Building Your Kit ~ Week 6

Funny thing about Disaster Preparedness, our parents and grandparents simply ‘put up’ their garden produce, butchered a half a beef, froze it and otherwise laid up stores for the winter months. The current generation goes to the store nearly every day to decide what to have for dinner, has no idea what to do with real flour and is nearly crippled without electricity.

With all the microwaveable conveniences and our fast-food on-demand mentality, the thought of actually preparing in case something goes wrong is often times a foreign concept.

Nevertheless, there are some of us who remember life without microwave ovens and Hamburger Helper. Some who have lived through events that knocked out power and weather which precluded safe travel. Improving conditions during times of difficulty can be as simple as having some extra food on hand, or a camping stove or alternative lighting or maybe just fresh batteries for the flashlight.

Each week for the past few weeks I have presented a list of things to buy to build a 72 hour survival kit. This is a seven week plan, and at the end of seven weeks you should have a well-equipped and nicely stocked kit with which to survive most short-term disasters. Keep in mind this is only a start, and a 14 day supply is much more desirable.

Things to buy for Week Six:

1. Blankets and small pillows. A good quality sleeping bag is a good substitute.

2. Towels. Set aside some extra towels and if you are preparing a go-bag for each family member, a towel is a must-have.

3. Extra clothing and outerwear, and sturdy, comfortable footwear, suitable for walking long distances.

4. Small photo album with current photos of family members and pets.

5. Assorted crackers and nuts (low salt or salt-free are best to reduce thirst).

Tips for Week Six:

Do you have home fire extinguishers? Are they rated ABC? If so check with your local fire department to have them inspected and learn when they should be replaced. Residential fires are the most frequent disasters and having a working fire extinguisher can mean the difference between minor damage and losing your home.

Consider using five gallon plastic buckets with lids for storing your supplies. They are light, strong, and dust, water and bug-proof, and relatively inexpensive. Remember to pick up a “lid lifter” at your hardware store for the plastic buckets. Those lids can be difficult to remove without the right tool. You can also ask the hardware store lady (or man) if the buckets are “food grade” plastic. Markings on the bottom of the bucket tell the tale.

Dave Robinson

List the contents with a permanent marker. Also mark expiration dates and plan to rotate supplies every six months. Some folks use the change to Daylight Savings Time to remind them it’s time to change out the old stuff for new.

As always send your questions and comments to Previous columns are on my blog at Dave Robinson is a retired Postmaster, and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available at, and other online booksellers.