Preparing to move from Utah to Georgia, my husband and I wanted to take our family and friends to our favorite camping spot one last time. My husband packed tools and foods that I thought we would never need.
However, as we got closer to our favorite camping spot, there were patches of snow on the road, yet we kept trying to get to our destination. Suddenly, we found the back half of our F-150 hanging off the side of the road due to the treacherous conditions. After using the rope my husband brought, our engineer friend suggested we use the saw from our truck to cut down a tree and build a lever to get our truck on the road again. Several hours later, all the vehicles were on the path, and the tired men decided to camp just off the road. The niceties of our usual spot were not found in the makeshift situation. The next morning, the men wanted to hike to the fishing hole, but before they returned a morning storm rolled in and soaked the tents and the roads. The group quickly threw all the tents into the back of the trucks and we left trying to get off the mountain before the roads became impassable. However, we realized very quickly, it was too late – one of the other vehicles hung precariously off the side of the road, despite the men slowly walking beside the vehicles to help keep them on the narrow road, away from the cliffs.
We were now in an emergency situation – the one day trip we had planned turned into a trip we weren’t sure when we would return from. No one knew where we were because all of our friends were there with us. No cell signals. As we set up our wet tents, it became very apparent that the multiple ice chests and odd tools my husband filled our truck bed with were now going to be what would save our group from going hungry, being cold, and basic survival.
The events of the last year and specifically a few months ago for those of us in Texas have illustrated to all of us clearly how important it is to be prepared for emergencies. While everyone has different needs overall, there are several ways everyone can be prepared.
A basic emergency kit should include:
- Water – 1 gallon per person per day for several days – think drinking and sanitation
- Food – at least a 2 week supply of non-perishable food; think canned goods, rice, beans, and other items with a long shelf life (Jerky is a great option.) Make sure to store inside of closed plastic or metal containers in a cool, dry place. Replace items according to expiration dates.
- Flashlight and extra batteries, lanterns, headlamps, and candles.
- First aid kit – including necessary medications.
- Cell phone with chargers and backup battery/portable charger.
**Make sure to re-evaluate your needs each year and change your kit as your family’s needs change.
Other good ideas:
- Food for your pets
- Paper plates, cups, and utensils
- Personal hygiene items
- Books or games to pass the time
- Extra gas for your vehicle
- Small propane stove for cooking
Remember, you don’t have to do everything at once. Start small and add items slowly and systematically. The first 20% of preparation gets you 80% of the way to being prepared for most emergencies you will experience. It is best to learn from our past mistakes. If you weren’t prepared during the last emergency, what changes do you need to make? What things were difficult to obtain? However, be careful not to get into a place of complacency -continue to check that your items work and that expiration dates have not passed. Hopefully, you will find during our next emergency you are more like my husband was for our adventure in the mountains – PREPARED!