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Emergency Go Bag: How To Build One

Emergency Go Bag: How To Build One

Is Your Family Prepared For An Emergency? 

If and when the worst happens, your family needs to have resources handy to respond. One of the most important steps in leveling up your emergency preparedness is assembling an emergency go bag. This bag is what you’ll take with you if you need to evacuate your home in a hurry, complete with food, water, first aid supplies, and other essentials. 

In this article, we’ll cover the most important info you need when building your own emergency go bag. It’s often tough to know where to start with emergency preparedness, but we’re here to help. The process of putting together a go bag is simpler than you might think. All your bag needs are emergency resources to last you and your family for up to 72 hours. Of course, food and water are two of the most important things to pack in your go bag, but you’ll also benefit from several other items, which we’ll cover in the paragraphs to follow.

What To Pack In Your Emergency Go Bag 

First and foremost, when you need to evacuate your home, it’s essential to bring backup food and water with you. Your emergency food and water should be non-perishable, meaning they don’t need refrigeration and can stay fresh for years if kept in storage. One of the best options for non-perishable food to pack in your emergency go bag are high-calorie, high-nutrition meal replacement bars. These will help you and your family stay full if you need to wait a while before you’ll have access to more food again.

Your emergency go bag also needs to be fully stocked with medical supplies. Anything you need to patch up cuts, scrapes, burns, and bruises should be included in your go bag’s first aid kit. Either go for a pre-assembled first aid kit or assemble your own. In many cases, pre-assembled first aid kits are more convenient and low-maintenance than building your own, since they come complete with everything you need for quick and easy use.

In addition to food, water, and first aid supplies, your go bag should include resources that will keep you and your family warm and dry. This means ponchos, hand warmers, and emergency blankets, all of which are easy to pack and carry. We’ll discuss this more later, but one of the essential rules to follow when assembling your go bag is to pack light. Wearable items can easily take up too much space in your go bag, crowding out the room you need for other items.

Other items to add to your go bag include hand sanitizer for when you can’t access soap and water, a pre-charged single-use phone charger to use when you don’t have power, and a hand-crank radio. These items are ideal for keeping you safe, healthy, and connected with others if you’re forced to evacuate your home and can only take a few things with you.

Packing Right 

One of the first questions to ask yourself when building an emergency go bag is, “How many people do I need to account for?” The number of people in your household will directly affect the number of resources you need to pack in your emergency kit, especially when it comes to food, water, and wearable items. If you live alone, you only need enough emergency supplies to last yourself up to 72 hours. However, if you live with others, everyone will need enough food and water for up to 72 hours, as well as their own emergency blanket, poncho, hand warmers, and any other wearable emergency items that you’ll need. 

Another consideration you’ll need to make when building your emergency go bag is whether there are any specific emergency needs unique to you or one of the members of your household. For example, if you or someone in your family has severe allergies, your emergency go bag’s first aid kit will need to contain a spare Epi-Pen. If someone has asthma, you’ll need an inhaler, and so on. Your emergency kit’s supplies can be tailored to fit the specific needs of your family.

Packing Light 

When you’re building your own emergency go bag, one of the most important things to consider is the weight and bulk of each item you pack. Your emergency supplies should be as lightweight as possible to make your go bag easy to carry when you need to quickly evacuate your home. The more people there are in your household, the heavier your emergency kit will be, since many items like food, water and blankets will need to be packed in proportion to the number of people you live with. If you have a big family, lightweight emergency supplies are even more important, since you’ll be carrying enough food, water, blankets, ponchos, and other supplies to go around, the weight of your emergency kit can add up quickly if you don’t deliberately pack light.

It’s wise to opt for the lightest versions of each item you’ll be carrying in your emergency kit. For example, instead of full-sized blankets, pack foil emergency blankets instead. Foil blankets are much lighter and more compact than standard blankets but still will keep you warm in an emergency. Instead of packing heavier non-perishable foods like canned goods or boxes of cereal, stock your emergency kit with meal replacement bars. These bars will give you a high amount of calories and nutrition but are a fraction of the size and weight of other non-perishable foods.

Instead of packing full-sized tools in your emergency kit, a better option is a small multi-tool. A multi-tool is much easier to carry than each of its many utilities would be in their full-sized forms. If you need to make a repair during an emergency, your multi-tool offers you a wide variety of functions rolled into one, including a small knife, a saw, pliers, a screwdriver, and more.

One of the best rules to live by when it comes to packing your own emergency go bag is to get more “bang for your buck” with each item you pack. Look for gear that will give you the maximum amount of functionality while taking up the least possible amount of space. This principle is why meal replacement bars make the best emergency food, and why a multi-tool is better than carrying full-sized tools.

A Few Things To Remember 

In addition to a well-stocked emergency go bag, you and your family need an evacuation plan to get out of your home as fast as possible in the event of an emergency. You can draw up your own evacuation plan for emergencies by identifying the easiest exit from your home from each room. Make sure your emergency go bag is stored in a place where it is easy to grab and get out, like right at the door.

With an evacuation plan and an emergency go bag, you’ll be ready to make a quick exit from your home when you need to get to safety. If possible, practice your evacuation plan with the members of your household at least twice a year. In addition, make sure everyone in your family knows how to use the supplies in your emergency go bag, especially first aid gear. Everyone in your family can become a pro at emergency preparedness – it just takes some preparation, practice, and intentionality. No matter what, going the extra mile to be prepared for any emergency is well worth the effort!

Sources:

https://www.iii.org/article/preparing-effective-evacuation-plan

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/non-perishable-food

https://www.ready.gov/business/implementation/emergency

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