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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Is Your Family Ready for an Emergency (or Mother Nature)?

Living in Vancouver, we get a lot of rain. We learn to live with it for 8- 9 months out of the year and celebrate the sun. If you're from around here, you know that lately we've had some pretty heavy- duty wind & rain that have caused some areas a lot of challenges. Some families were recently forced from their homes in North Vancouver from flooding and mudslides resulting from torrential rain. Not good.

Sad to say in a place that gets so much rain we're not well equipped to handle some of the challenges that Mother Nature throws at us. And let's not forget 'the big one' (earthquake for out- of- towners) that we've been anticipating for years. So this leads us to think: are we really ready (prepared?) for an emergency or disaster when one happens? And what about your vehicles, places of work, daycares, and kid's schools? We may not be home when disaster strikes. I hate to admit it, but I know our family isn't ready. And at this time of year, when rain, snow, and wind can become a dangerous combo, it's a good time to think about what you have at the ready if you lose power for days, or worse. To put it a little more gently: it never hurts to be prepared.

So with all this in mind I was really happy when I came across Life472, a local family- run business that provides a variety of emergency- preparedness kits that are both reasonably priced (kits for a family of 4 with enough supplies for 72 hours start at $110) and contain everything you need- no risk of overlooking much- needed necessities). 

A Mom's Perspective: What About the Kids?
When I spoke with the founder, Nancy, I loved that her own experiences as a Mom have influenced not only her approach to being prepared, but what she includes in the kits. She explained it this way: 'If you had to leave your home within 10 minutes, what would you grab?'. Would you have to scramble to gather supplies and beloved sentimental items, or would you simply have to open the closet, retrieve your kits and gather your precious belongings? And what about pets? Nancy has thought of everything (who would think to include a crank flashlight that's also a radio?).

During our meeting she gave the example of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: families waited hours just to receive food. This is tough enough for an adult, but what about small children and babies, who simply don't understand the situation? She pointed out that the food bars included in her company's kits can be broken down and mixed with water to create a pablum- like mixture for babies and toddlers. There are even kits available specifically for families with small children and babies; the baby kit ($35 CAD) comes complete with a BPA- free sippy cup and feeding bowl with spoon, plus a rattle toy to entertain them. She even includes a complimentary energy bar for members of the family to try (they really do taste good); again an important consideration for families with children who may not understand that they can't be picky eaters during an emergency. Letting them try the food in advance may help avoid aversions to eating the food if an emergency does arise. And for those families with furry members, she even has kits for pet owners (learn more about those kits here).

For more info about the the Baby Kit click here.

For more info about the variety of Kid's Kits click here.

What's In the Kits?
Life 472's Baby 3 Day Emergency Kit ($35)
I asked Nancy how she determined what to include in the various kits Life472 offers, and she said it came from a combination of research and her own experiences. While she doesn't discourage those who want to make their own kits, she does suggest you consider what you include: canned goods and water are a common staple in DIY kits, but can be heavy and hard to carry (you also need to make sure you include a can opener in your kit). And while granola bars are another common item suggested, Nancy pointed out that most only average 140 calories, whereas the energy & food bars included in her kits provide between 800- 1,200 calories per day (the various kits are constructed based on the dietary needs of kids vs adults, and for various lengths of time: for several hours to several days).

All of the food and water included in the kits has a shelf life of up to five years (and each kit comes labelled with the best- by date). When the time comes to replace the contents, Nancy's company offers the food & energy bars and water separately so you can update only those items that you need to. For example, the company's Deluxe Kit (which contains enough food & water for 72 hours) can be re- stocked for $12 per person: the energy bars can be replaced for $8 per person and the water for $4 per person. She also points out that the majority of items are sourced within Canada, with hopes for the kits to eventually contain 100% made in Canada items.

For the Furry members of the Family
An interesting fact that Nancy pointed out for pet owners: for DIY kits it's easy to grab cans or a bag of food and hold onto it in case of emergency, but most store- bought pet food goes rancid within 6 months because of the oil in the food, making it an item you will have to remember to replace on a regular basis. Canned food is also heavy & cumbersome to tote around. She also points out that pets can become lost- or even get stolen- during emergencies and recommends that pet owners include a photo of the pet, plus a photo of the pet with their owner(s) in their pet kits to prove ownership if the pet is lost and found.

Don't Forget to Pack...
Nancy's company makes it simple and convenient for families to be prepared, and has all bases covered. All you have to add are items such as medications, emergency contact information, etc- and Nancy even makes that simple by attaching an 'Add to Your Emergency Kit' tag to all kits so you don't forget anything in an emergency (because honestly, how often do we forget something just trying to get out the door on a normal day?).

In case of an emergency whether at home, at school or work, or on the road, it's important to be prepared. We're all guilty of having the best of intentions and then simply forgetting to follow through. And in an emergency, we're much more likely to forget what we need to grab, so why not remove the panic by being prepared? In addition to having supplies at home- and don't forget to have travel kits in your vehicles- encourage your workplace, PAC groups, and daycare to look into their emergency preparedness. Do they have what is needed for an emergency? Nancy's company provides affordable kits for a variety of needs. But really, there is no price tag for knowing your loved ones are safe.

For more information about Life472 and the company's complete range of emergency preparedness kits, visit their website. You can also find them on Facebook & Twitter: @Life472

Thank you to Nancy for meeting with TPB & providing the valuable information included in this post.

Image Sources:
Emergency Checklist- 30 Handmade Days
Stick Figure Family- Brite Ideas
Pet Collar- Anthropologie
All other images & logo courtesy of 472 Life

November posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique.