In Idaho, we don’t have to worry about hurricanes and tornadoes. But we’re near the Yellowstone Caldera, and we’d certainly be affected in the case of a subduction zone earthquake along the Cascadia fault. Still, those big-ticket events are less likely to devastate the Treasure Valley than wildfires or infrastructural incidents like electricity loss.
All of these reasons, though, are worth preparing for, even if only for some peace of mind. One of the most accessible and useful resources for an emergency is a go-bag, which contains anything you might need to survive for a few days should you have to leave your home in a rush. There are trendy, pre-prepared go-bags online, but it’s a good idea to put together one that is tailored to your needs and our environment.
It can be overwhelming to start this process, but start with the basics: If you had to leave your home, for whatever reason, you’d still need your basic needs to be met just like if you were home.
Food & Water
- The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare recommends having food and one gallon of water per person per day.
- That can include packs of dry food and specific things you need nutritionally.
- Water purification tablets or systems are also a good (and pretty cheap) option to have on hand.
- Make sure any medications necessary are easily accessible if you’re heading out the door.
- Get to know your local plants for what you can and can’t eat or depend on seasonally.
Since wildfires are such a big threat to Idaho, it makes sense to be ready to protect your lungs with N95s. (Getty)
Shelter & Safety
- Masks! Wildfires are the biggest climate crisis threat to our area, so always have N95, KN95, N100, or FFP2 rated masks, as they’re the only ones able to stop any of the smallest particulate matter from smoke from entering our bodies.
- While your best bet is to have a pre-planned strategy for shelter, a tent will also do.
- Keep a first aid kit well-stocked.
Here are a few other items and strategies to have:
- A waterproof map
- A portable radio, with batteries
- Portable charger for phones (if they’re working)
- Copies of identifying documents
- Necessary addresses and phone numbers
Lastly, work on a plan with your neighbors and friends! It might feel awkward, it’s better to do so now than wait until things go south. Plus, in times of crisis, it can be a great help just to know that you’re on the same page with some trusted people.