The 7 Day Challenge: DAY 3 (WEDNESDAY)

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Welcome to the 7 Day Challenge. For 7 days, we are testing our Emergency Preparedness and Food Storage Plans. Each day will bring a NEW mock emergency or situation that will test at least one of the reasons “WHY” we strive to be prepared! REMEMBER: No going to a store, gas station, or spending any money for the entire 7 days! And please feel free to adapt the scenarios to fit your own family and situation.


A TORNADO is tearing through your town. You have been told to evacuate to the nearest shelter and don’t know if your house will be there when you get back. Grab what you can and evacuate (after evacuating, you will come back home and will simulate being in a shelter for the rest of the day). To make matters worse the tornado knocked out the electrical grid for your whole town so there is no power at the shelter or your home.
Goal: Evacuate first then survive the day under “shelter conditions”

Today’s Tasks:

  • PAY CLOSE ATTENTION AND DO THESE TASKS IN ORDER: Pick a time that most of your family is home and you can evacuate together (maybe right after school).
  • Print out a copy of our NEW Emergency Preparedness Plan for use later today (you can use electricity for this)
  • You have 30 minutes from your “evacuation time” to grab your 72 hour kits, extra food you can stash in a cooler and use for the next few days, a way to cook your food, spare clothes, sleeping items, and any keepsakes you want to make sure not to lose.
  • Drive around with the family or go to a park for a little while. Explain to them that you will be going home but pretending you will be at a shelter with limited activities and space. Review your family plan and explain why you might need to evacuate (tornados, wild fires, etc.) and what a shelter would be like. Be careful when explaining to young children so they don’t get scared, but feel confident in being prepared.
  • When you return home, partition off a 10×10 area of your home to use as your shelter. Stay in that area for the rest of the night except to use the bathroom (the shelter has a public bathroom). Cook your food from either your 72 hour kits or the extras you brought in your “shelter” or cook it outside if you don’t have a fuel suitable for indoor cooking (but only using the fuel, and cooking utensils you evacuated with).
  • Entertain yourself and your family in the evening with no electronics (a great activity would be to complete your entire Emergency Preparedness Plan)
  • SLEEP in your “shelter” for the night. In the morning the challenge is OVER
  • SHARING TIME: Share pictures of your experiences today on our Facebook page or on Instagram (use tags @foodstoragemadeeasy and #FSME7daychallenge) or type up your thoughts about how you survived today and share them in the blog comments or on today’s Facebook discussion thread

Today’s Limitations:

  • For this day, and ALL days of the challenge: no spending money, no going to stores, and no restaurants
  • You cannot use your kitchen or any other room of the house (except the bathroom) once you do your evacuation
  • You cannot use any electricity for lights, cooking, etc. for the WHOLE day

Advanced Tasks:

  • Your car is broken and you must evacuate on foot
  • Actually stay away from your home for the whole day and overnight in a campground or park to simulate a shelter

Make sure your fill out today’s Report Card to see how well you did, to keep track of areas you can improve, to remember things you need to do, and things you need to buy. Use the data to make a game plan to take you to the next level of preparedness, whatever that may be.


Remember — This year we are going to be offering the chance to win daily PRIZES for people who are participating in one of the following ways:

  • Commenting or posting pictures on our Facebook page
  • Loading pictures on your instagram tagging @foodstoragemadeeasy and #FSME7daychallenge
  • Commenting on today’s blog post with how you did
  • Submitting pictures/stories to us via email at


1 Providence Basic Travel Two Person 72-hour Emergency Kit

Email us at info@ foodstoragemadeeasy .net to coordinate getting you your prize.
Great today, and we’re not finished!
We set the timer and packed the car! My 17 year old son and 14 year old daughter each ran to get things. I went to the garage to get 72 hour kits. I was not panicked as we packed our 72 hour kits, I was sure that they were filled with everything we needed! We grabbed sleeping bags, pillows, and then noticed no water in the car. At the 30 minute mark, we drove away only to return 15 minutes later to unpack it into our 10×10 room. Our neighbor really wondered what was going on!
We laughed as we started going through everything! Not everything was in as we had hoped- our 72 hour kits were missing important items and the clothes were not too small! My kids were thrilled to find money that I had stashed in their kits. My husband and my 72 hour kits were missing completely! I wonder where they are! (I will label everything tomorrow!)
We did grab the Coleman stove to heat things up, but forgot tongs and utensils, cups, plates, etc. We had a buffet of MRE’s for dinner complete with taste testing! We’ve decided that we need another option than just MRE’s! We are going to buy a Solo Stove after this week and look for freeze dried or other “just add water” foods! We need something that is fast, small, and easier.
I noticed that it took so long to gather the things that I needed that there was no time to gather up the momentos and other important things. Our computers are safe, thanks to Carbonite, but all of our scrapbooks, family history, etc. were left behind. My daughter, when asked if there was anything in her room she wished that she had grabbed, said, “no.” Everything else was replaceable and not that important! (Sounds like we need to declutter!)
Tonight we will sleep with our things. It makes a huge difference to write down exactly what you are feeling right after the challenge. I have a great list of “to-do’s”!
I have 2 daughters that are away at college. Each challenge I have made a list of things that I want them to be prepared for– they each have 72 hr kits, sleeping bags, and emergency food… but there is so much more I am excited to share with them!
Thanks Jodi and Julie.

