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Be Prepared for Any Disaster

Updated on December 16, 2017
cygnetbrown profile image

Donna, AKA Cygnet Brown is a recent honors graduate of Argosy University. She is an author of four books and a long time gardener.

How well could you survive an emergency?
How well could you survive an emergency?

Have a Bug-Out Bag for Any Occasion

I don't think there has been very many people in the country who have not been affected by the recent weather emergencies that have occurred during the past few years. Everything that we get no matter what our emergency situation needs to be ready to go if necessary. Therefore It would behoove all of us to have some sort of bag containing at least the barest of necessities in the event of an emergency--whether it is a weather emergency or or some other kind of emergency. The bag itself can be a canvas or nylon bag big enough to hold everything you need. Each member of the family should have his or her own bag and supplies. A backpack with many different compartments works well for this. It can be used to store the items that we buy specifically for emergency situations as well as items from our normal supplies that we can be supplement for whatever the current emergency is. This bag can then be stored in a closet, to be used at home or thrown in the trunk of the car when needed for a quick exit.

Communication is Critical In Any Emergency

Most people do not think of their cell phone as a part of their survival bag, but perhaps it is time we did. As long as there is a cell tower nearby, a fully charged cell phone is a God-sent in emergency situations. Even if we were lost in the woods and don't know where we are, a call to 911 can often make the difference between life and death.

Another means of communication that is important having a plan in place of where to meet if a disaster occurs before an event occurs. For instance, what if there is an earthquake or a fire. Does your family have a designated place to meet? If some members of the family are at work, at school or at home and some are elsewhere, what plans are in place for reconnecting after a disaster?

For Emergency Situations: Battery Powered, Solar, Hand-cranked Flashlight/NOAA Radio

Often, during a power outage, we think that all we need is a good flashlight, but a weather radio is also a must.

In many emergency situations such as when tornadoes threaten to blow down our homes, the electricity goes out and our television, our normal access to weather information is no longer available. I found that the Ambient Weather WR-111B Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Digital Radio, Flashlight, Cell Phone Charger with NOAA Certified Weather Alert & Cables not only supplies me with life and death information, but it also provides me with other amenities such as light and music as well as a way to charge up my cell phone and other electronic conveniences such as my laptop and my kindle. It easily stores in my emergency bag and can even be used at non-emergency times such as at the beach or at a park.

Have an Emergency Basic First Aid Kit Handy

A first aid manual in your emergency bag is a must. Your first aid kit can be the first aid kit that you use all the time in your home. Store your medications in their original containers in it, and be sure that you have at least a four day supply at all times. The best first aid bag is a zippered nylon bag. Be sure your first aid kit contains the following items:

  • sunscreen, lip balm, and bug spray
  • hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, iodine, and cotton balls
  • triple antibiotic ointment and petroleum jelly
  • tweezers, needles, safety pins and a magnifying glass
  • calcium and salicylic based stomach medicine (or herbal equivalent)
  • loritidine and diphenhydramine based antihistimines (or herbal equivalent
  • ibuprofen and acetaminophen (or herbal equivalent)
  • benzocaine toothache relief (or herbal equivalent)
  • antidiarrheal medicine, laxatives, and antipurgatives (or herbal equivalent)
  • pseudoephedrine and guaifenesin cold remedies (or herbal equivalent)
  • a variety of bandages and butterfly closures
  • Gauze pads and first aid tape
  • 4 cloth slings and wood to make a splint
  • hot and cold packs
  • disposable gloves
  • tongue depressors
  • EMT trauma scissors
  • powdered electrolyte replacement
  • oral themometer
  • if you have children, be sure that you also have child appropriate OTC medications as well
  • Know how to use what is in your first aid kit. Preparations for basic first aid preparedness should include taking a CPR class and attending first responders training. Children can also learn emergency techniques.

Water Ready for an Emergency

Current recommendations for water is a gallon of water per person per day. We cannot live more than a few days without water, so it is necessary in an emergency situation to make sure that we have enough drinking water to get us through the situation. Most of us are within three days of some sort of water source, so having enough water for three days is a good rule of thumb. However, for emergency situations, we really don't need to store water for long periods of time.

With most emergency situations, we know ahead of time when emergency situations might occur. What isn't necessary to have ahead of time is the water, but it certainly does make sense to have containers available ahead of time. It makes sense to store collapsible water containers in our emergency bag and then fill them up just before you know that the emergency event could occur. You can also use this type of container to store water in the trunk of your car in case of emergencies when going on trips through desolate areas such as deserts or mountains.

In addition to the three days supply of water, it makes sense to store water purification straws in your emergency bag. These purification straws are light weight and store easily in your emergency bag. Use these for any situation when you are unsure that your drinking water is safe.

Even in an Emergency, We all Have to Eat!

Have enough food in your emergency bags for each person to eat for three days. The easiest type of emergency food to get are MREs or Meals Ready to Eat. Just as the name says, they are immediately ready to eat. These MREs are not necessarily your first go to food, but they will be there if you need a food source for a few days if you are away from normal food sources for a few days and do not have refrigeration available.

Emergency Clothing

Most of the time, we use the clothing that we have in an emergency. One item of clothing that I recommend to store, however, is a rain poncho. This rain poncho can be used in a number of emergency situations, not just as a raincoat. For one thing, it can be used to cover the ground, or can be used to cover the door of an emergency shelter.

Just prior to a suspected emergency situation whether a weather event or if you expect to travel through a desolate area such as a desert, a mountain area, or in inclement weather, be sure to stow appropriate clothing into your emergency bags. Most of these items you no already have in your own closet. Remember that dry socks and comfortable walking shoes are a must.

Emergency Shelter

There may be a need to provide emergency shelter for yourself until rescued or you can provide a better situation for you and your family. Therefore, I recommend for your basic emergency bag a sleeping bag for every person. this will provide enough warmth for survival in most situations.

In addition, add to your a tarp, some nylon rope, and duct tape to your emergency bag. Tarps can be used to cover a hole in the roof or used to cover broken windows. By using your imagination and whatever else is available, you should be able to figure out how to develop a shelter that will also keep you dry if necessary.

Adding onto These Emergency Basics

I am sure that you've noticed that I have not included a number of important things to this basic emergency bag. I haven't discussed anything about cooking, heating, or long term survival situations. This basic bag is just that basic. It will keep you alive and somewhat comfortable for about three days or until help arrives. If you're looking at a survival situation for longer than that, you can still use this emergency bag to provide the basics while you are getting your bearings. For this scenario, however, you would want to add survival tools like a survival knife, a fire starter, fish hooks, a hatchet, a rifle, a crossbow, or whatever, but everything listed here in a basics emergency bag would not be a waste even with that scenerio.


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    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Cygnet Brown 4 years ago from Springfield, Missouri

      billybuc, I've eaten a few MREs in my time too. What I like about them is that they are compact and convenient. Mhatter99 The more individuals who prepare for emergencies, the more we can help one another!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for the good advice. I survived the big SF earthquake. And was able to help some of my neighbors.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      All good suggestions. I've had MRE's and although they are not gourmet you can survive on them. :)