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MANILA, Philippines — Are you ready for an emergency?
Every July, many are urged to ask themselves this question in observance of National Disaster Consciousness Month.
According to the Philippine Red Cross, it is advisable for every family to be prepared for disasters and emergencies by having their very own “Go Bag.” This bag should serve as an emergency kit that could last at least 72 hours and be adequate for your family's size.
It is essential to be ready for these first 72 hours because, as the Red Cross further notes, this is when electricity, water, and phone lines may be out of service. Furthermore, depending on the severity of the case, the police, paramedics, and other rescuers, may not immediately be available.
Want to be up to the task in case of emergency? Here’s what you need:
Food & Water
The Red Cross says that individuals can survive without food for 5 days, as long as there is water intake.
It is recommended that 1 gallon or 4 liters of water are allocated to each person per day (1 liters for drinking, 3 liters for washing). Water purification tablets are also a must (1 tablet is good for 1 liter).
For food, canned goods or any other non-perishable food are recommended.
Since phones may not be or service and blackouts might make charging impossible, your best bet for alerting rescuers to your location is a simple signaling whistle.
From cooking to creating a source of warmth, in cases of emergency, you'll never know when you need to start a fire.
It's best to find matches which can stand the elements. Look for ones which are water-proof and wind-resistant.
Flashlights and Emergency Lamps
Flashlights may be handy in case of an emergency. But to ease the burden of constantly carrying them, hands-free emergency lamps are recommended.
If your light is battery-operated, be sure to have extra batteries that could last you, preferably, 200 hours. But if you are considering buying a new light or lamp, self-powered lamps are most ideal.
It’s better to have the means of keeping clean even amidst a disaster.
If possible, bring personal effects such as an extra set of clothes and underwear, as well as toothbrushes and toothpaste, soaps, and shampoo.
No emergency bag is complete without a first-aid kit.
A standard kit should have: band-aids, gauze, medical tape, alcohol (or any other antiseptic), scissors, tweezers, a thermometer, and medicine for fever, diarrhea, pain relief.
In case of emergency, radios are dependable sources of information.
Keep yourself up-to-date with news from authorities, evacuation orders, and other information pertinent to the situation.
Blankets and Mats
Full sleeping bags may be too heavy to bring times of emergency.
Choose bags and mats which are durable, thin, but enough to keep you warm. Store your items in a plastic bag or cover them, to keep them from getting wet in case the emergency is weather-related.
Documents (Store in a Plastic Envelope)
Important documents should be kept inside a waterproof container so that they may be safe and easier to handle in case of an evacuation.
Your envelope should contain some cash (in case ATMs and Banks are unavailable), prepaid loading cards, passports, and a list of you and your family’s important info such as insurance policy details and tax identification numbers.
It's never too early to prepare. As cliche as it may sound, you never truly know when disaster may strike.
A reminder though, even if you have your emergency bag is packed and ready-to-go, be sure to check them from time to time. Replace materials that have expired and make sure electronics and extra batteries are all in working condition. That way you may always be ready. — Rappler.com