Be Prepared For A Natural Disaster

An aerial view of a California wildfire

If a natural disaster were to hit in your community or near your home, would you be prepared? Would you be able to survive without power, water, heat, or air conditioning? Do you have a stock of water and food to hold you over for a few days? Including enough for your pets?

This summer, we have seen many wildfires, floods, mudslides, hurricanes, and even earthquakes. When medical emergency personnel, firefighters, utility workers, and first responders are spread thin due to natural disasters, it is vitally important that you are able to take care of yourself, your family, and your pets during this time.

As a first responder myself, I always have a well-stocked first aid kit available. In addition to my first aid kits, I always keep a “bug-out” bag ready to grab in case of a quick evacuation. This bag is really important when natural disasters hit. 

A bug out bag is basically a kit that contains everything you need in order to survive on your own for at least 72 hours. The number 72 comes from the fact that we as humans cannot survive for longer than 72 hours without water.

So, if you were told to evacuate and you only had a few hours to do so, what would you bring? 

Below, you will find my list of recommendations; however, I suggest that you and your family sit down and make a list of what is most important to you. Make a plan of how to communicate and reach each other in case you get separated. 

Of course, you will take important papers, medications, food, flashlights, etc. But think about what you would never want to lose, like important photographs, a significant souvenir or your child’s favorite stuffed animal. 

If you need to evacuate, it can be very comforting having at least something small and personal that is yours. When all else is lost, a small sentimental item can help you cope with difficult situations. Make sure it is something that you can keep with you. My memento is a treasured necklace made from abalone shell that always reminds me of the ocean and picnics on the headlands with my friends and family. Just looking at the pendant brings me hope! 

Most importantly, items and objects can be replaced, but it is vitally important to keep yourself, your family, and your pets safe: love always endures and binds.

Some thoughts on a “bug-out” bag:

I put many of these essentials in a dry bag that fit into a daypack.  Don’t hesitate to purchase these essential items—they can save your life!

  • House keys
  • Water bottle (one that you can refill with a water filter)
  • Water filter
  • First aid kit
  • Prescription glasses and sunglasses
  • Medications (enough for you and all of your family)
  • Contact Information (for you and your family)
  • Pet medications, vaccination record, and ID
  • Cash 
  • Personal ID
  • Medical information and medical history
  • Small portable stove and fuel canister 
  • A small cook kit to go with the stove (fork, spoon, and knife)
  • Jetboil (these are great for boiling water quickly)
  • Pocket knife
  • Emergency blanket
  • Bandanas
  • Twine or rope
  • Wag Bag (these are great to use for an emergency toilet situation)
  • Roll of toilet paper
  • Handi-wipes
  • Headlamp, flashlights, and batteries
  • Glow sticks
  • Portable battery charger to charge cell phone
  • Extra underwear, socks, t-shirt and warm shirt
  • Tea bags
  • Instant miso bags
  • Dried soups
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Jerky
  • Baby food
  • Pet food

Be prepared and be safe out there!

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