CRASH! BANG! SNAP! It’s an earthquake IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, but that’s okay because you have discussed with your family what to do when an earthquake happens. You have a family plan, which is a good thing. Everybody grabs their 72-hour kits and runs out of the house and meets up at……., hey wait a minute, how are they running anywhere? How did your kids find their shoes in the dark, they can’t even find them in time to catch the bus every morning. What? They don’t need shoes to get out of the house – just run? But what about the glass and the fallen furniture and whatever else happens during an earthquake? Ouch!
My mantra is: BE PREPARED (I’m a scout mom.) Today I am going to ask you to do something that is very simple so that you will be prepared (this is even more simple than filling your water jugs, which of course you all did – two gallons of water, per person, per day, for a two week period.) I am going to ask you to assemble a kit, not a 72-hour kit, that is something that we will talk about at later time; I am going to ask you to assemble an “Under the Bed or in the Night Stand” kit. I know, weird name, but I don’t know what else to call it. You only need 5 items for this kit and you probably already have them: #1) plastic grocery bag, old pillow case or large shoe box, #2) pair of slip on shoes – close-toed, like tennis shoes or boat shoes, #3) heavy duty leather gloves (not cloth garden gloves – you need something a little sturdier), #4) a whistle on a string, and #5) a flashlight – that works WITH working batteries. Put items two through five in the container (item #1) and place it under your bed (if it won’t collapse) or in your nightstand. You will want to keep this kit in a place that you can find in the dark, grab and use immediately.
Some of you with small children will argue that they will play with the kit and lose the items, but with my children we just incorporated using the kit with our emergency plan. Once your children understand how important those items are in keeping them safe, they will leave it alone – eventually, especially if you have emergency kit spot checks and reward them with a treat for having everything in place, maybe some freeze dried food – hah, just kidding!
Another concern that you might have is that your children will grow out of their shoes, and you are right – they will, but you can buy boat shoes or inexpensive tennis shoes for only $1.00 to $5.00. The shoes don’t need to be the latest and greatest with a brand name attached; all they need to do is to protect your children’s feet. Don’t use sandals! I know that it is tempting because kids can wear them longer, but they don’t offer the protection to the toes and if they have to climb over stuff their footing won’t be sure. Make sure you and your family has shoes that protect their feet – top and bottom (just think of the last time you stubbed your bare toes.)
My biggest concern is not the children losing items from the kit, but rather the adults “borrowing” a flashlight or maybe some gloves. I’m not going to tell you that CAN’T use them, but I am going to suggest that you buy extra items – like flashlights, so that you don’t have to borrow anything from your kit. IF you do borrow something from your kit, please take it right back so that you aren’t left unprepared. It will haunt you if you don’t.
Now, when an earthquake or other disaster happens in the middle of the night, you will have at your fingertips: shoes to protect your feet from glass and other sharp items, gloves to protect your hands, a flashlight to see your way out and a whistle to let everyone know where you are – either outside and safe (thank goodness) or still inside and need help (can you hear my WHISTLE?).
I was right wasn’t I, this kit is easy to put together AND you already have everything (if you don’t I’m sure that you will remedy that today, tomorrow at the latest.) I think I’ll go check my batteries.