Studies show that individuals waste up to an hour each day searching for misplaced items. But disorganization sucks more than just valuable time if disaster strikes. When chaos breaks loose, every second matters, leaving you with precious little time to search for important stuff. I always forget where I buried my bones. I guess I should work on that. Organizing today will enable you quickly locate what you need at critical times, leading to more satisfactory outcomes during a crisis.
Studies show that individuals waste up to an hour each day searching for misplaced items. But disorganization sucks more than just valuable time if disaster strikes. When chaos breaks loose, every second matters, leaving you with precious little time to search for important stuff. Organizing today will enable you quickly locate what you need at critical times, leading to more satisfactory outcomes during a crisis.
The Association of Professional Coordinators (APC) founded National Get Organized Month in 2005 in an effort to increase awareness about the significance of organization. As the leader in training commercial building tenants for fire safety and emergency certification, we use this month-long observance to focus on providing best practices and organization strategies that improve outcomes for building occupants in the event of an emergency.
While no one wants to think about disaster, being prepared helps to reduce negative outcomes. Preparing “Go Bags” and emergency kits in advance of an emergency sets you up to respond efficiently and keep a cool head during an emergency. For 2019, to help you stay safe and be prepared, we have put together guidelines to prepping and organizing Go Bags and emergency kits. I don’t have much room for storage space in my doghouse. Maybe a fanny pack?
Go Bag Ideas
A Go Bag is filled with personal emergency items which are self-contained and easy to grab-on-the-go in the event a fireman, police officer or other first responder instructs you to evacuate. Bags usually include items such as prescriptions, food, water and extra clothing to get you through the first few critical days following a disaster.
A backpack or other easy-to-carry case or bags make an ideal a Go Bag since there is the potential you might have to carry it. Keep “portable” and “lightweight” in mind and when selecting the necessary contents. Additionally, remember to label your bag with your name and address in case you and your necessities get separated.
- Extra batteries
- Small first-aid kit
- Cellphone with chargers
- Whistle, to signal for help
- Pocket knife
- Emergency cash in small denominations (quarters for phone calls and a prepaid phone card in case cell towers are down)
- Sturdy shoes and a change of clothes for different weather contingencies and a warm hat
- Local and regional maps (you may not have access to online versions)
- Water and food (snacks and a few bottles of water) Don’t forget pet food!
- Recent photos of each family member for identification purposes
- List of emergency point-of-contact phone numbers
- List of allergies to drugs (especially antibiotics) and/or food
- Copy of health insurance and identification cards
- Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aids or other vital health-related items
- Prescription medications
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Extra keys to your house and car
- Special-needs items for children, seniors or disabled family members
Don’t forget about your pets! They need a Go Bag too.
- Sturdy leashes and pet carriers
- One-week supply of their food
- Potable water and medicine for at least one week
- Non-spill bowls, manual can opener and plastic lid
- Plastic bags, litter box and litter
- Recent photo of each pet
- Names and phone numbers of your emergency contact, emergency veterinary hospitals and animal shelters
- Copy of your pet’s vaccination and medical history
Emergency Supplies Kit Ideas
While a Go Bag is typically meant for you if you need to “bug out,” an emergency kit is designed to use while you are on the scene of a disaster and in the event you need to Shelter in Place (SIP). Although many of the recommended items overlap, an emergency kit is not necessarily as portable. Designed to sustain you until help can arrive, an emergency kit will typically include more first-aid related items as well as larger quantities of food and water. Since a first-aid kit is so much larger than a Go Bag, contents should be stored in a large, clean, unused trash can or covered plastic container. I also recommend keeping dog food in these.
The following are recommended items to include in your emergency kit:
- Nonperishable food
- If you have an infant or young child (or puppy), be sure to include diapers, formula and child-specific medication.
- Water, enough to sustain your family for at least three days.
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
- Battery-operated or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape for using during certain types of SIP contingencies.
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, plastic ties and personal toiletries
- Permanent marker, paper, pencils or pens and tape
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Butane lighter and matches (stored in a waterproof container)
- A well-stocked first-aid kit. At a minimum you need wound cleansing and dressing supplies, eyewash and burn treatment bandages.
- Emergency reference material such as a first-aid book or information
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person and appropriate to your climate.
- Fire extinguisher
- Identification and bank account records kept in a waterproof, portable container
- Bacon (I admit it won’t store well. But what could be better in an emergency?)
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