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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Emergency Survival Kit

I'm sure everyone can remember exactly what they were doing on September 11, 2001.  I had just moved to San Francisco after graduating from college and was days away from starting my first professional job.  Being on the West coast, I felt so far away from everything unfolding on the East coast.  The only thing I felt like I could do to help was donate blood.  It was hard to forget that day.  Especially when Tim and I lived in NYC.  Ground Zero was under construction the entire time we lived there.  These are pictures of Ground Zero from 2007.  It was mostly a hole in the ground - impossible to tell what it would look like today.






My mom and I went back to NYC this past April.  I was amazed at how much had changed.  The 9/11 Memorial was nearly complete and it was beautiful.

 The North Pool and the South Pool reside where the Twin Towers once stood.
 The names of the 9/11 victims are engraved around the North and South Pools.
The 9/11 Museum is complete on the outside.  The interior should be done this year.

A couple years ago, I decided we should have an Emergency Survival Kit.  I was at home alone with the girls one afternoon and the tornado siren went off.  Fortunately, nothing happened in our area, but I started to question how prepared we were.  I did a bunch of online research to figure out how to prepare for an emergency.  I started by reading two online manuals by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency): 

1) Are You Ready? 
2) Basic Preparedness

FEMA also has guides for specific types of emergencies and disasters that affect specific geographic areas (click here for more info).

I have a Pinterest board with helpful articles and blog posts that I have found related to survival kits.  Click here if you'd like to see my board.

Next I created four supply kit checklists in Excel:

1) Detailed Disaster Supply Kit - This is our main supply kit that we keep at home in our storage area.

2) 72 Hour Kit - This kit contains supplies in backpacks that will get us by for 72 hours.  If we cannot stay in our home, we can carry / wheel our supplies to another location.

3) Emergency Car Kit - In case an emergency occurs when we are away from home, we have supply kits in all our cars.

4) Pandemic Disease Kit - I keep this supply kit with our main supply kit (#1 above) in a separate bag.

You can click on the links above to view and download my lists.  All of the lists are color coded and the colors indicate when the supplies need to be replaced.  I set a reminder in my calendar every 6 months to review the list and determine if anything needs to be replaced.  Here's what our kit looks like:


 We are storing our kit in the dining room while the basement is being finished.  Normally it would be in the storage area of the basement.  Pictured: Bottled water, 2 large storage bins, 3 back packs (2 of which can be rolled), blankets in a sealed plastic bag that could be secured to our back packs if necessary, a large paint bucket (to be used for washing or as a toilet if necessary) and our personal documents are sitting on top the paint bucket in a sealed plastic bag.  Not Pictured: Giant plastic water storage tank filled with water, emergency car kits, which stay in the trunks of our cars. 
 Here is a top view of the supplies.  The 3 back packs contain the 72 Hour Kit supplies.
 In one of the large storage bins we have all our food and drinks.
The other large storage bin contains all other supplies in the Detailed Disaster Supply Kit.

There are a few things (like current prescriptions, tennis shoes, etc.) that are not packed that are listed at the bottom of the 72 Hour Kit spreadsheet in a section titled "Items Not Packed".  I keep a print out of this list in my desk in case we have to leave in a hurry.

Have you read the book "One Second After" by William Forstchen?  Tim and my parents have all read the book and talked in length about it so I feel like I've read it too.  It's a fiction book but the threat of an electromagnetic pulse attack on the US is possible.  Pretty scary.  This book takes emergency preparedness to a whole new level!

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