Recently, a dear friend of mine experienced a heart-breaking and scary event in her life that found her in a place she never expected to be. Her daughter had been in a serious accident that required her to be life-flighted to a trauma center. Obviously, this is a scary situation and in dealing with everything that comes with that it lead me to think about how we plan our lives, how we handle tragedy and what we can do during unplanned moments.
So, let me begin with a funny but important lesson I learned. I have known for years that my dear friend is the ultimate planner. She is always the person with the tissue when you are crying, the water when you are thirsty, the needle when your hem comes undone or the aspirin when your head hurts…she’s just that type of person. Well, we joked about the fact that even in the unplanned event of a car accident, she was still unknowingly prepared!
See she had a bag under her desk at work that (without giving away all the contents) basically was able to serve as an overnight bag for her on the night she had to stay in the hospital with her daughter. She had a mouth cleansing kit, deodorant, eye solution, tennis shoes, etc. Now understand the bag was originally intended for workouts and as backup clothes when she had to work late or when we went to feed the homeless at the mission. (Note, she later revealed to me that she also had a workout bag in her car…hummm)…
Ultimately, as I sat there watching her go through the items in the bag that we had brought to her, I realized…man we all could do a little pre-planning for the possible emergency event. When women are pregnant they pack a birthing bag in preparation for their new arrival…why wouldn’t you do the same for a possible emergency (Be that tragic or otherwise). Think about some events that could possibly happen and what you think you would need. Traveling and car breaks down, at work and have to stay to address issue overnight, overnight hospital stay, a friend needs you urgently without notice, etc. With the plethora of travel size items, I would recommend you start building your various emergency bags. I would suggest there be one kept in your car, at home and at work. Below are a couple of items I would suggest you put in this bag:
Emergency Bag List
- Mouth cleansing items: toothbrush and toothpaste
- Change of underwear
- Contact Solution and case
- Old pair of glasses or Extra Contact Lenses (if you have to spare)
- Tennis Shoes (may not be able to keep three spare pair but keep an inexpensive pair of comfortable shoes in your trunk)
- Pants/Shirt – would suggest comfortable clothes, like gym pants and t-shirt
- Hair items to pull hair up or out of the way (comb, brush, scrunchie, hair tie/band, bandana, etc.)
What other items can you think to add? I personally think the contents of the bag will depend on the location of the bag. The bag at home, will have more toiletries in it than anything because you have all the possible items you need right there. What you could do is make a list and put it in the bag of other items that should be grabbed and where they are located so anyone coming to get the bag will know how to fill it with the remaining contents.
The bag in the car should assume you either have to stay somewhere overnight without planning or you are stranded in a broken down car, etc. So you may add to this bag a bottle of water, flashlight, disposable camera, blanket (specifically for winter), jumper cables, white rag (to serve as a help me flag), sharpie marker (if you have to write something that is seen), emergency overnight items.
The bag at work would contain items that assume an unexpected overnight stay. Instead of shoes maybe you just add those socks that keep you from slipping with the rubber stuff on the bottom.
The key is to think ahead…oh and make sure you let some key people know where the items are…Your spouse, parents, children, co-worker, boss…
Special note of consideration: You will periodically have to swap some items out due to expiration dates. Just put them in your day to day rotation and replace with another item. I’d rather spend a couple of extra dollars than to be in need of something and not have it there.