  • Dot

    I hated the water challenge. Even without doing laundry, and being water frugal, we
    need 8 gallons a day, minimally. With a special needs child, certain activities are done a certain way at a certain time, and there are some things I have not adapted to a disaster, real or simulated.
    For today’s challenge we have 72 hour kits for everyone, including pets. And a separate tent bag, which we would take for evacuation to be able to keep our pets with us. We have money in ours, but have added small bills and rolls of quarters, since change for purchases or machines (like at a laundromat) may not be available.
    I plan to shelter in place unless a fire, etc drove us out. I just got a trifuel adapter for our generator that needs to be put on, so that we would not need to store gasoline to run it.
    The generator is primarily for lights, music, DVDs, etc to try to make an emergency
    doable for the special needs person in our family.
    What I haven’t done is put her daily meds (I do have Benadryl and ibuprofen with the first aid part of the 72 hr kits) into those kits, since remembering to rotate them frequently is an issue.
    Prepping seems to be a lot like housework……it is never really done, and there is always that one room/closet/pantry that you really DO need to tackle very soon.

    • Sounds like you are pretty set for this type of thing. Good job!

  • Dan

    Unfortunately didn’t get to do the evacuation part today, we didn’t get home until 10 so I will have to do it another day.

  • Dawn

    “Evacuation” has been deemed complete and all clear given at my place. Being confined to an area with my 83 y/o father, bless his heart, and my hubs for an extended time- OH MY! He just never shuts up !! How can one man talk for 5 hours straight!! (I will leave it to others to figure out which he I am referring to) I love em both to pieces. Lesson learned today – keep more gas in the car and have patience, patience, patience- and pack earplugs!.

    • This was the best comment EVER. It sounds like it rivals being locked up with my 20 month old 🙂

  • dogmom4

    Today was a big fail. It seems the BOB’s have been picked over…lots of items missing and some food items well past expired. And I had to buy gas. Driving to and from work and to school has used up the gas. I guess it’s better to know now than in a real emergency.

    • Remember you never fail if you try and you LEARN. Fill out your report card and make a plan for what you need to replace in your kits!

  • Alicia

    We will have to do this one another day. I have our grandsons and just wasn’t up to it today. Definitely feeling my age chasing these 2 wild, little Indians around. We did Days 1 & 2 and they went well. DD got here this evening so we will be finishing up the week together. DH will be home Friday evening so he will join in at that time.

    • You wouldn’t want to be locked in a 10×10 room with them all day? why ever not?

      • Alicia

        Lol! This Mimi needs to work on her patience and stamina. Lack of sleep Sun, Mon and Tue night had definitely caught up with me yesterday. I was Grumpy. Seriously though, sleeplessness will be part of a real situation. Sure need to think about that. Might need to include some Zoloft or Prozac in our go bag. 😉 Or Xanax………..

  • Stephanie Brosius

    Today, I was genuinely excited about the challenge! I actually felt pretty prepared for it, so I found it fun! I had just started putting our emergency binder together a few days ago, and we already had a 72 hour kit, so I felt very prepared! I went without power with my 11 month old throughout the day, and then we started our evacuation once my husband came home from work. Tornadoes happen where we are, but they’re never serious enough to cause evacuations (we’d have no where to go). We decided that a nuclear or terrorist attack was more likely to require an evacuation in our region, so that’s what we went with. I strapped our 11 month old to myself in a carrier and we gave ourselves 10 minutes to grab what we could and 5 minutes to pack the car. For the evacuation, we limited ourselves to the family room. I’m glad we brought a few toys for our daughter or it would have been hard to entertain her in just one room. After her bedtime, we looked through what we had and what we were missing.

