If the office is not safe, you will need to make your way to the nearest safe location and do so as fast as possible. People freeze up quickly so you will often have a VERY SMALL window of opportunity to hop into your car, hail a taxi or set out on foot and get out of the area before the masses wake up to reality and they all start trying to do the same thing as you.
Once the crisis is underway and you are reaching out to your sources or listening to media updates, don’t forget to plug your phone in so it keeps its charge. Use office phones or business email and copy yourself in the messages so you have them on your personal account should the office system crash. Keeping your cell free also permits other calls to come in easier and helps maintain battery life. Text or email people with brief messages letting them know your status and your plan. Calling people takes time and that is something you rarely have, so avoid it as much as possible in the beginning. Save the calls for only the closest of people and to obtain BRIEF updates. A great deal can be done in the immediate 2-15 minutes following the initial shock. Setting yourself up with good information and staying focused will pay dividends.
So before leaving the office, you will need to decide where you can safely make it too and how. Perhaps a longer walk to a secondary location is your best option. Can and should you do it with the contents in your purse or laptop bag, 24 hour pack or do you need and are able to shoulder the 72 hour version. It boils down to what weight you can carry, what the emergency is and what resources are available to you when you arrive at your planned destination. Remember, that a friend’s nearby apartment or even their office, while not as comforting as your own home, may be a great deal safer than your more tempting, but harder to reach primary objective.
Your safety is the prime driver here, so skip pride or comfort and choose safety. Remember most people will be willing to help, but explaining that you have some food, meds etc. and that you will not be a drain on them, will only further help get you the response you desire.
See the Walking section for more details on making it to your objective.
Keep your personal office pack stored in a locked credenza, closet or a large filing cabinet drawer. Certain items will need to be replenished from time to time and we recommend that you use your best judgment and simple calendar reminders to let you know when it is time to replace water, batteries, medications etc.
If the office location is safe, then you likely have a good source of water. In case the water does turn off, fill up all available containers ASAP and do not forget personal care needs.
Charge all smart phones, tablets, etc.
In case the power fails, take the time to charge up the small USB power stick that is in your bag/s.
As you may be one of only a few who are prepared with food, N-95 mask, headache pills, band aids…keep this confidential until you have no choice or are willing to share your limited resources.
Tip on battery maintenance:
- Keeping batteries in a flashlight for long periods can cause corrosion, so keep batteries out of your flashlights until needed. Once you have installed the batteries in your light. Turn flashlight on and gradually unscrew cap until the light turns off, then continue to unscrew for another full turn at least. This will help reduce the chance of the flashlight being accidentally turned on while in the bag or in your pocket. When ready to use, just retighten the cap and operate as needed.
- Let your eyes become accustomed to the dark and only use light when task orientated.
- Always use the lowest power setting possible to help retain your eyes night vision and to help stretch out battery time.
- Walking with a light can attract unwanted attention so be mindful of this and do not wave the light around.
- Recharge or change out batteries as needed.
Larger sources of power
Purchase at least one, 1000 watt power inverter and you can use an old car, boat or lawn mower battery to power up a TV, radio, smart phone etc. Even if the battery is no longer good for the car, it is still worth keeping around for a few more years as a backup power supply.
Use a “trickle charger” to ALWAYS keep the old battery charged. Simply connect the power inverter to the battery and plug in your radio, TV, laptop, modems etc. just like you would in the home.
The other item you should look at for charging up of old batteries is a solar panel. If you are not comfortable with choosing the panel and accessories consider approaching your local solar power company and look into what works in your area (amount of sun)and for your exact power requirements.