Three years ago a propane tanker wrecked on the freeway in Salt Lake City. When I heard about it, the first thing that I thought about was how many of the 700 households that had to be evacuated took their 72-hr. kits with them? Next, what would those evacuees have done if there had been a devastating explosion? What if it wasn’t propane that was being hauled, but a much more deadly, aggressive chemical, or even a deadly pathogen/disease? Did they have a plan? Were they afraid?
Wow, something to think about. More questions: How many of the families, that were displaced, were not at home but instead were spread out at work and school and had to find each other and make plans? How many families had emergency plans that they had prepared ahead of time? How many had the resources to take care of themselves with the unexpected expense of getting a hotel, or did they just stay in an emergency shelter. In my family, we have a lot of special medical needs and we wouldn’t do well in a shelter sleeping on the floor or on the cots.
After thinking about all of the concerns that must have been running through the displaced neighbors heads, I came to the conclusion that “it,” meaning whatever disaster you are involved in, is going to be either somewhat uncomfortable OR disastrous – depending on how much thought and planning you have put into your family disaster plan.
Growing up as a young girl, whenever I thought about using 72-hr. kits, I imagined everybody burdened down with their kits and trudging along on some long road that never seemed to end. It always seemed that the road was rocky and always going up hill. Of course I had no idea where I was going, but I was trudging away and I was miserable. Now that I am older I look at being prepared and 72-hr kits quite differently. No longer am I trudging on an endless road, but instead I am well prepared and I can drive down that road.
72-hr. kits are not for long-term survival, but a stopgap until you can evaluate your situation. A good way to think of a 72-hr. kit is as a packed bag ready for you to go on an unscheduled adventure. How well you plan to pack for the potential adventure will determine how much fun, or not, you will have. But remember if you are going to go, don’t go empty-handed – take your kit with you.
With a bad economy, I know that many people are going to be very cautious about how they spend money. Building 72-hr. kits will really make a lasting difference. It will give you peace of mind and calmness during any emergency situation that may come your way.