Contributed By Dawn Allcot
If you’re a caregiver, you never know when a midnight emergency room visit will result in hours in the emergency room waiting area or even a hospital stay for your loved one. Likewise, if you’re a caregiver who lives apart from your aging parent, you never know when you’ll be called to stay the night in their home. In either of these scenarios, having an emergency bag packed in advance saves time and energy. Here are 10 things to keep in your emergency bag. Keep your emergency bag in your car at all times so you will always be prepared for any contingency, wherever you are.
1. Change of clothes (including socks and underwear)
You never know when you’ll be stuck somewhere overnight. In addition, caregivers often wind up in the situation of having their clothes soiled unexpectedly. The clothes in your emergency bag don’t have to be fancy. Yoga pants and a t-shirt or sweatshirt, depending on the season, are fine. If you’re a mom of young children, include outfits for your kids plus diapers if needed.
2. Healthy, non-perishable snack
A protein bar, trail mix, peanuts, or a granola bar are perfect to keep you going when you don’t have time to stop and eat. Read this article for more tips on how to eat healthy, whether you’re on-the-go or at home.
Always carry a bottle of water in your emergency bag. Whether you’re using it hydrate, wash a sticky toddler, or use as coolant for your car, you don’t know when or where you’ll need it – but odds are you’ll need it.
4. First Aid Kit
A good first aid kit should include Band-aids, Neosporin, ace bandage and clips, vinyl gloves, alcohol swabs, and a thermometer as the bare necessities. It’s easier to buy a self-contained kit than to try to put one together yourself.
5. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and antihistamine
Whether it’s to stave off that impending headache or give to someone who’s sprained an ankle, these drugs are must-haves for every emergency bag. While Ibuprofen and acetaminophen, both work as painkillers, not every drug is suitable for every occasion, so carry both. An antihistamine alleviates symptoms from seasonal allergies, bug bites and allergic reactions.
6. Flashlight and extra batteries
In a pinch, you can use your phone as a flashlight, but you’ll drain your battery quickly. An LED flashlight is small, lightweight and incredibly useful. Pack one in your emergency bag and you won’t be sorry.
7. Portable cell phone battery and wall plug/USB cell phone charger
Chances are you already have a car charger for your phone in your car. But if you’re stuck somewhere like the hospital, for hours, a wall charger comes in handy. If you’re on the go, a portable cell phone battery, which attaches to your phone via a USB charger, is indispensable.
Whether it’s $5 or $50, stow whatever you can afford in your emergency bag. This could be used for vending machines or an emergency where the power goes out and you need to make a purchase using cash.
9. Feminine products
No explanation necessary, right?
10. Preparing an Emergency Bag for a Real Emergency
The “bare bones” emergency bag items listed above will help you with an overnight emergency. But with a few modifications, you can create an emergency bag for a natural disaster or other event that may require evacuation. To create a true “bug out bag” emergency kit, add:
– 1 gallon of water per day you expect to be away
– Water purification tablets
– MREs or other non-perishable, easy-to-eat food items (ideally, 1600+ calories per day)
– Chocolate bars (if the world is going to end, you don’t want to be without chocolate, do you?)
– A waterproof box containing copies of your birth certificate, marriage certificate, children’s birth certificates and any other important paperwork you wouldn’t want to be without or lose in a disaster.
With these emergency bag essentials, you’ll be set for anything that comes your way.