    What We Packed
    Baby: diapers, wipes, 3 outfits, 2 pairs pajamas, snacks, memory box, playpen, toys
    Us: 2 outfits, underwear, toiletries, toothbrushes, razors, scrapbook
    General: emergency binder, wallets, flashlights (3), external hard drives, laptops, chargers, phones, water, snacks, sleeping bags, cooking stove, propane
    72 Hour Kit: safety masks, whistles, pocket knife, paper/pencil, first aid kit, toiletries, work gloves, ponchos, hand warmers, glow sticks, cord, toilet paper, windup flashlight, duct tape, emergency blankets, popup tent, trash bags, fortified food bars, water boxes

    What We Lacked
    Baby: socks, jacket/sweater, ointment, sippy cup
    Us: deodorant, jacket/sweater, warm weather clothes, medicine/vitamins
    General: paper products (plates, napkins, cups, utensils), pot/pan, towels, cash, extra batteries, matches/candles, games, sewing kit, meals (not just snacks), scriptures/journals
    Emergency binder: financial information, emergency plan, phone numbers

    What We Learned
    It’s helpful to have a list of what to grab so you don’t have to remember it all last minute. We did pretty well, but I had been thinking about what to grab all day, and in case of a sudden need to leave with no prior notice, I would have been scrambling!
    We need to beef up our emergency binder. We didn’t have individual pictures in it or a hard copy of phone numbers or our financial information. We should also have a written emergency plan. This should include what we would do in the event of a variety of emergencies (tornado, hurricane, terrorist attack, etc.). This is especially important if we’re not together, like if my husband is at work and I’m at home.
    We need to have clothes already packed so we don’t have to run upstairs and rummage through to find things. Even though we didn’t need it this time, we need to pack a bag of cold weather clothes and accessories.
    Lastly, and most importantly, the 72 hour kits are good, but we really didn’t have any meals included, so we’d be living on granola bars and “food fortified bars.” We probably would want to bring some more water too. We had 2-3 gallons of water, but we could definitely have some more.

    I’m so grateful for this challenge! In the end, even though we forgot things, I definitely felt pretty proud for having what we did and being ok to go in 10-15 minutes. There is still work to be done, but I’m just relieved that I’m not a total emergency preparedness failure! 🙂

    • Thank you for writing up such a thorough report. It sounds like you guys did GREAT today but also learned a lot and have some things you can improve on. I bet a lot of people will be helped by reading your thoughts 🙂

  • Jackie

    Where we live there is no shelter to go to so we would just hunker down at home.
    Several yrs ago before we started preparing we went through a tornado….do they ever happen during the day! Ha!
    Red Cross came in to help….but now I can make it on my own. You can buy the solar lights you put in your yard that have a solar panel with an on/off switch under it. They are about 10.00 at WM They are great and do not heat the house up like an oil lamp.
    When you are through with the light you can turn it off and not waste the stored energy in it. We need to update our 72 hr. kits again.The hard candy does melt and make a mess after a time period so put them in a snack bag.We have fans that are battery operated….they have come in handy! I keep a to grab list for each of us taped to the inside of a kitchen cabinet that way I do not have to hunt for it.Really need to think things through again ….I have gotten a little slack. Thanks for keeping us on our toes~

  • Susan

    We love in tornado prone MO. We have excellent shelter within our basement so we don’t leave our home when tornadoes r spotted. We r safest here. We have all,of our emergencysupplies down in that area. We definitely need to work on our 72 hr bags( just hubby & I) and the emergency paperwork/documents, etc. There’s lots of great feedback today which helps us stop & think about in what areas we need to “shore up” our preparedness. We had an extensive ice storm in 2007 which left an enormous area w/o power for up to 2 wks. We live in a city, had water but no electricity. We have a gas hot water heater so we could take hot baths while seeing our breath the air temps got sooo low! We cooked on kerosene heater ( with plenty of good ventilation) which warmed us well in a specific area of our house. We cooked outdoors on a propane grill as well. We had plenty of water & food. We put food outside in boxes and coolers because temps were very cold which enabled us to preserve a great deal of food. We did quite a bit of cooking to use foods that started to thaw. During the storm some friends had power restored temporarily so we took crockpots over there and cooked some more. We were able to bless others with great meals! Keeping cell phones charged up was challenging… did use our car chargers during the day.We learned a lot then which has helped us become more prepared. There’s always more we can do to improve. We so appreciate these challenges! Susan

    • We really just wanted people to think through what “shelter conditions” would really be like. Definitely not always necessary depending on the disaster and your local area. Sounds like you guys are pretty set. Keep it up!

  • Grimm

    We had to evacuate a month ago due to a wildfire. We live part way up a mountain. There are campgrounds below us and idiots who use the campgrounds. Needless to say I had a hard time then and have worked my tush off to fill the holes we had in our plan. Now we have a fire safe for our important documents that we can carry out, updated BOBs for everyone including the dog and carriers for all 5 cats.

    After the fire evac I even set up a small BOB for my toddler to carry that has her favorite snacks, juice boxes, water bottle with filter, glow sticks and flash light, crayons and paper pad, sugar free electrolyte powder and a double of her favorite plush doll. Just a few things that will help keep her calm and happy if we have to leave home for another evac.

    • What safe did you get? This is something I keep putting off because I can’t find a portable one that I love.

