With the anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami approaching, I asked the students in one of my classes if they had an emergency bag and, if so, what was in it. The results were quite interesting and contained a number of items I hadn’t previously considered.

A radio seems kind of obvious. I’ve seen flashlight radios, which would be handy. Hand-powered flashlights were one of the first suggestions. I learned the hard way years ago that if I have a flashlight, I need to have spare batteries on hand. In a situation without power, flashlight batteries would be drained fast once the sun goes down, that’s for sure.

Work gloves I hadn’t thought of either. One very likely will end up having to move debris, either voluntarily or out of necessity, so these are a must. Spare shoes too. I have seen zip-up folding shoes for camping, which I’m thinking of getting a pair of for each family member. Slippers were also suggested, as many buildings here require that one take off one’s shoes upon entry. Emergency shelters are almost always in public halls and require this.

Money seems kind of obvious too. This is more if I’m travelling during an emergency and have to change modes to another method for which I don’t have tickets.

A hat, preferably a helmet, is for safety as earthquakes always result in parts of buildings, especially glass, breaking and falling. Β The rest are fairly obvious in their purpose, however I’d add a change of clothes or two, changed seasonally but including warmer-than-usual clothes as inside shelters will be colder than one is used to at home in all but Summer.

Since I’m not used to sleeping on thin futons on hard floors, I’m going to add my compact Thermarest to this, and a small, compact-able pillow.

If you have any other suggestions, please tweet them to me @Currawong.