Go-bags and stay-bins
In which the New York Times and a Facebook prepper group converge. Also, 7 other things worth your time.
At the height of my pandemic anxiety last year, I apparently joined a prepper-style Facebook group in which members share tips on how to deal with the apocalypse.
Thus, between cute pics of my friends’ families, and the latest uproar over what the school board or town government did, I’m quite likely to see things like a debate over how long ammunition can be stored before it goes bad, or how to can your own vegetables, or tips on stockpiling necessary medications for “when the SHTF.”
Personally, I’m a stockpiler only by accident—like when I realized in March 2020 that I had stockpiled hand sanitizer over the years as a result of my habit of buying small bottles, using them once, throwing them in a drawer, and buying more bottles.
But I find these Facebook posts interesting, sometimes useful, and a window into how another part of humanity thinks. That’s why I was intrigued over the weekend when the New York Times—not exactly the home turf of the libertarian prepper community—ran an article explaining how everyone should prepare for calamity by putting together a “go-bag” and a “stay-bin.”
At the risk of falling into the sort of 1970s, “it’s not news until it’s in the Times” mindset, I think it presents a good opportunity to take a look at what NYT columnist Tara Parker-Pope came up with.
Here are her basic packing lists. I’ll be interested to hear how many of you have compiled these kinds of emergency kits, and whether there are other key items you think should be on the list:
First, let’s go for the “go-bag” with the definition Parker-Pope uses: “The go bag is what you grab when you have to leave the house in a hurry, whether it’s to get to the emergency room or to evacuate because of a fire or hurricane.”
Passport, birth certificates, and other important documents (contained in a waterproof Ziploc bag)
Extra pair of reading glasses
Phone charger (“an emergency room doctor told me it’s the single most requested item in the ER”)
Masks (not just because of COVID-19, but in case “you’re fleeing a fire or a chemical spill”)
Flashlight and batteries
First-aid kit, including dental items
Emergency cash (“small bills are best”)
Phone numbers—especially in case your cell phone battery dies or doesn’t work
A few days’ worth of any essential medications
Bottled water and granola bars
Optional: change of clothes
If you have a baby, baby items: diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, food
If you have a pet, pet items: leashes, portable bowls, food, and “veterinary records, in case you have to take your pets to a kennel while you stay in a shelter or hotel”
Finally: a whistle, in case you’re trapped somewhere and need to call for help. Much better than just yelling.
Good additional advice: If you’re a parent, keep the key documents for the whole family in your go-bag, but also create bags for your kids, too.
Definition: “a two-week stash of essentials in the event you have to hunker down at home without power, water, or heat.”
What to include? Well, a lot of things from your go-bag, plus:
Two-week supply of bottled water and nonperishable food (and pet food as required)
Toilet paper and personal hygiene supplies
Flashlights, lanterns, candles, lighters, and firewood
Battery-powered or crank weather radio
Solar phone charger (I hadn’t thought of this one on my own)
Trash bags, hand wipes, and sanitizer
Also: extra supply of needed medications. (Tip: “ask your doctor for some free samples to have in case of an emergency.”)
The Wirecutter, which is the NYT’s affiliate-marketing product advice site, put together a bigger list of must-have items a few years ago.
Another packing list, cited in the NYT article, and courtesy of the city of Milwaukee (pdf).
So… call for comments. Have you put together stashes like this? What else should be included in them? What don’t you need? Let us know your thoughts.
7 other things worth your time
Protestors threw “small rocks” at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and “might” have hit him, as he left a campaign event ahead of Canada’s Sept. 20 election. (Montreal Gazette)
Actor Michael K. Williams, who memorably portrayed Omar Little in The Wire and Chalky White in Boardwalk Empire, has died at age 54. The NYPD confirmed he was found dead on Monday at 2 pm inside his Brooklyn residence.
A towering statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, is set to come down on Wednesday, more than 130 years after it was erected as a tribute to a Civil War hero who is now widely seen as a symbol of racial injustice. (AP)
I guess this is my day to share stories from Tara Parker-Pope; this time, her very accessible take on the Delta variant, and what people who are vaccinated should feel free to do (and maybe not do) under the current circumstances. (NYT)
President Biden will travel to New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks at each of the involved sites. (CNN)
Willard Scott, the iconic NBC Today Show weatherman who was a star of the show for more than 30 years, passed away on Saturday at age 87. (ABC News)
The state of the world can seem overwhelming and the news depressing lately. Enjoy these animals being silly, as captured in the top photos of the year. (BBC)
Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay. Want to see all my mistakes? Click here.