Go Kits

As I had stated in a previous post, the month of August is National Preparedness month and I planed on writing quite a few posts on the subject. I haven’t had time to write much, though. Any ways, I digress.

What would you and your family do in the event of a serious emergency. Imagine that your town was hit by a (fill in the appropriate natural disaster for your area); what would you do? Do you have the necessary supplies to survive and a way to get the information you need? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests that you have all the necessary supplies to survive for 3 days in a “Go Kit.” But what would you put in a Go Kit you ask? Essentials!

Food and Water

You should have enough food and water for 3 days. When packing food, remember that you have to be able to open and cook what you pack. I suggest going to a sporting goods store and purchasing a backpacking propane stove, small can opener, and freeze dried food. You should also have 1 gallon of water per person per day. So, a husband, wife and child should have 9 gallons of water. This is enough water form drinking, preparing food, and cleaning, although should be used sparingly. If you are in an extremely warm area, more water should be added to your go kit. Also, don’t forget to pack a small pot and utensils. Nothings worse then having food and no fork or spoon!!

Clothing

Make sure you pack cloths in your go kit, or have some ready at all times. To keep your kit lighter, I suggest packing cloths in backpacks and keeping the backpack in your closet. In the event that you have to evacuate, you can through the backpack on, and then have both hands to grab your go kit or small children. You should also make sure that the cloths in the bag are season appropriate. Yes, I know. This means you have to CHANGE the cloths in the bag. Nothings worse that having to grab it in the winter, leave your house in a panic, and then find out all you have in the bag is shorts and tank tops. A pair of sturdy shoes you can walk a long distance in is a good idea to have, as well. When your packing your bag, think about what you would pack on a trip. Don’t forget things like sock and underwear.

Hygiene

Don’t spend money on some of this stuff. Remember, this would be used in a major emergency. Pack your old tooth brush when you go to retire it. Get travel sized soap and tooth paste. My big suggestion here is waterless shampoo. You can find this at most drugstores. It’s not the best thing to use, but it beats using all of your water to wash your hair!! Also, pack some sort of hand sanitizer. You should also have a first-aid kit with enough supplies for three days. If you get banged up in a tornado and have a bad cut or burn, you will need to be able to change the dressing on it.

Tools

If I haven’t stressed this enough during the post, the goal here is to survive self sufficiently for three days. Pack tools that you my need to build a shelter or get a fire going. A hatchet is a necessity. You can use it to cut wood or use it as a hammer. A multi-tool comes in handy as well. I recommend either a Gerber or Letherman, as both of them stand up well with a lot of use. Depending on where you live, a camp shovel may be nice to have as well. If you live in an urban area, though, it probably won’t help too much. Pack what you think you may need, but don’t go overboard. Tools get heavy, and you my have to carry your go kit with you for quite a ways.

Other Essentials
No, not your notebook or Ipod. I’m talking about other things you need to survive. Medication that you have to take daily is a big one that is often over looked. If it is a prescription medication, tell your doctor that you would like a few days or a weeks worth to pack in your go kit. Most will write you the small amount. Make sure you rotate it with your normal medication, though, so it doesn’t expire. People with young children should pack dippers, wipes, and formula.

For more information, you can check you Ready.org which is run by FEMA. What would you pack that I might have forgotten? What other tips might you have? People who have back packed before should have an easy time with this, as you need to pack the essentials, but keep it light. I also hope none of you that read this will ever need to use it, but don’t count on it never happening to you. Think like the Boy Scouts and “Always be Prepared.”

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