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Basic Disaster Kit


Maintaining Your Kit

Face it, folks – food spoils! Batteries corrode! You have to maintain your Basic Disaster Kit, or it will be of little use if and when you need it.

I was given some emergency rations that were 12 years old. They had been stored inside a house trailer that was not air-conditioned, over 12 hot summers. One component of the rations was a fruit roll-up candy, made by condensing fruit juice into a gum, then putting it into a sealed aluminized plastic bag. When opened up, these looked inedible. They looked like mummified caterpillars. The canned meat, opened up, had turned brown and smelly… very smelly! All we saved was the plastic flatware.

So let’s look at your 72-hour Basic Disaster Kit.

  • Does it have water in it? You need to replace the water every 6 months.
  • Do you have wooden matches or BIC lighters? See if one will light. Even wooden matches get old and won’t light.
  • Do you have flashlights? See if they work.
  • What’s in your first aid kit? Replace anything that has an expired date, such as ointments, anti-diarrhea medicine, old aspirins, etc. Look for “Good Until” dates and follow them.
  • Did you pack prescription medicines or spare eyeglasses? Those medicines may not be much good after 6 months; check with your pharmacist. Can you see with the glasses?
  • How recent are your maps? Are newer ones available?
  • Is your sunscreen, insect repellent, and Diaparene out-of-date?
  • Will your batteries make your radio play? Whenever you update your kit, always put in new batteries.
  • If you pack food, are any of the expiration dates out-of-date?

It is easy to let things like this slip. After all, you HAVE a 72-hour Basic Disaster Kit, but you don’t expect to USE it.

Tip: On July 4th and during Christmas vacation, make it a point to take out your Basic Disaster Kit and replace anything in it that has expired or does not work.

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