  • Frugal Ladybug

    Had a hard time with this challenge in the beginning. One thing I learned is to communicate. While going through the drill, my kids were so confused. Why are we doing this? Why do we have this bag? Where are we going? I realized that even though we were somewhat ready material wise, We weren’t mentally ready. Being ready is one thing. Being scared and confused is something totally different. Lesson well learned on my end.

    • My three year old thought my husband could kill the tornado with a sword and that it is scary with sharp teeth. Ya, definitely need to have some family lessons on this. hehe.

      • Judy

        I remember a tornado when I was a kid. I thought a tornado was an airplane that dropped bombs on people’s houses. I remember asking my dad if the people in the airplanes got killed too and he said they would. I thought it was stupid that they would drop bombs on houses when they were going to die too. I have no idea where I got the impression that tornadoes were airplanes that drop bombs but it just goes to show you how kids can be so confused!

  • Mecrawf

    Today we got a chance to practice our tornado drill. We live in an area where tornadoes come a knocking about three or four times a spring so today’s shelter task was pretty routine. We have big bunkers that the produce departments at grocery stores display their water melons, pumpkins and potatoes in. They work really well because they are thick and sturdy. Debris from a tornado can kill you so being able to lay in these bunkers with tall, thick wall protects us. We also cover with thick blankets. The walls might help block falling items that may otherwise crush us. There are flaps on the bottom of the bunkers that are laid on when you are in it so it anchors it to the floor. We love our bunkers 🙂 Anyway, today we did two 10 minute tornado drills where not only did we have to stay in shelter, but we had to stay in our protective bunkers. I think I’m going to put a pillow in mine because if we have a tornado watch and it’s going on bed time, I can just sleep in mine. Also, I noticed that it gets pretty warm in them since they insulate pretty well. If we ever go without heat, we can bundle up in our bunkers and probably stay pretty warm.

    • I’ve never heard of that. Wow! Seems like it would be horrible to be in one of those bunkers for a long time. eeee.

      • Mecrawf

        No, they are pretty comfy. One person per bunker and they don’t smell as bad as you might think. The items that are kept in these don’t spoil the same as like apples or pears so there really is no smell to the bunkers. We have a couple of extras in case people are over. Back at the beggining of this summer, we had a tornado warning when my sister-in-law and her two young daughters where over. My husband was at work so she took a bunker, I took one and we put the girls in one together with crayons. They drew pictures all over in there 🙂 It’s really cute. If you had small children, it’s big enough that toys, books, colors, bedding or even a laptop for older kids can easily be played with while taking shelter. Also, if it ever hails, we use these tipped upside down over our garden to save our plants. A couple of months ago it hailed so hard and so much that it looked like it had just snowed. There were rivers of hail in the streets. Everyone’s gardens were demolished but ours lived because we threw our bunkers over it. The bunkers were free from grocery stores so I always recommend to people that they should get some.

  • Tracie

    Hubby and I are loving this challenge week. We had grown pretty complacent about our preparedness. Today we found our weakness to be organization. We had most of the things but we wasted so much time getting things together. Totes are definitely in our future. I really like the video on facebook showing your closet with your 72 hr bags and other things you’d like to take with you- the lists would have been so helpful to us. We are all getting into the challenge and wonder how we will fare the rest of the week. One funny aspect of all of this is my hubby was a bit smug because HE had his ‘go bag’ packed months ago whereas the rest of us didn’t but then had to eat crow when he realized he had left it at the office. Proof that you’re never as prepared as you think you are!

    • LOL love it. haha. So glad you guys are enjoying the challenge. We still learn new things every year and this is our fifth one!

  • Jessie Hannah

    Today’s challenge was a good one for me! To focus my preps I have decided to target a crisis and spesifically think through what I would do for that crisis and currently I am working on tornado preps so this is perfect!

    Step one was easy, I have most of the info and steps outlined in my control journal and I will be adding the things I don’t have this evening.

    Step two was easy too! I just got my tornado stuff together yesterday so no troubles there. I do want to expand the food in my 72 hour kits and repack after this challenge. I don’t have enough toddler entertainment and I want to pack some benadryl for my special needs son. If we where in a shelter everyone would be ready to kill him by now because he is really shreiky.

    Step three was harder because I am the only adult and my kiddos are to young to understand. My two year old is excited about our “abeture” though and so far she is loving all the one on one time.

    Step four has been a challenge, my son has screamed the whole time. After this is done I think I want to pack a go to a shelter bag spesifically for this sort of thing with toys, little games, extra snacks, ear plugs, benadryl and the like. Again, I am so glad to be doing this and to be thinking through what I would need to do. Luckily my shelter is at my church and they have a playground well fenced in right behind the shelter so we would have that flexibility if we where really sheltering there and the weather wasn’t too yucky.
    Honestly, unless the roads where also impassible we would probably go to my moms, twenty minutes from here. She is very set up for power out situations because she lives remote and usually has a couple of weeks of that every winter but isn’t in a spit likely to be hit by a tornado.

