what's in your kit?

Life is getting back to normal here. K's parents' neighbourhood committee has made plans for what to do if they're evacuated en masse and while it doesn't seem likely at the moment it got me thinking about evacuation and evacuation kits. I have always had a kit in the back of the car with a change of clothes each and 10,000 yen in it but the girls grow so fast I seem to be always getting behind. My kids would be the ones in the evacuation centre looking like the Incredible Hulk after he transformed... I never bothered with a box in the house as I figured we have plenty of everything we could need and I'd just grab it on the way out. I have always been more worried about a disaster happening while I was away from home than while I was there.

Well, then I watched a few too many of those earthquake videos on youtube- the ones where the people got out safely and managed to keep taking video so not even the really badly effected people:

and I realised I probably wouldn't want to be running around the house with an empty backpack thinking 'ummm, got plastic wrap... where are the paper plates???' while the house was rattling around me. Oh and my house is a lot older and less earthquake sound than the one in the video...

So today I used two huge plastic containers with sealable lids (they will double as water containers if need be) and made up our in house emergency kits with:
box 1- clothing and toiletries
*long sleeve shirt, short sleeve shirt, underpants, long pants and socks for each of us. Fleece jacket for each of the girls. The girls clothes are a size bigger than they are wearing now. It is slanted towards winter as I can always cut things down to summer size and being too cold is something I really fear.
*box of tissues (double as TP)
*package of wet wipes
*hotel toothbrush and toothpaste set x4. I know this is a bit ridiculous but I really feel better if I can brush my teeth... and anyway they hardly take up any room.
*box of tampons
*bag of large size rubbish bags- for rubbish, emergency sleeping bag for the girls? just because I think they would be handy...

box 2- kitchen and medical
*plastic wrap x4 K bought this after we watched something on TV where they were wrapping plastic wrap around their feet, around their tummies etc etc as insulation. Also wrapping it around plates and things to make them re-usable when you don't have water to wash with.
*water x4 I'm not sure about this one. It's so heavy, we have a creek in walking distance, are surrounded by wells and MIL tells me bottled water goes off anyway... but it just felt like something that should be in there...
*Meg's allergy meds. Clearly labelled in Japanese and English. I asked the doctor about the use by date on her meds and he said 'old is better than nothing'.
*Disposable bowls, cups and spoons. I was going to put all the non-breakable baby plates etc etc we have in and not buy any but K came home with this lot...
*powdered milk x2 bags. K laughed and said this is my cultural bias but I really think adding milk powder to water would make it more filling and nutritious and it has a very long shelf life (a lot of the emergency ration foods only have a few months and I'm not that organised...) and yeah, I grew up thinking milk was important...
*notebook and pencil and pencil sharpener. I dithered on pen/ pencil/ sharp pen here but I think pens gum up and stop working/ may leak... sharp pencils need leads and a pencil just seems really reliable... The notebook was for writing messages, taking down info as well as keeping the girls occupied.
*ball of string. Seemed something quite useful. Also the girls will spend hours playing cat's cradle so worth the space for that alone!
*scissors. Just seemed useful...
*ziplock bags. ditto.
*10,000 yen. Not a lot if we were evacuated for weeks but enough for a few days? Better than nothing, right? We would be in pretty good shape if we could walk to the nearest shop around here anyway. I was going to put in some change for the vending machine opposite our local evacuation centre but I remembered that we have the key for it so no money needed, right?

The car kits each have a change of clothes for each of the girls, a fleece blanket, a box of tissues, wet wipes, pencil and paper, Meg's meds and 10,000 yen. I don't want to keep food or water in there as the cars get really hot in summer and I think it would go gross. I am dithering about adding gum though.... you can chew it for a long time and it might take your mind off thirst/ hunger?

What's in your kit? What am I forgetting? What have I included that's ridiculous? I am not planning this in the most rational of mindsets and I'd love some hints!

18 件のコメント:

achan さんのコメント...

Funny I was thinking of doing a similar post after my friend told me was useful. I never thought of using the plastic wrap as insulation.

i have foil balankets bought them when the kids were newborns. I feared an earthquake in winter with a 3 month old

I also had baby formula even when my kids were fully breastfeed. Never know, if I died or whatever atleast there was milk for the baby (morbid I know)

My friend said candles are a bad idea, with all the aftershocks they fall over and can start a fire so a lamp of sort is better.

we also have a bag of groceries. I just bought stuff that uses limited energy to cook but is the reg stuff we eat. Unfortunately our garden cant sustain us. I rotate the bag every 2 months when I do my reg shop. Small kids I figure will find it harde to do without so I've put lots of stuff in that they like.

bastish さんのコメント...

Nice list. Now I have a few more things to add to ours.

