Simple Emergency Preparations: “GO BAGS”
These are the GO BAGS I have packed, you will need to customize yours to fit your needs and environment. And don’t forget your pets…
Everyone, regardless of where they live, regardless of the unique dangers inherent in their locales, needs to be prepared. We are not talking about building a bomb shelter 50 feet underground here. Just basic items that could become a lifesaver at relatively little cost. I have two “GO BAGS”. One is in my trunk, it contains rope, super glue, jumper cables, flares, dust mask, water, an air pump that can be operated by my cigarette lighter, rolled gauze, sanitary napkins, ace bandages, box cutters, rubbing alcohol, peroxide, zip lock baggies in several sizes, duct tape, flash light, Tylenol, box of baking soda, matches, and sterile gloves. I have additional items that I keep in the trunk, a 10 pound bag of kitty litter, a drinking cup that has a built in water filter and a small bottle of water purification tablets tucked inside, toilet paper, zip ties, a small container of bleach, 3 blankets, 3 rain ponchos, 3 plastic ‘drop cloths’, work gloves, a fire extinguisher, and a set of tools. This sounds like a lot, but it fits in milk crate type box and a backpack, with the blankets and the bag of kitty litter under the crate. I have a very small trunk and I still have three quarters of it remaining.
Some of the items that you may not understand, the kitty litter is in case of gasoline or other flammable liquid leaking at the scene of an accident or whatever the case may be, the litter neutralizes, soaks up, and isolates the dangerous liquids. Sanitary napkins work better than any absorbent bandage, they are thin, and wicks moisture away from the skin, men, have the woman in your life buy you a bag of Always pads…it could keep you from bleeding to death. (There are bandages that have a clotting agent in them that you can get on-line at survival sites). In a pinch, super glue can do double duty as stitches. The ace bandages are better than any medical tape considering they are going in the trunk. The plastic drop cloths are folded up in an 8 x 10 package, when unfolded they can provide a clean area for injured people to lay on or keep the elements off of a couple of people. The only thing that has any adhesive, is duct tape, adhesives will melt and be useless, but duct tape takes years for the adhesive to melt, even in the deep south. Bandaids are useless. The antibacterial creams and ointments will melt and be useless. The pre-stocked emergency kits really have very little that will actually help in an emergency. A lot of these items can be found at your local dollar store. The water purification cup with the filter and the extra tablets I keep tucked inside, you can get at any sporting goods store. The blankets at any thrift shop or military surplus store.
I have a second “GO BAG” that is similar, the items that are in italics above are in this bag, too. But since this bag is not subject to the heat, like the one in my trunk and this one is more personal, I keep the bandaids, neosporin, sunscreen, chapstick, toothbrush, dental floss, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, nail file, clippers, scissors (I got a pair of craft scissors that are small, durable, and lock closed), medications, food items, cash, a good knife (mine is an assisted opening tanto), a multi-purpose tool (the one I have was a gift, it is made by SOG), a Bible, a small notebook, sharpie pen, super glue, a small radio, batteries, and clothing…jeans, socks, underwear, and long sleeved cotton (NOT KNIT) shirts. Right before grabbing this bag, I would add my wallet that has myidentification and contacts, my keys which has a whistle on it, my guns, and ammo.
This is what I pack, for my environment, but you have to customize yours for where you live and what you think you will need. Everything liquid, or that could melt, goes in ziplock bags, all of the small items that could get lost in the bottom of the bag go into another ziplock bag. There is a pocket on the front of the backpack that helps keep items segregated. I pack travel sizes with the liquid items like the peroxide, alcohol, and bleach and they are in a ziplock bag, in the front pocket. This bag, I have tried to keep it at the 20 to 25 pound limit. Anything heavier would be too cumbersome. I check the bag about once a month just to make sure everything is okay. I rotate items like the medications. Even if you are not on any medication, you will still want to pack tylenol, benadryl, imodium, tums, a multi-symptom cold/flu tablets, a good multi-vitamin, exlax, and anything else that you may need. I try to get them in travel size blister packs, that way they all fit together in one small cloth bag. I also pack a small tube of ora-gel 20% lidocaine, it works on more than just teeth, and aspirin tablets that can be crushed. You will think of a million other little things to throw in, but I caution you to try to keep it to necessities, because 20 to 25 pounds will get very heavy, very fast, especially if you are on foot and having to move quickly and quietly.
Have a plan. Have a set location that your family will meet at, if you are separated. Each family member will need their own “GO BAG”. Do not forget your pets. You will need a small “GO BAG” for them, too. If you have a medium to large dog, they have pouches that you pack for them that straps on them like a chest harness and has a ring to clip their leash to. There is no way I could leave my dog. I have not gotten one of those pouches for her, yet. I have been shopping around on web-sites to find what I want. Their “GO BAGS” are simple, food, treats, and medications. Hopefully, none of us will need this. The last piece of advice that I have is to pray.