It’s never a bad idea to have an emergency pack prepared, especially since we live in country that’s constantly under the mercy of nature. A sturdy, water-proof, extra large- sized backpack is all you need to hold the essentials, but what do you place inside your pack?
Here are the top 10 items you keep in an emergency pack. These essential supplies and equipment can keep you covered for 72-hours in case you’re stuck in the middle of a disaster.
Beddings can help you stay warm and dry. Find one of those beddings that are made with foil and can easily be folded for storage. Cloth blankets are a no-no since moisture can soak through the fabric. If you can find one, a space blanket is the best thing to have. It can keep out rain and is compact and light enough that you can keep it in your backpack. Some are even designed as sleeping bags for added warmth.
Solar or Crank Radio/Charger
In a time where our phones have become a vital part of life, keeping your phone alive is important. There’s likely no power during a calamity so having a solar or crank charger is handy. You can simply charge your phone using solar energy or by cranking the charge with your hand. Make sure you also have an extra cable for your phone in case the one you’re using falters or gets broken. Some crank chargers come with a radio, which is really handy to keep updated on what’s going on and if it’s safe to go outside.
Documents and Money
Keep your personal documents, such as your passport, birth certificate, and identification cards, in a water-proof pouch for safe keeping. The bank and ATMs may not be open or are not working after a calamity so having some bills in hand is important. Having no money during an emergency could become a major problem, especially if you’re trying to find your way to a safer place. You can use this to buy more supplies or gas if you ever need it.
This is difficult to pack since it requires planning and takes up space. Keep two cotton shirts, a pair of pants, a sturdy jacket, under garments, and socks. These cover the bare essentials, enough to keep you warm during the nights and covered during the day. You don’t want to be in the middle of a calamity with tight, uncomfortable clothes, so choose items that are a little loose so you can move and breathe easily. Also, have a pair of comfortable shoes in handy. Forget your leather shoes and heels. A pair of rubber shoes is the best choice.
There are a number of ways for you to get light when it blacks out. A lamp is good for indoors, but you’re going to need fuel to keep it lit. Candles are also useful for emergencies since they give you light and warmth. The best light source to have is a flashlight. It makes enough light to illuminate a wide space and it only needs batteries to work. Make sure you also keep some extra batteries and some matches in you pack. Some flashlights and electric lamps have solar panels that can be used to charge them, which is a great feature.
Supplies and Medication
These include personal medications (like an inhaler if you’re asthmatic or insulin shots if you’re diabetic), toiletries, and cleaning supplies. Keep a good supply of your prescription medication since you might not have access to a pharmacy. Diseases can quickly spread after a disaster due to the contaminated environment and lack of sanitation. Make sure you include hand soap, shampoo, toilet paper, and dish soap.
First Aid Kit
It’s important that you have one stored away in your bag. A first aid kit is vital during emergencies. It should contain antibacterial wipes, adhesive, antibiotic ointments, band-aids and bandages, eye drops/eye wash, fever reducing medications, cough and colds medicine, hand sanitizer, soap, rubbing alcohol, and sunscreen. It should also have a thermometer, needle and thread, safety pins, scissors, tweezers and medical tape. You can pack a first aid kit yourself or buy ready-packed ones from pharmacies.
Swiss Army Knife
Instead of packing different tools, carry a Swiss Army Knife to save space. this multi-tool pocket knife has all the tools you might need during a calamity. Depending on the model, it usually has a blade, Nail file, Scissors, bottle opener, can opener, cork screw, screwdriver, and an electrician’s blade / wire scraper, just to name a few. You can get this knife at any outdoor or utility store for a few hundred to a few thousand pesos. it’s a handy tool to have around even without a calamity.
A normal human being can actually survive without food for three weeks. Your body naturally stores fats that can be used to keep you going, but being really weak during a disaster is the worst thing that could happen. Food may be hard to come by during a calamity, so it’s a good idea to store a three day supply. Keep in mind that the food should not need cooking or refrigeration. Stick with canned food, crackers, jerky, trail mix, and granola bars. You should also organize the food in bags so you can easily find them in the bag.
While a person can last weeks without food, water is a different story. At most, 10 days is the longest we can survive without water. You should have at least 9 litres of water hidden away for your consumption. Never drink water unless you know it’s clean. Drinking dirty water can cause Diarrhea, which will only dehydrate you even more. Fortunately, most purified water brands in the Philippines offer 5 gallon water bottles, so stock two of these and you should be good to go for 3 days. The one litre bottles can fit into your backpack and are great for easy transport, if you ever need to leave your home.