WITH that 7.8-magnitude earthquake hitting Nepal, and talks that the fault lines in Asia were getting, well, faulty, people started going crazy over the possibility of an earthquake of the same magnitude hitting Metro Manila.
There will even be a citywide earthquake drill on July 30, which will help us prepare for such a day. Everyone is being encouraged to make his or her own disaster survival kit.
My friend, who is a Mormon, has already advised me to make one for each family member after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” hit us last year. Apparently, it is required by their religion to have such bag.
With the lesson learned from the Yolanda disaster, where supplies did not reach the people in the first few days (for reasons the government people still need to give), a backpack containing a handful of supplies can spell the difference between death and survival.
Our disaster would mostly be caused by either typhoon, earthquake or tsunami. It is unlikely (knock on wood) that we would have tornados, hurricanes, etc. So make sure that when you pack, keeping the supply dry is top priority. Here are some information about making a survival kit.
What is a disaster survival kit (DSK)?
A survival kit is a bag of supplies with basic necessities that will help you get through 72 hours after a disaster strikes when all other resources are not available. You should make one for each family member, so each bag will have different contents.
What is the difference between a DSK for the house and for the car?
The latter is to be prepared when disaster strikes while you are traveling and have no access to your DSK at home. This will ensure that your car continues to function both as modes of travel and shelter at the same time.
Putting together a DSK for the car:
1. Use a waterproof bag with lots of pockets. Something that will be easy to carry: Just in case you have to abandon your car, you can bring all your supplies.
2. Pack basic personal survival tools:
a. Change of clothes for three days, including (1) disposable underwear, (2) long sleeved shirt and long pants (I suggest running pants and dry-fit shirt, which are both light and easy to wash, and will also help you be more mobile and protected from insect bites), (3) jacket, and (4) socks;
b. Waterproof poncho;
c. First-aid kit containing (1) first-aid materials (gauze, roll of tape, band aids, antiseptic cleaner), (2) burn medicine and lubricant, and (3) blood coagulant (some suggest cayenne pepper);
d. Sanitation kit containing (1) latex gloves, (2) face mask (this will help ward off virus/sickness floating around), (3) soap (powder or bar), (4) alcohol;
e. Manually-operated can opener, Swiss Army knife, and extra knives;
g. Fire-starting kit (sealed in two ziplock bags, each closure on opposite directions);
h. Flashlight with two sets of batteries (batteries out), or a self powered one;
i. Personal supplies (tissue paper, sanitary napkin, wipes, etc.);
j. Working cell phone with charger;
k. Battery-operated radio or crank radio;
l. Metal cup, plate and utensils (can also be used for cooking);
m. Comfortable pair of shoes or waterproof boots (mobility is most important during a disaster, especially if you have wounds on your feet that can greatly lessen your chances of survival);
n. Cash and copies of personal documents (ID, passport, etc.);
o. Warm blanket and heating packs;
p. Baby items if you have kids (diapers, formula, etc.);
q. Ziplock and garbage bags (they can double as shelter)
3. Check car “suvival” items
a. Jumper cables
b. Tire jack
c. Night flare
e. Sturdy gloves
f. Rope (when your car gets stuck and needs to be anchored)
g. Duct tape
4. Items that need replenishing. Check the expiration dates of the following supplies every six months to keep your pack up to date:
a. Medicine. If you have maintenance medicine, pack a weeks supply. Have fever, headache, colds and antidiarrheal drugs, antibiotic cream, and vitamins;
b. Drinking water. One gallon per person per day is recommended, which is enough for drinking and sanitation. Bring also a half-liter bottle where you can transfer your drinking ration for the day; and
c. Food. Meals, Ready to Eat (MRE), which is issued to the military, is good, but it is hard to find in the Philippines. Canned goods are also okay, because you can heat the food in the can. Protein-rich food, such as nuts and energy bars, are also easy to eat. Make sure that your family eats the food that you will bring.
Your car would also need to be in tip-top shape every time. Include the items below to your maintenance list:
a. Never have an empty tank when you go home to sleep.
b. Check your battery terminals regularly.
c. Check your brakes for wear and tear, and your fluid and oil levels every month.
d. Always keep your windshield wiper in tip-top shape. When raining, it will be your best friend.
e. Always have a ready spare tire.
f. Check your tires regularly. Replace immediately when tire indicator says so.
Nice to have
a. Entertainment or toys for kids. As long as the human spirit stays strong, it will determine survival. Toys or something that will keep kids’ minds away from reality can help the group a lot.
b. Compact camping stove
c. Small tent or small sleeping bag
d. Powdered Gatorade
Last but not the least: Don’t overpack. Since each family has different needs, take into consideration your priorities. The list above is just a guide; don’t overthink it.
If you want to make sure that everything in your pack will work, you can test it by going out to camp with just your kit and its items.
This can also help you to streamline the contents of your kit, as well as learn how to use the items inside.
Your DSK is like an insurance policy: You buy it (or make it)—and hope never to use it.