This post is more than two years old. As a result, it may contain information that's out of date or that I no longer agree with.
Posted 06 Jun 2017

I recently completed my basic training to join Portland’s Neighborhood Emergency Team program. Each of us is expected to have a certain set of gear ready to go in case of deployment. It breaks down into a few categories:

  • my official ID card with handy orange lanyard
  • personal protective equipment (PPE):
    • hard hat
    • safety vest
    • knee pads
    • work gloves
    • goggles
    • N95 mask
  • search and rescue gear:
    • flashlight
    • 12” pry bar
    • 4 in 1 tool for shutting off utilities
    • marker (I need to add a lumber crayon for writing on buildings and colored tape for triage)
  • other tools:
    • knife (I have a Leatherman Skeletool)
    • duct tape
    • nylon cord
  • communication:
    • safety whistle
    • pad of paper
    • clipboard
    • pencils
    • a waterproof notebook because we’re in Portland
    • AM/FM radio for picking up emergency broadcasts
    • FRS/GRSM radio that also does weather (with spare batteries – except I keep forgetting to actually put those in the bag)
  • medical supplies:
    • I have the Sportsman Steelhead kit from Adventure Medical Kits which is pretty bare minumum, but I carry extra gloves and I’m going to add some more supplies like gauze, menstrual pads (cheap, sanitary, and super absorbant), quick clot, and a tourniquet. Glucose tabs for diabetics would be smart too.
  • water and a snack

I’m looking for a new backpack because right now I have all this in a very basic school bag from Amazon. It’s not the worst but I do have to take things out to get to stuff at the bottom.

Day-to-day when I’m in an urban area I have a much simpler (and lighter!) set of things.

  • my phone
  • whistle and dust mask
  • random band-aids and some alcohol wipes
  • nitrile gloves
  • tea and Emergen-C packets
  • Benadryl, Sudafed, Aleve, and some vitamins
  • water and a snack
  • a flashlight on my keychain
  • a bandana (when I remember to return it after washing)

Given that stabbings are on my mind a lot lately I’m going to throw in some extra pads next time I get to the store. A lot of medical situations can be handled with gloves, water (for cleaning wounds, cooling burns, and dehydration), and a phone, though, so that’s kinda the bare minimum.

I’ve been thinking about carrying a spare radio with me more often, but right now I’m inclined to leave it at home unless I have a specific reason to think the cell networks will go down (like the 1 million extra people expected to visit Oregon for the eclipse in August who are all going to want to call their friends.) I would think about bringing the radio if I’m headed to a protest.

That’s it right now! I’ll update when I decide what backpack to go with.

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