The 2018 Hurricane season officially begins today and the forecast from Colorado State University calls for a slightly above-average outlook with a total of 14 named storms (we’ve already had the first named storm), seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes expected. So let’s talk hurricane preparedness. Putting together a Go Bag or Go Kit is one of the best ways to prepare you and your family for a hurricane, or any event, that requires an evacuation or that requires you to shelter in place for an extended period of time.
Build a “Go Bag or Go Kit”
A Go Bag or Go Kit is usually something you have ready and available to grab and take with you at a moment’s notice in case you need to evacuate out of a storm’s path to go to a designated shelter, but it can also function as way to have all your emergency supplies in one place within your home or business in the event that you shelter in place because you can’t get to a shelter instead of having to run from kitchen to bedroom to utility room, basement or attic gathering up needed items, possibly in the dark.
And keep in mind that your Go Bag or Go Kit can be anything from a backpack for yourself and each family member to a duffel bag, suitcase, or plastic tub.
Here’s what a basic Go Bag or Go Kit should contain:
One gallon of water for each person for at least 3 days – Keep in mind that a gallon of water weighs 8 pounds, so it’s better to have this in a box or tub if possible instead of a backpack. Or, if you’re in a survivalist-mindset, a portable water filtration system.
Non-perishable food – Enough to last each person a minimum of 3 days. Easy carry food items include:
Food Utensils – Better than your fingers or a stick.
Medications – Prescription and OTC.
Lamp or Flashlight(s) – Preferably the hand crank type to keep from hauling batteries around.
Radio – Also hand crank so no batteries needed.
Applicable batteries – (in case you don’t have the hand crank versions of the above items) and other power sources fully charged. For example, Cindy and I each have an Anker High Capacity Portable Charger with connecting cords that can fully charge our phones 3 times before running out of power. I keep mine with me in my backpack.
Knife and/or Multi-Tool – More convenient than carrying an entire toolbox.
Rope – If you know how to tie useful knots, even better. But at least have some rope.
Duct Tape – A multitude of uses.
Matches and/or Lighter – Preferably waterproof.
Toiletries – Wipes, toothpaste/toothbrush, toilet paper, personal items, etc.
If you have the room – consider adding large, extra-strength trash bags, and several zip-lock bags in quart and gallon sizes, paper towels, travel packs of tissues, etc.
Important Papers – There are two schools of thought on this; scan them all and have them digitally available or gather the physical papers, place them in sealed, plastic bags and carry them with you. I prefer the belt and suspenders approach, doing both so that, if by chance, you have no access to power for your device and/or your cloud, then you still have the actual documents to provide if needed. What are important papers?
Write down important phone numbers – Most of us have them on our devices, but if your device is damaged or dies from lack of power, do you have those numbers memorized? I sure don’t and even if I did I might not be able to recall them in the hectic midst of evacuating or landing in a designated shelter.
Cash – With the possibility that power will be out, it’s best to have an amount of cash available to you as opposed to relying on your debit or credit card to make purchases or to get cash from an ATM soon after a hurricane makes landfall in your area. I recommend keeping it in a money belt under your clothes or some other unobtrusive place as opposed to your wallet or purse.
And when you’re building your Go Bag or Go Kit, don’t forget your furry family members. You may need a carrier or cage that can be moved easily, pet food, medications, toys, etc.
You can also customize your Go Bag or Go Kit to your own individual needs. If you have young children then perhaps you want toys and/or activity books for them. Maybe you need a special diet food. And throw in a book or magazine for yourself to pass the time.
You should put the Go Bag or Go Kit together a couple of months before hurricane season begins. If you end up not using it by the time the season is over, then use the food and water items and replenish with fresh items, swap out medications and batteries with new ones, and put the Go Bag or Go Kit in an out of the way but easy place to grab. You’ll have peace of mind that, if needed, you’re ready to go.
And if you don’t want to go to the effort of building your own Go Bag, you can purchase ready-filled backpacks like the Earthquake Bag that claims to carry 33% more food than most generic kits and allow you to add options for your pet, car, or office.
The bottom line is to find some way to be prepared this hurricane season in case you have to evacuate in a hurry or shelter in place for a few days. One of the best ways to do that is with a Go Bag or Go Kit.
What did I leave out that YOU would include?