Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Build your Own Family Emergency Kits: Part 2

Thank you for joining me for Part 2 of my mini-series on building your own Family Emergency Kits!
(If you missed part 1 go check it out here)
Today we're going to talk about WHAT to put in your emergency kits!
Let's break this down even further
Step 1: Get a Bag!
Old backpacks are great for this! In an emergency situation you may need to carry your items with you and it will be a lot easier if you can distribute that weight onto your back. Even better if you can have each member of your family help out! My friend Chrystal shared her picture with me {check out image above} - even her preschooler can help out with a backpack!  You can also purchase inexpensive basic backpacks or deluxe ones. Check out your local Sporting goods store if you're interested in more advanced options. Chances are you already have something in your home that you can use. Check your local thrift store or garage sales to score bags for cheap. It doesn't need to be pretty - just in good condition. You can even put all your supplies in a medium to large sized plastic tote. This option wouldn't be easy to carry for long but it is another method of storing your supplies.
Step 2: Plan Out Your Stuff!
There are some basic items that should be in everyone's kit - and then there are things that you will need to customize to suit your family. Know what you are preparing for. If you can expect to be outside you'll want to make sure you have added camping gear like full tents, sleeping bags, etc. You want to be sure to have adequate food, snacks and water. On top of dealing with a crisis I'd rather not deal with hunger induced meltdowns from my five children. Also - do not forget the boredom busters. A simple deck of cards, an iPod, etc can bring lots of happiness to your family.

Review the suggestions in this image - trust me there are a ton more things you can add & probably better detailed lists out there. You can also find more ideas here, here and here

{working on getting a larger image size loaded! Blogger is being a pain difficult. I apologize for the mini-size list!}
Step 3: Get Your Stuff!
Now that you have your big list of what to buy - don't panic and quit. It can seem daunting! However, I am betting you have some of this stuff already in your house. It's just a matter of gathering it up. For those things that you don't have check out your local stores. I know that Rain Poncho's, Whistles, etc can be purchased at my local Wal-Mart/Target, etc. Also, plan out how many back packs you want to purchase. For my family of seven we already have 1 bag in our home so we are rummaging up four more bags. One for my husband, myself, my two older boys will have their own and then one bag for all the babies/toddlers combined. The majority of our supplies will be in my husband and my bags. However, I want each child's bag to have boredom busters, a change of clothing, snacks, etc. My little babies won't be carrying their own bag but I want to have the diapers, formula/powdered milk set aside so I can easily rotate out what I need to as they change sizes and grow.
Step 4: Assemble Your Kits!
Now that you have all your items start loading everything up! My biggest tip to pass on is that you should also purchase some quart or gallon size zipper bags. Put all your hygiene items in one bag, first aid supplies in another and so on. This will make finding what you need so much easier!!
Along side of our backpacks we will also have 2 cases of bottled water. We will also have three of the Seychelle Water Filtration Bottles that I posted about earlier this month and a Sawyer Point Zero Two Bucket Filter. My take on water preparation? It's super lightweight to be prepared to filter water wherever you go. It's super heavy to bring a huge amount of water with you. Both of our options were a small investment but now that we have them (especially in the case of the Sawyer that has a million gallon guarantee) we won't have to worry about purchasing again.
Step 5: Rotate and Review 
And you're thinking 'But wait! I just put this thing together!' And you are totally right! Don't worry about this step now but it is a big one later on. I recommend reviewing your kits once or twice a year. Change out your snacks and water. Yes, even bottled water has a use by date - those plastic bottles aren't going to hold up forever before they start to break down. Also, if you're like me your babies will have likely outgrown the diapers you've packed away. It won't be any fun trying to put a size 2 infant diaper on your two year old if you haven't updated your kits!
A big part of having a family emergency kit is having a PLAN. So you pack up your family, your kits and you jump in your car. Where are you headed? Maybe that will depend on what emergency you are facing but think about these things ahead of time. We are fortunate to live in an area with a lot of our extended family. Part of our plan that we are working out includes coordinating with family on staying in communication and gathering together.
Is all this information swirling around your head? Are you feeling overwhelmed? It's okay! Just take baby steps to getting your emergency kits done. And if you'd rather not go through all this hassle you can skip a lot of these steps by purchasing a pre-assembled kit. There are all sorts of options out there. Here are a few of my favorites that Thrive Life offers: Providence Basic, Expedition Basic and 2 Person Survival Pack.
HUGE THANKS to my amazing friends and all their help in compiling the list of items for the kits. BIG thanks to Chrystal for her Emergency Kit photo {my kits are in progress and I will share with you soon!}.

But we're not over yet! Our mini-series will wrap up tomorrow with an amazing guest post from one of my friends who has lived through a tornado and the aftermath that it causes. She will share her experiences, advice for your kit and a few photos with us!


  1. Thanks for some great survival kit tips. I have been meaning to make individual emergency kits for a long time so maybe this will help motivate me. I like the idea of picking what you put into them which is exactly how I made my car survival kit. I also found a website that allowed me to build my own kit which allowed me to put it together exactly how I wanted to. Love your blog and your very informative posts! :)

    1. Launi! Thank you for stopping by and sharing :) I also love this resource for building custom emergency kits: Once you get your individual kits done remember to come back and share or email a photo to azthrivelifestyle at gmaildotcom and we can show off your hard work!