Assemble your "Go Bag" before an emergency strikes

Preparing for an emergency before it happens will not only protect your family, pets, important documents, photos and priceless heirlooms but also ensure a faster recovery. Follow these steps from FEMA:

Store supplies so you can grab them quickly if you need to evacuate.
Know in advance what you will need to take. Take time now to make a list of the things you would need or want to take with you if you had to leave your home quickly.

Store the basic emergency supplies in a “Go Bag” or other container. 
Items to have ready in case of an emergency include:
  • 3-day supply of non-perishable food (dried fruit, canned tuna fish, peanut butter, etc.)
  • Can opener
  • Paper plates, plastic cups and utensils, paper towels Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Water – at least a gallon per person, per day for drinking and hygiene
  • First aid kit
  • Prescription medication and glasses
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for everyone in your family
  • Change of clothes to last for at least 3 days, including sturdy shoes; consider the weather where you live 
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and other personal items Feminine hygiene supplies
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Dust mask, and plastic sheeting and duct tape, to help filter contaminated air
  • Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Cell phone with charger, extra battery and solar charger
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper (when diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.) 
  • Local maps
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Emergency reference material such as first aid book or information from
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, ID, and bank records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games or puzzles (let your kids pick these out themselves!)
  • Your child’s favorite stuffed animal or security blanket
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Pet supplies

Store the important documents you will need to start your recovery.
Review your homeowners or renters insurance policy and also prepare or update a list of your home’s contents by taking pictures or videotaping each room in the house. If your home or business sustains significant damage, you will need access to insurance and rental or mortgage agreements to file a claim or request assistance from the government.

During recovery, you may also need access to personal information such as medical insurance, prescriptions, or warranties for durable medical equipment. The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) can help you identify the records you will want to keep safe.

Store your records safely. Keep papers in a fireproof, waterproof box. If records are stored electronically, keep a backup drive in your fireproof, waterproof box or store files using a secure cloud-based service.

Be ready to grab other essential items quickly before leaving. 
Create a customized checklist for your family for emergency supplies and keep it handy. Remember to include specialized items for people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs such as older adults, children, and those with Limited English Proficiency.

When making your list, consider the Five Ps of Evacuation:
  • People and pets
  • Prescriptions and other medicines, medical equipment, batteries or poser cords, eyeglasses and hearing aids.
  • Papers including important documents (hard copies and/or electronic copies saved on external hard drives or portable thumb drives)
  • Personal needs, such as clothes, food, water, first aid kit, cash, phones and chargers; and items for people with disabilities and others with access and/or functional needs such as older adults, children, and those with Limited English Proficiency.
  • Priceless items, including pictures, irreplaceable mementos, and other valuables