If you’ve been reading this column over the past several months, you’re already on board with the theme, “Get A Kit, Make A Plan, Be Informed.” Let’s face it, most people know that they need to have some things set aside at home just in case the power goes out, but let’s discuss what happens when you’re not home and a disaster happens.
Several months back I shared a story about how I was unable to get home from work on one occasion. Although I didn’t have to sleep on the floor of my office, I did have a toothbrush, razor and other items that helped me get by until I could get home.
Before retirement, I commuted to work about 20 miles one way every day. These days, I’m still on the road a fair amount of the time and my wife also works about 30 miles away so both of us are away from home a large share of time. The odds are very good of something happening while we are away from home. Some time ago, our son challenged us; “If a disaster were to occur while you were at work, would you have what you needed to survive long enough to get home?” Now, a few years have passed and my bag has grown. Since then I am rarely without it. If I leave town for a few days I’ve got it with me. Like many folks my age, I take certain medications that keep my system on an even keel. In the event I’m stranded somewhere, then I would need my pills and have included a few days’ supply of my meds in the kit.
You may have guessed there are kits available to purchase. Someone gave me a three-day kit about the size of a kid’s lunch box. It is very tidy, compact and actually has enough to get by in a pinch. It contains a little first aid kit, some food bars, a couple of water pouches and some odds and ends. I don’t carry it with me, rather I use it for demonstration purposes. Everyone’s kit will look differently based on your individual needs.
As usual I recommend building your own kit. That way you will become ‘invested’ in this project, rather than let someone decide for you what you’re going to need. I suggest you go online and check out the kits that catch your eye and get ideas to put in your own kit. Those ready-made kits are going to contain items you will never use. When you assemble your own you will have given some thought to every single item. Not only that but some of the ready-made kits use lower quality components that won’t hold up under any kind of us
You can begin with a medium-sized backpack, some extra clothing items, some toiletries and a few food items. From there use your imagination. Play the “what-if” game. How about an extra pair of eyeglasses or an eyeglass repair kit? A sewing kit? Always include a first aid kit with easy-to-access Band-Aids and Tylenol. Those will be the items you reach for most often. Don’t forget a good quality, compact flashlight, maybe a small box of candles (and matches or disposable lighter). Maybe a heavy-duty space blanket. And the list gets longer. You’re starting to get the idea. Be careful, this thing will grow. Mine did.
If you have a unique item in your kit or a story to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous columns can be found on my blog at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com Dave Robinson is a retired Postmaster and lives in Myrtle Point, Oregon, he is also the author if “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and other online booksellers.