Friday, October 10, 2008

I'm An Expert - It's True

Our first Sunday in our new ward, a little binder came around with all sorts of neat-o sheets. I signed the roll. I signed up for some powdered milk that I use when I make homemade bread. And I signed up under a couple of categories, 72 hour kits and Baking, for a far off Preparedness Fair far off on October 11. I like to put my name down on neat-o sheets. It's a weakness I have. Also, I like to pretend I'm an expert in things.

October 11th isn't so far off anymore. It's tomorrow. And this week a brother in the ward emailed me and asked me to do a booth on 72 hour kits.

A couple of years ago our Wymount ward had a huge drive for being prepared, and in a sudden fit of can-do-it-ness, I up and started our 72 hour kit. Really, it was easy to begin by just dumping the stuff we had already into a couple backpacks, and then my Dad and his wife went on a kick of giving us preparedness items for our presents for birthdays and Christmases. We loved it (because I'm cheap, and love useful presents) and they loved it and we were all happy. The week I bought the food for it, I felt silly having so many pre-prepared and snack like items that I apologized to the cashier, and told her that my family really doesn't normally eat like this - it's just for our 72 hour kit. The cashier just looked at me. I just felt stupid.

Nevertheless I persevered, and thus our 72 kits came into being. We even rotated our food before we left Provo, and ate everything that would go bad while we were in England. It turns out that most recommended food lists for 72 hour kits leave you calorically STARVING. But we still persevered.

And that brings us to today, when I ran around the house like a chicken with its head cut off, re assembling our kits after the move and checking for important missing items and pretending like I'm an expert because we've had mediocre survival kits for two years, one of which we were on a separate continent from them. I even made up a list for a take home lesson, and nice colored signs to show the aspects of our laid out kits at the fair. I'm so crafty. (Hey, I folded pieces of paper in two, and wrote things like, "Food" on them in colored markers.)

This shows you to be both wary of neat-o papers and also to actually be an expert when they ask for experts in a topic.

Although, really, how expert do you need to be? It's just food and survival items for three days in an emergency. It may be life saving, but it's also fairly basic. When I went to the Church website, Provident Living, this was all they had to say on 72 hour kits:

"Church members are encouraged to prepare for adversity by building a basic supply of food, water, money, and, over time, longer-term supply items. Beyond this, Church members may choose to store additional items that could be of use during times of distress."

This was all that the entire website (that I could see) said about the kits. Not exactly what you would call a rousing endorsal of the specific practice of 72 hour kits. So, how useful are they? Do we just use them out of habit? Do any of you, my dear readers, know anyone who actually has used theirs?

I'm going to start storing ours in the car, and then if we crash/get stuck in a snowstorm somewhere remote, they'll be useful then. Because I'm pretty sure that we aren't going to have most natural disasters here in Ohio. Not that I think 72 hour kits are bad to have. Just that I'm not sure they're hugely necessary/will ever actually be used (unless you live in Hurricane/Wildfire areas. Then all bets are off.)

Oh dear, I had better not put that on the handout I so carefully prepared for tomorrow - after all, a true expert wouldn't express self doubt, would they?


  1. A "loaves and fishes" story:

    Some friends of ours in Washington had been stationed in Manila when Mt. Pinatubo erupted. They had just put together their 72-hour kits, when they were given one hour to evacuate by sea.

    Each family member put on his or her backpack and got in the car, which also had a "whole family kit" in the trunk. After a few miles, the road was blocked, and they had to continue on foot, two of them carrying the family kit together. Took them three days to reach the sea.

    When they finally reached the harbor, they were pinned down by a hurricane for three more days, feeding themselves and their neighbors out of their kits.

    Finally, they got onto a ship, but it was a freighter, and had no food for the hungry refugees. They fed themselves and more refugees for the six days it took to reach Hawaii. Those "72-hour" kits lasted two or three famillies nearly two weeks.

    Here's the best part: Why did they suddenly decide to put together their 72-hour kits? Their branch president told them to, a week before the volcano erupted.

    Sorry, I can't remember their names, but I think you knew them, Thora. Soren stayed at their house on Fairchild airbase a time or two.

  2. Hey Thora,
    The Weather Channel website has some good tips and idea for emergency kits. That's where I went for ours. It goes really in depth, more than we did, but can be a good guideline.

  3. The Red Cross also has recommendations for a 72-hour kit.

    We got two kits when we got married. Did they make the trip to Wisconsin? No. They languish in Utah. What about my one month supply of canned goods? Nope, it's in Logan somewhere in desperate need of rotation.

  4. Kevin and I got on a kick and put 72 hour kits together a couple of years ago. We had some sort of crazy notion that it would be a very good idea to carry all the water we would possibly need for 3 days with us. We put everything (mostly water) in a couple of hiking backpacks and had fabulous plans of rotating them every general conference, because that would be twice a year.

    Have they been rotated since then? Have they been updated for our growing family? No. Have they been pilfered from for items we might need in the interim? Have they been entirely disassembled and spread throught the house and under the bed so that we could use the hiking packs for actual hiking? Oh, yes.

    But we're building up our long term storage! I even learned how to stablely pack my own grains and things in 5 gallon buckets with dry ice! yay!

    I'll tell you something that was really bizzare, even scary--I once spent a couple of days sewing for someone, so I spent a lot of time in her house, and she doesn't keep food there. There was maybe a carton of juice and a left-over container in the fridge, a couple of frozen pizzas in the freezer. She has 2 pre-teen kids, and for every meal she would think aloud, "it's time to eat. what should we have?" and go to the store (which was a several minute drive--not just down the block) and get something, most often from the deli counter. I would be terrified to live like that, without food in the house, and so I am continually suprized when I have friends over who see my overflowing pantry and wonder aloud, "Why do you have so much food?" and leave thinking that I am secretly some kind of closet dooms-day nut.

  5. Well, if we get another storm here that wipes out the power like the last one did, then I bet those kits would come in handy. There were people in my ward who were without power for seven or eight days. We (inclusive we meaning you and I) were the lucky ones this time.