Go Bag

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Packing a disaster emergency kit is a little bit like packing for a camping trip you hope you never have to take.

Though we've had supplies on hand, I've procrastinated making a proper kit for eleven years because it forces me to acknowledge that I might actually need it. But after three big quakes on nearby faults in the last week, I put all of the emergency supplies into one small "go bag" yesterday.


Here's what is inside:

  • Shelter: two blue tarps/space blankets/plastic raincoats
  • Tools: twine/work gloves/penknife/flashlight/batteries/clips/safety pins/sewing kit/duct tape/matches
  • First aid: antiseptic wash/bandages/analgesics/ointments/thermometer/surgical gloves
  • Food: energy bars/instant coffee/mugs/cutlery/washing up things
  • Clothes: socks/underwear/t-shirt/pants/hat/furoshiki
  • Toiletries: towels/soap/toothbrushes/toilet paper/deodorant/tampons/hairbands/glasses
  • Papers: notebook/family contact details/pencil/marker/labels/copies of our identity documents/cash/photo of us

The kit does not include water, which is in a separate bag. Tod suggested adding vodka and cigarettes for barter or medicine. We have a list of "other things to grab if there is time" that includes the tent and sleeping bag, coats, hula hoops, zous and so on. But if all we manage is this one bag which now lives at the door, we are stocked for basic survival.

I wonder if people escaped with their emergency supplies during the Kobe or Niigata quakes? Where they accessible? Useful? I hope I never have to know from personal experience but I feel relieved that I have a bag ready, just in case.

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Now that fire season is approaching (make that here), I need to make a kit to keep by the front door in case of evacuation, also. At least I don't need "survival" gear*; I just have to think about what I want to save if I have 5 minutes to go!

*Except for the cats, and my medicines.

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