Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Emergency Preparedness for Couples

It seems to me as if a lot of the resources for emergency preparedness are directed to families...with houses...with extra freezers...and lots of storage.

I don't have any of those things.

BUT-- that is no excuse! I still believe being prepared is super important, even for couples still in school, young professionals, etc. It's taken me a while (and a few times of doing it wrong) to finally figure out how to make this work for us (in our small apartment). Hopefully some of you young couples can use this to your advantage and get your emergency supply organized!


72 Hour Kit


We keep this backpack pre-loaded and ready to go in a moment's notice. We keep it in a closet near our front door.

There are sooo many 72 hour kit supply lists as you look around the web and I sorted through many to create a list best suited for our needs.

In addition to our backpack, I have a "Grab List" of items that are not in the backpack. They are things we use regularly and cannot keep pre-loaded. Our plan (if we have the time...) is to throw these things into another backpack. (change of clothes, extra water bottles, extra flashlight, passport, wallet, phones, sunglasses, extra keys, cash/coins, a book, deck of cards, etc.). We'd also want to grab our sleeping bag kept in storage.

It's important that you know what's in your 72 hour kit, so make a list. If you want to easily add to or replace an item in your kit, it's a lot easier to refer to this list then to have to dig around in the kit to see what you have (it's going to be packed pretty tightly and you want to keep it that way!) Also, for food items and medication, you want to rotate or replace the perishable items according to their expiration dates. Having this list makes this a convenient and quick process:

These items should last years, but when the expiration date approaches, you'll know without having to pull out each item! Hit the grocery store and replace the items as needed.

Our new resolution is to check our 72 Hour Kit every October (during LDS General Conference) to make sure everything is still in good condition and replace/rotate any soon-to-expire food.


2 Week Supply

There's no food storage room in our apartment, but we have one cupboard dedicated to a 2 week supply of food (in addition to our regularly stocked cupboards). (Tiny kitchen? What about under your bed...in a closet? Make an extra shelf up high in a closet. Whatever you gotta do!) We also have one large plastic tote for an emergency essentials supply (in case we couldn't leave the house, stores didn't have food, etc.)

I decided on 2 weeks because, honestly, that's all I have room for. You can do less or more depending on your situation.

Our 2 week supply is based on having no electricity and using a camp stove with camp fuel inside our house. (yeah....I know you're not supposed to do that. it's an emergency, people!) It includes meals we LIKE....surprised? It's not just a cupboard filled with cans of beans, corn, and bags of rice.

Our 2 Week Supply is organized by meals as such:

(*ps--the lunches section is missing 2 meals...I'm still working on that!)

Some meals are duplicated (as indicated by "x2") and I make sure I keep these supplies stocked in that cupboard and rotated out when I buy any of these items for my regular grocery list. Again, most of these items will last YEARS (even past the expiration date) but a great way to keep the stocked items fresh is to put each meal part on your menu once or twice a month and then replace with new supplies. But again, during October (general conference), I'll make sure I haven't overlooked any items and check dates.


Helpful Tips:

- If it's just the two of you, don't buy bulk-size jars or cans. Although it may be cheaper now, in cases of emergency once opened, you may not have a way to keep the rest of it good. So, buy only the size you need for each meal.

- If space allows, keep your storage in the coolest place in your house...try to avoid warmer spots near appliances, vents, or other heat sources. (Mine happens to be above my fridge...not the BEST of spaces in theory, but it actually doesn't get too warm, so it's okay).

- If you write the expiration date with permanent marker on the package or can where it's easy to see, rotation is a much easier process.

- In addition to our 2 Week Meal Supply, we also have a supply of bulk foods that will keep us alive if need be. My parents sent us a couple of Family Food Storage Starter Kits ($31) which we keep in storage. This will also be nice when it's time to build up our longer-term storage.


As I mentioned, we also keep a plastic tote filled with our emergency essentials...


(It's a little random still, but we plan to keep building on this... every little bit could help!)

Finally, Water.

SUPER important. You've got to store water!! I've lived in Boston nearly 4 years and there have been 2 times in which our water source has been deemed "contaminated" so we couldn't drink our tap water. It was only for a few hours, but even in that short of time, people went NUTS! Within minutes, people were fighting over bottles of water at the store and it was sold out quickly! I wasn't concerned for a moment because I knew I had my supply.

You can store this up with each grocery trip if have none stored now. A great place to start is buying this 7 Gallon Tank from Walmart for $10.88.


