Darkness can be both an ally and your worst enemy, especially when you’re in a hurry. And, as life would have it, disasters tend to happen at night, in the dark, while you’re fast asleep, and without warning. With this in mind I strongly suggest you have the following items nearby your bedside (somewhat in my order of importance) so that they can be easily found:
- Light source – obviously if it’s dark the first thing you’re probably going to want is to be able to see! There are a couple of options here but by far the best one is to keep a durable flashlight (I prefer Maglites) next to your bed. In fact, keep a flashlight next to every bed in the house. Put it wherever it is within arm’s reach and ensure it doesn’t get used but for emergency situations. If you prefer a different approach, you might consider a simple emergency night light that will not only light up if the power goes off (I have these in every bedroom as well) but also turn into a flashlight if you so desire. You could also use a simple tap light (tap to turn on) placed next to the bed if all you need is a small bit of area lighting to get your bearings.
- Firearm – Your choice here, handgun, shotgun, or whatever. Certainly, if your concern is the defense of yourself and your family then it behooves you to have one or several within arms reach. Of course, I’ve mentioned why this isn’t the best of plans for people like me in the past but for most people it’s a good idea. You understand.
- Fire Extinguisher – I prefer to keep a fire extinguisher or two next to each bedside. While I have no intention of battling a fire without help from the fire department, I will try my best to deal with small “trash can” sized fires if I can. And, of course, I recognize the fact that I cannot and should not battle anything much larger and without an for sure escape path. If you’re at all unsure just get out and pray for the best. Which brings me to my next few points…
- Emergency Escape Mask – They say more people die from exposure to the smoke from a house fire rather than the actual flames. I tend to take the experts word for it and suggest you do as well. In this case, consider adding a quality emergency smoke mask next to each bed as something that might give your family a few extra seconds to get out with as little harm done as possible. These masks can get expensive but I would suggest this isn’t the best item to skimp on in the quality department.
- Shoes (or slippers) – Actually, slippers are probably the best idea here, especially for those people who live in earthquake areas for the simple fact that in the event of an earthquake you could be literally running for your life–even though you probably should not be–quite possibly over broken things like dishes and glassware. The same can be said for stepping foot over anything that might have caught fire due to a house fire. Certainly, foot protection is a good idea for anybody wandering around their house at night so I suggest you keep a pair of slippers, loafers, or anything that is quickly slipped on next to your bedside so that you’re ready to run… literally.
- Jacket, robe, etc – I only know of only one person that actually prefers to sleep fully dressed–yes, that’s a little weird I know and it’s not me–but most people probably sleep in very little clothing whatsoever. Seeing as though you might find need to run out of the house at a moment’s notice in little more than your “birthday suit” then it might be wise to have something nearby that can be easily donned so that the neighbors don’t freak out and call the cops on your for indecent exposure. Oh, and if it’s winter then you be thankful to have at least something to wear while you’re waiting for help to arrive.
- Bug out bag – Do I even need to elaborate here? If you gotta go, you gotta go… and post haste! Be sure you know how to get to your bug out bag(s) even in the dark. Perhaps even near your bedside if you have the room and your wife doesn’t complain about them clashing with her decor and blocking the room’s feng shui. 😉
Now, the bonus item is perhaps the most critical one of all…
Spouse (or significant other) and kids – Obviously this could be anybody who is important to you but the question here is: can you quickly get to them in the dark? You might think “sure I can, duh!” but maybe not. Perhaps the kids are literally the next room over but maybe they’re down the hall, on another level, or who knows where. Can you stumble your way there, in the dark, perhaps in the smoke of a fire, with chaos abound if you had to?