Functional Friday: Preparedness Project - Evacuation Bag

If you followed the news this past month, you know that there have been evacuations in central Wisconsin due to flooding (and failure of a 100+ year old levee), in Utah due to wildfires, and along the Atlantic Coast due to hurricanes and tropical storms. Other recent events that caused evacuations have been train derailments, chemical spills, and industrial plant fires. Many of these incidents had no loss of life and evacuation plans contributed to that. Years of studying emergency management, learning from past disasters and planning ahead has given us some insight into good emergency preparedness, and being prepared for an evacuation event is part of that.

A few weeks ago, we talked about a power outage in your home and “sheltering in place”. But what if you need to leave? What would you take with you? Of course, people and safety come first. In any house fire, for example, you and your family need to evacuate immediately, leaving everything behind if necessary. But what if you had 5 to 15 minutes to get out? Having a bag packed with the basics would give you more time to gather up the sentimental and valuable items. (Remember that your personal safety is paramount. If the situation is life threatening, DO NOT stop for pictures, antiques, or anything.) Here are some ideas for a “go bag”.

- Sturdy bag, preferably a back pack that will give you both hands free
- Complete change of clothes with shoes and a hooded sweatshirt
- Full set of keys to your house and vehicles as well as emergency keys to a family or friend’s house
- Cash – for a meal, a hotel stay, gasoline, phone call. Small bills and change are best.
- Ready-to-eat Food (3 days recommended) & Water (as much as you can reasonably carry)
- Prepaid phone card
- Cell phone charger
- First Aid Kit
- Flashlight with 2 full sets of batteries
- Pocket knife
- Hand-crank radio
- Firestarter (matches, lighter, other)
- Emergency Mylar Blanket
- Copies of important documents (ID, credit cards, insurance policies, birth certificates, etc.)
- Hygiene/toiletry essentials
- Special needs – infant diapers, formula, bottles, medications

Everyone's bag may contain a different assortment of items.  Think of what you'd like to take with you to a hotel stay, plus what you need in a power outage, and consider a few survival rules (shelter, fire, water).  Start your list now.  Tweak your list and your bag as you go.  We'll continue to add information and ideas for your evacuation bag (or "go-bag"), so start one this week-end and let it build.

Week-end Preparedness Project

2 bees

 1 bee1 bee1 bee(depending on what you have already)

 ☐  Get a bag (duffle, tote, or backpack - one for each family member)
 ☐  Collect one set of clothes and hoodie for each bag (pack for the coldest)
 ☐  Buy some shelf stable food and snacks to put in bag (tuna, soup, crackers)
 ☐  Include 2 liter/quart bottles of water (minimum)
 ☐  Make your own list and add other items as you collect them
 ☐  Be certain to include first aid and 2+ weeks of medications
 ☐  Copy documents (licenses, insurance, credit cards, prescriptions, etc.)
 ☐ The most important part of this project is starting it!  You can finish later!

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