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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Civil Defence Emergency Kit

Image from Auckland City Council Website
In light of the recent deadly earthquake in Canterbury, I decided it was time to haul out our emergency kit and assess the situation. The government have long been pushing the idea that every household should have enough water, food and other essentials to be able to survive at least 3 days on their own in the event of an emergency. For years they have had adverts on tv to remind you to assemble your kit and "Be Prepared" (sure I have heard that motto somewhere back in my Brownie/Girl Guide days?!) . They also have a handy-dandy website: "Get thru" which advises you how to prepare for earthquakes, tsunami, floods, volcanos and landslides. Aaahhhh the joys of living in a geo-thermally and tectonically active country! Most school holidays, "Sonny Jim" and I have spent a couple of hours assembling a basic emergency kit, which we have gradually added to over time. So when I pulled our emergency kit out, this is what I found:
Emergency survival kit, as at 28th Feb 2011
A box containing non-perishable food, can-opener, cutlery, plastic plates and cups, a Trangia meths-burning stove, pans and matches;
a box full of bottled drinking water;
a box of general stuff such as toilet roll, candles, matches, silver foil emergency blankets, an emergency survival and first aid book, first aid kit, dynamo torch, solar/dynamo torch & radio combo, sunscreen, medication, dust masks, hand sanitiser gel, whistles etc;
a porta-potty (chemical toilet) with big bottle of "Loo blue";
even some dog food and spare dog lead (hand-knitted glow-in-the-dark lead at that!!) and an additional 15 litre yellow "Get ready, get thru" container of drinking water.

Not a bad start, but I decided we needed to upgrade our kit and move it off the deck (where it was getting a bit of a battering from the elements) and bring it inside where I knew it would be safe from the weather, but still easily accessible. So, first step was to clear out a corner of the laundry, which is right beside the main entrance to our house. Once that was done, I brought the boxes inside one by one and sorted out the contents, plus added extras. The survival food box is now absolutely brimming with rations. . . here are the contents before I put them in the box again:

I have since added some more extras like 500g of long grain rice, some instant noodles, a small bottle of cooking oil, some rolled oats and jars of peanut butter and honey. I could barely get the lid on the box, and the instant noodles are languishing beside the box now as there was no way they were going to fit! Maybe I'll just have to add a 4th box! Especially considering I haven't yet got any wool or knitting needles in the emergency kit - and they are absolutely essential items if I am to have any chance of remaining calm! "Keep Calm and Carry Yarn!" is my new mantra, remember!!

Apart from supplementing the food and cleaning and checking everything else, the other big jobs concerned water. I replaced all our drinking water, and counted 48 litres in total. The government advises you should have at least 3 litres of drinking water per person per day, so for our family of three we would need at least 27 litres. So we're well in there! I also added another 60 litres of non-drinking water, 45 litres of which is in a big old plastic container which in my view is unsuitable for storing drinking water, but perfectly adequate to hold water for doing the dishes etc. Finally, I put the entire kit (except the outdoor non-drinking water) into its new home in a corner of the laundry, et voila! Still a few things I would like to buy, like water purification tablets, eye goggles for each of us & some sturdy leather gardening gloves to help protect our hands when shovelling silt etc. I still need to add our sleeping bags and a change of clothes for each of us to the ever-growing stack of emergency kit boxes in the laundry. But hopefully we are more prepared than previously if the worst should ever happen right here, literally in our own backyard. . . If it happens when we are elsewhere then maybe all my preparations will be for nought, but I still think it is well worth doing.


  1. Fantastic job !! I like the fact I can go away for a week and the kit is all done when I get home! Awesome! :)

  2. Tadaaaaaaaaa!!
    Glad you appreciate my hard work. . . let's hope we never need to use the kit!

  3. Good thinking, you've done a great job preparing! It reminds me as a Californian that I need to take this seriously, too!

  4. Thanks :) It's very easy to put off the emergency preps for another day, but once I made it into a "fun" activity with my son Jamie (who was 7 or 8 when we started) the k it has taken shape slowly but surely. Hopefully the earthquakes will leave CA alone for a long time yet though…