National Preparedness Month: Assemble Your Go Bag

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own foodwater and other supplies to last for several days. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Download a printable version to take with you to the store. Once you take a look at the basic items consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets or seniors.

Household Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

To assemble your kit store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

The Go Bag

Since Spring of 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended people include additional items in their kits to help prevent the spread of coronavirus or other viruses and the flu.

Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:

The term go bag came from the idea that in an emergency such as an evacuation or home fire etc, you don’t have the time to get your things together so you grab it and go. Here is a list of suggested items that can be carried in a backpack.

    • First Aid Kit – a decent well-stocked kit, including a couple of weeks’ supply of any prescription medications you need. Also include pharmaceutical grade crazy (skin) glue.
    • Cash – plenty of it because depending on the event, credit cards may not be useful. Consider having about $100-200 in ones, that way you never need change. A couple quarter rolls could come in handy. Do not “flash” it around.
    • Clothing – At least 1 set of clothes, think layers. 3 pairs of underwear and 3 pairs of socks.
    • A blanket – to keep you warm. Consider a Mylar emergency blanket, which is lightweight and packs up small.
    • Flashlight – crank style flashlight and snap lights such as glow-sticks.
    • Whistle – good for locating people in a crowd, at night, or in low visibility conditions
    • Radio – crank style or battery operated NOAA weather AM-FM radio.
    • Food – non-perishable food; energy bars are good and take up little space
    • Water – store at least 1 gallon per person per day for three days.
    • Goggles – protect your eyes!
    • Hand and feet warmers – get the carbon activated kind, they work great.
    • Rope – has endless uses, choose various sizes (rubber bands, too).
    • Trash bags – big black trash bags; they can also be used as a poncho or to cut open to make a tent
    • Multi-use Knife
    • Dust masks –  2 per person; best if heavy-duty respirator type masks
    • Duct Tape
    • Plastic Sheeting
    • Important Documents – Copies of passport, driver’s license, insurance, and any other important documents
    • Map – a map of the area you plan to go; don’t rely on the internet, which might go down.
    • Toiletries
    • Maxi Pads – can also be used as a bandage, if needed.
    • Stationery – Sticky pad and a pen and pencil in case you need to leave a note for family to let them know where you went or where to meet. Also, keep at least one wallet size photo of your immediate family, children, or pets. This is crucial in case you get separated and need to enlist the help of others to find your loved ones.
    • Hand sanitizer – gel anti-bacterial hand wash/sanitizer (non rinse), available at any pharmacy and most supermarkets and convenience stores, for cleaning hands and even wounds in a pinch. You never know what you may have to touch in an emergency.
    • Shoes – a comfortable and sturdy pair of shoes.
    • Gloves – a pair of leather work gloves. Again, think rescue and retrieval.
    • Pets – pet care products (litter, leash, etc.) and food.

September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. The information in this post comes from FEMA and Coffey Strong, a neighborhood organization dedicated to post-wildfire rebuild in Santa Rosa, CA