26 June 2013

72 Hours in Just 5 Minutes

     Have you ever played the "If my house was on fire and I could only grab one thing, what would it be" game? Well, play it. Think for just a few seconds. You can pretty easily narrow it down to a few items. No let's say you had a little more time, and you could grab whatever you wanted from your home in just five minutes. In this scenario, you will be leaving your home for a couple days and when you get back, it may not be here(due to fire, flood, tornado, repo man, etc). If you've got a 72-hour kit, or something like that already, pretend you don't and see what you can come up with.
Here are the rules:
1. You have 5 minutes.
2. Grab whatever you want or think you'll need for three days.

     I've got to do this very quietly because we just put the baby down to sleep. (I've also got to do it quickly because my wife just left to do something and I have to have everything cleaned up before she gets home so she won't wonder what I'm up to and it can be a surprise to her when she reads my blog. ...if she actually reads it, just kidding, she always reads my blogs.)
Set a timer for 5 minutes.
Ready, set, go! Really do this. Go! It's only 5 minutes, so you should do it.

...5 Minutes Later...

Okay, that went by a lot faster than I would have liked. I tiptoed around the house and here's what I came up with:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Backback
  • Small bag
  • My shoes(thank goodness)
  • 6 MRE's
  • 7 granola bars
  • First aid kit
  • 2 gallon jugs of water
  • 4 bottles of water
  • Roll of toilet paper
  • 15 diapers
  • Half a can of baby formula
  • Sippy cup
  • Baby wipes
  • With three seconds to go, I remembered my cell phone(which I used to take the picture).
     Oh yeah, this is all for two adults and a baby. That kind of changes things. It's not enough. About two minutes into it, I realized I didn't have anything to carry it all in, either. I could put some in my backpack, but it wouldn't be enough. I grabbed my sleeping bag and thought, "I'll put it all in here. It will be awkward, but it'll do; this is an emergency!"

     After the 5 minutes I thought of a lot of things I would want but didn't grab; birth and marriage certificates, social security cards, family pictures, ...a copy of our fire insurance policy...more food, more water, more than one sleeping bag that is built for one person, keys to the car, a phone charger, a good bag to put it all in, extra underwear, and lots of other stuff.
     I guess it wouldn't be all that hard to make copies of all my important papers, put them in a gallon ziploc bag, and keep them in a 72-hour kit, or even put them and all my pictures on a flash drive and put that in the kit. I would want a little more variety than MRE's and granola bars. If I'm eating all those MRE's I'm going to want a LOT of water. An extra set of keys would be good. I would definitely want to know where I was going, so maybe a sheet of paper with an out-of-town contact, or at least the number to a few hotels.
     What I'm really getting at here is that when seconds count, do you really have a few minutes? We have talked about 72-hour-kits before and laid out some guidelines. Hopefully you just went through this little game(if not, stop now and go back! It would even make a fun family night activity). Hopefully you learned a little about what you would want or need to take with you if you had to go, even for a short time. Now put all your thoughts together. Start with the basics; start with the stuff that you would grab if you only had five minutes and work from there. Think about the things you wish you would have grabbed and add those to it. If you don't have a good bag or bags to put it it, find a good box to put it in. Keep it handy. Most of the stuff I wish I could have gotten to is buried in the back room.
     If you can't get it all together now, then make a list. Write it all down and if you think of something else, add it to the list. When you get it put into the kit, cross it off. It can sometimes feel overwhelming, but it really is this simple. If you have the very basics, your chances of survival go up. After a while, you'll be able to fine-tune your kit and plan and you and your family will be ready, you know, just in case.

...and I finished before my wife came home!


  1. Wow, I'm not as organized as I'd hoped. Five minutes go by extremely fast when you're going up and down stairs and up again, trying to remember everything important. Another important thing to remember (and maybe you covered it already and I missed it) would be your emergency supply of cash for gas etc.. Credit/debit cards won't work if power is out.
    Thanks for this inportant eye opener.
    Way to gitter done, Son!

  2. I have bug out bags for each of us. so I didn't do the drill but I have participated in similar drills. makes u think hard about what really matters.