Do you live in a condo? Did the recent string of earthquakes in the metro scare you? How prepared are you in case you needed to vacate your condo unit? Even though all DMCI Condo’s are assured to withstand natural disasters like earthquakes, it never hurts to be prepared. Aside from knowing the condominium disaster plan, you have to take a look at this bug out bag checklist to help you get out of the building faster, be it fire, earthquakes or any emergency in between.

Before we dive into the bug out bag list, it’s best to be able to communicate your evacuation plan with your family and friends, so they know what to do and where to meet in case of an emergency.

Find out which quadrant you belong to according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). Use that as your primary evacuation center. In case the roads are not passable, you might want to create meet up points that you agree are safe. That way, you have a plan B in your condo safety checklist.

Also, discuss how you will be communicating in case cellphone reception, and the Internet is down. You can also create a list of contact persons that you can call through emergency lines to send a message to your immediate relatives. Lastly, make sure that your family members have a printed, and laminated copy so that every family member knows what to do, where to go, and who to contact. Now, let’s go back to the bug out bag list.

Have a first-aid kit

During emergencies, you never know if you could get hurt and where to get medical aid as soon as possible. Given that emergency lines will be busy during natural disasters, it would be best to have a first-aid kit to patch yourself up until help arrives. It would also be great if you know how to use each of the items included in your first-aid kit. Think of it as part of emergency preparedness.

What needs to be in your first-aid kit? It’s a long list, but here are the essentials: alcohol, scissors, safety pins, disposable medical gloves, tweezers, thermometer, drinkable water, pain killers, prescription medicines, as well as plasters and gauze. Make sure to place it all in a waterproof bag.

Don’t forget to bring sanitary items

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The best bug out bags always includes sanitary items in it. You never know where you’ll end up during natural disasters and emergencies. Having a way to clean yourself up anytime during the evacuation period will help you stay healthy. Your sanitary kit should include soap, alcohol, sanitary napkins, menstrual pads, feminine wash (if needed), waste bags, and hand sanitizers.

Prepare an extra set of clothes

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Until you reach a safe place like an evacuation center, chances are you’ll be covered in dirt during massive earthquakes or drenched due to the heavy rains. There could also be some blood from wounds you sustained, trying to flee the scene.

Having clean clothing at the ready will help you feel comfortable and clean once you’ve settled down in evacuation centers or wherever your designated meet up point is. And if it’s not possible for you to get more clothing items in your condo, at least you have something to wash and wear.

Find your way with the help of navigation tools

Be it storms, fire, or earthquakes, the destruction brought by these disasters can make condo emergency response slower. That’s why knowing how to navigate through an emergency situation to reach the nearest evacuation area faster and safer is key to your survival. Consider taking map-reading classes as part of your condominium emergency preparedness as maps on your smartphone might not have any connection to the Internet. Make sure that the maps and compass are waterproof or water resistant.

Means of communication

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Depending on the intensity or damage to network towers and cables, communication channels can be significantly affected by natural disasters. Buy two-way shortwave radios, fully charged power banks, a radio, and a whistle. Having a cellphone that has limited functions, and a large battery would be ideal in an emergency compared to smartphones. Bar-type cell phones can last for days if left idle and, some, a month or more.

Food and water rations

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Food and water rations should always be part of an emergency kit. You never know when help will arrive or when the government will start distributing rations. Having rations or meals ready to eat will help you survive longer. Include drinking water, power bars, canned goods, and even instant noodles as these are compact and require very little resources to prepare.

Have the right portable tools

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Another part of emergency preparedness for condominium dwellers is to have the right tools ready. Go full MacGyver and use a portable multi-tool so you have the ability to repair items that you might need during times of emergencies. You might even want to throw in a face mask, duct tape, and work gloves in the mix for a full repair and utility kit ready to go in your bug out bag.

Light the way with flashlights and torches

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One of the things that’s highly recommended for emergency preparedness for high rise buildings is using flashlights and torches in case of power outages or during fires specifically if the hallways are covered in dust or smoke and the emergency lights are not functioning. The light from flashlights and torches can be used to guide your way out or as a signal to rescuers to see where you are so they can make their way to you.

During the night, glow sticks can be used to illuminate the dark without using power. Some condo fire safety plans even include glow sticks to mark the way out of a building and help guide other tenants trying to make their way out of the building as well.

Easy-to-carry storage

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While it’s easy to mention all of these tools and must-haves, it’s another thing to carry them in a bag. You might want to get a large backpack or a trolley to make it easier for you to carry them without getting tired quickly. Or if there are other people in your unit, you could use several smaller bags and assign it to each person to make it even easier and faster to carry around.

For better safe condo living, it would be best to make a condo inspection checklist to see how disaster-ready your unit is before moving in. Find out where is the nearest quadrant for evacuation, check out where the emergency exits of your building are located, look at the safety features of your condo, and more. This way, you can create a seamless evacuation plan and an easy-to-carry bug out bag filled with essential supplies for the survival of your family and yourself.