Special to the Mirror
Hi, this is Santa writing to you. My ride in the sky has been a little rougher in the last few years and this has made me think about ‘being prepared.’
Here’s my suggestion. Perhaps all of you adults might consider buying gifts for each other that would help fill your Grab and Go bags?
You do know what that is don’t you? It’s a backpack or small suitcase on wheels that every member of your family needs to pack with supplies for a 72- hour time period. It’s kept near an exit in your home that you would most likely use in the case of an emergency evacuation.
Do all of your family members have a lightweight backpack that they can carry? I’ll have some for your kids on Christmas morning, but I’m afraid you are going to have to buy your own. In fact, why not leave one under the tree for all of the members of your family.
An empty backpack isn’t much good though in an emergency, so you might consider adding a few essentials. Why don’t you buy band-aids, wet wipes, medications such as those needed for diarrhea, nausea, allergies, headaches etc. and divide them up into small plastic baggies for each adult family member.
And have you seen the wind up or solar powered radios that are available now.
No more worry about being left without emergency news because your battery operated radio died. Some of the radios even have a light on them.
Speaking of lights, glow sticks are great. They are considered the only light source that is safe for use immediately following any catastrophic emergency situation, because they do not use any kind of outside power source and do not create any danger of sparking or heat. They’re waterproof and often have a whistle on them. In an emergency, a whistle can be more affective in attracting attention than shouting that can tire you out and wear out your voice.
Other things to consider are water proof matches, a folding knife, a small change purse for cash in coins and smaller bills, and a prepared information sheet with names and birth dates of family members, contact people, medications, allergies, and names and phone numbers of places such as your bank or insurance company.
If you were ever to have to leave your homes and go to an emergency reception centre, there could be a lot of sitting around and waiting.
Why not add small age appropriate entertainment items to your Christmas shopping list for the Grab and Go bags?
Start with colouring books and crayons for the little ones, or cards, or Sudoku or crossword puzzle books for the adults.
Think about each person’s interests and provide something that will help them to pass time and be entertained. Remember though that there may not be anywhere to re-charge electronic games.
Essentials such as food, bottled water, toilet paper, and other toiletries may not produce a ‘wow’ factor wrapped up with a bow under the tree, however, they are essential emergency items. Perhaps it would be best if you just had then on hand when everyone is packing their individual backpacks.
Warm clothes are essential but don’t run to the stores to buy them. Santa wants you to be a recycler.
First look around the house.
Is there long underwear that no one wears, and what about that nice, warm jacket that’s out of fashion?
You might even recycle mismatched mittens.
Remember, even if it’s the middle of summer, it can be cold if you are out overnight.
By the way, the reason each person needs their own bag is that families can become separated and also one person can’t carry supplies for everyone. And I have to remind you that unless you are a trained athlete or hiker, there will be limits on the size and weight of your backpack.
Be realistic when packing. And, please don’t forget emergency supplies for your pets or for in your car. Would you want a second backpack to keep at your office?
I feel so strongly about being prepared that I would like to tell you more. But as you know, the elves and I are racing to be prepared for our big night.
If you would like to learn more please contact your local Emergency Support Services Team. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 250. 923.7197 and leaving a message. They even provide speakers for businesses and groups who want to know more about emergency preparedness.
P.S. Mrs. Claus (not me) said to tell you that fruit would be better than cookies. I leave it to you to decide though.