Home Disaster Preparedness Build a “Go Bag”

Build a “Go Bag”

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This is a small bag that you can grab in an emergency and “GO” with. It contains important documents, valuables, and whatever you need to survive for 2-3 days.  In an emergency evacuation you simply don’t have time to run around looking for things.  A pre-packed “go bag” will save time, and quite possibly your life.  When assembling your bag assume that you’ll wake up in the middle of the night and have only two minutes to leave your home and never return.  Assume you won’t have time to grab your wallet, cell phone, computer, or credit cards.  Here’s mine.  A good “go bag” should contain most of these items:

A checklist titled “Grab if you have time” right on top of your bag.  Mine is laminated and attached with a zip tie to keep it from getting lost.  These are nice-to-have items, but don’t risk your family’s life to collect them.

  • Refrigerated medications
  • Cell phones & chargers
  • Wallets
  • Laptops, iPads, etc. with chargers
  • Check book
  • Jewelry/other valuables
  • Pets
  • Clothing, coats, blankets, etc.
  • Memory stick containing copies of all the files you created in the “What Can I Do NOW?” section.
  • Printed, laminated contact list, with addresses and phone numbers.
  • Xerox copy of everything in your wallet.
  • Extra car keys.
  • Local and State level maps.
  • Ziploc bags containing all of your important documents.
  • Cash.  The more, the better.  Plan on price gouging, especially for fuel, food and water.  Assume that no one will have change for large bills, so have an assortment.
  • Extra set of underwear, socks, and a shirt.
  • Personal Hygiene items. Toothbrushes and toothpaste. Feminine products.
  • Emergency food. The Clif bar, Luna Bar, Pro Bar, and PowerBar are the four highest rated meal substitutes in terms of taste, price and caloric content.
  • Water.  A couple of large bottles. Keep it reasonable because water weighs 8 lbs/gallon.
  • Lifestraw ($20). If you can find water, you can drink it using this one of these.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries. Choose a small LED flashlight because they’re light and easy on batteries.  Choose a model that uses common batteries, like AA or AAA instead of expensive, hard-to-find batteries like the CR123s.
  • Emergency blanket in case you need to spend the night away from home. I like the SOL Survival Blanket ($7 on Amazon) or the heavier duty SOL Escape Bivvy ($34).
  • Small first aid kit. You’ll need band aids, moleskin, tweezers, aspirin, single-edge razor blade, a compress and tape.  Keep it small and store it in a Ziploc bag.
  • Prescription medications. Pre-package a week’s worth in Ziploc bags and mark them with the date so you can rotate them annually.  If you take injectable medications requiring refrigeration, pre-package a week’s worth of syringes and alcohol wipes.  Be sure to grab your medications and a cold storage container on the way out the door.
  • Extra eye glasses and sun glasses
  • Hand gel and baby wipes. These are nice if you’ren’t able to shower.
  • Roll of toilet paper in a Ziploc bag. Worth a million dollars.
  • Utility knife or pocket knife.

Store your “go bag” in a place where you can grab it on the way out your door.  Better yet, keep it in the trunk of your car in case you’re away from home when the event strikes.

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