First off, there is no way any one person or any one post can give you all the information you need to be prepared. And, there are many different types of emergencies – and no one size fits all. However, it is better to start than not do anything.
A number of years ago I was given a terrific gift by a friend – it is a trucker’s backpack. It has over 15 pockets, 3 carrying options (top handle, side handle or padded back straps), a separate line storage area for dirty laundry, a zippered section that expands the main compartment an extra 3″, a front bottle holder for quick access to bottled beverage, and a waterproof rubber base keeps it dry if it gets set on a wet surface. The backpack is not cheap – just under $40 – but it provides me with a great feeling of security, because, in this backpack (which is loaded at all times) I have:
- a deck of playing cards
- book of crossword puzzles
- several pens
- a spiral bound notebook
- 2 paperback books I’ve not read (garage sale finds)
- a first aide kit
- toilet paper
- wash cloth
- tooth paste
- tooth brush (still in package)
- hand sanitizer
- lip balm
- hand lotion
- wet wipes
- lots of zip lock bags (I know it may sound gross, but I remember that folks who ended up in the dome during Hurricane Katrina couldn’t use the bathrooms because they were all backed up. If I need to “go”, I’d rather be able to seal off the smell and…)
- several changes of underwear (I can’t stand to feel wet)
- a comfortable sports bra
- several changes of socks
- old hiking boots with solid surface (because chances are good I will be wearing sandals – I’m always wearing sandals).
- pair of elastic waisted shorts (because I never know what my weight might be)
- two tees
- pair of old sweat pants
- lightweight jacket
- 3 bandannas – for covering hair, wetting for the back of the neck, a separate on for blowing of the nose (don’t want to waste tp on that!)
- old baseball hat
- jar of peanut butter (change every 2 years due to expiration)
- 4 pouches of tuna (lighter than cans and no can opener needed) – change every 2 years due to expiration.
- copy of drivers license
- copy of credit cards
- copy of passport
- list of phone numbers
- copy of social security card
- extra house key
- extra car key
- mini flash light (that doubles as an emergency red strobe light)
- laniear for whatever I want to keep handy.
- whistle – in case you get lost – so people can find you by the sound.
- hunting knife (inexpensive I got from a garage sale).
- several forks, knives and spoons and a cloth napkin.
- box of kitchen matches.
A List that tells me what I still need to grab:
- cat food
- dog food
- dog treats
- collapsible dog bowls
- collapsible cat bowls
- water (I have 2 liter bottles and smaller “personal” bottles of water that I change out every 3 months – that way the water will be fresh). I can fit 3 of the 2 liter bottles and 4 of the smaller into my backpack easily.
- crackers, bread, granola, and any food that will travel well.
- grab tent (it is always in my car – but I don’t want to forget it if it is needed)
- grab sleeping bag (it is always in my car – but I don’t want to forget it if it is needed)
- cat – with personal information attached to the carrier – like my name and phone number and the cat’s name. The bottom of the carrier lined with layers of newspapers (a litter box would be too much!) My cat carrier is large for the cat, so an inch or two of papers on the bottom is not an issue.
- dog – mine has a collar with information as well as a chip in her shoulder.
- dog leash
- laptop computer
- computer back-up disks
- cell phone chargers (wall and auto)
If the plan is for evacuation
- fill gas tank & grab gas can from garage
- Stop at ATM for cash
So, with about 15 minutes warning I can evacuate my house and know what I have with me. Since I always keep winter clothes (hats, gloves & coat) in my car (call it growing up prepared in Minnesota) – I should be prepared for just about any problem.
I keep it in with me and my furry children during a tornado warning in the interior closet – because if my house is in shambles, I’d like to be prepared.
You don’t need a fancy backpack to put all of this – regular backpacks can be used as well, or large “carry all” bags. Just having everything in one place and a list of things to be gathered at the last minute can help prepare for lots of emergencies.