Be ready for disaster – Prepare a “Go-Bag”

Disaster can strike at any time, whether natural or man-made. With an increasing amount of disasters such as storms and flooding, and with hurricane season being underway, people who live in areas prone to extreme weather should prepare for having to evacuate in an emergency.

A great way to be prepared for having to leave your home is having a go-bag ready. A go-bag should contain enough essential items for you and your dependents to rely on for a few days away from home. It should contain necessary items that will ensure some level of comfort and safety in time of a disaster. Some important items that should be considered for a 2-3 day go-bag are as follows:

For yourself:

  • Copies of birth certificate, passport and driver’s license, preferably laminated
  • Bank cards and cash – it’s a good idea to keep a small sum of cash in case ATMs stop working
  • Any prescriptions, including spare glasses or contact lenses
  • Some clothes and if possible, a change of shoes
  • Travel size toiletries, including wet wipes, toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Bottled water and non-perishable food
  • A first aid kit
  • A rain poncho
  • Flashlight with spare batteries
  • Cellphone charger
  • A list of contacts
  • A sewing kit
  • A Swiss army knife
  • Spare house and vehicle keys
  • A picture of your kids in case you get separated

For your children:

  • Any medication needed
  • Spare clothes
  • A card with your information and picture on it in case you get separated
  • Their bedding or a comfort item to help them remain calm
  • Diapers, wipes and baby food (if necessary)

For your pets:

  • Tinned food or dry food in a zip-top bag
  • A carrier they’re comfortable in
  • Appropriate collars and leashes
  • Any medication they need
  • A small dish you can use to give them water

Another option is to utilize your smartphone to include pictures of your birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, and kids as a secondary backup to the paper copies. However, it is highly recommended to password protect your phone in case it gets lost during the evacuation.

Everyone will have their own preferences and items they’d like to add. Those listed above are guidelines and can be extremely useful to have ready when you need to evacuate quickly.