Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Building a 72-hr kit... with Food Allergies

Last summer, a fire broke out across the street and behind the hill where we lived.  We could see the smoke, and firefighters were alerting the neighbors across the street for possible evacuation.  It wasn't a big fire and they had it under control and were just taking precautions.  It was such a surreal moment for me.  One that I'd never imagined happening to me.  Even though they were not worried about our side of the street, I still ran in and packed some bags... just in case.  

My sweet children helped by packing some clothes into their backpacks...and video games... and stuffed essential stuff here, right?  It was a great test in emergency preparedness for me to see how quickly I could gather everything together.  

Having a 72 hour kit is important for everybody.  You just never know when disaster might strike, and it seems like these kinds of events are happening more frequently.  But when you have food allergies, it makes having a 72 hour kit even THAT much more important!  I know as a mom with a boy with life threatening food allergies, I want to make sure that in the event of a disaster, he has something safe to eat.  I won't be able to rely on anyone else for that.  Besides that, a popular food of choice for emergency situations is the protein-packed, shelf-stable PEaNut ButTeR!!  Nope.  Won't work.

I am no where near an authority on this subject and I know I'm just brushing the surface here, but after doing some homework about what to put into a 72 hour kit these are some of the things that I've learned:

1) Especially in the case of food allergies, put items in that are safe and that you will want to eat.  I'm sure that anything would be better than nothing if we were on the brink of starvation but, seriously, knowing we have something that we'd actually WANT to eat is a comfort. It also makes rotating the items much easier.

2) Avoid items high is salt.  Salt makes you thirsty and you will need more water. (think beef jerky or cup of noodles)

3) Be sure to count the amount of calories you have.  I was surprised when I went through my kit and counted the calories that I had no where near enough the amount of calories that we would need for the day.  You may even want to add more calories because in the event of a stressful situation when a 72 hour kit might be needed, you are going to be burning more calories.

4) Be sure to have a source of protein.

5) Rotate the items in your kit.  I keep a list and I do this every 6 months.

6) Make sure you will be able to carry everything -- that it won't be too heavy.  There are a couple of ways to do this:  individual backpacks for everyone to carry if on foot or a waterproof bag or storage container that is easy to carry.

7) While I am just focusing on food in this post, other items you might want to consider are flashlights/batteries, can opener, matches, personal care items, utensils/cups/bowls etc, change of clothes/good shoes, comfort objects, small games--especially for kids .

Without further ado, here are some of the items I decided to put in our kits.  I selected different items for mom and dad since I figured we will need more protein rich meals than the kiddos.

1) Nutrigrain Bars
2) Applesauce pouches
3) Instant oatmeal packets
4) Spaghetti O's
5) Ritz Crackers
6) Sunbutter *not pictured (to eat on the crackers)
7) Canned Chicken
8) Instant Rice (to eat with the chicken)
9) Sunflower seeds (my lifesaver!  1 cup=800 calories!  Perfect for 72 hour kits)
10) box of cereal such as cheerios *not pictured


For mom & Dad I added:
12) cans of chili
13) protein bars and lara bars

Along with this we'd have to pack around 2 packs of 24 bottles of water.  I did not worry about variety.  We would eat the same thing every day, but it would be enough to get us by for 3 days.

There are many other choices you can add.  But the calorie, protein packed items are the best.  It is less you will have to carry.  

Hopefully this helps to get the wheels turning and ideas flowing for you about making your own 72 hour kits.

 I'd love to hear your ideas!

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