I keep this water tank, plus 2 cases of bottled water and a few gallons located in random places in my kitchen. If you don't have space for it, then buy 1 gallon of water at a time and/or cases of bottled water. Remember, planning meals and cooking is useless most times without water. Storing water is a priority.

...............................

Now for the free printables... I've included the 3 Photoshop Files for each list so you can customize them for your needs. They aren't fancy, but if it'll help you organize, they're all yours. You can download HERE

It doesn't have to be complicated or even expensive... but there is a lot of peace that comes from following the counsel of leaders who discuss the importance of being prepared!

Don't get overwhelmed...just do the best you can and build up your storage as space and money allow. Best of luck!

-------------------------------

I've had several questions via email. I'll post the ones here that might be helpful for everyone!

Question: I noticed that you have bread for a couple meals (toast, sandwiches, etc). Do you have the stuff to bake your own bread, or are you just buying bread and rotating it out every week?

I buy those Krusteaz bread kits from walmart or target (or any other grocery store) because they only require you to add water and minimal prep. We recently purchased a Camp Chef outdoor oven/stove combo, which cooks using propane (that we can stock up on). You can also make an oven using a cardboard box and tin foil (google it! or ask a local boyscout!). 

42 comments:

  1. How interesting. My husband and I have nothing like this, so I am excited to put one together. Thank you for all the great information.

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  2. You're welcome... thanks for dropping by with a comment!

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    1. Cher, I love your new blog!! I came over from your Love Actually. I love how prepared you are! Have you heard of Shelf Reliance? You should really take a look into it! The benefits it will bring to you and your family will amaze you. By my 2nd month using Shelf Reliance THRIVE food it cut my monthly grocery bill in HALF!!!! And it has been holding, with a few extra frivilous purchases here and there. =) Food prices just went up 18%, and gas just shot up again! There is nothing like having a food storage plan created for you that ou can customize and have it shipped to your door every month!
      www.jenniferwaldroup.shelfreliance.com

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  3. This is awesome! I have been wanting to have food storage but like you said as a student without a home it seems over whelming and difficult! Thanks for the lists, I would love to download them but the link isn't working for me? Not sure if it's just my computer or what not...

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    1. Kaiti...I checked the link and reuploaded just in case! It will be a zipped file that you'll have to unzip before accessing the photoshop files. As long as you have that capability, it should work! If you can't get it to work, just let me know and I can email you the files. Just drop by with another comment. :)

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  4. I just found your site on pinterest and can't tell you how happy I am!! My husband and I just got a calling in our church for emergency preparedness coordinators and we had no idea what to put together or where to start. This post is awesome!! Thank you!!

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  5. Great! Good luck in that calling---that's a tough one! Glad I could help! :)

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  6. You can get a butane stove for around $25. They are approved to use indoors and the cans of butane are not too expensive either

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  7. Excellent! This was on my mind today and your blog was perfect.

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  8. I've been researching other people's lists all day, and yours is the BEST one I've found. Thanks for posting it!

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    1. you're so welcome! Glad to have been a help! :)

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  9. I love this idea!! :) I just discovered your blog and am loving it!

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  10. Make sure you are using butane. Even if you are cooking indoors only in emergency situations, using the wrong fuel could prove fatal.

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  11. A great place to store 2 liter bottles full of water is in the back of the cabinet under the bathroom sink. Love your ideas and organization.

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  12. I used to lead camping trips where we couldn't cary extra water, so it was fill up from the lake and add some iodine tablets. I keep the iodine tablets in my emergency kit at all times. You should be able to pick some up at a local camping store. They have chlorine ones too, our even just hand pumps that screw on to a water bottle.

    I'm also interested to know if you make a list for cat emergency kits? I try to stock my car well in the winter in case I go in the ditch etc, but I feel like it is lacking.

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  13. I found this on Pinterest and am so glad I did! My husband and I were just talking about creating an emergency kit so I'm very glad to have found one so thorough!

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  14. Looking at your emergency meal plan, you have bread for a couple meals (toast, sandwiches, etc). Do you have the stuff to bake your own bread, or are you just buying bread and rotating it out every week? Thanks!

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  15. I love this! It's so true, I grew up in a family of 6 and food storage/emergency preparedness was important and elaborate. I've been married now for almost 3 years and haven't done anything yet because it's so overwhelming, and like you said most stuff is geared towards families not couples. Thanks for the inspiration and tips! I love the two week food supply.

