Ten Things in My Emergency Bin
It is daunting to prepare for a disaster. People, including myself, felt overwhelmed at having to buy everything we need for a natural or manmade event. How was I able to push through the paralyzation of not having an emergency supplies?
I started with buying a first aid kit. Then I bought a solar/crank radio. Then I bought a couple of emergency packs with food and water. Then, I added other supplies and bought a bin to hold them in.
1. First Aid Kit
2. N95 Masks
3. Lifestraw water purifiers
4. Instant Ice Pack
5. Gauze bandages
6. Anti-bacterial first aid spray
7. High SPF Sunscreen
8. Burn Gel
9. CPR Resuscitator mask
10. Bath wipes
This is by no means all that I have in the emergency bin, but it is a great start.
A first aid kit is really a great way to start to prepare for a disaster because it is useful beyond a disaster because we do injure ourselves. You can find basic ones on Amazon and then add to it as you go along. One of the big things I wanted to have in the emergency first aid is pain relief. Pain relief can be analgesics, ice packs, burn gel, anti-bacterial first aid spray with pain relief are all great things to have when there is an injury especially in an emergency. Then I have all kinds of bandages and splints to deal with abrasions, cuts, and broken bones. Again, these things can come in handy when there is an everyday injury, but really useful in an earthquake, tornado, hurricane, or any event where injuries happen and you cannot get to hospital.
The CPR Resuscitator mask was added because it was a non-perishable item that can come in handy if someone stops breathing. One of the top three skills that saves lives is: opening the airway and resuscitation, treating shock, and stopping bleeding. Anything that can make it easier to save lives, the better.
In regards to burn gel, I have to say that this has come in handy when I have burnt myself in the kitchen. It is a god-send and takes the pain away quickly as if by magic. This is not for major burns or burns for large areas of your body, you will need to be hospitalized for that, but for minor burns, you want this in your pack.
Sunscreen is something that should be used everyday, but make sure you have a tube or bottle in your emergency kit. If you have to evacuate or stay outdoors after an earthquake or fire, you will need protection from the sun. You want to prevent getting burnt while trying to survive a disaster.
In an emergency, you need to be able to save water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. One of the things that can improve your quality of life is to have bath wipes to clean up.
What we learned from people's recent experiences losing water in Texas during that freeze, that without clean water, your survival and quality of life will be impacted drastically. I started out getting emergency water, but then realized I wanted a way to be able to get drinkable water without having to boil it or have too many packaged water. In Texas, people were told to boil water, but they couldn't because they had no power. So, I bought lifestraws and lifestraw family filtration systems that can purify pond water to be safe. Making sure you have plenty of water to drink, clean wounds, clean your surroundings is huge.
Because we live in Northern California and in the American West, we have needed N95 masks prior to COVID for very unhealthy air created by wildfire smoke. Wildfire smoke these days is not only of burning forests or grasses, but houses and other buildings, so protection from particulates is important. It is important to get these when there is less demand because when it is in the midst of wildfire smoke season, it can be impossible to find them anywhere.
Finally, get yourself a heavy duty bin like the one pictured from Costco. If you have to evacuate, you can take the tub(s) with emergency supplies in the car or trunk and go. If you are sheltering-in-place you have supplies in a single and dry place. In other posts, I will give you more items to put into your emergency bins. You can do this!
Radios for Emergencies
During our extended power outage, having transistor radios were a way to find out what was going on in the Bay Area and with the fires up North. We were also able to distract ourselves with NPR programming and music stations. If your power is out for more than a few hours, you start feeling that you do not have a television or limited use of your devices. I cannot tell you how much just listening to a classical station calmed me.
What we learned is that you should just go ahead and put batteries in those transistor radios even though they may have solar or cranks. You can depend on solar and cranks if you run out of battery power, or you have a small radio like this one.
You should have more than one radio. So you all can go off and listen to what you want in another room, You should have backup batteries.
My husband liked our other crank radio, but since it was bigger it needs batteries.
Living with Disaster
Being Californians, we are always in proximity to disaster, if not on its front lines.
We grow up knowing that the plates beneath us will shift and shake us and El Ninos will bring us floods and landslides. Now, we are becoming aware that hurricane force winds can and eventually will sweep flames into our neighborhoods. In my experience in emergency response training, I have seen the shift from earthquake preparation towards fire storm preparation.
Recently, to prevent these fires, communities in California had to live with 3-6 days without power. Many places that did not turn off power had a fire breakout.
The loss of power was nothing compared to the loss of life and homes of the massive fires that we have seen in recent years, but it was tough on a lot of people who were not prepared. Those of us who thought we were prepared found out that we still needed to do more preparation. We thought about the things we did have during the power outage that we may not have during a major earthquake and it was a wake up call.
This blog is inspired by a lot of things. I am a weather nerd and an emergency preparation nerd, and I have always wanted to write a blog about at least emergency preparedness. After this last fire season (which isn't quite finished in November), I have been discussing these threats and solutions online on Facebook and NextDoor. Ideas and discussions tend to get lost to the ether on Social Media. So I wanted to store a lot of the lessons we learned here. Instead of having to repeat myself, I can just point people here.
I want to dedicate this blog to the victims and first responders of the Tubbs, Atlas, Nuns, Redwood Valley (Mendocino) Complex, Cascade, Sulfur, 37, Canyon 2, Thomas, Creek, Rye, Lilac, Ranch, Camp, Carr, Woolsey, Getty, Hillside, Tick, Kincade, Saddleridge, Sandlewood, and Walker fires.