Would you like your family to be more prepared for an emergency, but not sure where to start? How about starting with items you use anyway, whether in a big emergency or for every-day use?
In recent months, we’ve seen huge world disasters: tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, and more. I feel like I haven’t had time to process the events of one disaster before the next one hits. As a mother, these devastating events make me reflect on what I would do if I were in their situation. No one can fully be prepared for some of these disasters, but it CAN help us be mindful of what kind of steps you can take to be more prepared for the worst-case-scenario.
My husband and I belong to a church that encourages its members to be prepared spiritually and physically for the future. The scriptures teach us that, “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” Following the council of our church and the scriptures, we have an extra reason/excuse to prepare for emergencies, before an emergency hits. Now, we think it’s kind of fun to get prepared!
Here are some of the emergency preparing items we’ve collected over the years. We think these items are worth owning, even if you never use these in an emergency situation. We have used all of these items anyway!
- Car battery starters
- 72-hour kit backpack
- In a Pikle
- Middle console organizer
- Solar oven
- Emergency binder
- Water storage
- 30-year shelf-life food
- Intangible things:
- Family night activity teaching kids what to do in an emergency
- Skill of gardening
- No-Buy-November! (A family tradition: we practice what it would be like to not have access to purchasing new goods from November 1st ‘til Thanksgiving. We love it for many reasons)
- Getting your body in shape!
Have you ever gotten all your kids loaded in the car- already 5 minutes late- and turn on the ignition to find that your car won’t start? This happens to me more than the average person 😉 But even if you’re the average- it’s bound to happen to you! Help your family be more prepared with the purchase of a remote battery starter. If you ever need a jump, you don’t have to make a phone call for help- you can help yourself!
My van has a mysterious battery issue that has not yet been solved by the numerous mechanics we’ve taken it to. One day the battery died while living at my in-law’s house. I remembered my father-in-law using one of these starters that looked ancient, but it totally worked! I now have one that plugs into the wall, and one that we can take anywhere. Both of them are designed to work like jumper cables that don’t need another vehicle to jumpstart your car. They run about $50 bucks depending on the type you decide to get, but use it once, and you’ll be glad you bought it. I have used mine approximately forty-seven times over the years with my van’s “mystery battery” problem. We’ve also used the battery starter with our family’s ATV’s etc. that die after a period of no use.
72-hour kit backpack
We’ve all heard we should have a 72-hour kit for a disaster. A disaster could hit that leaves you without supplies for a few days. Do you have one? How much would your kit help? It’s hard to know what you’d need and when you’d need it. Take some time to think about what you might want if you were homeless for a few days. Here are some ideas:
- Water- I just realized I need to add more to my kit!
- Change of clothes for each of your kids (jackets and shoes are what we USE the most for the every-day emergencies)
- Easy to eat snacks/food
- Medicine/first aid
- Flashlight/phone charger
We keep ours in a backpack in the back of my minivan. We use the items in there ALL the time!!! Why is it that we show up to the library without shoes so often? 72 hour kit to the rescue! I included this kit in a post I wrote about vacation packing tips (that cut your time and stress in half!) … because all those little necessities seem to creep in even more when we’re traveling away from home. We need a blanket, someone’s hungry or thirsty, etc. It’s worth putting together, whether a big emergency happens or not.
I’ve talked about this item before on the blog: it’s because In-a-Pikle saves my day so often! A “Pikle” (as we call it) is a hand-held clutch with well-made clear zippered pouches. I have in there: hair elastics for my girls and me, ibuprofen, allergy medicine, hand-sanitizer spray pen, sunscreen, post-it notes, lip gloss & mascara, scissors, tweezers, floss, a mirror, little screwdrivers, and about twenty other things that just come in handy all the time!
These items are easy to find with the clear zippered pouches and this thing has held up so well! I pack my “Pikle” with me everywhere I go. One particular morning, my family was on a boat, all geared up for a day of tubing and water skiing. When my two-year-old started whining that her ear was hurting her, I quickly realized this was not the kind of day we had in mind. But then I remembered that I’d stocked my “Pikle” with kids’ Tylenol tablets, and within thirty minutes her constant whining turned to smiles! It saved the day then and there are several other times where it seriously made my day WAY better! These little supplies would be gold in a disaster relief shelter. Since I’m in the habit of taking the “Pikle” everywhere I go, it’s not a stretch that I’d actually have it with me!
Middle Console Organizer
I recently wrote about this middle console organizer. This $3 DIY is more for your “everyday emergencies” but it’s handy and helpful, no matter the degree of your emergency. It’s an awesome and affordable way to keep all your little useful items in your car accessible and quick to locate. Grab a few color-coded pencil pouches from the dollar store and clip them together with a keychain and you have an awesome permanently-organized middle console!!! Check out the post for lots more details on how it turned out great!
