Plastic Bags – Use or Reuse for Emergencies
Today I stuffed 20 or so plastic bags into one, so I can take them back to the store to be recycled. It’s amazing how many accumulate in just a couple of weeks – and we carry reusable shopping bags!
Be that as it may, I always keep some bags handy for emergency use! Here are 20 ways they can come in handy or even save the day!
And the best part? You can collect these bags and add them to your kit for free. (Or at least you MAY get them for free. A new law was just passed in California to ban free plastic bags . . .)
Keep out moisture
- Use a plastic bag to line your Bug Out Bag, to help keep it water proof.
- Use zip-lock bags for storing food, small items, cosmetics, etc. in your bag.
- Put a plastic bag OVER a backpack to keep out the rain.
- Turn a large plastic bag – like a trash can liner – into a rain poncho. Just make a slit along the seams for your head and arms.
- Use bags inside your boots to keep your feet dry.
- “Wear” underneath your clothes for extra insulation.
Protect from dirt
- Pull a plastic bag over your hand before picking up something dirty. Then just turn the bag inside out and dispose of it.
- Tie a bag over your face to keep out blowing dirt or sand. (Of course, don’t use thin plastic that clings for this!)
- A plastic bag can work as a diaper. (Why, I remember the earliest plastic diapers that I used on my daughter really weren’t much different!)
- Water out of order? Use plastic compactor bags in the toilet to capture waste. (These won’t likely be bags that are reused. But having a supply is essential for your emergency stash.)
Aid for First Aid
- Use zip-lock bags to store different first-aid supplies, keeping them clean and dry. You can pack full small bags into a larger bag for easier and more efficient access. (For example, pack gauze in one bag, band aids in another, tape and scissors in a third; put them all in one larger bag.)
- Fill a bag with ice and apply over an injury to keep swelling down.
- Turn a plastic bag into a sling.
- Tie a bag over a bandaged wound to help keep it dry.
- Somebody sick? Use a bag to catch vomit or diarrhea. Yukky, but better than having it spread all over the car or your living area.
Other smart uses
- A bag with no holes can be a temporary carrier for water, snow, berries, etc.
- Twist a bag or two together and use them as a belt or a carrying strap.
- Fasten a number of bags together end to end to use as rope. Braid several strands for more strength.
- Use a white bag as a signal or strips of bag to mark the trail.
- If an emergency keeps you trapped in the house, use trash bags – for trash! You can always dispose of it later.
As you’re packing your Survival Kit, use a few extra bags as padding, to cushion the sharp corners on tools, keep shoes separate, etc. That way you’ll always have some at the ready.
And one last note about the “secret ingredient”
Many of the ideas above would work a lot better if, in addition to the right sized bag, you have DUCT TAPE. (That’s an old roll in the image, above. Recognize it now?)
Use duct tape to close gaps, make sure the bags stay put, and even to seal them up when they’re full of waste.
These two essentials – plastic bags and duct tape — should be in every one of your kits. And the good news? They’re practically free!
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team
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