Why a Every Day Carry bag and specifically a Coronavirus EDC is important
During this trying incident, you take a large risk every time that you leave your home. There is a chance that you may become involved in an accident, something happen to your residence or during this Coronavirus Pandemic that you become exposed to an infected person. Given that the CDC recommends isolation for two weeks have you considered what you will do. It is possible that a situation presents itself that forces you to remain away from home for an extended time. That is why I suggest putting together a Coronavirus EDC, though I do recommend most of these items be carried at all times due to everyday life events.
I want to make it clear this is an EDC bag. This is different than every day items you carry in your pockets. The items here are meant to be available in a nearby location and not necessarily on your person. So if you went into your work site then yea you might carry it in. However, you would not likely carry the kit into the grocery store.
Take this example, I am an essential employee working in public safety and have four children along with a wife who are sheltering at home. I leave for work and become exposed to someone that we are certain is infected with the coronavirus. Do I return home and quarantine myself there with my family, potentially infecting them, if I have been infected? Or do you opt for isolation at a secondary location while awaiting testing? This is one of the reasons you need to have a plan.
Another example is that I am out and my car breaks down. I am unable to get it fixed or towed back to my residence at this time and am forced to take a cab or Uber home. Who else has used that mode of transportation and how do I know that they were not infected? By having a kit with me including some basic safety items, I can minimize my risks.
The third example has nothing to do with the coronavirus. Though it demonstrates an event in everyday life where having a coronavirus EDC would help. You are on the way in to work and pull into a muddy or icy parking lot. As you go to exit your vehicle your foot slides out from under you causing you to slip and fall. At this time your knee strikes the ground and rips your pants. This also results in a minor laceration to your knee. While it is nothing serious, it is an hour’s drive back home to change. You have an important meeting today so you cannot go in with ripped pants. What do you do?
I am going to cover the basics of an everyday bag. In addition to that i will discuss the items that need to be included specifically for these trying times. This is a rather lengthy article, you can scroll to the bottom and check out the summary if you prefer. Though I suggest reading through to see why each item is included.
What kind of items would I need in my Coronavirus EDC
Given that we are attempting to prepare not only for an exposure to Coronavirus but other potential incidents as well there are several items we might consider. The first thing we need is a way to carry the items. You may already have a bag at home but you need to consider a few things. You want to devote that bag to this purpose. It will not do you any good if you have to pack time you are going to leave. The next consideration is that it should blend in. Keep in mind the gray man theory. This rules out that super cool tactical rucksack you have left over from the raid on area 51. Finally, it should be large enough to carry the items you need. However, not so large that it is inconvenient to have around.
I find that backpacks designed for laptops fit this particular use quite nicely. They are generally fairly durable. This is due to the weight of a laptop and the need for them to be sturdy. I find they also have an assortment of pockets, which make organizing your gear much easier. They also tend to blend in as many working professionals carry them. Some examples are listed here.
The first thing to put in your Coronavirus EDC
Since this kit is intended to first minimize your exposure you want to include PPE, or personal protective equipment. This will include hand sanitizer, gloves, a mask if available, and eye protection at a minimum. From a personal standpoint knowing that I am likely to encounter people during the performance of my job, I have been wearing long pants, long sleeves, and boots.
This minimizes my exposed skin to only my hands, face, and head area. I happen to have several boxes of heavy duty latex gloves so that is what I carry, however, if you cannot find the hospital grade gloves for your kit then you can substitute with heavy duty cleaning gloves or even some work gloves. While these may not completely prevent the virus, they will drastically reduce your exposure. Since the coronavirus is spread in micro droplets of water these gloves would be sufficient to minimize the contact with your skin. I would select a pair that has the rubberized coating to increase that protection a bit more.
The next item to cover is a mask. I am not saying you should wear a mask at all times. Though having one available is not a bad idea. Masks are becoming rare, and if possible, you would do best if you could locate an N95 or better mask. However, due to the shortage they are asking that these be left to the health professionals for the time being. Since the virus is spread through water droplets, if you can minimize the chance that you breathe those droplets in every little bit helps. Taking that into consideration you can use the paper masks commonly found in hospitals, the painting masks found in home improvement stores, or even the dust masks commonly worn by bikers and other sports enthusiasts. These do not provide complete protection but may help.
Keep in mind that these options will not eliminate your exposure and should not be used as an alternative if you are knowingly subjecting yourself to exposure they can be used to lesson your risk in an accidental exposure type case. Back to the example of having to take a cab or Uber home. The virus can remain alive on inert surfaces such as the interior of the vehicle for several days. By wearing gloves and even one of these, mask options it will lessen the chance that you accidentally contaminate your face when you reach up to scratch or brush your face against the door accidentally.
