I'm going to skip right past the saga of last Sunday--every single family member threw up or had violent diarrhea and not all of that made it into appropriate receptacles and some happened at church--and report back on my 72 hour kit/disaster relief class, sort of. What I want to do are highlight some of the genius ideas that I heard on Saturday so I'll remember them and, in the process, perhaps they'll be helpful for you, too.
You see, like many LDS folks, I probably attend at least two or three specifically preparedness themed events a year, more if you count all the events on food storage and self reliance. So sometimes, it's easy to feel like there's nothing new under the sun, because we've heard it all before, at some time or other. But, as my mother pointed out, if you go in hoping to hear one or two new, useful tidbits, you're usually not disappointed. And this time I wasn't. So here are my newest tidbits.
1. Store your clothes in your 72 hour kit in vacuum packing bags. GENIUS! Clothes easily take up a third of our space, filling a whole bag on their own, and shrinking them down would give us valuable real estate we could use for other essentials, like a tent (which is our next big purchase, most likely). Plus, vacuum sealing the clothes means they are also waterproof, an added bonus. I'm doing this to our wool blankets as well!
2. Store only winter clothes and pack a pair of scissors. Then, if your emergency happens during warmer months, simply cut off the sleeves and legs. Again, brilliant! This idea eliminates the need to constantly switch out clothing for the seasons. And if you're really caught in an emergency, are you going to want to see those clothes again anyway? I think not! So if you end up with a pack of cut-offs, who cares?
3. Buy a hiking/travel backpack with a zip-off day pack. I won that Guerrilla pack a few months ago, and, while I was at this class, it occurred to me that zip-off day packs are the answer to how to pack your kids' 72 hour gear. You want to have them be able to pack their own stuff, but you also want to be able to carry their stuff and yours when they inevitably get tired. You could attach their bag to yours with a carabiner but that's bulky. This solution is sleek and, in my case, partially free, since we already have one of these bags. Love it! I think we might also use this idea for air travel as well. The possibilities are limitless!!
4. Have you heard of the SteriPen? It's a device that purifies a liter of water at a time with UV light. All you do is stick the pen in the water and presto! drinkable. If you're an extensive traveler or prone to amoebas or wanting to cut weight in your 72 hour kit or just thinking UV light is cool, this is the device for you. The basic model can do up to 200 liters of water, which is plenty for your average emergency or trip into a less than clean water area. Even better, for some situations, if the Life Straw, which allows you to stick a straw in cholera contaminated water and drink risk free, but unfortunately this is only available for purchase for use by NGOs and corporations in third world countries. Like the husband said a while ago when he realized that head lamps were now all the rage as camping supplies, "I guess things have changed in the 20 years since I last went camping." With disaster prep, it appears things are changing every 6 months, so keep up along with me, will you?