Emergency Preparedness 101: What is in Your GO bag?

What to have a "Go Bag" ready in the event of an emergency.



  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flash light with extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
  • Pen, paper and magnifying lens
  • Extra sets of car and house keys
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

Medical & First aid:

  • First aid kit
  • List of medications and dosages household members take, or copes of all prescription slips with doctors’ name and numbers.
  • Prescription medications and glasses. Ask your doctor about storing prescription medications such as heart and high blood pressure medication, insulin and other prescription drugs.

Personal items & sanitation:

  • Sanitary products including wipes, tissue, soap, comb, as well as tooth brush and paste
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Poncho


  • Copies of important documents in a waterproof and portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit - EFFAK (PDF - 977Kb) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information. Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or free information from this web site. 
  • Copies of credit and ATM card, traveler's and cash and change
  • Contact and meeting place information for your household
  • a small regional map.

Food & Water:

  • Bottled water and nonperishable food
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Water filter
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils

    See PSP member ideas for food water below.

For kids:

  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

For pets:

  •  Pet food and extra water for your pet

For Baby:

  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Powdered milk
  • Medications
  • Moist towelettes
  • Diaper rash ointment





"Water is especially important more than food, and crucial to have some in your go bag: tetra box, bottled, nalgene or hydration bladder.  But water is heavy to carry all you will need for a family and will run out.  I think its important to have the ability clean your own water.  That means filter and treat.  Some options are:
-all in one systems like a water bottle that purfies with UV light and has a hand crank so you don't need batteries, but you should pre-filter before using.  
-or a really good water filter from MSR or Lifestraw or the like (but I wouldn't trust most by themselves to kill or filter viruses anywhere city or country).
I would suggest that if you're home, get something large to hold water in case of emergencies (need water to clean up messes, dishes, wash yourself, clean wounds, and yes to drink!).  Maybe a tub liner, like an Aquapod, and you can filter and boil water to purify at home.
Outside the home you can carry a water filter Sawyer mini is great, small, easier to use and cheap ($19, and can be used with bottles, hydration bladders and gravity feed) and get some purification tablets like katadyn micropur, you do have to wait 4 hours but it will kill even viruses."


"With regard to food, cans are good for home, but try carrying 5 cans in your go-bag for a family!  They are kinda heavy. Foil sealed options are much lighter, whether plain old supermarket brand Chicken of the Sea Salmon or Mountain House Beef Stroganoff! Always check the shelf life, under 1 year, find something else to go in your go-bag. 
Every family or person that's able to help themselves and others puts less drain on the Emergency Response System, so they can help those in dire need.  Think about having some extra for your neighbors!"





Family Communication Plan for Parents and Kids


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