Picture this… You’re standing naked in the middle of your living room…you have 6 seconds to get out of your house. What do you grab?
Now I know my posse here at More Cowbell, and whatever just went through your mind was HILARIOUS. Be sure to scribble that thought and include it down in the comments!
But seriously, in the event of an earthquake/tornado/hurricane/fire, WHAT do you grab before you run? This is the all-important question you must ask when you’re trying to get prepared for these sorts of things.
Everything moves forward from this simple 6 seconds example.
The easiest answer? You grab your bag, which has everything already in it! If you’re a smart planner, you’ll have one of these bags at home, one at work and one in each car.
Most of you know about my brother, The Bag Whore, who carries “at least four firestarters on his person at any time.” Yes, he’s over the top, but he’s the guy you want on your disaster team. Many of you know I also married Mr. Disaster Recovery.
This means I’ve gathered some important survival tricks via osmosis. [Note: My answer on what to grab before these guys would have been “my purse and my laptop.”]
So, what do you put in “the Go Bag?”
Bob Mayer, writer extraordinaire and ex-Green Beret, just did a post on this that’s excellent. He listed 27 items that he feels should be in what he calls the “Grab & Go Bag” (G&G for short).
The biggest question, as Bob points out, is “how much bag can you carry?” Perhaps if you have a bad back, your Go Bag is on wheels. Whatever. You need to think of these sorts of things in advance.
- Will you be walking over urban or rugged terrain?
- Do you need special kind of food like me? (I’m completely gluten intolerant.)
- Do you have kids to take care of (home bag), or will you be on your own (work bag)?
- What are the most common natural disasters in your area?
- Have you scanned your pictures to a portable disk?
- Do you have your passports and drivers licenses, or an electronic copy?
- Are your e-copies on a secure drive?
Remember my brother’s advice: “One is better than none, two is better than one, and three would always be better.” Keep that in mind when you’re packing your bag.
If you do nothing else, you at least spend a little money and have a ready-to-go emergency bag like this in your car. (<–Brand recommended by Bob Mayer)
What most people don’t realize is, while you can survive up to a week without food, you can only last a few days without water. In either scenario (no food or no water), you’ll be pissed off and cranky, only without water you’ll also be dead. In most disaster scenarios, water is the first item to become scarce or contaminated.
So how much water to you actually need at home, and how do you store it?
The recommended amount is one gallon per person per day. Include your pets in this scenario, especially if you have a big dog.
Example: For a family of four with two dogs, you need to have 6 gallons a day stored. Three days or 72 hours is the minimum amount (which is 18 gallons) but the recommended amount of time you want to plan for is a week. That’s 42 gallons of water.
He likes the 7 gallon Reliance AquaTainers because they stack and he can carry one if necessary. Also, they have a spigot for easy filling of other bottles and containers.
Plus you need food and enough blankets and tarps to cover you in case the roof of your house blows off.
The reason why Bob Mayer recommends the G&G bag is so you have some basic shelter, food and clothing if you have to run from a flood or fire.
Again, water will always be a challenge and people rarely have enough. Hubby recommends you keep a case of water in your car if at all possible, but if you’re on foot you can only take what you can carry.
You’ll also need information, usually in the form of a battery-operated emergency radio. Hubby recommends this brand. Sometimes when a disaster hits, you often don’t even know what happened for several hours. Current information is crucial.
I could do five posts on this subject and barely scratch the surface, but in the wake of disasters like Hurricane Sandy, the explosion in West, Texas and the tornado through Moore, Oklahoma, this topic bears some discussion and thought.
Have you ever thought about disaster preparedness? What measures have you put in place? What kind of questions do you have? I’ve got Hubby standing by to answer them, and he’s THE BOMB at this stuff. What was that first “naked in the living room” thought you had above? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!