The first 72 hours after a disaster is critical. Electricity, fuel, water, telephone or mobile lines may not be working. In addition, public safety services and private rescue teams may not be able to reach you immediately during a serious crisis. Each person should be prepared to be self-reliant and able to survive for at least three days following a disaster.
To do so, you need to have your Red Cross Lifeline kit in order to survive. The Lifeline Kit is a portable kit or bag that contains the items one would require to survive for the first seventy-two hours when evacuating from a disaster. The focus is on evacuation survival rather than long-term survival. It is important that you will be able to distinguish the Lifeline Kit from a fixed-site disaster supplies kit. The kit should be checked every six months to make sure that goods nearing expiration are changed and that stored water is replaced to maintain its freshness and effectiveness.
Put together a Lifeline Kit before another disaster strikes. It should be practical that you can carry it with you if you ever need to evacuate your home. It is also important to prepare a kit for each member of your family who is able to carry one. Older children can prepare their own kits - this exercise will train your children to make disaster preparedness a way of life.
To start, let us go through the list below and start putting the kit together. Note: Contents may vary depending on individual and family needs or whatever is commercially available.
Normally, one can survive without food intake for 5 days as long as there is water intake. Prepare clean water in clean airtight containers for washing, drinking and cooking:
- 1 gallon (3.78 litres) per person per day [1 ltr for drinking and 3 ltrs for washing]
- Water purification supplies (One purification tablet can purify a liter of water. 1 tablet per person per day for water purification.)
- Store only non-perishable food.
- You can put protein/granola bars, dried fruit, crackers, cereals, canned goods like tuna, beans, sausages, etc. (It is recommended to store easy-to-open cans.)
- In case of hypoglycemia, canned juice or hard sweet candies are recommended (not gum based or mint).
- Food should be sufficient for three days consumption of every family member.
- Disposable plates and utensils.
III. EMERGENCY TOOLS / GEAR
- Plastic laminated ID card for family member(s) with special concerns. Indicate name, address, phone, who to call in case of emergency, contact details, the condition of the bearer and special instructions on what to do in case seen unconscious (e.g. diabetic). For children who cannot speak, they must also wear the ID card (in case they are reported missing, anyone who will find them will be able to contact their parents).
- Emergency numbers to call (Red Cross Opcen, Red Cross Chapter, fire station, hospital, etc.)
- Red Cross 143 Emergency / Disaster Guide explaining what to do in various types of disasters. These should be thoroughly studied and understood before the actual disaster but must be kept for reference. (Teach all family members how to use it).
- Maps with indication of evacuation sites and routes
- Whistle (This is highly suggested, use a whistle that is loud and has a compass on it.)
- Flashlight with extra batteries (self-powered flashlight is suggested)
- Multi-purpose knife
- Matches or lighter and candles (Do not use matches or candles until you are certain there are no gas leaks. There are commercially available waterproof matches.)
- AM radio transistor with extra batteries or self-powered (You need to monitor the news continuously to know the weather condition and any possible threats.)
- Glow sticks
- Plastic sheeting or garbage bag (For floor mats, cover items so as not to get wet, or use as a rain coat.)
- Heating blankets (thin, easy to carry and warm)
- Ropes (avoid nylon)
- Sleeping bag
IV. PERSONAL EFFECTS AND HYGIENE KIT
- Extra Clothing (Short and long sleeved shirts, pants, jackets, socks, etc.)
- Antibacterial soap
- Hand towels (super absorbent)
- Comb/ hair brush
- Hand sanitizer or alcohol
- Sanitary napkin
V. IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS AND MONEY
- Keep these in a plastic envelope.
- Money should be in the form of cash and loose change (in case banks are closed or electronic banking is not available.)
- Prepaid cards
- List of important information (security insurance number, tax identification number, driver's license, passport number, bank account details, insurance policy, etc.)
- Important legal documents: Birth certificates, marriage contract, insurance certificates, land titles, etc.
- Other important documents: academic credentials, vaccination records, medical records, etc.
VI. SPECIAL NEEDS (Of elderly, children, infant or sick member of the family)
- Emergency medication (Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, anti- diarrheal, for cough and colds, children's medication, etc.)
- Prescription Medication (for 3 days, like anti hypertensive, insulin, etc.)
- Children's food
VII. FIRST AID KIT (Standard)
The risk of accident or emergency cannot be taken for granted. It is important to be prepared. Always have a first aid kit on hand. First Aid is a life saving skill. Once you know how to apply first aid correctly, you can help save lives. Call the Philippine Red Cross National Headquarters or the local Chapters for the following First Aid Kit items:
1 Adhesive Strips (Pk50)
1 Hypo - Allergenic medical tape 1.25cm x 9.1m
1 Conforming Bandage 5cm
1 Triangular Bandage 110cm x 110cm
1 Wound Dressing No. 15
2 Swabs Antiseptic
1 Tweezers metal 8cm
1 Scissors disposable
1 Safety pins – assorted (pk12)
1 Plastic Bags - resealable - 100 X 180 mm
1 Plastic Bags - resealable - 150 x 230 mm
2 Gloves - disposable
1 First Aid Quick Reference Guide
NOTE: Wear sturdy shoes just in case you need to walk through rubble and debris. Small toys, games or materials are important too as they will provide some comfort and entertainment during stressful times. We highly recommend that you use a backpack with good supporting shoulder straps. Make sure you can lift or carry it!