What’s In Your Bag?

first-aid-kitThe sun is out, temperatures are well above freezing, we’re half way through the football season (GO HAWKS!) and the holidays are just around the corner. Also just around the corner is the potential for wind, heavy rain and even snow that could leave many without power, access to transportation, stores and services.

You can’t predict this winter’s weather, but you can take steps to be prepared in the event you find yourself in a dark house with no power for hours or days. Now is the time to put together a “go bag” or basic survival kit that has more than flashlights (no doubt with dead batteries) and bottled water. Plan to assemble an emergency kit with enough supplies to help you get through 3 days.

  1. FIRST AID KIT  –  the basics should include bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes,       anti-inflammatory and pain reliever medications (Tylenol or Advil), antacid, antibiotic ointment. Prescription medications should be clearly labeled.
  2. FLASHLIGHTS – multiple flashlights or camping lanterns and extra fresh batteries.
  3. CANDLES  –  don’t forget lighters or matches.
  4. BATTERY POWERED RADIO  –  having access to area information (and entertainment) is important  –  some battery powered radios have outlets for charging cell phones.
  5. BOTTLED WATER  –  stock plenty of water for family members and pets. Sports drinks are good to have for replenishing electrolytes.
  6. FOOD  –  stock nonperishable, easy to prepare snacks and meals (dried fruit, peanut butter, granola bars, canned vegetables, nuts, canned tuna, soup, etc.). DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE A CAN OPENER. If you have a gas cooktop in your home, the burners can be lit with a lighter or match to facilitate cooking.
  7. SPECIAL ITEMS FOR INFANTS  –  formula, food, diapers & wipes, baby pacifiers
  8. PET SUPPLIES  –  pack food and water, extra leashes, any medications your pet may need, contact information for your vet.
  9. CASH  –  if there’s a widespread power outage ATMs and credit card machines won’t operate. Stores may be able to operate on a limited basis with generators but will be cash only. Keep cash on hand to purchase food, buy gas for the car.
  10. IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS  –  have hard copies or digital access to medical records, driver’s license, social security numbers, etc.
  11. HYGIENE PRODUCTS  –  toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, feminine products, body-cleansing wipes, hand sanitizer, toilet paper & tissue.
  12. ADDITIONAL ITEMS  –  space limitations may impact what you can keep on hand. It helps to know where extra blankets or sleeping bags are stored. If you have children it helps to keep them entertained or distracted from the situation with coloring books, cards, puzzles, etc.

If you live in the city you may be able to walk to services and amenities during a power outage but remember, elevators won’t be working, so you may find yourself confined to the upper floor of a building or face walking dozens of flights of stairs to exit your building. Its definitely worth it to plan and prepare for the worst and hope that bad weather and power outages skip us this winter.