Preparing for the Unexpected: Emergency Backpack and Supply Checklist

Personal Preparedness: Emergency Supply Checklist

We recently had approximately 10 tornadoes hit North Texas almost a week ago Sunday. Ranging from category 0-F3. The biggest (F3) hit the closest to Dallas, destroying homes, streets and left debri on highways. I was on my way home from a friends house when I heard what was going on. Tornado passing through highway 635? Well, I was on highway 635. I immediately got off the highway, called my husband who then guided me to get home (most back streets were blocked). Two hours later, I was home safe thinking what could of happened had I left my friends home earlier, or just in general. Ivan had temporarily placed our pets in our closet as the sirens were going off around our neighborhood. We have an emergency backpack that I had prepared years ago in the event of a disaster. The next day, I decided to share my backpack on my Instagram stories to bring awareness how everyone should be ready “just in case”. As promised, I’m sharing that checklist with you. Please know this list is customizable! Information credit: Dallas Health and Human Country- Emergency Preparedness Department (where I worked years ago!).

Step 1- Prepare your Stay-Go Kit
Whether you decide to evacuate or stay, you have to prep an emergency kit in advance!

  • Food and Water
    Water, Juice, Canned (non-perishable) Food, crackers, cereal, granola bars, nuts, dried fruit

**Please note, that you may need to check for expirations dates and you may need to rotate items out as you make updates to your bag over the years.

  • Medical Supplies

First aid kit, Protective masks, personal prescription drugs, prescriptions for pets, glucose test strips and monitor, blood pressure monitoring equipment

First Aid Kit Essentials: bandages, gauze, cotton swabs, medical tape, tweezers, scissors, thermometer, hot/cold pack, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, eye drops, pain-reducing medication

  • Baby and Pets
    formula, bottles, powered milk, jarred baby food, diapers, baby wipes, cat litter, leash, collar, ID tags, pet food

*Develop a buddy system: Plan with a neighbor, friends or relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Talk with your pet care buddy about your evacuation plans and show them where you keep your pet’s emergency supply kit.

*Talk with your vet about emergency planning: discuss the types of things that you should include in your pet emergency kit. Get the names of the vets or veterinary hospitals in other cities. Also consider talking with your vet about permanent identification such as microchipping, or enrolling your pet in a recovery database. Lastly, you can purchase a “pets inside” sticker to place on your windows just in case an emergency occurs, and so that those stopping by know what kind of pets you have in the home!

Keep in mind!

If you go to a public shelter, keep in mind that animals may not be allowed inside. Secure appropriate lodging in advance. Consider a family, friend, hotel, motel, veterinary, or onboarding location that accept onboarding pets.

  • Personal Items

hygiene products, toilet paper, towels, soap, shampoo, hand sanitizer, contact solution, toothbrush, toothpaste, pillows, blankets

  • Other Supplies

cash, cell phone, manual can opener, flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, garbage bags, pocket knife, battery-operated clock radio

Step 2- Make a Plan
What will you do in case of an emergency?

You will likely not have access to our everyday conveniences. Think through the details of your life. If there are people who assist you everyday, make a list of who they are and how you will be able to contact them. Identify your own support network by listing those who can help you during an emergency. For every aspect of your daily routine, plan an alternative procedure. Create a plan, write it down, and keep a copy of your plan in your emergency kit. Keep an important list of contacts in your wallet. Be sure to share your plan and contacts with your family, friends, care providers and others in your personal support network.

Family Communications Plan: Your family may not be together during a disaster. This would of been the case with Ivan and I, considering I was at my friends house. How will you plan to contact one another? Consider a plan where each family member calls, texts, or e-mails the same friend or relative in the event of an emergency. Also include a out-of-town contact because the area affected may be limited on local calls. It might be easier to pay long distance to get in with an out-of-town contact, who then can communicate what is going on with the rest of your family/friends.

Step 3 -Be Informed
Deciding to stay or go? Be sure to stay informed with news, and what is occurring to help make that determination.

Preparing for an emergency requires putting together the same type of emergency kit. Essentially, you are preparing for the unexpected. However it is important to stay informed about what might happen, and for emergencies that are likely to affect your region.

Let’s hope there is never a need to use your emergency bag! However, as my mom always says, it’s always better to safe than sorry!

Do you have an emergency bag or backpack? What items do you have stored? What items do you suggest adding?