Packing an emergency hurricane go-bag? Here’s what FEMA says you need

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:

  1. One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days
  2. At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener if you are including canned food
  3. Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  4. Flashlight and extra batteries
  5. First aid kit
  6. Whistle to signal for help
  7. Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  8. Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  9. Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Other items to include, if you have space:
  1. Prescription medicine, contact lenses, and any prescription glasses that you aren’t wearing on your face
  2. 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
  3. Cash or travelers’ checks, which are still a thing, apparently
  4. Diapers and infant formula for babies; toys and games for older kids who might get bored while mommy and daddy panic
  5. Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  6. Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and sturdy shoes for each person
  7. 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
  8. Fire extinguisher
  9. Matches in a waterproof container
  10. Personal hygiene items like toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, tampons or pads, soap, shampoo, etc.
  11. Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  12. 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.