In my last post I shared some opinions about the unexpected and some measures to take before it strikes. But what about those huge emergencies that are few and far between, but ever threatening? Here are some practical tips to make life a little or a whole lot easier if an emergency strikes.
When you have to get out fast
The Grab and Go Pack
We have one of these for each member of the family. It’s basically a backpack filled with necessities that will last for up to 3 days plus some depending on how much you can carry. What it contains depends on the individual. Think of a day in the life of the individual and decide what should go into the pack. We are all essentially adults. Our packs contain…
A change of clothes plus an extra pair of socks. If you’ve ever been a camper, hiker, or outdoorsman of any type you know the simple pleasure a clean, dry pair of socks can bring.
Hat and gloves
Waterproof plastic poncho
Hand/foot warmers – the chemical kind that heat up when you shake them
Mini flashlight/extra batteries/glow sticks for young children
Extra contacts/cases/solution/old pair of glasses
Deck of cards or puzzle book/pen/paper
Candle and matches/lighter in a small tin
First aid items
Toiletries/Those sample bottles you can get for free with coupons are great for this.
Food/high-energy, calorie dense, non-perishable
Cash in small bills and change.
Copies of important papers such as birth certificates/passports
Contact information for family members abroad, in case you need to get far away from home. Make sure you have addresses, land lines and cell numbers.
Each pack contains what the individual will need. The adult male pack contains some overflow of food and heavier items you may want to add such as a small tarp and rope for shelter, and water purification system or tablets. You could also add a bedroll to each pack, depending on how extreme you want to get.
We have two dogs and two cats. Both cats fit into the carrier we have, and one is also semi-leash trained. If for some odd reason I would have to choose, I would leave food, water, and shelter outside, and leave the cats outside, even though they are indoor cats. We all know cats are far better at taking care of themselves than dogs. Ours happen to be excellent mousers. Both are neutered males. It would depend on the situation and how long we thought we might be away. If time away would be truly unknown, I would let them out and pray for the best. Of course we would try to take all of them along, and again it would depend on the situation. For all of you animal lovers out there, I love my animals too and I am more of a cat person than a dog person. It’s not that I love my dogs more, it’s that I have far better faith in my cats. I’m not sure what the rules are, or if there are any rules put in place for animals in disaster situations. My decisions would be based on what would give my animals the best possible chance for survival because that’s just how I roll. Because it is difficult to think in an emergency situation it is best to have such things worked out in advance. Our pet bag includes…
Food for the four pets for three days time
A frisbee (doubles as food/water dish/play toy)
Copies of rabies vaccination certificates
Collars with all of their tags
Leash with collars hanging beside the door
Disposable litter box on top of or beside cat carrier
We also have two collapsible kennel crates for the dogs that would fit in the back of our truck.
When you have to stay in your home
I always joke that we have enough food in the house to last us six months. It may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but it’s pretty close. It may not be nutritionally complete, but it would sustain us and I do have vitamins around too. Whenever I see cases of bottled spring water on sale I usually scoop one up. It does not go to waste because we use it to rotate the water in our emergency bags, when we go on an impromptu road trip, camping, on a beach vacation, etc. I always have bleach on hand for sanitation, garbage bags and a portapotty that we have for camping. There are always tons of candles around, a kerosene heater and cans of kerosene, a camp stove with propane, and a gas grill. I always wanted a wood stove but haven’t been able to afford the expense. We are essentially set for any type of emergency that would keep us cooped up for a time.
On the road
We keep a blanket or two in the vehicles for emergencies. If we’re going on a long haul away from home I grab my emergency pack to take along just in case. We have a coffee can, the old metal kind, with tealight candles and matches. This would provide just enough heat to keep you alive if you break down in the winter and/or run out of gas. Remember to crack your windows for oxygen flow. This would not be a good idea if you smell gas, of course. We stick a roll of tp in the can as well, because you never know. The lid keeps everything clean, snug, and dry. It’s also a good idea to keep food and water in your vehicle, non-perishable, of course. I choose high energy items like energy bars, same choices we put into our packs. Don’t forget your standard first aid kit, jumper cables and a small assortment of tools. Where is that duck tape?
I set aside one afternoon to get everything around. It only took a few hours and I had no help from other family members. I did have help shopping for a few items, but you don’t have to go out and buy special items. You can start with what you have. Anything is better than nothing. You could use old school backpacks and those sample-sized items you get when you stay in a hotel. Tuck in an old outfit or sweats that no one likes to wear anymore. It’s amazing how wonderful something becomes when it’s all you have. Handkerchiefs are a dollar and can serve several purposes. Set aside a few dollars a week to add to your food stockpile. This may seem extreme for a few, but it gives me peace of mind. With everything going on in the world today, it can’t hurt.