    Tonight I am going to crash on the kids room floor, where we have made our shelter area. Decided to make it around their bunk beds because my son will feel less disturbed there. I am not excited about floor crashing but I think its important to try it and see. I am so thankful we are not in a shelter though, my son is an escape artist and in a shelter I would have to stay up to ensure he didn’t run away. At least here we have locks to keep him safe.

    One thing I thought I would share is a tip I got the other day, most people that are killed in tornados are killed by head injuries. So I added bike helmets to my tornado kit. Bonus is the kids think its a treat to wear them so they are distracted from sitting in the closet in our home tornado area. Today I also moved some of my water storage to the closet we would be sheltering in. That way if the house was damaged, think my storage might be compromised, we would have something to get us through. I also need to learn how to shut off my gas.

    Such a learning challenge and I am really glad to hear how others are doing as well!

    • You are my hero! This is an amazing idea and you make me want to start doing it myself. You sort of think of general preparedness but how great to have an extra bag to grab depending on what situation it is. It could keep your core kits a little less cluttered. You did great today, and even hit the floor. I’m impressed!

  • Emzwee

    I really wanted to actually evacuate today, but I have little tiny ones (8 months and 2 years- and its cold outside here. I want to practice doing it though on another day when the weather allows. And I did go through precautions of what I would do if it was cold and an emergency so we had to go. I realized that I need to consolidate the things I need to take. Right now, if I were to evacuate my home I would want my whole computer for the files on it. I do have a large external hard drive, but I need to put things on it on a regular basis so it would have everything digital I would need to take in an emergency. I like the idea of having stuff where I know it is as opposed to the “cloud” although I know that would also be a good option.
    This also reminded me to pack some simple entertainment (non electric) for my family, although its amazing what you can play with nothing, especially with little ones. You just have to pretend.

    • I would recommend an online backup service. HIGHLY recommend. I would still grab my computer if I could though just for the convenience of not having to re-download all that data.

  • alaska_carol

    I am also thinking about the 72 hour kit under my desk at work. I work in an older building in town (15 miles from home). I have checked on what supplies are available here in this office, and in the rest of the building. I have a “get home bag” in the car which has some supplies just in case. I would like to be able to support the other women who I work with, some of which are elderly and have health issues…

    If there were an emergency, like the tornado of today’s exercise, while I am at work… I am still not sure we would be ready to shelter in place here. I would want to evacuate and head home, but if the road were destroyed… there is only one, I might need to shelter here at the office until conditions were favorable for walking home.

    HMMMMM….things to think about!

  • alaska_carol

    My family is also not “playing nice”, but we have had some really great discussions about events that might happen and those that have happened in the past.

    Two years ago we had several strong wind storms – the kind with hurricane force winds. During the first storm we lost power (heat and water as well) for 4 days but we were able to get out to the shelter in town.

    The second storm caused the power line to fall cross our only access road out, which meant that we were not going anywhere for the 3 days with out electricity, heat, or water. The shelter was unreachable for us. I prepared foods with the little water we had stored, animals (chickens, ducks, dogs, cats) went without. We started to melt snow to supplement the water we had.

    There are individual 72 hour bags packed in the house and all camping equipment is stored together in our tiny camper. Each child has been coached on how to get home from school, how to be safe in the cold – dark of an Alaska winter. Each child’s back pack has some basic survival supplies in it.. just in case!

    As a family we are working toward out own self sufficiency, so today’s challenge will be great discussion at the dinner table! Even though I am sure I can’t convince the family to evacuate and sleep in the living room with the heat off.

    • alaska_carol

      Now there are several containers of water marked “toilet water” behind both toilets in the house. Baby wipes are hiding under the cabinet for hand washing in the event we can not turn on the tap. Candles are stored everywhere. Oil lamps are filled, glass globes clean, ready to go. Fuel has been stored for the wood stove, propane heaters in the camper, and the coleman white gas stove. There is a store of water, not nearly enough for more than 1 or 2 days.

    • If the best you can do is have a discussion, it will be better than nothing! My little ones think it’s fun for now but I don’t know if that will last when they get older.

  • Trisa

    I am waiting for everyone to get home to “evacuate”. In the meantime, I used hot water to wash dishes and get a quick shower before the water heater cooled completely. I made a fire in the chiminea outside to heat water. It didn’t boil, but got hot enough to pour into my Mr. Coffee and have a pot, as well as to make instant oatmeal. I put a small grate over the coals and made toast. Once the family “relocates”, we will be cooking on a bbq to go. It looks like a catering pan, that has the charcoal and a grill top. We have a small room that is about 10′ x 10′ and is great for a tornado as there are no windows. It will be our shelter for the night.

    • Sounds great! I waited for everyone to be home from school so we could do it together too.

