Get Ready, Be Prepared! As a full-time working mom of three wonderful kidlets, I was pretty sure I had the Get Ready concept down pretty well. Logistics and being prepared are my life! Yet, recently when I walked in to my office at Jefferson County Public Health and glanced down at the stack of “Get Ready” posters and piles of “How to make a 72 hour kit” flyers on the floor, I stopped and questioned. Am I REALLY ready? Do I have what I need to keep my house functioning for 72 hours? Yes, I can get our family of five packed for a week’s vacation. I know to bring along all of those important snacks, and stuffed animal friends, and books, and medicines. I know to plan ahead, but I had several days to make sure I had all of those items packed and ready for our vacation. In an emergency, I won’t have that luxury of time, I won’t have days to plan ahead. I will need all of those things immediately, in a box ready to go. The phrase that summed up my pondering was, Do I have a stash of supplies ready to go on a moment’s notice filled with all those things we absolutely cannot live without?
And the answer was no, so I am working on my 72 Emergency Kit, and I urge you to do the same. Be Prepared…what does that mean? Prepared for what...everything? What a daunting task would be! But when we look at it from the “what can we not live without” frame of mind, it makes it a little bit easier to tackle. Thus, as an emergency response planner, I made it my New Year’s mission to Get Ready and Be Prepared! On a tight budget, I am still in the Get Ready phase, but I know that soon I will Be Prepared.
To start with, there are the stock lists available on various emergency preparedness web sites including FEMA’s of what everyone should have on hand to survive for 72 hours on their own and ideally for up to 2 weeks without leaving your home. But when I looked at the list I thought, never in a million years will my children eat tuna fish for 3 days. I need to customize! We are a tightly budgeted household so I made it a point to look for coupons and combine those with sales to stock my newly purchased Rubbermaid tub with things that I knew my children would actually eat and need for a three day shelter at home, or in kids terms a “stay-cation”.
What did I end up with? Lots of cereal, canned fruit packed in juice that could serve as a drink, granola bars that they like, peanut butter and crackers, fruit snacks, water flavoring packets, flashlights (3 of them so there would be no arguing over who had the flashlight and who didn’t) and batteries, and a myriad of other things (including the “melty medicine” for the youngest kidlet as he refuses any type of liquid medicine). Does my box look like the list that I have plastered all over my office, not exactly, but it is a work in progress and contains items that will keep my family functioning and my kids happy. Because face it, when the kids are whiny, mama is not a happy camper. By continuing to stock my box with items I know they like and our family will need, I am slowly taking one less stressor out of what will surely be a most stressful situation. Do I feel ready for 72 hours yet? Not quite, but I will get there and finally Be Prepared!
Oh, and one other item that has made it to the box….a back up “yellow and blue cold blankie”…..because no blankie would not be a pretty situation!