Ready or Not #170: Use Your 72 Hour Kit

Got your 72 hr. kit put together yet?  I certainly hope so.  Now what do you do with it?  USE IT!  I’m not kidding, really, use it.  The other day I was talking to my friend and she told me that the power went out in her part of town for a couple of hours.  Her husband asked her if they had any candles and she said that they had one.  One, really?  He asked about the candles in their 72 hr. kit – he knew that they had more than one candle.  My friend said, “No way – I don’t want to have to replace them!”

Replace them!  Really.  Use your kit.  It is not just for earthquake emergencies, but also for power outages, water shut downs, neighborhood evacuations, and on, and on.  Anytime you have to do without your normal comfortable surroundings – break out the 72 hr. kits and go through what you have to make your situation more comfortable.  Everything is replaceable and the more you use your kit the more you get to know what is in it and what really needs to be in it.  Don’t be afraid.

One quick tip to make more light, if you are unprepared and really do have only ONE candle: Cover a large dinner plate with aluminum foil and prop it behind the candle.  It will reflect the light better and make it appear that you have more than just ONE candle.  You can also use a mirror to get the same effect.

Now on to the fun stuff – I got to operate an excavator the other day.  It was a John Deere 790 track hoe and it was sooo much fun.  I helped demolish an old building and they let me break some of the walls and crush part of the roof to mere rubble!  To clean up the rubble, the real operators (that are talented and really know what they are doing), used the same equipment that I used to break it down.  The operators were very talented and watching them run the equipment was like watching a mechanical ballet.  My point is, if you have the opportunity to learn how to run equipment that you normally wouldn’t be able to run – take the opportunity and learn – big or small.

Now, most of us won’t have the opportunity to learn to use the really big machines (I call them “big boy toys”).   BUT we can learn to use everyday vehicles at a more basic level.  Most farm kids can drive vehicles with gear shifts, but it seems that most youth these days can only drive automatic cars and trucks.  I insisted that my kids learn how to drive stick shift before they could drive an automatic.  I felt that it was important that they know how to drive anything in an emergency.  They can both drive stick shifts, automatics, 4-wheelers and motorbikes.  My son went one extra step and got his CDL and can drive most anything (except hazardous material – that would make his mom nervous).

The reason that I felt so strongly that they learn to drive a variety of vehicles was because I heard of a young man who was camping with his brother; they had driven up in the older brother’s Jeep.  That night they were attacked by a bear and the older brother was badly wounded.  The younger brother had to drive his wounded brother down the mountain to get help – in the Jeep.  The only problem was that the younger brother had never bothered to learn how to drive a gear shift.  He didn’t think he needed to because he never intended to buy a stick shift – he liked the automatics.

But you aren’t always in control of the situation, sometimes the situation is in control of you and that is when it becomes important to have already expanded your knowledge – remember: knowledge is power – and it is your responsibility to become powerful.  Fortunately the younger brother, driving in first and second gear down the mountain, was able to get his brother to the hospital and saved his life.

And you just never know, maybe someday, somebody will want me to run an excavator again – it could happen.

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