11 Things to Keep in your Emergency Safety Backpack
It is wise to be prepared for emergencies should your car break down, you are stranded in traffic, or because you have kids or someone with a chronic illness or disability along. Experts recommend that you keep an emergency kit handy, so fill a back pack with the following items (and a few you might think of), hang it by your door, and take it with you EVERY time you leave the house – summer or winter.
- First aid kit: Small first aid kits are available at drug and outdoor recreation stores that contain a few Bandaids™ (waterproof are best), alcohol swabs, anti-bacterial ointment, and perhaps tape and bandages, and clotting sponges to close deeper wounds. Tuck in a tweezers, a small scissors, needle, thread, and safety pins and you are set for most basic emergency situations. If want to be prepared in case of a natural disaster, the Red Cross sells an emergency preparedness backpack filled with 3 days of water and supplies at redcrossstore.org.
- Antihistamine: If anyone in your family suffers from any kind of allergy, add a few antihistamine capsules to your first aid kit.
- Sunscreen: Take along SPF 30 or higher. Apply often according to product recommendations.
- Bug spray and after bite remedy: Deter bites with a small container of your preferred bug spray. If the bug bites anyway, there are after bite remedies that neutralize the venom. Check with your pharmacist about choices.
- Water: Be sure you always have water available (at least 8 oz per person). In the summer you can keep bottles in the freezer so they will be extra cooling.
- Snacks: Tuck in some hard candy for a quick pick me up or a few of your favorite snack, granola, or energy bars. Be sure to check food and water expiration dates regularly.
- A headband or bandana: If someone is affected by the heat, tie a cool, wet one around the forehead. If you have wristbands, do the same around wrists, and get them out of the heat quickly. Call 911 if they seem disoriented or in danger of passing out. A bright colored bandana (red, orange, or hot pink) can double as a flag to get the attention of rescuers.
- Speaking of rescuers, add a loud whistle to get attention when you are away from the beaten path (the universal call for help is 3 short blasts from you; followed by 1 long blast from the rescuer) and make sure you have your medical and insurance information with you.
- A folding knife or utility tool: These tools come with an assortment of blades (screw driver, tweezers, scissors…) in addition to a standard blade. Pick one with a few basic tools (you probably won’t need a corkscrew) that is easy to open and close with one hand. Be careful not to cut yourself if you have to use it.
- Baby wipes: A small travel pack of baby wipes can come in handy wiping sticky hands, cleaning scuffed leg, wiping off a dirty picnic table, or when there is no TP in the “outhouse.”
- A garbage bag is handy if someone needs to leave the car or other shelter to walk for help in the rain. Cut or tear a hole in the center front, near the seam, and slip it over your head. If you make the hole the right size you can use the bag as a hood to keep your head dry.
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