"Grab 'n' Go" Bags" are you first line of defense in a disaster. They should be in a place where you can grab them on your way out the door. These are from the Huntington Beach CERT organization, which I belonged to for a couple of years. Their purpose is to keep you going if you have to evacuate on short notice. The contents of these are based on the Southern California environment, so adjust accordingly.
I sent these to Mr Bingley at The Coalition of the Swilling, and decided that with the approach of Sandy, I put them up here, along with my comments to Mr. B. (Click for full size)
Adult, left column:
- Radio - I have one that runs on its own solar cell, batteries, or juice from its hand crank
- Money - change, $1s, $5s, and $10s. If you don't break down your $20s, you'll find that everything costs $20.00
- Whistle - make sure it's a damned loud one, not a cheapo toy store one.
- Okay/Help signs - 8 1/2" x 11", 72 point print, red text "Help", green text "OK" Put the appropriate one in a street-facing window - lets first responders know how you're doing.
- Out of state contact - I expect you might be that for your family down south. If they can't raise each other, they call you, and you relay messages.
- Important docs - old driver's license/passport
- First aid - no kit is too big. I like the ones at Sam's - $20.00, great for BLS. I'd make sure I had tubes of anti-biotic and cortisone creams as well. Eye drops/wash. Low dose aspirin, just in case. Written first aid guide.
- TP - the new cash. Need I say more?
- Good book - bring some of your favorite adult spirits along w/ the books and cards
- Blanket/tent, etc - I have my camping gear backed in a couple of large plastic storage boxes.
- Dust mask - I can't use the disposable ones - they fog my glasses when I exhale. I broke down and got an inexpensive (not "cheap") respirator at Home Depot. Works much better...
- Tools - I have an old catalog case that I keep my hard hat and misc b & e tools in (I was the CERT ligtht urban search & rescue team leader for a year.)
Pets - most of the first aid items listed are in a good first aid kit (like the one from Home Depot)
- Get an inverter that will run out of the cigarette lighter - this will allow you to charge things like laptops, that need a 110/120 v AC outlet. Got mine at Sam's.
- I have "FirstAid", "iTriage" and the "U.S. Army (sorry, Marines) Survival Guide" apps on my 'Droid.
- Keep a phone charger in your car!!
- Make sure you have an extra phone charger for each phone. Radio Shack and Office Depot both sell chargers that have interchangeable plugs, so you can use 1 charger to charge several phones (mine plugs into the wall, the cig lighter, and even take a 9v battery!)
- Or just get a cigarette lighter powered USB outlet. (Apple people, YMMV)
A good practice is to check the batteries on your smoke alarm, and inventory your survival stuff twice a year, on the day the time changes (or on New Year's Day and the 4th of July if you don't switch to/from Daylight Savings Time). Make sure batteries are fresh (or charged), rotate water and other perishables.
A bottle or two of your favorite Adult Beverage is not a bad thing to have on hand, either.