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Packing

What To Take With You

If you are evacuating in a car or other vehicle and you have room for supplies and possessions, then take what you need to care for yourself and your family. This will be easy for you because you have read this book and gotten your emergency supplies in order.

If you are going to have to carry everything, then put severe limits on what you take. Everyone should have a backpack or a bag with a shoulder strap. If you think a suitcase with a handle is going to work, try packing one and carrying it around the block by the handle. A rolling bag can also be useful, but think of it as a supplement. If you are evacuating on public transportation, you may be limited to what you can carry easily.

First, take your identification, money and important papers. These are going to be necessary wherever you go. Have a small parcel that you can pick up and pack easily. Have it set aside and ready to go. These emergency papers and identification are in addition to what you already carry in your wallet or purse.

Second, take your cell phone if you have one and a small radio so you can listen for news and instructions. If you are going by car, take whatever else you have for communications like a CB radio or walkie-talkies.

Third, take medicines, eyeglasses and any special needs supplies you might have. If you need medications regularly, you need to take the supply of pills you have and the medicine bottles they came in. Your important papers should include a list of your medicines as well. Make sure these are current and that the doses are correct. Take your spare glasses in addition to the ones you are wearing. If you are going by car, take your first aid kit too.

Fourth, take clothes for everyone. Keep it simple. Wear good sturdy shoes, jeans and a long sleeved shirt. Carry underwear, socks and shirts. Have one jacket or coat that you can carry by wearing it or tying it around your waist by the arms. In summer, this should be a rain coat. In winter, it should be a heavy coat that will provide as much warmth as possible. Think about adding a blanket or bed roll and a pillow for each person. If you have a car, and can think about taking extras, then take as much of your practical wardrobe as you might need. Pack in cloth laundry bags. You can use your clothes as a pillow and save room.

Fifth, take food and a mess kit. If you are limited to what you can carry, you want high calorie foods that donít weigh much: baggies full of cereal, dried fruit; nuts; candy; granola bars; packets of tuna or salmon (not cans); plastic jars of peanut butter. Take anything that you can snack on if it takes awhile to get to food and shelter. These should be high fat, high sugar snacks that will sustain you through irregular meals. Remember that we are not trying to eat healthy, we are trying to have enough to eat.

The mess kit can be as simple as a fork, a spoon and a plastic bowl. You can eat food out of a can with your fingers but it is better to have utensils. If you are in a car, pack your emergency canned foods and the can opener. Even if you are going to grandmaís house, there are going to be extra people and these canned foods may be needed. If you are going to a hotel, you cannot count on getting food in their restaurant unless it is well away from the affected area and all their services are operational.

Sixth on the list is water. If you are walking out, take a couple of bottles of water or soft drinks that come in plastic bottles with twist off caps. If your back pack has side pockets for these, even better. Drink the water when you need it, but keep the bottles. Whenever you have access to drinkable water, refill the bottles and keep them available. If you are going by car, put a gallon jug of water in the car for each person.

Take your own food and water

Last on the list of what to take with you is toys. Every small child should have their favorite cuddle toy and something else they like to play with. They can carry the cuddle toy, but pack the other toy in their pack. Older children and grown-ups can also use something to occupy their time when away from home. Think about packing cards, a travel game board or the like. Everyone take a book and you can trade around when you have finished yours. This is also not a bad time to have your Bible, Testament or Koran.

What Not To Take With You

Do not try to put all your worldly possessions into your vehicles and drive them to another state. During evacuations, roads are clogged with cars that have only one person in them because families are trying to save their property. Every extra car on the road uses scarce gasoline and slows the flow of traffic. If you are evacuating before a hurricane or flood, load the extra cars with things you want to save and park them someplace safe and close to home. If possible, put the car in a parking garage one or two stories up from ground level. Cover things with a sheet or blanket so there is nothing tempting showing through the windows. Lock the car and leave it. You can go back for it when the danger has passed.

WHAT TO TAKE WITH YOU

Identification, money and important papers

Cell phone & radio

Medicines, eyeglasses, and special needs supplies

Clothes, a jacket and bedding

Food and a mess kit

Water in a reusable container

Toys, books, games