Unexpected departures: Emergency evacuations as an artform
Guest post by Farm Mom who blogs at Cube 2 Farm
Last month we had to evacuate our home. Completely unexpectedly.
In the past I had thought that I was prepared. I had this nifty Emergency Evacuation Kit packed along with “Bug Out Bags” for my husband and myself. I even had camping equipment and MREs all ready to go. Three years ago. Three houses ago. Before kids.
The day of the big event EEK, BOBs and MREs were all stored somewhere in the huge mess of the garage that we had just been pillaging for a garage sale. I had no idea where to find the hand-crank radio, never-die flashlights, mess kits or MREs.
I had piles and piles of dirty laundry and dirty dishes that I had been planning on taking care of, “after the garage sale.” I was woefully unprepared … for anything.
After scrambling to pack up the family for TWO WEEKS away from home, I’ve become much more organized. In addition to keeping our cars with at least a half tank of fuel at all times and prominently posting my laminated personalized mini travel checklists by the door, I now keep all our bags packed and ready to go – even after just returning home.
I use a similar technique to THIS SurvivalMom guest blogger in that I have systematized our family’s whole lives into little “Go” bags. I have found that the best way to be prepared is to make it part of our everyday lifestyle.
My purse alone has several little go-bags for when I switch from mommy-mode to wife-mode. Each of us also have our own bathroom kits with mini versions of all our essentials including the baby’s hypoallergenic soap and my special Aveda shampoo (otherwise pretty standard stuff.)
In my car, I carry a mini bag of spare clothes for each of the kids, a duffle bag of a change of clothes and toiletries for my husband and myself in case we have to leave town on short notice (like for the funeral two states away this week), my laptop bag/briefcase, a homeschooling box (for RocketGirl to access in the car – especially on long trips) and “The Box.”
The Box is the centerpiece of my preparedness obsession. It is plastic, slightly-larger than a shoebox, with a handle. It holds my mommy-survival kit – the essentials that I have found are necessary when traveling short-notice with little kids. It includes the following:
- Wet wipes, Lysol wipes and Mini Lysol spray
- A spice shaker of baking soda (for washing veggies or cleaning the shower!)
- A mini spray bottle full of (balsamic) vinegar (for my salad or to make the above happen)
- Mini pack of tissues and paper towels
- Various essential oils (Tea Tree, Lemon and Lavender)
- A mini kit of spices
- Essential Medicines: Advil, Baby Advil, Benadryl, Baby Benadryl, Zantac, Tums, etc.
- Tea: Ginger, Chamomile & Lavender
- Emergen-C (LOVE this stuff!)
- Electrical Tape
- Applesauce (squeezable is my preference, especially the ones with hidden greens)
- Bottle brush and mini bottle of dish soap
- Plastic silverware and one real knife
- A dishtowel and cloth napkin (you have no idea how many uses these two items have)
- Single serve PB, Jelly, Honey, Ketchup, etc.
- Single use Tide (and, usually, a mini bottle of Dreft)
- Mini sewing kit (with scissors)
- Powdered butter (odd, I know but very useful for oatmeal, grits, popcorn, etc.)
- Plastic disposable gloves
- Small packets of food: oatmeal, grits, cereal bars, single-serve mac-n-cheese, etc.
- Plastic bags: zippys, grocery bags and garbage bags (great for dirty clothes, if nothing else)
- Not shown above: Bobbles for me and the kids (drink cool tap water anywhere without worrying!)
This month we have had to leave our home unexpectedly no less than THREE times. Once to evacuate my babies from a massive power outage that lasted two weeks, once to care for a family member that needed to be hospitalized and then again for a funeral. The shortest notice I had to pack the family was twenty minutes. I managed to do it -with time to spare – due to (a) this blog (b) my experience with the first evacuation and (c) our “go” bags always being fully stocked and properly stored.
This week I was able to keep the kids calm and happy, fed and hydrated for three days solely on what I had packed in my bags since we were left in the hotel room without a car for a good chunk of the trip. If nothing else I am grateful God has given us these opportunities to whittle our cargo down to the true essentials.
What do you NEED when traveling with kids?
About the Author
Heather Bryant is the proud and loving wife of RockstarDad and the grateful mama of RocketGirl and BulldozerBaby. Although she had a career at the intersection of finance and technology, Heather now stays home on a farm to raise her children full-time.
Heather recently published her first book, “From Cube to Farm: Surviving and Thriving as a Stay-at-Home Mom.” The book biographies her journey from the cubicle to the farm and is designed to help other women when they decide to pursue the career of motherhood as a full-time job. The print version of the book has worksheets and checklists to help new moms with their own journey of self-discovery; the Kindle version has a link to a printable PDF version of the worksheets.
© 2012, thesurvivalmom. All rights reserved.