Currently I have, (or am preparing) in the back of our van, or ready at the doorstep:

* Sleeping bags
* blankets
* Compact emergency camping shelter
* Two hiking backpacks
* Sling for Mona
* iodine to clean water (possibly should look into a more high-tech filter)
* First aid kit
* First aid quick reference book
* Diapers
* Beer
* Baby wipes
* Small tool kit
* A few extra clothes
* Lots of old shochyu bottles of water
* 60 liters of diesel fuel
* 16 liters of cheap shochyu
* A small caset cook stove (konro) and a light weight camp stove.
* Headlamps and fully charged batteries
* Crank powered radio/light
* Candles / matches / cigarette lighters
* A swiss army knife
* Whistles (actually we carry them on us now)
* More than 10,000 yen
* Two spare pre-paid cell phones (lucky to have gotten them from my sister and her husband when she left Japan a while back, but I would not have purchased them just for emergency)
* Rice
* chazuke
* miso
* kanpan up the wazu!
* peanut butter
* a bag full of dried persimmons
* dried somen and udon
* sturdy shoes
* Warm clothes
* Of course camera chargers and cameras
* Computer and accessories needed to communicate, etc.
* more that I can't think of but don't want to bother

opening the trunk because it will all fall out.
Man, I think we have too much. It all fits in the van but if we have to leave the van I think we are prepared, with our hiking and camping experience, we will be fine. We can cut down on a lot of the excess. (although we have never hiked with a 1.5 year old)

I like your idea about the milk formula. I will start gathering some from the emergency shelter where volunteers have brought it despite there being no babies here.

bastish さんのコメント...

I also forgot to mention that we have photo copies of all our important documents (passports, gaijin card, Japanese family record, Marriage certificate, etc. stored separately from the originals (which we keep on us) Also a list of phone numbers of family and friends, as well as a note that lets anyone who might find our dead bodies who they should call.

Regarding Achan's comment about the candles being dangerous. I agree, but lamps can break just as easily. when trying to *start* a fire with wood, a candle lasts much longer than a match, so I don't use the candles for light so much as to start other things on fire. If I do want a candle for light, I would use the little cup candles and put them in a glass jar. Even if it tips over it will extinguish before it starts a fire (hopefully).

Gaijin Wife さんのコメント...

Wow, I think I need to evacuate with Kevin. Possibly wont be able to fit in back of van though :)

We have wind up torch/ radio / keitai charger. Has a siren on it too.

Whistles? For some reason whistles has always been on my evacuation list and I still haven't got them.

I have a big blue sheet so we can line up and claim our spot in the evacuation hall in similar fashion to hanami. in which case I plan on lining up blue sheet next to Kevin so can steal his beer and shochu.

I just went to check what else was in there and have broken the zip...

thefukases さんのコメント...

Kevin has just spent a week (more?) in an evacuation shelter so he is definitely sempai on this issue, BUT that list of gear is way beyond my box's capabilities. Hell, it would take up most of the genkan! Without prying, are you planning on going bush next time you need to ecvacuate or is all that stuff necessary *in the evacuation centre*? Wow.... Think I am quite under-prepared! Thanks for the tip on whistles. Will definitely enjoy confiscating the girls supply of whistles 'for the greater good'. :)
Prepaid phones are only good for a maximum of a year unless you keep topping the credit up right? I was feeling safe that we had one until K pointed out it is now useless...
Kevin keping everything in the van had me thinking too. Where do you keep your evac kit Katie and achan? We have a shed right on the roadside and I'm thinking that would be a better place as it has no glass and is quite small so even if it collapsed I could get out my boxes quite easily. At the moment they are stacked way up high ontop of a wardrobe in the genkan. My thought being if they fall down they will be even easier to get to but there is so much glass around there.... hmmmm, will add a blue sheet, too. How else would K know where to line his shoes up neatly? ;P

achan さんのコメント...

This is sounding like a 'glory box' Heather did you have one of those? Its the old thing of stashing away all the linen and essential items before you get married!!

Bastish-thanks for the tips, off to get some new candles (if there any available!!) Tell us is the shochu to drown your sorrows, to help you ignore the others, fuel or just because your so used to drinking with the local fire brigade???

Our kit is in the genkan. We have a built in cupboard half for the stuff and the other half for Milton Bradley games!!! In saying that I don't expect that our house will ever fall down completly. Our house is not so old, reputable maker, on solid ground, away from the water and in no danger of landslide so that's why our stuff is inside. we thought of the shed too but all the other things in there made me change my mind.

We don't have any cupboards or big stuff in our genkan that could block the exit (if they fell) if we needed to get out quick (same for our stairs)

There is so much to think about and it is great to hear what others have, and since we now have a senpai there's first hand knowledge to be learnt

bastish さんのコメント...

@Gaijin Wife

It does not really take up that much space. We are hikers so we have some pretty compact gear. We opted to leave out the sleeping pads, as they are too bulky.

The whistles we try to wear (though forget to most of the time). If you are stuck under a pile of collapsed building, screaming will wear you down. A whistle is louder and takes a lot less breath and energy. Also, if you are in a panicking crowd and get separated, having your own special whistle code might help if you get separated from each other.

I like the blue sheet idea. I will add one in my van. I am sure I will get there first, so I will save space for you and your family too. :)

@Achan The shochu is to keep the shakes away.

@Heather I don't keep that all in one place. Only since "the happening" we have put the luxury stuff into the van (cooking stove, pots,) The 60 liters of diesel is in the back of the van, and that is only something we added this week after they started limiting how much you can buy at once - just in case.

