Today I worked on putting together a Family “Go bag.” This would be the bag we would grab in the event that we needed to evacuate our home. Because so much of our efforts are focused on being prepared here at home it seems strange to think about preparedness in regards to being prepared to leave. As a young married couple my husband and I lived in apartment in Columbus, Ohio. In fact we lived there during Y2K as well as on 9/11, which in my opinion were 2 of the most uncertain times as far as domestic stability is concerned. (at least during my adult life) I remember thinking about how we would “escape” the city in a hurry if we needed to in order to reach either one of our parents homes in the country. This was one of the many reasons I was so relived to move out of the city and into our own home where we have more control over our surrounding. (At least some days we do) Now I don’t have to worry about things such as, “What if the power goes out?” We have prepared ourselves for these occasions with things such as wood heat, a back up generator, a gas stove, oil lamps, etc.
But what if there was an emergency that forced you to quickly take the family and leave? It may sound an unlikely event and it probably is. However that is exactly what happened to my family in 1988. We lived in rural Seneca County Ohio when there was a pipeline rupture and 100,000 gallons of flammable toluene spilled into the nearby Sandusky River. My mother gathered my sisters and I with a few toys and clothes and drove us to stay with friends. It was an awful good thing she did. We were only gone 3 days but I remember worrying about my goldfish being hungry. I also remember coming how and finding them not only dead but seriously decomposed in the tank. It was a good thing we left. Would you be ready to evacuate your family to safety if needed? Being prepared means not only having the peace of mind to know you are ready to leave quickly but also that your family’s needs will be met and that you can make a stressful situation a little easier on you and your family.
There are many, many website and lists you can access to determine what to put in a 72 hour kit or you can buy one already packaged. I decided to prepare my own because I think this will best meet the needs of our family. I have broken our 72 hour kit into 10 areas, but everyones needs will be somewhat different.
1. Water – You will need at minimum 1 gal. /person/ day
2. Food – canned, dehydrated, high protein food items
3. First Aid – a well stocked first aid kit
4. Tools – Lots of options including flashlight, radio, lighter, whistle, candles, can opener….
5. Personal Hygiene – toilet paper, diapers, wipes, toothbrushes, soap, ..again depends on personal needs
6. Clothing – rain poncho, sturdy shoes, undergarments, change of clothes of each family member
7. Bedding – sleeping bags or blankets for family members
8. Documents – copies of important papers including insurance policies and cards, licenses, account #s
9. Entertainment – Also will depend on family needs may be cards, crayons, coloring book, blocks
10. Cash – you will need to decide how much you need but I certainly would rather have cash than plastic if there is an emergency.
Today I completed the clothing, first aid and personal hygiene portions of our kit. I certainly hope we never need our “Go Bag” but I will be happy to have it ready. It may seems a little overwhelming to think about, but I would encourage you to prepare something if only a single backpack with water, food and essential medications. I don’t know about anyone else but I certainly don’t want to be stuck waiting around for someone else to come rescue me or feed me if there is an emergency.