As Texas recovers from Hurricane Harvey, and Florida braces for Hurricane Irma, it seems clear that it never hurts to be prepared for an emergency. Packing a go-bag–a bag you grab on your way out of the door during an evacuation–may seem like the first step to living in a bunker in the backyard, but as climate change is making it harder to predict floods, better safe than sorry.
Plus, a go-bag only takes a few minutes to put together and can be easily assembled with a quick trip to the store (or try to get Alexa to order your kit from Amazon). As for what you should pack in that go-bag, FEMA has a few suggestions:
- One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days
- At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener if you are including canned food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and 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
- Prescription medicine, contact lenses, and any prescription glasses that you aren’t wearing on your face
- Important documents in a waterproof container: birth certificates, identification, insurance information, bank account information, immunization records, whatever you might need if say, your cellphone gets washed away in a flood
- Cash or travelers’ checks, which are still a thing, apparently
- Diapers and infant formula for babies; toys and games for older kids who might get bored while mommy and daddy panic
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and sturdy shoes for each person
- Water purification tablets or household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper. Diluted nine parts water to one part bleach for use as a disinfectant, or in an emergency, treat water by putting 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach in a gallon of water
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Personal hygiene items like toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, tampons or pads, soap, shampoo, etc.
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
- Paper and pencil
While FEMA doesn’t mention them, it can’t hurt to throw in chargers, a spare cell phone if you have one, and a digital backup of photos and video of personal property—all in a waterproof, resealable bag.