In light of recent natural and unnatural disasters I have been thinking about emergency preparedness. I dreamed that the water was rising and I had to pack up my ONE bag(quickly) and get the heck out!! Ah, and it’s not such a dream at all….as many of us know this happens time and again, we get complacent, feel safe, it won’t happen to me–it just might! Shit happens. In this family we value preparedness quite highly, and it has served us well so far.
I encourage all people to build a first aid kit and an emergency stash of supplies. What you put in there varies wildly according to your personal needs, where you live and how much of an anal retentive freak you are. For example, some of us constantly run out of tp and maybe have like one Band-aid in the whole house. Others have 2 years worth of food for themselves and their little militia buried in the backyard along with a tidy backstock of sewing needles, birth control and bayonets a la Ragnar Benson….good barter, he alleges.
Somewhere in the middle feels right to me. One could indeed obsess over all the things you MIGHT want to have handy if the entire East Coast is wiped out but- maybe set some limits. Personally, I would like a bag with one full change of clothes including wool socks, underpants and brassiere, flashlight/headlamp and batteries, water vessel and purifier, a small amount of non-perishable food, tp, a toothbrush, copies of my most important documents, a basic sewing kit, and a multi-tool with knife, scissors, pliers, etc. Some type of feminine protection is a bonus for the ladies -reusable such as the Diva cup may be more useful in some situations. A baby may need diapers. A dog may need meat and a leash. Basically, it is important that each member of the family has some stuff in a bag including children and pets. Additionally, I’d include a sturdy spork and bowl, matches and an extensive first aid kit.
As a mother and care provider as well as a semi-responsible community member it is very important to me to be able to treat myself and others with herbal and conventional first aid in the case of an emergency. A basic rundown of my emergency first aid kit is as follows:
Basic purchased 1st aid kit supplies such as bandaids, tape, gauze pads, etc.
Tweezers(splinters, ticks, etc.)
Any prescription medication or medical device you or your family needs to survive(ie insulin, inhaler, etc)
Children and adult benadryl and epi-pen(if you have potentially fatal allergies)
Raw honey(burns, wound dressing, food)
Milk thistle seeds and activated charcoal caps(poisoning)
Tissues, cotton swabs, alcohol swabs
Propolis-raw, tincture(highly protective, healing, use for tooth issues, wounds, sore throat and mold allergy)
Twine, paracord, rope-like units.
Swiss army knife
Lip balm, oil(windburn)
Rosewater spray, aloe gel(sunburn)
Pine resin-raw, tincture and salve(drawing, highly protective, lung medicine)
Tinctures-it is hard to narrow this down! Cause I am a “tincture person”. Personally I would prioritize Wild Rose, Ginger, Yarrow, Bitters blend, Nervine blend(Scullcap-based), Arnica(external use), Comfrey(external use), St. john’s Wort, Usnea or another local lichen, Barberry or Oregon Grape, Elecampane-mullein blend, Alder-Monarda blend, Lobelia-Black Haw liniment, and Mugwort or a local Artemisia. Were I to have time to pack and a way to transport I would also add Turmeric, Goldenrod, Burdock, Dandelion, Aspen, Sweet Annie, Solomon’s Seal and Fennel-Catnip. But, you know, who is gonna carry all of that.
Salves. An all-purpose pain salve such as Cottonwood bud, Pine and Birch is a must for me as well as an Arnica/Goldenrod combo.
I would also pack up some powdered Goldenseal, a bit of dry Usnea, Linden and some Nettles and Sage.
Random useful items include in first aid kits are a whistle, some clay to make a drawing poultice, dried or candied Ginger, Angelica stem, and Licorice sticks to chew, Vitamins like B and D, iodine tablets, and a few empty waste bags.
Ultimately, the most important item one can bring in an emergency is skills. Easy to carry but timely to acquire those special skills that will serve us well through life are priceless. Identifying wild (and not-so-wild)edibles and medicinals, hunting, fishing, processing and preparing real food items with no electricity or running water, and the all-important waste management skill–including how to build a safe composting or other type of toilet! Communicating is a skill too-with all types of persons including total psychos, those who are freaking out and those who are injured.
So much the better if you never need to use your sturdy well-stocked emergency bag. But don’t be caught with your first aid pants down and no way to get the absolute basics if you and your community are evacuated, washed away or lost on a desert island. Plan now for an emergency and you will be prepared-as much as one can be.