Can you find our Guest blogger on the Wall of Fame?
I tried all day yesterday to load these pictures of today's guest writer and couldn't get blogger to work. So once again, I'm a little late posting. But hey, I tried. Today I'd like to introduce you to Bob/Rob/Robert. He is a dentist here on base and a good friend of ours. His wife Lyana is also a good friend and Doug and I love hanging out with them. They have three cute kids and the youngest, baby Mark, speaks Ukrainian. How cool is that? Rob and Lyana blog HERE. (Be sure to search their blog for the Toilet Museum post.)
Top right corner!
Em, Lyana, Doug & Robert shoved into a teeny tiny Japanese photo booth
Recently we had the rare opportunity to utilize our 72-hour kit (well, some of it). Now, I don’t claim to be the most prepared when it comes to emergencies, but thanks to my wife, I feel that we have a pretty smashing 72-hour kit. That aside, let me tell you about our experience breaking open the kit. The power went out after the first big quake hit. With that, of course, went almost everything we take for granted everyday – internet, TV, lights, oven, stove, microwave (ahhhh!), refrigerator, cordless phones, dishwasher, laundry machines, and so forth. You get the idea. Obviously, some things are more important than others. Luckily, water and sewer lines were working, so we didn’t have to get creative on that front. Anyway, let’s talk survival. You never know what situation you will be in when you need to use your 72-hour kit, so preparedness is key. Our kit was set up so that we could grab it on a moment’s notice on our way out the door (worst-case scenario). This time, luckily, we busted it out in the comfort of our own dark living room. Our kit is divided into two large military backpacks, with smaller backpacks inside for each child. Each of the older kids’ backpacks consists of:
change of clothes – one year up in size
you can always roll up or cut if too long. Even though we were still at home, the kids were excited to wear the “new” clothes from their backpacks
basic hygiene kit
2 bottles of water
some granola bars or other snacks
stickers and crayons
extra pair of glasses and lens cleaner in Alex’s bag
diapers – keep size updated
diaper rash cream
clothes – again, one size too big
The rest of the kit, split up between the two big bags:
copies of passports, marriage and birth certificates
copies of stuff in your wallet
contact information of friends and relatives
Extra cash – $100 in small bills
change of clothes for me and Lyana – long-sleeve shirt and pants can be used in any weather
a WORKING radio – tape batteries to outside of radio
test the radio beforehand (just a hint)
flashlight – battery powered ones are less stressful
wall-charger flashlights are fine, but rather difficult to recharge when electricity is out. I don’t recommend them.
I don’t like the crank-charge ones either. Who wants to be turning a crank just for a few minutes of light.
LED lights – even brighter than regular flashlights
we had two LED headlamps and three LED circular lights that we could put on the table or hang on the wall. I definitely recommend these.
Lots of spare batteries.
The LED lights were nice because they are light (ie not heavy) AND they run on AAA batteries which are also fairly light.
Candles – portable, but really only practical when all your batteries are dead
Fire starter sticks
inflatable pillow – who knows?
alcohol hand sanitizer
spool of twine
duct tape – some would argue that’s all you really need
a little bit of rope
a good book – to pass the time away
a good first aid kit – not just a few band-aids
more hand and body warmers
doctor’s masks – easy to find in Japan
permanent markers – gotta label stuff
paper plates and cups
water purification tablets
vaseline or chapstick
plastic grocery bags
wool blankets – we have 2
almonds, cashews or other nuts
emergency food rations – like energy bars or those big bricks of barely palatable bricks (we have both)
peanut butter – high protein and yum too
freeze dried food – some random stuff
Tums – guess why
Since we were still at home, we obviously didn’t use everything, but the experience certainly gave us a chance to re-evaluate the practicality of certain items. (the bags are still in the living room being re-evaluated)
Food – unless they were starving, I doubt the kids would eat much of what we had in the bags, especially the freeze-dried stuff. Now I recommend food that you know the kids will eat and food that requires little or no preparation (who wants to be heating up water and pouring it carefully in a bag just so they can have a meal of reconstituted spaghetti?) A special treat for the kids can be especially comforting during disasters or evacuations. I also recommend a little bit of chocolate for the wife (Lyana told me to say that).
Water – fill up your containers before you need them. I didn’t “get around to it,” but thankfully the water never stopped working here. I filled up the bathtub as soon as I could . . . just in case.
Corded phone – wish I had one. It doesn’t need to be in the kit, but when the power’s out, cordless phones are worthless.
Car keys – I never thought about this before, but why not put a spare key in the 72-hour kit. That way, if you have to grab it and run, you don’t have to waste time looking for your keys.
Gas – I mean, fuel. Both our cars were near empty when the earthquake hit. Gas stations were closed so we were stuck with what we had. I recommend keeping tanks no less than 1/4 tank and also have a full gas can in storage.
Cooking – I was very happy we had a BBQ with a full propane tank. Many people, I heard, spent those two days eating cheese and crackers. We had a full fridge and freezer full of food to use up, so we ate like royalty. Had to invite the neighbors over to help us. It also helped that we had some coolers, which I filled with food and buried in the ice and snow outside.
Okay, I think that’s good enough for now. I’m exhausted just thinking about all of this. But who wants to be thinking about this when they’re running out the door or just even when the power’s out? Stocked and easily accessible is the key. I’m off now. If you have any questions, just ask . . . then I’ll refer them all to my well-prepared wife. Rob