  • Jennie Cooper

    We are intentionally not prepared to evacuate at all. In the case of tornado weather, it’s better to shelter in place (we don’t have shelters here anyway), and our house is a partial berm (built into the side of a hill), so we retire to the master bedroom (entirely underground) for tornado warnings. At least we’re comfy. We tried to come up with some reason we’d want to evacuate our home, but couldn’t. The closest we came was a train derailment causing a chemical spill (happened in a nearby town last year) but we live far enough from the tracks and the prevailing winds are such that even that wouldn’t compel us to leave. There is just no scenario, not even zombies, that would compel us to abandon this little farm.

    If the house was damaged by storm or fire, we have another habitable building on the property, and the chances of losing both are slim. While all our important documents are in a fire safe, and our two chest freezers are in this other building, most of our stored food and water is in the main house. Perhaps we should diversify? I might also start to stock that building a little bit for more comfort. It doesn’t have running water, but that’s an issue for us in any situation since we’re on a well. It does have tables and chairs and lots of toys and reading material, since it is where we do our homeschooling, and plenty of spare, if ill-fitting, clothing stored in the attic.

    So. That’s where we stand on evacuating!

    • Every person has their own methods of prepping. It’s great to think it through.

  • Milenda Reichman

    My family isn’t cooperating with this so I am going to write out what we could/would do even if they won’t actually do it unless it was an emergency. LOL

    We have a hybrid little camper trailer with all the necessities inside. This includes cooking supplies, soaps, medicines, bedding and games. Trailer has bathroom, shower, tub, stove, oven & microwave plus totally enclosed so we would be good staying in it at a friends until the storm blows over. Propane & battery’s would keep us for at least a weekend and we have a 3 panel solar system to recharge the battery bank so should be good power wise. We also have 2 vehicles. If one isn’t working we could always use the other to pull the trailer out. Each car has a intensive medical bag in the trunk. The car would NOT be happy about it, but has a hitch and in an emergency who cares?!

    Order of doing things for us would be: 1. hook up trailer to outside faucet and fill water tank. 2. while it is filling, bring food into trailer. I do can meat/milk/water/fruit/veggies so I don’t have to reconstitute foods which helps a LOT. 3. Grab mini safe, any current bills waiting to be paid, and seed binder and put in trunk of car. 4. grab 3 cat carriers and get each of the cats in them. 5. Grab each of our laptop cases making sure machines are inside and cords packed. (these have our phone cords in them already) 6. Grab the bug out bags and put in car. 7. Put travel washer & dry rack in trailer 8. Grab another week of clothes for each person out of drawers as well as available shoes put in trailer. 9. Bag & grab contents of electronics drawer and candle drawer (elec-flashlights & all sizes of spare batteries, candles – small tea lights and lighters). 10.Grab large tarps and put in trunk of car. 11. grab ferret cage from basement & put in trailer (it is in panels broken down already) 12. If time, grab razor type scooters out of garage & put in trunk.

    We would load cats and us as last thing. With 3 people doing the grabbing, all plus extras could be loaded quickly. With just me home and having to meet them later.. I would be good to reach #9. The ferret cage set up outside would allow the cats more room to wander and they can be put outside when weather is good. If things are looking REALLY bad, like it is a sure thing, not a possibility, we could load up items into an open trailer and pull both out. Open trailer would house all remaining camping supplies from garage that we wouldn’t necessarily need, but others may. (extra propane bottles, oven, cookers, camp chairs, fishing equipment, ladder, bikes and tarps.

    As I type this, I keep thinking of things that may help, so only having 1/2 hour to think, pack and be ready would actually be a blessing I believe.

    • At least you are doing the thought exercise, that really helps even if it’s not QUITE as good as actually trying to do it all 🙂

  • Judy

    Instead of posting about our mock experience today, I
    decided to post regarding our REAL experience.
    On April 27th, 2011, our area in northern Alabama was hit
    hard by tornadoes. We lost our electricity
    for four days. Here is a list of things
    we learned, things we needed to store, things we did right, and things we

    Lessons learned:

    1. Do not split up
    your family members. Being separated
    from loved ones can damage morale and cause panic.

    2. Keep gas tanks ½-3/4
    full. There was gas rationing as well as
    curfews. Hospitals were cancelling

    3. Have a long term way to wash clothes.

    4. I must learn how to
    operate everything my husband usually operates.
    (I had trouble lighting our camp stove and my husband wasn’t home.)

    5. Have all phone
    numbers on hard copy and know where they are.

    6. Stay home (if you
    still have one) when the tornado is over because traffic is horrible.

    7. Have cash in the house
    and in each vehicle. ATMs were emptied

    8. Have gallon jugs
    of water in the large freezer.

    9. Have recipes for
    using food storage.

    10. For those who
    have a cell phone, have a car charger!
    You wouldn’t believe the people calling in to the radio station looking
    for car chargers for their phones!

