I was recently reading through some articles on survival tips and ran across one about buckets. Specifically, the article was talking about 5 gallon buckets, the kind you can find for around $5 with the lids at Lowes or Home Depot. The idea was to use this bucket for anything from rice and beans, to transporting needed water. The article really gave some good ideas and I began to consider how a 5 gallon bucket could be used in a 6 to 10 bed ICF/IID.
The first thing to know, and hopefully you do, is that most ICF programs are required to have disaster plans. These plans, in Texas for example, require that you not only have a plan for what you are going to do if you have to stay at the facility, but also what you are going to do if you have to leave the facility and travel somewhere else. The basic requirements (and certainly not all of them) is a 72 hour supply of food, water, and medications. In addition you need clothing, hygiene products and other items for each individual in the facility. With the individual is where I began to consider how a bucket could be used. In fact, I realized that the bucket could be prepared easily, stacked in storage, and ready to go at a moment's notice. A prepared bucket for an individual could save you several minutes or longer in an evacuation. Not to mention, given time you could add items to the bucket that you know you'll need, but may not think about during the disaster (If you think of some others let me know).
So, as I sat thinking about this during some disaster television show such as The Walking Dead (AMC), I came up with a small list of things that I would think a bucket survival package would need. I would put the heavier stuff toward the bottom of the bucket with clothing items last on the top. Here's my considered list:
1. Hygiene packet - these can be purchased at Wal Mart and other stores for about $3-$5 each. They contain deodorant, shaving cream, toothpaste, a razor, a toothbrush and often some other minor items such as hand sanitizer. Naturally, you would want to decide what items are needed per individuals and abilities.
2. Hand Sanitizer - although mentioned above, not all packets have this item and you simply can not have too much of this during a disaster. A small alcohol based sanitizer could have other uses as well should things get bad.
3. Clothing - Don't worry at this point about the winter clothing, but instead consider the needed items such as underwear, socks, T Shirts and then put anything like jeans, shirts, etc. There are several good sites that can teach you how to pack clothing tightly (Example) It's likely that if the disaster is during the winter, the individual will wear his or her coat for the trip - at least they should!
4. Information Sheet - on the top of the clothing put the person's information sheet. This should have diagnosis, medications, allergies, emergency contact numbers, etc.
After you have put the items above in the bucket, put the lid on and snap it tight. The bucket will keep water out of the items, serve as a seat if needed somewhere and has many other uses in really bad situations. Regardless of the situation though, you now have 6 (if you are a six bed facility) buckets prepared to go. Finally, write the person's first name only on the outside of the bucket and stack them in the storage area.
By using a bucket, you will reduce your evacuation time tremendously. You can have the individuals put their buckets on the van or transport while your staff focusses on the food, water, medical and medications supplies - most of which should already be ready to go as well.
Finally, if you like the bucket idea, you can expand other ways to use them. A bucket might present a smaller and easier way to manage the food supplies, toilet paper, or even emergency charts during the transportation. Buckets can keep electronics such as cell phones, radios, chargers, and even a small solar charger ready and dry to be used as needed. So the next time you head out to Lowes or Home Depot for supplies, be sure your buckets are on the list.