We use this a ton in the summer as we’re often spending our mealtimes away from home. It’s soooo lightweight (under 2 lbs in its little carry-bag) and simple to use! We can enjoy hot food wherever we are. It can be below freezing, but if the sun is shining, this little “oven” will heat up and will slowly cook our food! We’ve cooked everything from street tacos (Costco frozen section) to veggie burgers and hot dogs (our go-to lunch when we’re at the lake). We’ve turned a pack of Hawaiian sweet rolls into hot deli sandwiches and even cooked chicken in there! It’s so easy to travel with. Here’s a link if you are interested in checking out the Sunflair Oven with free shipping! This would come in SOOO handy in an emergency.
This one was given to me as a gift from a long-time friend. So clever and smart. She put together pages so we’d be equipped to quickly leave our house with all the important documents. There’s a spot for an evacuation plan, a child identification kit, a place to store passports, social security cards, insurance info, phone numbers, and more. The thing we USE most often in there is the cash I store. Cash is important for all sorts of emergencies and I try to keep it stocked, while at the same time, use it often to pay the babysitter! My friend used this site to help her build an emergency binder.
“The essence of wetness…” 😉 – Derek Zoolander. Water is the most simple thing and the most crucial! Don’t over-think it: just store water in rinsed-out juice and soda bottles! You may have heard you need to put a little chlorine in them, but a preparedness expert told me that as long as you rinse the bottles out well, chlorine isn’t necessary and could do more harm than good. In our experience, rinsing well works. We OFTEN use the stored water for drinking when we head out on four-wheeler trips etc. Even though my husband calls me a “water snob” (I like my water cold and refreshing) I never thought our water storage taste weird. The great part about juice containers is they are sturdy. These juice containers could be a better option than stocking up on water bottles and gallons of purified water at the store. We keep one or two refilled juice bottles in my van and anytime someone’s thirsty, we hydrate up! Water is vital, so this is one of the most important items we can collect to prepare.
30-Year Shelf-Life Food
We like to keep well-sealed food on-hand. You never know when you’ll need to depend on what you have stored in your pantry to feed your family. Although the above situation is highly unlikely… why not purchase some long-term food storage? Freeze-dried food from Thrive Life is delicious!!! You can snack on their fruits and veggies and it is almost like eating a treat! Not even kidding. Thrive’s food is a just a little more pricey than the stuff they carry at our local Walmart, so the Auguson Farms is the one we break into and eat. The vegetable protein is yummy in tacos etc. The oats are really inexpensive, though I can’t say they’re my fave oats. I figure we might as well have a couple tubs of oatmeal stored here. These cans are good for thirty years- we will definitely go through it before then!
We had a Family Home Evening one night talking about what we should do if there was a fire, or an earthquake in our home. It was a fun night to go through the house and role-play with my little kids. I used ready.gov as my resource. I think this is totally worth doing!
No-Buy November is like a spending cleanse. It’s an annual tradition my family has been doing for nearly eight years. We don’t purchase anything from November 1st ’til the day before Thanksgiving. No groceries, no eating out, online shopping- nothing. Okay, pretty much nothing, but there are a few strategic exceptions. No-Buy November really jump-starts an attitude of minimalism and allows us to know what we really NEED to get by. I have SEVERAL reasons why we really love No Buy November even though I kind of dread starting it every year. Here are my tips for pulling it off and how to enjoy it.
My hubby and I love learning how to make things grow. It’s so therapeutic to be outside, tending to little seeds of life. Although it’s hard to imagine a world where we don’t pick up everything at the store, we’ve seen it happen in MANY communities lately with storms of all kinds that wipe out roads, electricity, and everything in between. You really don’t know what the future holds for your neighborhood, so if there was ever a long-term problem getting food, this skill/hobby will come in handy!!!
Getting your body in shape:
I had to add this last because getting strong is a GOAL of mine. I can’t claim that I’m in shape, but I believe this could be one of our most useful assets for being prepared. I’ve felt the “tug” to get a system going for a better exercising routine, so this is # 1 on my list! I get more motivated to work out when I watch survival movies like The Impossible (a highly recommended true story about the 2004 tsunami) or The Mountain Between Us (in theaters now!). Even if you don’t have to use your muscles to save your life, your body is worth keeping in good condition anyway 😉
The list was long, but I hope you found a few things you can take action on now so that you’re ready for whatever tomorrow brings! What is something you can do to help yourself be prepared for the worst?