How to Prepare an Emergency Bag
There are disasters in life that we will catch us all unawares. Natural disasters have just become our way of life. With climate change and global warming, the weather that may come our way will be more severe, and natural disasters may be more frequent. The good news is, we can prepare for this and keep our family safe by being prepared with an emergency bag.
First things first
Putting together an emergency bag does not have to be all at once. You can start with the bulk of it, then build on that. There are some things that need to be changed or upgraded periodically anyway, so keep this in mind. Do not get overwhelmed.
The bag – Try to find a lightweight bag that is easy to carry, but is sturdy enough to be waterproof, and light for you to carry.
Medicine – This is one of the most important features of the bag, especially if you have family members that take maintenance medicines. This is also one of biggest parts of the bag that keeps getting added on. Start yourself off with a first aid kit. You can add on personalized medicines to that and different sized bandages as you along.
Clothes – It may be pessimistic to think about it, but try to think about what possible situations you may be in. Volcano eruption, flooding, earthquake, fire are the usual natural disasters people can think of. Try to pack lightweight clothes that have more than one use. Bring a couple of bright colored shirts, as well as dark colored ones. Make sure that your shoes are comfortable and durable.
Multipurpose tools – Think about sporks, swiss army knife, and things that can do more than one thing. One thing that is overlooked is scarves. These are great if the weather is too hot or too cold, also it can be used as a splint if you are injured, or even as a blanket, depending how big it is. Garbage bags are also a multipurpose tool. They can act as raincoats, even be a roof for a shelter, or just an extra bag.
Gadgets – Assume that there will be no electricity. Solar powered or battery operated gadgets are always good. Add extra batteries just in case. Head lamps are also good. They leave your hands free to do whatever you need to. Some people have an external disc drive of all the family’s information saved there: birth certificates, marriage license, mortgage to the house, IDs, just in case. They keep it in a plastic bag and inside their Emergency Bag at all times. TAP TIP: If there is a renewed ID, remember to scan and add it to the drive.
Food and water – Try to pack light, but most foods that last are canned goods. Make sure that there are enough for everyone in the family. For water, you can carry your own water for your family, and you can also have water tablets that help clean any water and make it potable.
Children – Those who are pregnant may need to bring the bag that has been prepared for the hospital. This should have all the necessities you need for yourself and your baby. For those with toddlers, try and bring enough clothes for them for 3 days. If you are breastfeeding, bring a handheld pump and extra bottles. For formula fed babies, just make sure that there is enough formula in your bag for 3-5 days. You can premeasure these ahead of time so you do not have to fuss with measuring it out from a big tin. If you have bigger school children, they may be able to carry their own bag so teach them what needs to go inside. Do note that it would be good to have first aid medicine for them as well, such as that for fever, cough, cold and allergy.
Pets – If you have pets, prepare 3-5 days worth of food for them in your bag, their medicines (if any) and extra bowls or containers for their water and food.
Remember to keep the emergency bag or bags near the exit you and your family are most likely to use. It will make it easy for you to grab it on your way out. It is not recommended that you leave it inside your room for example, because it may be harder to get to.
Do not forget your safety accessories like goggles, gloves and face masks. These may help if there is a volcanic eruption or a fire, so please make sure you have enough for everyone in the family.
Update your medicines and be aware of the expiration date on them. And you will never have enough bandages and medical tape!
If you can, put away about Php2000 in small bills (20s and 50s) in your bag. This may help acquire things during a disaster and keeping the bills in small denominations make it easier to use.
Being prepared is always a good idea in times like these. We all hope that we never need to use these emergency bags, but we also all need to be able to take care of ourselves and our family if the need arises. These are just a few steps to make in case of emergencies. Be safe, and take care.
Read here on how to create an emergency fund.
If you would like to further your knowledge and learn First Aid tips, read here.