With the recent California wildfire and the abundance of forest fires that have been frequently occurring, there is no better time than now to prepare yourselves for an emergency evacuation. By creating yourself an emergency grab-and-go bag, you are setting yourself up for any disaster that may arise. The following list is some essentials for a Do-it-Yourself emergency kit:
Rule of thumb, four liters of water per person per day. It is recommended that you prepare for 3-4 days, which means, water will be taking up most of the space in this kit. A good way to get around this is the LifeStraw. This allows you to drink contaminated water safely. The retail cost can vary from $25.00 to $50.00. The only downside to these LifeStraws is that they won’t remove microscopic minerals, chemicals, or viruses, and they should only be used when in an emergency.
Ready to eat, won’t spoil – canned, dried foods. Some of the best options are; peanut butter, crackers, nuts and trail mix, cereal, dried fruits, protein bars, granola bars, dried fruit and canned goods. You’re looking for foods that can last for several days, that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water or even eating utensils. It is also recommended that you avoid foods that will make you thirsty, that way you avoid consuming more water than necessary.
Most mobile devices run out of power quickly, having a portable power bank will allow you to have a generous supply of portable power easily at hand. Majority of portable power banks are compatible with a variety of everyday electronic devices. Learn more on how special considerations for keeping your phone operating in extreme cold.
Using a crank or solar powered flashlight is recommended as you don’t have to pack spare batteries. If you chose to pack a rechargeable flashlight, then you must keep in mind to charge the device periodically, to be sure you have a functioning flashlight.
Having a radio in your kit is great for receiving weather and disaster alerts and keeping up to date on anything that may be happening in your area. Some of the best radios to have in your kit, have built in flashlights and even charge your devices. One important feature to look for in a radio is that it has an AM/FM receiver. AM has a longer range that may be required to get important information.
FIRST AID KIT
You have the option to buy the prebuilt kits, but chances are, you might already have most of the essentials at home, the pieces you may not have can be pick up at your local dollar store, making this a more cost-effective route. Some things to keep in your first aid kit are; cotton balls, alcohol prep wipes, antibiotic ointment, Aspirin or Ibuprofen, tweezers, sharp scissors, non-latex gloves, adhesive bandages and medical tape.
It is important to have extra copies of emergency documents in your bag, such as copies of contact information, insurance documents, and other important documents such as prescriptions, or wills, and your emergency plan.
Some things to consider, when packing these documents are, how to store them. You can print them out, and put them in a binder or report protector, but this may take up space in your kit. Another option may be to go digital, by putting them in a hard drive or flash drive, or even saving copies in a cloud. By going digital, you must keep in mind, that you require a device to fetch these files. If there is no power, you may not be able to access your files.
SMALL BILLS AND COINS
Automated bank machines (ATMs) and their banking networks may not work during an emergency, this means you may have difficulty using debit or credit cards.
These devices are great because they keep all essential tools in one spot. Some of the standard features are; adjustable screwdriver, wrench, pliers, knife, can opener, scissors, and even a wire stripper. They are great for first aid, repairing equipment, making fires or opening cans.
You may need to consider your climate, as someone in a colder region might require a heavy jacket. The Red Cross suggests that you pack some rain gear, hats, gloves, and warm clothes no matter what time of year it is. A good option would be to vacuum seal socks and undergarments, to keep them clean and dry. This also allows more space.
Don’t forget your pets! A few days’ supplies of food, water, medications, and ID tags would be beneficial. Some other options for your pet would be, proof of recent vaccinations, proof of ownership and blankets.
Whatever you decide to put in your emergency bag, it should be customized for your specific needs. It should also be noted, that electronics should be tested periodically to make sure they are still usable in an emergency. Keep your grab-and-go bag in a safe and secure location ready to be grabbed in a moments notice!