Authors note: You may be aware of the fires in the west. This week I spoke with the Stake Relief Society president in Medford, Oregon. The towns of Talent and Phoenix have been decimated. Over fifty families in one ward lost their homes and many others lost cars, businesses, and jobs. Many have damaged homes. People have been generous, and clothing is no longer needed. There are still many without permanent shelter while they rebuild, so there is no room for larger items to be stored. If you would like to help these families with basic needs, please contact me. I can help get the right donations to the right people. 

August and September have been such a difficult time for so many as they have faced devastating wildfires, hurricanes, and even a very rare derecho in Iowa. What is a derecho?

A derecho is a type of straight-line windstorm which spawns widespread high winds (that can reach hurricane strength) and also spawns tornadoes. The derecho in Iowa destroyed much of the agriculture in the area. 

While in my home, I reflected on the fires in my area, listened to the thunder, and wondered if lightning would start new fires. I realized if a fire started in the middle of the night, and I needed to get out quickly, I wasn’t really ready. I didn’t even know where my glasses were.

This month we began to collect items in case of a nighttime emergency as we worked on the 30-day challenges. This week we will complete what we began and create a “Night Flight Kit.”

A Night Flight Kit should be kept near where you sleep, or in the bathroom attached to your bedroom ready to easily grab and run. Here is the plan:

Find a small, easy to access container. I use an old, very large purse. It hangs unzipped on the handle of the closet door. I also have a toiletry kit that hangs on a hook in the closet and a mesh hamper sitting beneath the toiletry bag. 

Let’s begin with toiletries. I keep my kit loaded with items I would not want to be without: deodorant, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, comb, brush, q-tips, etc. I have a three-month supply of these items in my at-home General Store (in the non-food section) but I keep some in the kit just in case I need to flee in the middle of the night.

Since I also use this toiletry kit when I travel, I have travel items in it. I include makeup and even a night light. If you need to flee at a moment’s notice in the middle of the night you will probably end up in a hotel room, so consider what you would take if traveling. For women, don’t forget feminine hygiene products. For the men, don’t forget shaving cream, aftershave, etc.

Medications are the next items to consider. You can build an extra supply of prescription medications to store in your Night Flight Kit. How do you accumulate extras? 

  • If you have a prescription that allows you to skip one day a week, do that and stash the extra. 
  • Ask your doctor. Explain you are trying to get a stash of prescription medications so if there is an emergency you will not be caught without. 
  • Ask if the doctor’s office will give you a few samples and use those instead of your prescription.
  • Order early. You can often refill a prescription a few days early. Try ordering two or three days early. You may have to do this every few months. 

Until you build a supply of “extras” keep your prescriptions in your night flight kit, and just access them when it’s time to take them each day. When you have enough extras, place new prescriptions in your kit and rotate them out as you refill—the new one goes in the kit and the extras into the cupboard where you normally access them every day. 

Over-the-counter meds are also important as pharmacies may still be open but may not have medications on the shelf. Have you noticed zinc is still missing from store shelves? 

Would you want to be without the medications you take for migraines or allergies?

If you have other medical needs, consider how you can prepare for a quick evacuation if you are unable to access all areas of your home. Do you need a walker or oxygen? Are you diabetic? What can you store in your bedroom each night so it will be quickly available in case of an evacuation? Because of a fire this month in Oregon, one man lost his prosthetic leg.

Do you wear glasses or need cheaters to read? Each night, collect your glasses and place them in the Night Flight Kit. In the morning it will be easy to pull them out for the day’s use.  If you wear contact lenses get an extra pair for your kit. For daily use lenses, place a week’s worth in your kit. Remember extra cleaning or soaking solution too.

One of the things most often forgotten by those evacuating—Wallets. Each night, don’t place your wallet or car keys on the night stand, add them to your kit. 

Keep a set of house and car keys in your kit. You may not be able to get to your car immediately, but if you can later it will be a blessing to have use of it. 

Add cash to your Night Flight Kit, in small denominations. Include at least enough to cover the cost of a night or two in a hotel and meals for a few days. During a widespread disaster cash is king—especially when power is out. 

Keep a sweater, sweatshirt, or jacket near your Night Flight Kit to be grabbed as you leave. Nights can be cold even in summer and stress may also cause you to feel cold.

Each night charge your phone, laptop and other devices in your bedroom. Times have changed and I would now be lost if my phone and computer were lost. Should you need to leave in a hurry, you will not only have your devices but also the chargers.  

Include small irreplaceable items in your Night Flight Kits—Jewelry, grandma’s ring, your anniversary earrings, or grandpa’s pocket watch. Items you love but don’t use every day, and would be sad to lose, fall into this category.

Place a few things under the bed and on your nightstand to be kept there permanently. Put sturdy shoes under the bed where you can easily slip them on before fleeing your home or checking on the kids after an earthquake or sudden storm. Not every emergency requires you to leave a damaged home, but many emergencies leave rubble you do not want to step on as you stumble in the dark. 

Speaking of the dark, place a flashlight or glowstick under or near all beds. In a child’s room you may want to use a glow stick instead of a flashlight. Glow sticks are easier to use for small hands. An emergency may be a “simple” power outage requiring you to check on children, or children may want to find you for comfort. A weather disaster may cause a power outage many miles away affecting your home even when the skies are clear.

A whistle can be heard much further than the human voice. It can also be used to help locate someone in the dark or to signal first responders. Remind children all these items stashed under the bed are for emergencies only.

Imagine evacuating in the middle of the night, and there you are fleeing in your pajamas. What to do? Grab a mesh laundry hamper and fill it quickly with the clothing from a big hamper or clothing from dresser drawers. If you have a large or built-in hamper drawer purchase a simple mesh laundry hamper. These fold down flat for easy storage and are easy to access as you prepare to run. 

Remember this Night Flight Kit is not a replacement for your 120-Hour Kit, but a compliment to it. Those kits should also be kept in the bedroom to easily grab as you leave. Your 120-Hour Kits should include a few days (5) of clothing. However, if your home is gone you will appreciate a few more, including some you actually enjoy wearing. 

When a challenge presents itself, those who have thought through a scenario and prepared not only survive but are more likely to thrive. If your challenge requires you to leave in the middle of the night are you ready? With a few simple changes in your nighttime habits and a few preparations you can be.

To help with relief for fire victims please contact Carolyn at Facebook.com/Totallyready or at [email protected]