    11. Be
    organized!!! Know where things are. It is hard to search for things at night with
    just a lantern or a flashlight but if you know exactly where something is, you
    can put your hand on it quickly.

    Things we did right:

    1. We had available

    2. We had gas in

    3. We had camping
    gear (stove, solar shower, propane, matches, lighters, charcoal, wood, etc.)

    4. We had paper
    plates, plastic utensils, paper towels, etc.
    It gets old very quickly washing dishes by hand.

    5. We had a radio
    with batteries and a weather radio with batteries.

    6. I collected water
    during the tornado watch before we lost power.

    7. We had lanterns,
    lamps, lamp oil, flashlights, and batteries.

    8. We had a corded
    phone which works even when there is no electricity. I was able to call family in a neighboring
    state anytime I wanted and didn’t have to worry about not being able to get

    Things we needed to store or store more of:

    Charcoal, wood, fuel for the stove, power inverter or
    generator, extra dish cloths (you go through these quickly when you don’t have
    a dishwasher to use), clothes line and clothes pins, chain saw

    Things we saw and heard:

    Neighbors siphoning gas out of lawn mowers, generators being
    shipped into the area from other places and long lines for people trying to get
    them, people driving long distances (an hour or more away) to get supplies they
    didn’t have. By the morning after the
    tornado, people were beginning to panic.
    We couldn’t find dry ice anywhere.
    People were hoarding when they did find supplies. We saw two women with two shopping carts full
    of bagged ice, a man buying toilet paper and 10 bottles of wine, long lines at
    open gas stations (most were closed) and grocery stores. When people did find gas, they were filling
    numerous gas cans. It was noticeably
    quiet and dark until people got generators and then it was LOUD! On the radio there were warning about scams,
    especially FEMA-related. There were announcements
    of closures, where to buy gas and generators, people offering help even
    offering strangers their own homes for lodging.
    There were announcements of curfews, rumors of rationing and threats to
    turn off water. People who lost their
    homes couldn’t find hotel rooms. It was
    a mess. We were very prepared and I was
    actually disappointed when the electricity came back on. I was very thankful that the weather was nice
    during the time we didn’t have electricity.

    It was an eerie experience.

    • Kelly Toledano

      thank you for sharing your experience. It sounds like your family went through a lot but you also stuck together and you learn a lot. You gave me a lot of inspiration and some great ideas for some holes in our emergency plan. Thanks again for posting this. Kelly T.

    • Sheila B

      Thank you so much for sharing! You brought up some holes in my preps, that I will be addressing immediately. We have a basement, but if I’m stuck at work, I would be a 1/2 hr away – under normal circumstances. Kids know to grab dogs & phones (cell and landline) and get to the basement. Don’t think we ever thought about the laptops. We have food and water, light and radio down there. However, I’m not sure that they are necessarily all together.

    • This is such amazing helpful info. THANK YOU! We love learning from you guys 🙂

  • susan

    Lots to think about! We had a community meeting last night with a guest speaker on just this topic! I realised that if I did not have time to grab the important papers that were seperate in the file cabinet it could be hard to find them later. She also pointed out that having a trusted person in an other state that could be the contact person if you get seperated would be a good idea, since long distance lines have a better chance of not being jamed. Also having that “emergency info folder” with them also could have it’s advantages.

  • Paul

    There are no shelters around here either. Tornadoes can’t form in the mountains or its so extremely rare you never hear about it. However wildfires are very possible. We had a big one this summer that was couple miles away. Uncomfortably close..
    We keep two large packs filled and ready under the stairs. All we have to do is fill the water bladders and bottles and go. All essential docs and supplies are in there for 3 days. Have been trying to talk the wife into a small pop-up camper for a while now. That would make things a lot better for those few days away since there is no shelters. Also if we return home and everything is gone we have something “indoors” to use. We have a small rocket stove to take with for cooking. We do not have sleeping bags so it should be interesting to see how that goes. Will not be able to do the no power part until after work.

    • Frugal Ladybug

      We have the same here. Fires are our enemy! During the Angora fire our family was on alert for evacuation. Should have seen me, I was like a chicken with her head cut off. So many emotions!! We had to wait so long to get the official word to leave that I started packing weird stuff after the basics. I even threw our china in the car in case we needed to sell it later for money. Crazy things start to pop into your head. Toilet paper was even evacuated?! Anyway good luck with the challenge and may God bless you and keep you.

      • Paul

        I hear ya. We were in pre-evac for a couple days and it was the same for us. How much more can we take without getting ridiculous. With all that we never thought of the tp! You have added another item to our “you have time” list! Glad you stayed safe!

