So, I’ve got a confession to make. I am one of those people who likes to be in control of things. I micromanage
a lot most everything that goes on around here because I am a control freak. I’m a planner and a preparer. I like to be know how I will handle certain events because I don’t like to be caught off guard.
But, I’m only human. There’s only a certain point to which you can prepare for and there’s always something that might be overlooked or pushed aside because you might think it will never happen to you. And it’s in those moments where I run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, because I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t prepare for it. And folks, Sunday night was one of those nights. Sitting on the couch watching “White House Down” when the tornado sirens started going off as a part of the massive storm system passed through central Ohio and most of the Midwest. You know the one, it left entire neighborhoods destroyed, completely flattened in other parts of the Midwest. It was scary to think it could have been our neighborhood, our street, our house that could have been the scene of total loss and devastation.
Thankfully, it wasn’t our community. But there’s a certain fear that comes with hearing tornado sirens when they’re “not supposed to be going off”. Sure, we had our weather radio, some flashlights somewhere around the house and quite a few candles but nothing that was centrally located and within an easy reach. I had forgotten to plan, to prepare in case of an emergency. I felt a little foolish to be completely honest here. Josh was scrambling to find some flashlights, batteries, and texting neighbors to let them know they could join us in our basement (we’re one of only several houses with a basement). I was searching for candles, blankets, and other items as we rushed into the basement with Levi to listen to the emergency broadcast.
After the storm had passed and the tornado sirens silenced, we decided that we would put together our very own 72 hour emergency kit. I spent several hours researching what we should put in said emergency kit and found FEMA’s site, ready.gov (seriously though, check it out- I’m really glad that we did) to have the most complete list. They have tons and tons of suggestions to add to your own list. After I put my list together, I set out to put together our very own emergency kit. 3 stores and 2 hours later, I returned home with our list items to be assembled together, where we both know they will be in case of an emergency.
That seems like a good amount of stuff, right? Especially for just two people and a pup. But by using things that we already had in our own house (just scattered about willy-nilly and all…) and setting a budget, we were able to do this for about $50. Which is $50 I’m more than willing to spend in order for our family to be prepared for next time. Want to know what all I put in this bad boy and why? Well I’ll lay it all out for ya, here and now.
First up, of course is water. According to FEMA’s site, we needed a gallon of water per person per day for 3 days for drinking and sanitary purposes, of course. Meaning, between Josh and I, we would need about 6 gallons of water, which the two larger jugs have the two of us covered. We grabbed another small jug of water for Levi, or in case we someone was ever in need. The jugs of water came in at $5.87 (the 2 larger jugs were $2.49, and the 1 gallon was $0.89… we might buy another large jug to have on hand as well).
Secondly, of course, was food. FEMA also recommends a number of non-perishable foods on their website (ready.gov). We already keep a lot of dry goods and other food in the basement, so I just topped off our emergency kit with some staples that I already had on hand in our cupboard to supplement things a bit.
Levi’s a part of the family too, so I didn’t want to exclude him! I added a couple of tubs of his food that we had on hand to the pile as well. We keep his food in the basement for the most part so I didn’t add a whole lot in the pile for our kit.
All of the food items we had on hand, so they didn’t cost us a penny! Although, just a tip- be sure to go through and check dates and such every once in a while so you don’t end up with yucky stuff when something does happen… just a thought!
For an extra $1.25 we added a can opener to the pile, just in case….
Of course, we added our weather radio into the mix. We already had this radio on hand when some severe weather knocked power out for a whole week a year or two ago. I can’t tell you how handy this one is. While it’s not a hand crank radio, it does have a power cord for day to day use and can also be battery powered if the need arises. So into the pile it went, along with extra batteries!
After scrambling to find a flashlight, I figured we needed a few more. I picked up a 3-pack for $5 as well as another lighter for $2 to power the stockpile of candles we have in the basement from our wedding. The nice thing about the flashlights is that they are LED, so they’ll be nice and bright if we ever need them.
First aid kit. Duh, I can’t believe we didn’t have one of these bad boys on hand. I might have bought the biggest one I could find… at $12.99 it was the most expensive item in the pile. Because let’s face it. It’s better to be safe than sorry. I also picked up a $1.50 toilet paper to add in there as well as soap and sanitizing wipes we had on hand. We’ll also be adding some hand sanitizer and toothbrushes and toothpaste in there as well. You know the ones that you get from the dentist? Yep, they’re going in there.
For $1.00, I added a small container of bleach. After reading what you could do with it in an emergency, I was all aboard the bleach-train! Of course, the eye dropper was also added – just to be safe -which we also had on hand. Just be sure you don’t get the kind with extra stuff in it- the ones with scents or color safe stuff isn’t what you want to add.
We also added some extra cell phone chargers, for an outlet and for the car, into the pile since you never know when you might need a little charge for your phone, if you can get one. Eventually, we might invest in a solar charger, but for now we’ve got our bases covered. And for sanity’s sake, a deck of cards to entertain ourselves with if need be. All things we had on hand, so no damage to the wallet there.
These are a few extras that FEMA recommends as well to have on hand. I picked up the tarp for $4.00, duct tape for $3.50, and trash bags for $3.00, all at Big Lots. The dust masks came from the Dollar Store, for you guessed it, $1.00. All things that could come in handy in a real emergency, check out ready.gov for more “extras”.
Last but not least, we added a complete change of clothes to our pile. One for Josh and one for me. I simply went into our closet and picked some of our seldom used “work” clothes to add to the pile. Since Central Ohio will see it’s far share of cold weather, I made sure they were warm articles of clothing. A bin of extra blankets is also located in the basement as well.
After we laid everything out in the living room, we packed it all away for emergency use. I picked up a 66-gallon tub from Big Lots for $8.90 and we were able to fit everything inside of it, with a little room to spare! We plan on keeping this in our storage area of the basement, where we will be in an emergency so there won’t be any need to rush around looking for items in the house. We can just go to our location and weather the storm.
So, now that what we put in our kit is all laid out for you, we’ll break down the prices:
- First aid kit: $12.99
- Water: $5.87
- Duct tape: $3.50
- Bath Tissue: $1.50
- Trash Bags: $3.00
- Storage bin: $8.90
- Lighter: $2.00
- Can Opener: $2.00
- Flashlights: $5.00
- Tarp: $4.00
- Dust Mask: $1.00
- Bleach: $1.00
- Total: $50.01
$50.01… not too shabby! Considering most of the items we had on hand, it could have been a lot more! Like I said, it’s $50 that I’m perfectly fine paying. Even if we never use the kit, I will sleep better at night know we have one ready to go if the need arises. Yes, you might find me a little paranoid about disasters, but I know our family will be ready in an emergency, and I have some peace of mind knowing that.
Seriously, if you’re like me and have a need to plan for just about everything, check out FEMA’s site, ready.gov, and prepare, even if it’s just for peace of mind like me. I recommend it. It was one of my goals this year to “be more real” with you guys, and guess what, this is about as real is it gets. Not to be Debbie-Downer or anything, but now is a great time to get organized!