The last part of this section covers eye protection. Ideally, eye protection would completely cover your eyes going back to the point where they meet the skin. That being said you might look strange wearing a scuba mask around. You can make due in this case with any prescription or sunglasses, though the wrap around style that fits snugly is probably a better option. Lastly, if appropriate grab a hat of some sort. I prefer beanie style hats though even a ball cap would help some.
Exposure is minimized, now what?
Now that we have minimized our exposure chances we need to decide what to do if we do find out that we have been exposed. Assuming that it is discovered immediately that you have been exposed you need to consider your options. If you live at home alone then you could just return home and decontaminate.
However, if you live with others you must consider if you want to run the risk of contaminating them. There is also the question as to whether you were exposed while wearing your PPE or by surprise and you may be infected. Assuming that you were wearing your PPE you just need to take into consideration your clothing. This along with the chance that you have a clothing malfunction is why I suggest that the next item we pack be a full change of clothes. I recommend this be one of those items always included in a Bug out Bag especially in a Coronavirus EDC.
In the case of a Coronavirus EDC you can use this change of clothes to remove the outer layer of clothing you were wearing during your exposure. This will lower the chance of your vehicle or residence becoming contaminated by anything that may be on your clothing. It also gives you a change of clothes in case of any of life’s normal events as well. I suggest that this change of clothes include socks and other undergarments as needed. You should also make sure that the change of clothes is appropriate for your use. If you work in an office environment then you want to make sure the outfit is appropriate in that outfit.
It would not work out very well if you normally wear a three-piece suit to work and your spare outfit is gym shorts and a t-shirt. In the case of a Coronavirus EDC I pack thick pants and a long sleeve shirt. If you already keep an extra work outfit in your vehicle then the outfit in your EDC can be whatever suits your needs and is practical.
Now to discuss the more difficult choices for a Coronavirus EDC
Beyond just the Coronavirus, you need to consider the area you live in and what kind of trials you may face. For instance living in the South East during the winter is much different from living in the Rockies during the winter when you may have to face snowstorms. Considering those factors, we should consider things to place into our EDC – Bug out Bag. Some routine suggestions are food, water, first aid, tools for minor jobs, and a way to communicate home.
In most instances, you will not be carrying this bag but remember you want it to fit in so size is an issue. In regards to food, if possible I suggest trying to fit at a minimum two meals and an easily replaceable snack in your bag. Some options here are MRE style options such as these from Backpackers Pantry, these military styles for sale on Amazon, or these Mountain House Adventure Meals. However, with the drastic price increase of these items, you can substitute canned soups or similar for the time being, make sure to choose an option in which you will consume the entire contents at one time and that does not require heating in order to be safe to eat. I would also make sure they have the peel open tops so that you can open them without additional tools.
You will also need to include eating utensils and if you are putting this bag together from items you have at home then you can toss in a cheap spoon and fork from your drawer or include disposable ones. Another option is this three piece set available on Amazon.
In most instances, you will not need water or food as you should be able to reach a source of both of those, however, it does not hurt to have some on hand. Having a bottle or two of water is not a bad idea, and you can store bottled water for around two years with no issues. If your situation involves frequently commuting a long distance through rural areas then you may want to consider additional options.
One may be a Lifestraw, which is a portable water filter. If you choose a Lifestraw, I suggest picking up a water bottle just large enough for the life straw to fit inside of with the lid on. This will make it easier to store and protect the straw. It will also eliminate the need for you to be right at the source of water, which is the biggest drawback of the life straw.
Another option and one that is a bit more recent in development is a water bottle that already contains a filter such as these available on Amazon. Keep in mind that you want to make sure the filter is capable of filtering water from any source.
The potential to be injured is always a concern in nearly every aspect of life. This is true regardless of whether you live in a large city or rural town. No matter what you are doing from sports to simply riding in a vehicle. Some things to take into account when selecting a first aid kid. First and in my opinion most important, what is your skill level? Many first aid kits include things such as nasopharyngeal tubes and large bore needles for needle chest decompression. For the average person these require techniques far above their level and are unneeded in your kits. You want to make sure you can treat the most basic injuries. You should consider taking some time to familiarize yourself with some basic first aid.
Once you have determined your skill level and have some idea of the types of injuries, you might be capable of dealing with on your own you need to select the items for your kit. I suggest some things such as Band-Aids, large gauze pads, adhesive tape, antiseptic cleanser, elastic wraps, latex gloves, and a tourniquet.
