Easy tips for creating your “Go Bag”

October 10, 2022

Hurricane Ian just ripped through the southeastern United States.

I, like many of my neighbors, was ordered to evacuate as the storm approached land. 

When it became clear that leaving town was necessary, I was able to walk out the door in 15 minutes. 

I knew where my passport, clean water and other essentials were and that made my exit much easier and quicker. 

If a disaster were heading your way, would you be prepared to leave as quickly?

Hopefully having a “go” bag will make answering YES that much easier. 

No one wants to imagine these kinds of emergencies, but this is definitely a case of “better safe (and prepared) than sorry.” 

So what is a go bag? It’s an emergency preparedness bag stocked with survival essentials for short-term disasters. 

The contents of your bag should provide life-or-death support in the face of a hurricane, flood, fire or any scenario where evacuation is necessary.

A go bag is usually designed for the immediate 12 to 24 hours following an evacuation, but you could expand that to meet FEMA’s recommendation of having 72 hours’ worth of supplies on hand. 

Think of it as a portable, potentially life-saving capsule that you can grab in a split second should you need to rush out the door. 

You can create one using a book bag or other small backpack and ideally, it is stored in a closet by the front door or in the trunk (boot) of your car.

You may dismiss this bag as unnecessary but the reality is that a go bag is easy to assemble, inexpensive, and again, potentially life-saving. 

Here’s how to decide what to pack in your go bag—start by considering a full 24-hour day for you and each member of your family. Every single essential item you use during that period should be in your go bag.

  1. Water
  2. Food
  3. Medication
  4. Money—cash in small bills is best 
  5. Personal documents—your passport and a copy of your birth certificate
  6. Battery-operated weather radio
  7. A first-aid kit
  8. A multi-tool—including a knife and a screwdriver, pliers, wire cutters and scissors
  9. An LED flashlight or headlamp
  10. Extra batteries 
  11. Waterproof matches
  12. Personal items, including a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, deodorant, tampons and pads—if you have smaller kids, include extra diapers and wipes
  13. An emergency blanket
  14. A foldable weather poncho
  15. A solar-powered cell phone charger
  16. A paper map—or download one to your phone so it’s available without service
  17. A compass
  18. Pet supplies (if you have pets)

The point of any kind of emergency preparedness kit is to keep you and your family safe no matter what happens, so don’t procrastinate on assembling your go bag now, so you’ll have it when you need it later. 

More resources can be found here: https://www.ready.gov/kit

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