Disaster preparedness: What to pack in your emergency ‘Go Bag’

Robie de Guzman

Each year, some 20 cyclones enter the Philippine area of responsibility.

Tropical cyclones can hit the country any time of the year, with months of June to September being the most active.

Aside from typhoons, the Philippines is also prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity as it sits on the pacific ‘ring of fire’.

When living in an area prone to natural calamities, it is always a smart idea to prepare for the worst-case scenario, and one way to stay safe in the midst of a sudden crisis is by packing a ‘Go Bag’.

A ‘Go Bag’ is a backpack or duffel bag filled with survival essentials you can grab and take with you when disaster strikes.

Its contents may vary according to personal or your family’s needs but should include a few staple items one would require to survive for 72 hours (3 days) when evacuating from a disaster.

So, what items should you pack in your emergency ‘Go Bag’?

UNTV’s Lifesaver has prepared this suggested checklist to help you build an emergency supply kit in case of disasters:

  • At least four liters of water

Water can help you survive for weeks so it should be the first on your list. It will be the heaviest item on your bag but it is very important for you and your family.

  • Non-perishable food items

These may include granola or protein bars, biscuits, chocolates, easy-to-open canned goods.

  • Photocopies of legal documents and identification cards

Secure copies of essential documents such as passport, license, identification cards, birth, marriage certificates and land titles in your bag. Photocopies of these documents will spare you from all the hassle of renewing lost papers and proving identity when the disaster is over. Remember to store these in waterproof pouches to keep them dry.

  • First Aid / medicine kit

Stock your first aid kit well and customize it by adding your prescription medicines.

  • Hygiene kit

In the absence of showers during times of disaster, maintaining sanitation is important to prevent diseases. Your hygiene kit should include a wet wipes, alcohol, toothbrush, tooth paste, shampoo, soap, ear buds, sanitary napkin and insect repellent.

  • Heavy-duty flashlight

Having a heavy-duty flashlight that can last for hours is important when power is out during calamities. Make sure the batteries are new (or rechargeable!) and you have extras in your bag.

  • Extra clothes

Make sure to pack a whole set of basic clothes (underwear, shirt, joggers, foldable shoes) you can change into. Roll them in your bag to save clothes.

  • Raincoat and Blanket

Packing a raincoat and lightweight blanket is optional but it can prove to be useful. You may turn these into a bed or a material to ward off cold depending on the need.

  • Extra cash

Prepare cash in smaller bank notes and place these in a water-proof pouch.

  • Additional essentials

These include an emergency whistle, wrench or pliers, a battery- or hand-powered radio, a power bank and extra mobile phone. Also pack a lighter, candles or glow sticks, trash bags and plastic ties, duct tape, a rope and a swiss-knife or multi-purpose tool that may be used to build a makeshift shelter.

  • Family’s special needs

When your family has an infant or a young child, also remember to pack necessities such as extra basic clothes, blanket, diapers, feeding bottle, baby food, rash ointment or medicines. For kids, include some favorite toys, coloring books and crayons to keep them entertained; and for the elderly, pack a 7-day supply of prescription medicines and adult diapers.

This list of go-bag essentials are just suggestions. Feel free to add extra supplies or tweak the ones listed above as needed.

Disasters can strike at any time and place, so it will not hurt to consider packing separate Go-bags for your home, for work and another for your car.

Hopefully, you won’t ever need them but it is always a good idea to prepare against disasters.

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