These are the minimum items that I would include; if you are not familiar with a tourniquet I would definitely make an attempt to correct that. You can find numerous videos on how to use one. Even if you applied it and did not completely stop the blood it would slow the bleeding. This would be similar to a pressure dressing and could increase the chances for survival. They frequently come with directions but this is one of those items that can truly save a life.
Most of the other items will allow you to treat basic scrapes sprains and minor bleeding and should allow you to deal with the most basic injuries. I would not concern myself with medications such as Tylenol and aspirin for this kit. Focus instead on minor injuries and avoid giving medications. You may not know what allergies someone suffers from. On the other hand, if you take any critical medications that are not likely to expire in a short time such as asthma inhalers or heart medications like nitroglycerin, I would definitely add that to the kit. You should also include a copy of your prescription and the dosage in case someone else needs to administer it for you.
Other items to include
I also like to have a small amount of cash stored in the kit. This can be from twenty to a hundred dollars depending on your budget. I would not store bills larger than twenties though. This is primarily so that you could take care of basic expenses should you lose your wallet, have a financial issue such as fraud on your bankcards, or some other reason you cannot use your plastic. I suggest nothing larger than a twenty as some businesses do not have enough cash on hand to make change for larger bills and will often refuse them. The hundred dollars included here are even more important for a Coronavirus EDC due to the possibility of needing to stay in a hotel at short notice.
I also include a multi-tool knife. Many people prefer to have a traditional knife. However, I have discovered that in many instances I find myself using the pliers or other tools far more than I use the knife blade.
Another item I like to have is a small roll of tough string or rope. I cannot tell you how many times a piece of rope has come in handy. In the past, I have rigged a short rope to the throttle of my four-wheeler when the throttle cable broke. I have tied them to the windshield wipers when the motor failed during a rainstorm. I have used it to secure damaged vehicle parts in accidents. Rope also works great when you decide to pick up an item from a furniture store or hardware store. Only to discover that it does not fit in your cargo area and needs to be tied down. I have seen small ropes used as makeshift belts, binders for a splint, and even to keep an aggressive subject inside of his residence until back up units arrive.
A decent flashlight is another item that I recommend. A small reliable version that puts out a consistent light level is better here. The latest super bright torch that uses its batteries in five minutes will leave you in the dark. For this purpose, I prefer to have one that can use standard batteries. This is due to the fact that I have frequently went to access my flashlight only to discover that it has somehow gotten turned on and is now dead. If it uses standard batteries then I can carry extras without too much issue and simply swap them out. For size, weight and access to batteries I suggest one that uses AA style batteries in this case.
I also like to include a small pack of baby wipes. These are great to clean up spills or as emergency toilet paper. How many times have you had to stop suddenly and hit up the questionable gas station bathroom only to discover there is no toilet paper? Simply grab this packet of wipes from your pack before you head in for that emergency bathroom stop. I must mention it here as well, but consider feminine items if you need those as well.
The last topic to cover is communication. Many people now days rely on cell phones to communicate since they are super convenient. I only for a few instances in which cell service would completely end. So I feel that your focus in this area should be continuing your service. Some things you need to prepare for include, your battery on your phone dying. You could combat that by having a battery bank such as these. Another possible issue is you loosing or breaking your phone.
One option if you just want to be able to make emergency calls is sticking an old cell phone. One little known fact is that all cell phones, even those without service are still capable of accessing the 911 system. If it is a smart phone, you may be able to find an open wi-fi service. That would let you get online and contact home that way. I chose this method. I can always take the sim out of my phone and put into the spare phone.
Another option is to purchase a prepaid phone and just leave it in your bag turned off. If you decide to go with this option, make sure you check the expiration on the plans and look at it thoroughly. One of the cheapest options that seems to have decent reviews on Reddit is from Redpocket.
The basics of Coronavirus EDC covered
Now that we have covered the basics of a Coronavirus EDC we should consider those items specific to our daily needs. For instance, do you have a need/desire to carry a concealed weapon, ammo or other device? What about medical specific items beyond medications? Does your environment pose unusual hazards such as the potential for snow storms? Address each of these items as needed in your specific circumstances and use that information to finish out your EDC.
In summary the perfect Coronavirus EDC will contain
A bag to carry the items in, those items needed to minimize your exposure to the coronavirus, spare outfit, small amount of food, small amount of water, a communications option, first aid supplies, a multi-tool, some string or rope, and other specific items to your life style. Consider things that you use every day and that would be a huge inconvenience should you forget them or something happen to them. Keep in mind weight, size, and portability of your choices. Lastly keep in mind that you do not want to stand out.
I hope you enjoyed this article. Please have a look around the site and check out some other articles. I suggest starting with Why You Should Become a Prepper and while you are at it sign up for our Newsletter.