forward to. I find that I always seem to get more out of the lessons than the people I am supposedly "teaching" (pretty sure I'm not the teacher in these situations...).

As a side note to this change, it means that I did not earn my YW in Excellence Medallion during my time in Young Women's. I made a lot of progress and got pretty close and I can pick up where I left off the next time I get called into YW, which I'm sure will happen in the not to distant future.

One of the 10-hour projects I've been working on (or not so much) for the past several months was emergency preparedness. My goal for the Faith Project was to finish an emergency kit, 72-hour kits, and a 3-month supply of food storage. It was maybe too ambitious and definitely more than a 10-hour project.

Even though it's no longer working toward personal progress, I decided I wanted to finish at least the emergency bucket and 72-hour kits before baby comes. I've done 72-hour kits before, but it always got put in a shoe box, stuffed on some remote shelf, and forgotten about. Not to mention that it's usually things we don't normally eat and so it just expires and we throw it out.

I wanted to try a different, more organized approach this time. I looked at several websites to get basic ideas for what should go in a 72-hour kit. Than I adapted it slightly with things we'd actually eat, made a list, and did some shopping. I also ordered two cheapy, $8 backpacks off Amazon to put them in. And then Hans and I had this conversation.

Hans: Do they need to be backpacks? Can't we just put them in those Rubbermaid storage containers?
Me: Well yes, we could. But I was reading some people say that backpacks were good for grab and go. And down the road, it'll be easier for kids to manage.
Hans: Why do we need two? Can we put them in the same bag?
Me: What if we get separated for some reason? The idea is that each person is responsible for their own food.
Hans: Why is yours a horrible pink?
Me: I thought it'd be easier to see/find in an emergency situation.

And there ya go - the reasoning behind some of my decisions.

After collecting all the food, I made some little printables (which you can have, if you want!). The first is little "menu cards" that say what a day's worth of meals might look like.
This helped me pack the right quantity of food in each Ziploc bag (freezer, gallon size!) and it would (theoretically) help us ration ourselves in the event of an emergency (instead of eating all our food the first day and then being hungry). You can download these menu cards as a pdf here, but you may want to adapt them with foods your family normally eats.
The second thing I did was make a master list that is now posted on our message center in the kitchen. It lists all the things that are in each kit, printed on heavy cardstock and sealed with contact paper. Then I printed out these little tags (extras are in a ziploc sandwich baggie attached to the back). Each tag has when the food item will expire and then it's taped next to that item. Orange means within six months, blue within a year, purple is longer than a year. I made it visible in the kitchen so that we can glance at it every month and see what we need to eat and replace. Download the chart and tags here.

I packed each backpack with 9 bottles of water (3 for each day), plus the three gallon-size baggies of food, and (DON'T FORGET!) each backpack has a gallon-size baggie (double bagged, actually, to try and avoid contaminating smells)  of dog food for our fur babies. These are now being stored in the closet under the stairs with our yet-to-be-completed emergency bucket. I'll be putting additional water, clothes and other supplies in that. That's the next project =)
I'm excited to check this off my list and hope that we'll be able to keep up with our 72-hour kits now that we can see it on a regular basis. Poke me if I forget to check those expiration dates.

And if you're curious what's in my kit and don't want to download the PDF:

Day 1
Breakfast - oatmeal, v8 juice
Lunch - tuna fish, applesauce
Dinner - soup-at-hand, peanut butter crackers
Snack - zone bar, hot cocoa

Day 2

Breakfast - chewy granola bar, v8 juice
Lunch - beef jerky, applesauce
Dinner - ravioli, trail mix
Snack - zone bar, hot cocoa

Day 3

Breakfast - oatmeal, v8 juice
Lunch - Easy mac, chewy granola bar
Dinner - soup-at-hand, peanut butter crackers
Snack - trail mix, hot cocoa

+ 9 bottles of water per person
+ 1 gallon-size dog food per dog

Amazon backpacks purchased here.


  1. You got released? I am so surprised! I'm wishing I were in RS so I could see you in action.

    Next to do, add baby stuff :)

    We keep our 72 hour kits in our cars (more for event of getting stuck somewhere than anything). It's been helpful to know I have spare diapers, an outfit, baby food, etc in the back of the car at all times :)

  2. Wow, inspired! Thanks Erika....I'm gunna copy and alter some of your ideas...its good to actually see how you organize yours because I've just been buying stuff randomly and been MEANING to do it for reals and organized...NOW I am! Off to Sam's I go for a start.....

  3. Thanks for the menu ideas in your kits! These turned out great :)

  4. It is a very good idea dear. It gives me a direction to prepare my own 72 Hours Kit. Actually, I am going to travel and thinking to make a 72 hour kit for emergency usage. Till now, I prepare a list which includes some basic things which we need on daily basis. I have to add some eatable things too.

  5. A few of these things look like they are to be heated in a microwave. What if there is no power? I would rather add a can of ravioli and then the empty tin, can be used to boil water or heat up other things. And don't forget a can opener!