By Kerry Cartier, The Disaster Guy
Printed in the September 2014 Issue of The Northeast Texan
“How much are you willing to spend on a 72-hour survival kit?” the Disaster Guy asked. “Remember, the goal is to survive for 72 hours until help arrives.”
“I found one for $400 that looks pretty good,” Red said.
“$400! How much money do you have on you?” the Disaster Guy asked.
“Lessee… about $20,” Red said. “Yes sir, I’d like a 72-hour survival kit, but what could I get for $20?”
“If you plan to stay home, you already have everything you’d need,” the Disaster Guy said. “But, Red, for $20 you could make your own 72-hour survival kit.”
“If you noticed, all the 72-hour kits are portable,” the Disaster Guy said. “To start, you need something to carry one in – an old backpack, a tote sack, or a 5-gallon pail.”
“Got it!” Red said. “What about water?”
“You need 3 gallons of water per person per day. For you and your wife, that’s 6 gallons of water,” the Disaster Guy said. “Plastic distilled water jugs will last for months out of direct sunlight. Fill them with tap water, add 8 drops of unscented bleach, and shake them to kill any bacteria.”
“Your home is your shelter,” the Disaster Guy said. “If you have to leave home, bring a raincoat, warm clothing, a warm cap, and blankets.”
“Got it all!” Red said. “What about food?”
“You have food for a week at home,” the Disaster Guy said. “If I needed concentrated, portable food with me, I’d bring a big jar of peanut butter, some crackers, and a 12 oz. can of peanuts. Now, let’s talk about fires and signals.”
“For tinder, you could bring dryer lint in a plastic bag, paper towels, toilet paper, and a couple BIC lighters to start a campfire,” the Disaster Guy said. “An LED flashlight would be ideal for signaling.
“I can’t take a bathtub with me, so what do you suggest?” Red asked.
“For personal hygiene, bring a bar of soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, and paper towels,” the Disaster Guy said. “Bring a first-aid kit with Moleskin for foot blisters, stuff from your medicine cabinet, spare eyeglasses, and 3 days worth of prescription medicines.”
“I can do that,” Red said. “But if I’m not at home watching the TV, how will I find out what’s going on?”
“Let’s use an old school solution. Get a battery-powered transistor radio to hear local news,” the Disaster Guy said. “Bring your cell phone, but turn it on only when you want to use it.”
“If you’ve got a GPS, bring it,” the Disaster Guy said. “Get a city map and a county map, and a magnetic compass.”
“Why would I need a map if I have GPS?” Red asked.
“Maps don’t need batteries,” the Disaster Guy said. “Bring a Leatherman tool, or a pocket knife and some pliers. Bring a can opener, some dental floss, electrical tape, or duct tape.”
“Bring your personal I.D. (in your wallet), spare house and car keys, a list of phone numbers for friends and family, and an out-of-state contact for checking on family members.”
“Everything fits into the backpack except the water,” Red said. “How do I carry the water?”
“You don’t. Six gallons of water weighs about 50 pounds. Didn’t your son once have a little red wagon?” the Disaster Guy asked. Red nodded yes. “Put the water in the wagon and put your backpack and extra clothes on top. You could pull it if necessary, or it would fit in your car trunk.”
“I better ask my wife if there’s anything she wants in this 72-hour survival kit,” Red said.
“She’ll want some feminine hygiene items and comfortable shoes,” the Disaster Guy said. “Actually, everybody has to customize their own kits. If they have babies, they’ll need baby formula, diapers, wipes, and changes of baby clothing. If they have kids, they need changes of clothing, their favorite toys, and favorite foods. Old folks have special needs, too.”
“Does a 72-hour survival kit that you’re going to take with you have to be customized for the kind of disaster you want to survive?” Red asked.
“It depends,” the Disaster Guy said. “We have tornadoes, high winds, heat, drought, and floods. What kind of disaster do you want to survive? ”
“Why, all of them, of course!” Red said. “I can’t think of a one that I wouldn’t want to survive!”
Kerry Cartier says you could make a 72-hour survival kit for $20 with things you have around the house. In an emergency, there are many other things you can do without spending a lot of money. Go to the website DisasterGuy.com and you can download 160 one-page Disaster Guy Tips for free. Cartier is a featured speaker at church, Tea party, and other meetings. Contact him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.