Part 3 in a Series about Hurricanes
Although you can’t control when a hurricane or other emergency may happen, it’s imperative that you take personal responsibility to make sure you are ready. This week, in our continuing series about hurricanes, we’ll look at one of the best ways to prepare for and recover after tropical storms and hurricanes, as well as other emergencies—putting together a Go-Bag. And by “Go,” I am not talking about the first thing I need to do every morning at the fire station.
A “Go Bag” is a bag you pack today and hope you will never need. You pack it in case there is a situation which necessitates an extremely hasty evacuation which makes it impossible to get to your complete emergency supply kit, or in circumstances that prevent you from carrying your emergency supply kit with you. There are a number of reasons why you would need to move in such a hurry including the one we’ll focus on today…preparing for a tropical storm or hurricane.
A component of your disaster kit, a Go-Bag should be prepared for each member of your family. Also, make sure each bag has an I.D. tag. You may not be at home when an emergency strikes. So keep additional supplies in the trunk of your car and at work. Or, bury them in the backyard, if you prefer.
1.) Purchase a sturdy backpack or messenger bag.
2.) Add the following (as your geographic, financial and physical situation allow):
- First Aid Kit—a small but efficient kit, which should include a 2-week supply of prescription medications as well as pharmaceutical grade crazy (skin) glue.
- Sewing Kit—non-waxed floss and u-shaped leather needle, which can be used to stitch up skin in an emergency
- Feminine Napkins—since they absorb blood and can be used as a bandage in a pinch.
- Cash—as much as you can spare. Remember that credit cards may not be useful for necessary supplies immediately following a natural or manmade disaster. Try to include small denominations and rolls of quarters which will be useful for phone calls. If you need somewhere to store that extra cash, give me a call. I’ll guard it for you.
- Clothing—cotton is useless once it gets wet. So try to include thermal underwear and a warm hat. That is unless you prefer to go au natural, like my family and I.
- Blankets—Mylar emergency blankets are lightweight and easy to stow. Fur is even easier to take with you.
- Crank-style Flashlight and Snap Lights such as Glow-Sticks
- Whistle—on a lanyard, so you can wear it around your neck. This is good for locating people in a crowd, at night, or in low visibility conditions.
- Crank-style NOAA weather/AM-FM Radio. This is a good choice so you won’t have to search for batteries in an emergency situation.
- Batteries—in case you have to power a battery-operated appliance such as a radio or flashlight.
- Food—including protein bars and other non-perishable items such as K-rations, for three days per person. And don’t forget to include rations for your pet. Please remember any food allergies and daily calorie/protein in the food you choose.
- Drinking Water—most emergency agencies suggest storage of at least three days worth of water per person. It’s also advisable to have a backpacking type water purifier, water purification tablets and know how to purify water with regular Clorox Bleach (8 drops of Regular Clorox Bleach per gallon of water). Bringing water to a rolling boil for several minutes is also a reliable method of killing most microbes and parasites. Here is a link that explains the process.
- Goggles—protect your eyes! Buy heavy-duty “soft side” vinyl glasses with ventilation, fogless lenses and adjustable strap.
- Lighter—don’t rely on matches, which can get wet. (Or, find waterproof matches, which are sold at camping stores.)
- Other Fire-Starting Aids, such as a magnifying glass and magnesium “fire starters.”
- Hand and feet warmers—if possible, purchase the type of warmers that are carbon-activated
- Rope—has endless uses. Include various sizes.
- Crow Bar—in case emergency pathways are blocked.
- Big Trash Bags or Plastic Sheeting— use these to stow garbage, haul materials, fashion a poncho or cut open to build a makeshift tent.
- Multi-Use Knife—such as a Leatherman, Gerber, Swiss Army knife, preferably with a saw blade.
- Dust masks (2 per person)—with built-in respirator systems. Use at least an N95-rated mask.
- Duct tape—uses too numerous to list
- Copies of your passport, driver’s license, insurance and any other important documents
- A sticky pad, marker and a pen in case you need to leave a note for family or friends
- A wallet-size photo of every member of your immediate family including children and pets. This is crucial in case you get separated and need to enlist others to help locate loved ones.
- Antibacterial Hand Wash (non rinse), available at most pharmacies, supermarkets and convenience stores. These can be used to clean hands and sanitize wounds.
- Comfortable, sturdy shoes and warm, thick socks.
- Thick leather work gloves.
- Local map
- List of emergency contact numbers
- List of known allergies including medications and food
- Extra prescription glasses, hearing aids or other vital personal items
- Toothbrush and toothpaste (or extra rawhide bones, which control tartar, too).
- Extra keys to your home, vehicle and office
- Special items required for children, seniors or people with disabilities
- Your Go-Bag will be as individual as you are. Only you know the items you can’t live without. Whatever they are, make sure you include them so you are prepared for hurricanes, tropical storms and more.
When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJWestmore, Inc. Check back next week, when we will continue our series about hurricane safety and preparation. In the meantime, BE SAFE.