While COVID-19 causes continued distress worldwide, the silver lining of this pandemic is that safety has become a priority matter for virtually everyone. In many ways, we’re taking inventory of the resources we have so we can better prepare ourselves for future emergency situations.
Whether for the pandemic, wildfires, earthquakes or any other public safety concerns we face, it’s vital that everyone takes precaution whenever possible. One of the best preventative measures is to stock an emergency “go-bag” in the event it’s needed in the future.
Go-bags are not a new idea, but they’re becoming increasingly important. If you aren’t sure what to stock in yours, here’s our recommended list of necessities:
Backpack: Most traditional styles of backpacks should work, but you can also opt for larger backpacks like you might use on a camping trip. Avoid using a suitcase, because it can’t be easily carried if you’re in a hurry. Your go-bag isn’t for vacation – it’s a survival resource. Test out your filled backpacks in advance to make sure you can carry the weight as comfortably as possible.
Emergency Information: Keep a list of your important contacts and their phone numbers. Include a copy of your health insurance, identification, or any other information-based materials that might be hard to access or remember in an emergency.
OCTO® Respirator Mask (ORM): The last thing you should worry about is breathing clean air. Whether it’s a pandemic or a wildfire evacuation, you need to be able to breathe properly. ORM has a 10-year shelf life, so it will be handy when you need it. Order yours here.
First Aid Kit: These come in many shapes and sizes. Try to find one that’s compact enough to fit in your bag, but still has a diverse range of products inside. At the bare minimum, you want to make sure it has bandages, gauze, a thermometer, wound cleanser, pain relievers, burn cream, skin rash cream, antiseptic cream, antihistamine cream, cough medicine, disposable gloves, tweezers and scissors. You may also want cold packs, hot packs, eye care products or other items depending on your personal health needs.
Flashlight: Battery operated flashlights can easily run low, so opt for a solar powered or hand crank flashlight. You can also purchase a flashlight/radio combination like this one, which can help you stay on top of the news if you can’t access your cellular data or the internet.
Filtration Bottle: Don’t worry about storing bottled water; it takes up too much space and you’ll use it up too quickly. Instead, get a water bottle that filters water for you, such as the LifeStraw Go Water Bottle. Bottles that can clip to the outside of your bag help save more room inside.
Non-Perishable Food: A couple food items you can readily eat will help until you find shelter and hot food. Canned, boxed and packaged foods can all work, but keep nutrition in mind.
Prescription Medication: If you rely on specific medication of any kind, keep a week’s supply in your go-bag. It might take some time to refill your prescription in an emergency situation.
Tools: You don’t have to go with the traditional Swiss Army knife, but a small multitool that includes a knife, can opener and other helpful gadgets will come in handy.
Fire starter: Starting your own fire in the wilderness isn’t as easy as the movies make it seem. Carry matches, a lighter, or something to create good sparks like this fire starter.
Miscellaneous Items: The previously mentioned items are essential, but depending on the size of your bag and your personal weight limits, you may want to consider some of these as well:
- One fresh change of clothes
- Poncho, in case of rain
- Strong rope or paracord
- Bug repellant and soothing cream for bites
- Hygiene products
- Set of cards and/or small games
Pro-Tip: When you can find reputable combination items, do it. This can save you a lot of room. Whether it’s the flashlight/radio combo we mentioned, or a fire starter included in another tool, or a poncho that doubles as a blanket, multi-use items can make a big difference.
Finally, please read all directions for every product in your go-bag. Learn how each item works in advance. You don’t want to get stuck in an emergency situation only to find out you can’t adequately operate or use something in your bag.
In any emergency situation, your safety and survival is the top priority. Help yourself now by preparing for the future. Build your go-bag, learn the ins and outs of every product, and keep it somewhere safe and easily accessible if you need to grab it in a hurry. Also, remember that every member of your household needs their own go-bag.