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  16. Hi, I am wanting to use this but I cannot get you printables to print. Could you send them to my email? pebes2@aol.com Thank You! :)

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  17. Thank you so much for this fabulous post! I love your method and I'm excited to start organizing the supplies we already have and buy more. Thanks for such an inspiring/motivational post! :)

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  18. Any way we could the printable files in some other format? I don't have PhotoShop and can't print them. :/ I've looked at a lot of sight and been through all the research and I like your system the best. I recently moved into a much smaller place and have to find creative ways to store things now and I need to update and convert my current emergency storage/preparedness method! Here's my email if that helps: shadysadie214@gmail.com thanks!

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  19. Hey! I read through all your lists. What's moleskin?

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  20. I am new to prepping (haven't actually gotten started yet as I find it so overwhelming to know where to start) Thank you so much for sharing. Is it possiblefor you to e-mail the printables to me as I am unable to download them. Thanks, Again

    Sandy
    kacey1005@yaho.com

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  21. Hi there, I just found this on Pinterest also, and I don't have photoshop. Could you please link them as a pdf or word file, or email them to j_touchstone@yahoo.com?

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  22. You say your list is missing two lunches... well, I found them. You're assuming the power goes out for two weeks and you're stuck with only what you have at home. Well, your first few meals are going to consist of the stuff that's going to go bad in the fridge; in my kitchen that's pitas and hummus, leftovers from previous meals, and cottage cheese. Also, the last few big emergencies (hurricanes, blizzards) have been announced ahead of time which usually gives people time to cook the frozen pizzas, pork chops, etc. and keep the food on hand to eat cold during the worst of the storm.

    Thanks for this list. I, too, am childless and living in a small apartment. I've been making survival plans for that time in the future when I have a house and storage space, but this has inspired me to do some planning for my current situation too. I have a bin under my bed that is mostly empty. I'll be buying a few cans of chili and clam chowder during my next shopping trip and maybe a box of cereal and granola bars. Baby steps.

    Thanks.

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  23. I love your idea. I really appreciate your idea. Thanks for sharing. emergency management

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  24. Oh my goodness. I have been looking/praying for a project to do and I have found that we, as a couple, dont have an emergency kit. And your right, most lists are for families with houses; which we dont have.I am so thankful for you blog. And you have given me ideas on where to store everything in our tiny apartment. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  26. I'm just curious. Is margarine on your list because it is what you generally use, or is it because of it's long shelf life?

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  27. Excellent article. The blog is useful and more informatics. I think all searchers like this kind of article. Thanks for blog admin who write these useful article. If anyone want to search more Please visit this site, Christian counseling Seattle

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  28. Thanks for this! It's really helpful. In my situations, it's also just the two of us in a small apartment. So your lists are VERY handy, I'll just make minor changed related to our tastes, and the products available in South Africa. I'm convinced we'll have some sort of apocalypse in the future. Technological, Zombie... Who knows. Lol. Even if nothing that extreme happens, we're sorted for a natural disaster or when the electrical grid goes down, etc.

    Just a thought? Wouldn't it be better to keep your kit in you car instead of in the apartment?

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  29. I love your idea very much. I really appreciate your idea. Thanks for sharing this.

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  31. Hey wow this is great!! My sister's best friend Linda is getting married next month and my sister has been going nuts about writing a wedding speech and making goody bags, give-aways and even an emergency kit for the bride. She has asked me to help her out with this preparation and all. I therefore was kind of checking out some emergency kits for brides and jumped across your blog. Thanks I'm definitely going to show this to her.

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  32. Hi, You make some very good points here, though as regards water storage I would not use the small plastic bottles you mention. There are concerns that the plastic can leech in to the water over time. I would recommend using water storage designed for the long term such as these water sachets- http://bit.ly/1Jj1ayx.

    I run a preparedness company, my blog can be found at http://nigelperry.ca/prepblog/

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  33. Cher, Fantastic info. Thanks so much. But PLEASE revise your original post to specify that you MUST only use cooking sources indoors that are approved for indoors! An emergency kit won't help you survive carbon monoxide poisoning, which is odorless. And you don't want someone relying on your blog to die of carbon monoxide poisoning in an emergency - because after all, "it IS an emergency". I am always saddened when I hear of people dying in disasters just because they were cooking indoors with a fuel that was not safe.

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  35. Hi Cher, Sorry but your free printables won't download for me. Please email them to junkedit@comcast.net We are retired so smaller kit ideas are very welcome. Thank you so much for your ideas.

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  36. Hi Cher, Sorry but your free printables won't download for me. Please email them to junkedit@comcast.net We are retired so smaller kit ideas are very welcome. Thank you so much for your ideas.

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  37. Sorry but your free printables won't download. We are retire so smaller kit ideas are very welcom. Thank you so much for your ideas.

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