    • Milenda

      I wouldn’t be too sure about it. Branson, MO is mountainous and was hit in Feb 2012 with a mega tornado that some shops STILL haven’t recovered from. It
      cleared a path many miles long and went from the west side of the city to the east w/o missing much! We saw hotels with half of the buildings missing, the rooms on one side completely gone or open. The grocery store lost it’s roof entirely. Some small buildings completely gone and clear like it was always an empty lot. As we were looking to move there, it was a very sobering site.

      • Paul

        I am talking Colorado rocky mountains. There was a small one over by pikes peak not that long ago but that is where it turns into the flat lands. Other flat land sections of the state have had them before but where we live there has never been a recorded one in history. Our population density is so sparse anyway it’s not worth any kind of shelter. If you get 10 people living in a square mile it’s considered “dense”.

        • We had a huge tornado in Salt Lake about ten years ago. It was a freak occurance I think. The main point was to get people to experience “shelter conditions” and practice evacuating. It’s always ok to modify the challenge to make more sense for you 🙂

          • Paul

            Agreed and we did. Woke up with a sore back big time. Think we’ll get a couple of this roll up foam camping mats.

          • Paul

            Oh one thing I want to add here and forgot with the sore back update. Drag your generators out AT LEAST twice a year. Check them over and make sure they are in good condition and crank them up. I had to replace a fuel line on mine. I keep plenty of fuel and vacuum line along with electrical connectors and spare wire in the shed because of the pack rats so It was an easy and quick repair. It’s time to start rotating the 55 gallons of fuel we have stored anyway so this was good exercise for us.

  • Frugal Ladybug

    Ok panic!! Plan! Plan!! I need a plan!!! Oh wait, I have a plan. In my food storage binder. Thanks guys!!
    I got this!!!

  • Mama L

    There are no tornado shelters in our area, although twisters do sometimes happen (I’ve seen one in the distance in person, it was both fascinating and very frightening). So it wouldn’t be an “evacuate to a shelter” situation. In case of actual tornado, we’d all be in a safe area in our basement as quickly as possible.

    Are we supposed to be focusing on the evacuation, or the tornado?

    In the case of evacuation, we are always ready to go. Our pop-up tent trailer is always packed with everything we need to live away from home because we do a lot of camping through the summer months. Basic staples (shelf stable foods), case of water bottles, pots/pans/dishes, two full propane tanks (well one is not totally full), sleeping bags/bedding, flashlights, even stuff like games etc.

    There are 4 of us: I will grab some (full) water containers from the basement, one kid will fill the cooler with fridge food, one kid will box up the meal planning items that are still on the dining room table from Monday’s emergency (5 more days of easy ready-to-go meals!), DH will grab the laptop plus the box of photo albums/discs/important papers from front hall closet and then he will take the two minutes to hook the truck up to the trailer and then we’re off to a campground.

    Except that we can’t actually do that tonight because both of my kids have after school sports practice at school and won’t be home till dinner time, and I have a meeting to go to right after dinner. So there won’t be a time that we’re all together till bedtime. But we do, regularly, go camping on the spur of the moment, so we are ready 🙂

    • Mama L

      Oh, but the “no electricity” thing will be no problem for me today. Laptop is unplugged as I type this, and I will spend my day doing things that don’t take power.

    • The main idea each day is to practice whatever the goal is. If the scenario isn’t perfect for your family or you location, think of something that would make sense that will achieve the same goals. Hope that helps!

  • april hill

    this one will be difficult…most of the crew is gone until 9/10pm tonight. In real life, we have a tornado shelter(we live in SW MO) so we wouldn’t have to evacuate. Plus I wont have a vehicle until hubby gets home(not to mention, he was grumpy enough getting up at 5 am this morning so he could take a “proper” shower, lol so Im not making him go anywhere) Guess Im doing this one solo.

  • Rebecca in Michigan

    This will have to start tonight after everyone gets back from school and work. I’m the only one home and this would be easy for me to do. In the meantime, I will make sure I don’t use any power (lights or computer or flushing toilets, etc). However, I still have one more bushel of tomatoes to can today and then I’m done for now.

  • Nancy

    My teenage son woke early to see what the disaster of the day was to find out if he could turn the water back on. He took great delight in pounding on the front door and pretending he was a cop telling us we had 30 minutes to get out. He printed the instructions at the same time.
    Oh, did I mention my son gets up at 4am?

    • Milenda

      OMG, this had me in stitches! Thank you! I WISH my teen was more supportive of these, but alas, both he and hubby have no interest and will not cooperate in it. 🙁

    • Sheila B

      Oh, that made me giggle out loud! However, if it had happened to me – I would not be a happy camper! 🙂 Of course, emergencies DO happen at inconvenient hours, and if getting up and getting dressed was part of the 30 minute window – we would be in major league trouble trying to get out the door! So some good food for thought.

    • Ok this made my day completely. I could totally see my little boy doing that when he’s older. I left the tent tonight to grab something and he runs out pointing at me yelling “YOUR CHEATING!!!!!”

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