Packing for A Trip You'll (Hopefully) Never Take
The recent fires, floods, and hurricanes hitting the US have many people thinking about the way that they would respond in this type of emergency. Hopefully, you will never be in that situation but, if you were, would you be ready?
A CNN report from 2020 says that only 35% of Americans are ready for an event that either limits or eliminates their ability to access normal services. Preparation includes keeping an emergency kit on hand, one that can be carried should it become necessary to leave home for a day or more. Putting together such a kit can be something of a relief, not to mention a bit of fun. Think of it as preparing for a camping trip you hope you never have to take.1
Know Your Area
As you’re putting your kit together, it’s important to keep your surroundings firmly in mind. Wherever you live in the US, you may have your own recurring regional event that might escalate rapidly into an emergency. Floods, earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes, and other events might be familiar to you and your neighbors. While you could be able to grab your kit, get in the car, and drive to safety, you should also consider a situation in which you might be on foot for a considerable amount of time.
Choose Your Container
For our purposes, a “kit” means a “container.” It doesn’t matter whether you use a backpack, suitcase, or anything else. However, you should keep plenty of scenarios in mind when making your choice. Is your kit durable? Is it something you can carry on your own? Thinking about these factors now will save you hassle should you ever need the kit.
Pack the Essentials
You’ve selected your container. Now, what do you put in it? Plan to be gone and potentially away from services (from electricity to first responders) for three days. For each person, pack three days’ worth of the following:
☐ Nonperishable food
☐ Pet food (if applicable)
☐ Water (ideally a gallon of water per day per person)
☐ Iodine tablets for purifying water, if needed
☐ Medications for yourself and those in your household, including pets
☐ Radio that can be operated with batteries or a hand crank
☐ First-aid kit
☐ Emergency blanket (those silver foil wraps you see people wearing after marathons)
☐ Solar phone charger
☐ A wrench (to turn off utilities)
☐ Multitool/Swiss Army knife
☐ Copies of important documents
☐ Spare cash in small bills (you can’t put things on your plastic if the power’s out)
Take A Yearly Inventory
Once you have your kit together, remember to check on the supplies from time to time. Water in plastic bottles will eventually expire, as will any food items, meds, and batteries you have packed. Be sure to keep track of when those items should be rotated out. Set aside a day each year to rotate items.
Be Ready For Anything
Some retailers offer kits that will eliminate some of the work but be sure that they meet your particular needs. You’ll need to provide your own prescription medication, for instance, and you should ensure that the food being provided meets your dietary needs. Assembling and maintaining your own emergency kit allows you to be productive about your concerns, and it just feels good to be prepared for anything. Consider making (or taking an inventory of) your own kit today. With a bit of luck, you’ll never have to use it.
1. CNN.com, August 28, 2020
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