The Red Cross 72-hour lifeline kit

By Ellen T. Tordesillas

Posted at May 25 2015 02:39 PM | Updated as of May 25 2015 10:39 PM

Government agencies and private companies are reactivating their emergency drills with the release by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) of its latest findings about the West Valley Fault.

Phivolcs Director Renato U. Solidum, Jr. warned that based on the movement pattern (every 400 or so years) of the West Valley Fault, the next tremor could happen in not-so-distant future. What happened in Nepal recently gives us an idea of the devastation if an earthquake with more than 7 intensity would occur along the fault that transects Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, Makati, Taguig, and Muntinlupa.

The best way to lessen the destruction, damage, loss of lives and injuries is to be prepared. The most basic in preparation is to be informed.

Some may say that no amount of training would prepare one when disaster strikes, still it’s better than being caught unprepared.

Ramon Isberto of PLDT/Smart, in his presentation at last week’s “Earthquake Resilience Conference” organized by the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation, Zuellig Family Foundation, and the Manila Observatory at the Manila Polo Club, said aside from training their employees how to cope in case of disaster, they are also helping them train their families.

They decided to include families of their employees in the training because in Yolanda and in other past disasters, it was shown that many of those who should be manning the public service posts were absent because they had to attend to their families.

Capacitating or empowering families would lessen the burden on the trained personnel and allow them to give service to the bigger public in emergency situations.

In case of devastation caused by earthquake when electricity, fuel, water, telephone or mobile lines may not be working, the first 72 hours is critical.

The Philippine Red Cross has assembled a Lifeline Kit , a portable kit or bag that contains the items one would require to survive for the first 72 hours when evacuating from a disaster.

It is advised to prepare for each and every member of the family a Lifeline kit containing the following:

1. Water

Normally, one can survive without food intake for five days as long as there is water intake. Prepare clean water in clean airtight containers for washing, drinking and cooking:

- One gallon (3.78 liters) per person per day [one liter for drinking and three liters for washing]

- Water purification supplies (One purification tablet can purify a liter of water. One tablet per person per day for water purification.)

2.Food

- 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.

3. 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

4. Personal effects and hygiene kit

- Extra Clothing (Short and long sleeved shirts, pants, jackets, socks, etc.)

- Undergarments

- Antibacterial soap

- Toothbrushes

- Toothpaste

- Hand towels (super absorbent)

- Comb/hair brush

- Hand sanitizer or alcohol

- Sanitary napkin

5. 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.)

- Passport

- Important legal documents: Birth certificates, marriage contract, insurance certificates, land titles, etc.

- Other important documents: academic credentials, vaccination records, medical records, etc.

6. 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 three days, like anti-hypertensive, insulin, etc.)

- Children's food

7. Standard First Aid

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

Additional reminder: 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. It is highly recommended that you use a backpack with good supporting shoulder straps. Make sure you can lift or carry it.

My own tip: Always have your cellphones charged. Get a power bank and make sure that it is also fully charged. Since electricity may not immediately be restored, get a solar power bank.

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