72-hour Kits: How The Big Short Got Me On Board

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My dad has been gung-ho about emergency preparedness and food storage for years. It finally took the likes of Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, and Steve Carell to convince me. Watch The Big Short and see what you think about global crises and emergency preparedness. It might compel you to get your 72-hour kits going.

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US Housing Bubble Burst

The Big Short is a movie about the financial crisis of 2007-2008; triggered by the US housing bubble.  The movie is a biographical comedy-drama (meaning it is both true and fun to watch).  Christian Bale plays the part of real-life eccentric hedge fund manager Dr. Michael Burry. He had left his neurology residency at Stanford Hospital earlier to start investing and almost immediately had insane successes for his clients. I LOVE eccentric people and Bale does Burry’s character justice!

Christian Bale Screen Actors Guild Award for The Big Short | 72-hour kits emergency preparedness | Girlfriend is Better
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Who is Michael Burry?

While we were out buying homes during the real estate boom, Michael Burry began to realize sub-prime loans were completely unstable. In 2005, Burry anticipated a market collapse almost to the date it actually happened. He decided to create a never-before-seen credit-default swap market. This allowed him and his investors to bet against the mortgage-backed securities (based on the housing market). Sad for us, profit for them.

Christian Bale as Michael Burry in The Big Short | 72-hour kits list | Girlfriend is Better
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Breaking the Fourth Wall

The details of what exactly happened to create the housing crisis is all quite technical for the layman. The movie does an amazing job of explaining technical stuff in way that you can understand. Have you heard the term “breaking the fourth wall”? It’s when an actor (such as Brad Pitt) turns to the camera and speaks to you directly. “I know this is confusing and you’re probably feeling bored, so here’s hot Australian actress Margot Robbie in a bubble bath to explain it to you.” (Cut to supermodel who briefly explains in terms we can understand.) Great approach and very effective.

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We’ve Only Just Begun

Thanks to the scripting, you start to realize just exactly what happened with that whole housing bubble thing. (Truthfully,
I watched it more than once and with subtitles each time.) By the very bitter end, (spoiler alert!) Michael Burry is shown to be dead-on correct. He makes billions of dollars from his investment strategy and I became an instant believer in his forecast of the future. Sold! On Michael Burry. Through Bales’s and other characters’ stories, you start to realize we may not have seen the end of this. Do you know what his next move was? He closed up shop to focus on his personal investment portfolio. According to the end credits of the movie, his current investment is in water. Starting to panic already?  Check out Cloudline for some great water purification techniques and supplies.  Might be worth your while to have one of these items as backup! Emergency preparedness isn’t contingent on natural disaster.

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Plan an Exit Strategy

Assuming Dr. Burry is now betting on water shortage was incentive enough for me. I immediately called my dad up and started talking about first steps. (I figured he wouldn’t feel so bad that he hadn’t convinced me of the importance of emergency preparedness. Just so long as I had been convinced! 😉 He reminded me that aside from 72-hour kits, our family has had a long standing plan in case of any crisis. We have an established meeting spot to head to in case of disaster. It’s kind of like when you take your kids to an amusement park. First thing you should do is pick out a big, easy-to-spot landmark to meet at in case anyone gets separated. There’s something very comforting in doing that, both for kids and parents alike. Meet at the ferris wheel!

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What to Pack in Your 72-Hour Kits

After talking to my dad, I realized that we could be prepared without a ton of effort. 72-hour kits are more about making a 3-day hiatus as comfortable for yourself as possible. Not sure where to start? Here is a comprehensive 72-hour kit list compiled by my dad, who teaches classes on emergency preparedness and survival. The Excel sheet is sorted by items to pack inside and outside of a backpack. Everyone has different needs and it’s wise to get items such as contacts or medications packed first.

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Pack the Same Way

My dad is ex-military and has experience packing a boatload of stuff in the most compact way possible. If you scroll to the bottom of the spreadsheet, you will see a suggested order in which to pack items. Some good advice: try and pack all of your 72-hour kits the same way. This way anyone can find something quickly and easily in an emergency.

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Top 5 Items to Pack

Packing your kits doesn’t need to involve a massive shopping trip. Choose a few items that you already have on hand and start with those. Anything you include in your 72-hour kits will leave you more prepared than if you had nothing. Top 5 easiest items to include are:

  1. Water
  2. Personal First Aid Kit
  3. Hygiene Kit
  4. Change of clothes
  5. Matches

Need something to pack this stuff in? Buy a few backpacks with plenty of pockets like these Outdoor Expandable Backpacks from Amazon. They are a great find for $25 and have plenty of storage compartments. Add a change of clothes, a toothbrush, some matches and you’re halfway there!

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Pace Yourself

You also don’t need to rush out and get everything at once, every little bit you add to the top 5 list is bonus. Next time you’re at the grocery store, grab a couple extra bottles of water or Band-Aids. Add one item to your shopping list each month and you’ll be surprised at how quickly your 72-hour kits will fill up. Make it a 6-month mission and then you’re done. In addition, two good tips: always have at least ½ tank of gas in your car, and keep enough cash on hand to get you to your escape destination.

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Reduce the Impact

That’s it! Those are the first basic steps anyone can take to make sure they are always going to be okay. You’ll have greater peace of mind if you get your 72-hour kits going and map out a route to safety. The things that make the biggest impact in your life tend to be the things that blindside you. Putting in a little effort to make sure your family will be okay will add to your security. It will also reduce your state of panic and allow your family to maneuver through crisis. If you have any additional tips to share with our readers, please leave them in the comments below.

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