If we have to go by foot or go to a shelter, we can fit all we need for that into our backpacks. Basically anything we need for camping for a week - including shelter, sleeping bags, food, water, other essentials.

The non luxury items are in backpacks in the genkan.

We are not so worried about earthquake - in which case the van would be worthless as the roads would all be closed, but more about the nuclear thing. Though we are far away, if it turns more for the worse, we may want to get further, and the roads may get crowded, so we want to be ready to drive, walk, hitch, etc.

And I am no senpai. I am just a worrisome person.

@Achan Thanks for the game tip. I had totally forgotten to pack a toy or two for Mona! She will be eternally grateful to you.

wallabi さんのコメント...

The other day I was talking with some folks staying in an empty house down the street, after leaving points north, and this is what I learned:

you should have extra pairs of undies!! A small detail that will make you a happier person in the long run.

bastish さんのコメント...

And to save space in your bag, you can wear the undies in layers. You can fit 7 pairs of undies under an average loose-fitting pari of pants. Sure it makes your butt look big, but who will be looking at times like there?

Claire さんのコメント...

Other stuff I have in the rucksack we keep in the genkan:
Solar powered phone/camera charger
Bufferin (adult + children's)
Hair brushes (small fold-up ones from hotels)
Small radio and spare batteries
Torch and spare batteries
Copies of all our important documents, stashed in ziplog bags so they won't get wet
Plastic raincoats

Gaijin Wife さんのコメント...

Heather - mine is in the genkan in full view in front of the useless rack of visiter slippers. I always used to have a first aid kit in the car and I like the idea of a semi evacuation kit so might add that to the growing list of 'things I need to do this week'.

will also set out 7 pairs of undies to put on as dashing out door.

bastish さんのコメント...

This got us thinking and Tomoe and I were talking. While I have a car jack, saw and crow-bar in the bedroom because I never put them away since the last time we used them, it is a good idea to have these available, in case someone is trapped under a piece of rubble. I never thought if this before, but it makes sense. A two-ton car jack could life a beam enough to let a person slide out. You may need to use some oil or lubricant (we also keep this next to the bed)

Also have some nice thick slippers nearby. When we had our quake it was dark and I couldn't see what I was stepping in. Luckily there was no glass, but I was wearing only socks.

And of course the headlamp or torch near your bed.
And extra glasses.

Lulu さんのコメント...

I have started a list of things I need to collect as I was definitely NOT prepared apart from having some water on hand- and three weeks on I still have our passports, important documents, change of clothes for each of the boys and me, nappies, formula, medicine and some food stuff in a small overflowing bag on the floor of my room. I am not sure when is the right time to unpack such a thing....when the aftershocks stop?

My question is though, in an apartment, with a tiny genkan, where do I keep the emergency kit? We have a storage room and I was thinking about in there but not sure? Also no car, so I think it will have to be an emergency "backpack"....

Any ideas on where to get a good but not too expensive first aid kit in Japan? Thinking I might even get my mum to get one from Australia...

Thank you so much for compiling your list Heather- would it be too much to ask to see a photo of the boxes?

bastish さんのコメント...


The red cross has very cheap first aid kits. If you take one of their free (last time my wife took it) 2 day courses, you can be certified in first aid, and you get the kit as well.

Also any outdoor shop will have kits with not only first-aid, but also other essentials. In fact, probably most supermarkets sell "earthquake kits" that should have every thing you need to survive such as water, dried foods, light, etc. (survival means staying alive until help comes)

I agree that a small genkan is not ideal, but the kits are quite small. Maybe throw some shoes away and stick it in the shoe closet. In the end, I don't think it matters where it is, as long as it is reachable quickly, and everyone knows where it is.

Regarding passports and documents, I am not an expert in any way, but I prefer to keep those a bit more secure, so we have photo-copies in our run away kit, and the originals are hidden away, but still reachable. I like to think that if there is an emergency, the authorities will be able to speed anything up if we have at least a copy.

bastish さんのコメント...

Sorry, I don't mean to be an over-poster, but I forgot to mention maps. We have Mapple Light map books for the immediate area (available at any convenience store), and photo copies of maps for areas further away that we may want to get to. areas that we have thought out ahead of time.

If you are trying to get out by car, it is good to know what alternate routes there are in case a road is closed or congested. Even if you are trying to get out by train, you should have a train map to save time trying to figure it out in the chaos at the station.

(I watch too many spy movies)

sunnycalgirl さんのコメント...

You sound well prepared!Being in California we are in earthquake area. We just have a backpack with bandaides,matches, bug repellent, small flash light, plastic bags and hatchet..I think I'd better work on it. Thank you for addressing this!

bastish さんのコメント...

Sorry again. I know my list is big, but it is not really that bulky. I was searching through the bag for my battery charger, and I found two more things that I forget to mention.

* inkan and inkan registration (not really so important I think, but if you do need it, it takes paperwork and time to get the new registration)
* "protection" in the movies disasters always include a steamy scene. (at least that was my hope... :(

Schmutzie さんのコメント...

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