Friday, June 27, 2008

Where Have You Buried Your Kit?

Perhaps you, like a lot of other people lately, have had a renewed interest in having or obtaining a 72-hour kit.

First may I remind you that you must keep in mind that that kit may have to provide for you a lot longer than 72-hours.

There is one point about evacuation kits that sometimes gets buried or pushed aside once the kit supplies are gathered together and you think that all is well. Your kit is useless unless you can get to it! Make sure you can get to your kits at all times!

To illustrate this point I will share a true story with you. And how do I know it’s true, rather than a faith promoting rumor? The “friends” mentioned in the story were neighbors of ours, who will remain nameless.

On a wet, blustery winter night a few years ago some friends of ours heard sirens. Suddenly a policeman pounded on their door. “You have just five minutes to get out,” he said. “There is a fire in a chemical plant just west of here. Grab your family and leave.” Acrid smoke was already beginning to fill the air. They wanted to take their emergency kits, which were stored under the stairs in the basement. Unfortunately, they quickly discovered other objects – stuff and junk – had gotten piled on top and in front of their kits. They couldn’t take the time required to dig the kits out. Ultimately, they picked up their children, wrapped them in quilts, jumped in the car and drove off.

What’s the morale of this story? Keep your kits where you can grab them at a moment’s notice. That means with absolutely nothing on top of them or piled in front of them!

Take the time –now- to assess your home to see where such a place might be found. For example, a closet is a good choice in an earthquake-prone area because of the support of the studs in the walls. Our family’s kits stood stacked in a closet near our front door for years. One family I know has their kits in backpacks, which hang on hooks near their back door. A widowed senior citizen in my neighborhood keeps her suitcase kit in a small space at the end of her kitchen cupboard. There are bound to be nooks and crannies or a corner of a room just waiting for a few kits to be tucked away there.

(Wait! What happens if you discover that your kits are buried and difficult to get to? Read the above two paragraphs and do something immediately!)

In fact, just this week I was talking with a friend, who is single and lives in a small apartment. (Strange the conversation should turn to preparedness, isn’t it?) She was excited because she has finally been able to get a kit together. She commented that it has become a conversation piece, because the only place she has to stow it is in the corner of her living room – under a very bright colored blanket. Of course a “lump” under a bright blanket isn’t a usual sight in a living room – so it has caused comments and questions.

If you have been working on your kits your homework assignment this week is to look around your home – or outside your home as in the garage – and find a place to keep them that will work for you. Just as long as you are able to keep from piling “stuff” on them, get to them in a hurry and go.

Maybe I could find some really bright colored blankets and we could all keep our kits visible as bright lumps. Then when friends and neighbors look with questioning eyes at the “lumps” we can ask that question – “How much do you know about 72-hour kits? Do you want to know more?

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