A Go Bag is the first thing you reach for in an emergency, which means it needs to be thoughtfully packed. What you decide to include in your Go Bag might depend on your family, where you live, and what sort of emergencies you expect to face. If you live somewhere that often gets knocked out by winter storms, your Go Bag will look a little different from someone who is preparing for a hurricane. However, no matter what you’re prepping for, there are a few things you should always have in your Go Bag.
1. First Aid Kit
First Aid Kits are essential for staying safe in an emergency. Bandages and antibiotics can keep injuries manageable until medical help is reached. Many kits are packed with more than just medical supplies, too, meaning many other items you should include in your Go Bag are already included. Thermal blankets can be found in First Aid Kits, as well as scissors and painkillers. Some kits only have a few generic painkillers in individual packets. You might want to consider adding a bottle of your own, as well as any specific medications, such as Epipens.
A reliable flashlight can make all the difference in an emergency situation. Flashlights provide consistent light without the need for electricity. As flashlight technology improves, flashlights are able to run for longer and longer times without a charge. Some Fenix flashlights, for example, will work for several days on their lowest setting. Fenix also designs many flashlights with a built-in SOS strobe function. These flashlights are a great tool to have in a Go Bag to help alert emergency personnel to your location.
3. Water Purification
Having access to clean drinking water is never a guarantee in an emergency. Even if you’re confident you’ll only need your Go Bag for the occasional power outage, there’s never a guarantee your power will return quickly. Having some way to purify water before drinking it, either with tablets or with a filter, will keep you hydrated and healthy.
Lighting a fire is one of the most important survival skills a person can have. A fire can be used to signal for help, stay warm, cook food, and boil drinking water. Packing matches or a lighter in your Go Bag means you’ll always have the ability to start a fire.
5. Important Documents
If you’re facing an evacuation situation, there’s a chance you’ll find your home damaged or destroyed when you return. Having important documents on hand, such as passports, medical information, and emergency contact information can make your next steps much easier. Be sure to store these important documents in a waterproof bag, even while your Go Bag is sitting in storage.
There’s a lot more that can, (and should,) make it into your Go Bag. What you pack will depend on where you live, who you’re responsible for, and what your survival strategy looks like. Start your Go Bag with these five things and you’ll have your essential survival basics covered.