Monday, January 18, 2010

72 Hour Kits Are Just Not Big Enough

I think it is quite obvious now with what we have seen in Haiti and really all the big disasters lately, is that a 72 hour kit just isn't big enough.

The idea for a 72 hour kit is valid. It takes about that long for national organizations to mobilize and get to the disaster area. That doesn't mean they'll get to you in 72 hours. I still have a 72 kit but it is more for evacuations rather then hanging around.

It's been almost a week and their still working really hard just to get stuff out to the capital and that is next to the airport. It will be a long time before they get to all the outlying areas.

Two weeks would be a much better level to achieve. One thing that means is not just some water storage but a water filter. You can get great portable ones from a camping store. The major feature you are looking for is a filter that will filter out viruses and cysts. That means an absolute pore size of less then 1 micro.

Something you'll want to add to a water filter is a bandana and some rubberbands. While most filters have a prefilter, it is best to pre-prefilter it through the bandana so it lasts as long as possible.

You want enough capacity to last a couple of weeks so it needs to be able to do 14 gallons or 56 liters times how ever many people are in your family or expect to supply with drinking water. A typical backpacking filter can filter about 500 gallons of water before the filters need to be changed for 14 days that would serve 35 people.

Another important thing we are seeing is that in a major disaster you might be trying to help rescue or care for people, so you are going to be needing lots of calories.

For this kind of kit you don't need to worry about a balanced diet. You can survive for months before nutrient deficients become a problem, if you are eating correctly now.

This is emergency food not your regular daily diet, priorities are different during a disaster so plan accordingly. Go for big calories in small packages, things like peanut butter, honey, canned fish packed in oil, candy and other foods packed with fats and sugar.