Do people need "grab bags"?

Do you need to be packed and ready for emergencies?


Police tell people to not go out without 'emergency bag' and get called 'crass'

There are a few basics we all leave the house with. Keys, wallet, phone and, if you have a handbag (or man bag) then you're able to equip yourself further for the day.

But according to numerous police forces across the UK, we could be a lot better prepared.

The "grab bag" phenomenon was originally championed by authorities in the US, which has been battered by storms and floods in parts.

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Do people need emergency "grab bags" or not?

By Joe Harker

A police campaign has urged people to have a "grab bag" full of essentials packed and ready to go in case of an emergency.

Police Scotland first made the request on social media as part of annual preparedness month, with local authorities telling people ways they can be ready for anything.

However, the campaign has quite a lot of people worried as they wonder what emergencies they are supposed to be preparing for.

The Claim:

The police have been accused of being "crass" over the campaign, with accusations of scaremongering being leveled in some cases.

The public would quite like to know exactly what sort of reason they'd need a grab bag for.

If the police are saying people ought to be more prepared then what are they expecting people need to be prepared for?

Even if it's an innocuous and slightly silly suggestion that doesn't have any upcoming threat behind it the timing and delivery of the message could have been better.

These are uncertain times and the police suddenly saying you might want to think about having some essentials ready so you can leave the house at a moment's notice is a bit worrying.

The Counter Claim:

The BBC reports that quite a few people do actually have their own grab bag and find it a very useful thing to keep prepared.

For some people it brings peace of mind, a nice thing to know it's there in case the worst should happen.

For others it has been a genuinely useful measure that's been needed. One person recounted how they were woken in the night by police and told to leave their house because of a nearby fire, having a bag packed and ready to go meant they could do so quicker and have some useful items to hand.

The furore and fuss over the campaign might just be because of poor timing than anything else.

With Brexit coming up and the suggestion of civil unrest as a result some people are wondering whether they are being encouraged to have a bag packed because they'll soon be in a situation where they might actually have to use it.

If this campaign had been done a few years back people might not have kicked up such a fuss.

The Facts:

The ideal grab bag ought to contain the following items:

  1. Food and water
  2. Personal toiletries (for when nature calls)
  3. Seasonal clothing (It's getting colder, pack a jumper)
  4. Radio
  5. Torch
  6. Batteries (for the radio and the torch, probably)
  7. Whistle (to let danger know where you are)
  8. First aid kit
  9. Pen and notepad
  10. Phone charger and battery bank
  11. Emergency plan (even though you don't yet know what the emergency is)
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Should you pack a 'grab bag'?

A police campaign to get the public to prepare a "grab-and-go" bag in case of emergencies has been accused of scaremongering and mocked on social media - but for some, they are a sensible precaution.

The BBC spoke to people who keep their essential supplies in one place, just in case they have to drop everything and go.

'Peace of mind'

It was 2am when Jo Gardner and her husband were woken by a knock at the door. It was the police, warning that a fire had broken out at a works unit on their road.

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