What Goes into a Go Bag

The incident, which did not result in any bystanders being injured but did lead to the temporary evacuation of an apartment complex, drove home to Kretzer the need for all families to have a survival bag they can grab in an emergency.

“You can be asked to evacuate your home for a number of emergencies — often with little warning and limited time to gather your possessions,” she said.

No area in the country is immune from disaster and unexpected evacuation, said Jim Judge, emergency management director for Volusia County, Florida, and a member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. Threats range from weather concerns and wildfires to hazardous material spills and police matters.

With hurricane and wildfire seasons under way, summer is a good time to consider packing a go-bag of emergency supplies.

Having a pre-packed bag or bin ready will help reduce the stress of a stressful situation, said Stuart Warshaw, whose company, VLESdesigns, sells stocked emergency bags. He and other safety experts also recommend having a plan about how to evacuate and where to go.

“You need a cool head when there’s little time and potentially critical decisions to make,” he said.

His bag includes wheels so it can be rolled through urban areas or airports, and it also has straps and a waist belt so it can be worn as a backpack.

Some families prefer an old suitcase or plastic tub stored under a bed or in a closet, Judge said. A duffle bag also works well, Kretzer said.

The contents of your kit should help you survive up to three days, she said. Be sure to think about every member of the family, including pets.

This includes eyeglasses, contact solution, hygiene supplies, and prescription and over-the-counter medicines that are taken regularly. If you have a young child, include diapers, baby food and formula.

If you are unable to pack prescription medications, tape a note to the bag reminding you to grab them, or prepare a checklist of last-minute additions that’s kept with the bag.

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