Emergency Preparedness in Taiwan – P3

A Brief Guide in Three Parts

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

So what do you carry on you; what do you take with you?
I think of it in terms of tiers.
Tier 1. PANTS (with pockets and a belt)
At any time, day or night, with my pants on or within reach, I will have a multitool/knife and a lighter on me. My phone, wallet and keys are similarly on my person most of the time. So if disaster strikes, at an absolute minimum, I will have these things.
Tier 2. EDC (“Everyday Carry”) Backpack
Your daily necessities, wallet with ID and cards/cash, flashlight, some meds, etc.
Tier 3. VEST
The next tier would be if I throw on my multi-pocket vest. It has basic medical supplies, snacks, a small bottle of water, a raincoat, a multitool, and a flashlight. (I would say that a flashlight really should be on the first tier, but I still need to figure out a non-bulky way to carry one on my belt that will also protect the light from scratches and dust.)
A proper Bug-out Bag with all the goodies. (List to follow).
Tier 5. CAR: pack gear, food, tent, etc.
This should be as fully stocked as is practical with the items you need to be sheltered, warm (or cool), watered, fed, and comfortable as you wait out developments.

Plan on THREE WEEKS without resupply if bugging out. That should give you enough time to get an idea of which way the conflict is going and to plan further steps. During that time you should try to resupply. If roads are open and the situation is stable, you may return to your house to pick up more things.


You can think of cash as your Swiss Army knife. With it you can buy food, water, a room for the night or a bunk bed for a month. You can buy suitable clothes and footwear, a ride on a train, bus, or car; you can purchase a scooter or bicycle or even an old car with it.


As a society, especially when under attack, we all have a responsibility to help our fellow man. Being equipped – mentally as well as in terms of equipment – means that in a disaster situations you can help to save lives; be they your own life, your loved ones’, or your fellow citizens’ lives.
Every household should of course have a first-aid kit that contains the usual band-aids and headache pills, but to prepare for a major disaster, you need something much more serious and specific. A couple of band-aids and some antiseptic cream is not going to help much if you are faced with a casualty that is spurting blood from a severed femoral artery.
While standard first-aid training that focuses on sprains and fractures and things like heat exhaustion is a very valuable start, I really recommend that you get yourself trained by an organization that teaches things like wilderness first aid or military first aid.



Expect disruption of cell phone/internet connection due to the system being swamped in the wake of a disaster, destruction of infrastructure, or simply a widespread power outage. If connection is spotty, send duplicate text messages on LINE, WhatsApp, Telegram, email and phone texts. These apps will save a message and send it anytime the service becomes available.
Note that call boxes still exist and landlines are in fact designed to route traffic around breaks in the network. So: get landline numbers for primary contacts.
Set up a group message on SIGNAL, FB and LINE, and an email group so that you only need to type once to send a message to many people.
Note that SIGNAL and TELEGRAM are phone messaging services that offer encrypted messaging that are more secure than other popular messaging apps.

Use Satellite communicator or SATPhone if available.

Getting reliable information is always a problem in a disaster situation. Listen to ICRT (100.7MHz) and local stations, watch TV for news broadcasts, and pay attention to social media and phone apps. Numerous apps sprang up in Ukraine to let people know where services were available, where attacks were happening, what areas to avoid, where to donate supplies, etc.

tobie openshaw

Tobie Openshaw is a South African documentary filmmaker/photographer based in Taipei. He experienced the 9/21 earthquake of 1999 and produced eyewitness reports on disasters such as Typhoons Morakot and Soudelor, and the Tainan apartment building collapse of 2016. He is a founder of the Taiwan Disaster Preparedness/Civil Resilience – 台灣防災準備/公民韌性 on Facebook. 

Emergency Preparedness in Taiwan

Download printable PDF below

Part 1

Part 2

– Part 3

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