*Youth Bug Out Bag (72 hour kit)*
The day started like any other day for me, did the usual in the morning…breakfast, making sure the two 11 year old girls were already for school then they biked to school and I went to my mom and dad’s to clean their house (they were in Las Vegas). I never listen to the radio or t.v. in the a.m. but I just happened to turn it on while I was cleaning that day (I guess because my parents weren’t there). Anyway I heard what had happened and my heart sunk and my knees hit the floor. I wasn’t alarmed enough to think I needed to rush to school to get the girls or anything so in a very strange state of mind I continued to clean. When I returned home around 11:30 a.m., to my surprise the girls and I met at the end of the driveway. They were out of breath and had worried looks on their faces. Trying to not alarm them I said, "I didn’t know you had a half day of school today" which in response my daughter replied "Mom, our country has been attacked."
We went in the house and the girls wanted to continue watching the t.v. (they had watched some at school)…I was skeptical but said fine. After about a half hour they had enough and shut it off themselves. The unspoken words filled the air. After each of us having our ‘own time’ (the girls in their rooms doing what they wanted and me doing things around the house) I called the girls into the livingroom and said "I would like us to do something today that I have been wanting us to do for a long time" and they both responded "the 72 hour kits!" I said yes and then asked them to share their thoughts on why I would want us to have them. They talked about the attack but they also talked about natural disasters and perhaps needing to leave the house. We also talked about why it was a good idea for each of us to have our own kit and not have one person have everything for everyone. I surely wouldn’t want to get separated from my children in a crisis situation, however, I would feel better knowing that they had food, water, emergency blanket etc. to survive with and the girls understood that concept too. After talking things over, we began to put our kits together! The idea of the kit is to have enough emergency applies in it to last for a 72 hour period of time, so it would include enough water and food for three days. Some things to remember are that we can really survive on a lot less than most of us normally eat and store food in the kits that your child will eat…if the kit is needed that will not be the time to have food in it that your child will not like…’comfort’ is an important part of your kit too! As you notice, my daughter’s pack includes a notebook and some Nancy Drew books!
Items included in the kits:
Three day supply of food and water; change of clothes, winter hats and gloves, extra socks, poncho, emergency blanket, 50ft. lifeline , whistle, orange vest, toilet paper, waterproof matches, scrap paper, small first aid kit, jackknife, eating utensils, can opener, fishing line and hooks, toothbrush and toothpaste, compass, emergency tent, flashlight and batteries, chapstick, hard candy and handheaters. You need to make sure your child can carry what is packed. My daughter and I have hiked around a bit to get the feel of our packs and to see how the weight feels to us and if we needed to shift weight around etc. As more weight can be carried you can add more items such as a folding shovel, sleeping bag, bigger tent, bigger first aid kit, radio etc.
We made up a list then we gathered items that we had. Each of the girls had a spare school backpack, which came in really handy! They put extra clothing in plastic bags and squeezed as much air out as they could (the more compact things are the better), they used Country Time Lemonade containers to put their first aid kit and matches in, they packed granola bars and crackers in the plastic Nestle Quick containers etc. We had a wonderful time putting them together! Once the kits were finished, they each put their kit in their room and then we went about playing games, chilling out etc….life went on!
When I told some people what we did that afternoon some responded that it was a good thing to do and others responded that they thought I was just making the girls scared. For those that said I was making the girls scared I could only respond that "They are happy to have their kits under their beds and to know that if anything should happen that they should need them, they have them at their fingertips in a matter of seconds".
I would highly recommend that each child, no matter how young, have their own Bug Out Bag (72 hour kit). Even the little toddler can carry a small pack with snack bars, a bottle of water, emergency blanket and a stuffed animal friend (for comfort) and as they grow older their pack can grow too!
A very important part of your Bug Out Bag is to know how to use what is in it! Have special family nights and go over basic first aid, safety with matches and fire, a fire escape plan in case you have a house fire, including a location to meet outside (have fire drill practices now and then and include grabbing your Bug Out Bags) etc.
Yes, life goes on and we may never need to use our Bug Out Bags but it sure is comforting for parents and children to know that they are there if needed.
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