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5 Go Bag Essentials for Your Family

By Jeff Wise August 29, 2023

When natural disaster strikes, families need go bag essentials to be able to escape quickly.

According to the Emergency Event Database, 185 million people were affected by natural disasters in 2022.

There's a very good chance we will each experience at least one natural disaster in our lifetime. We must be prepared with a grab-and-go bag.

Sometimes disasters leave us hunkering down in our homes. But there are other times, like during a flood or wildfire, when we must leave our homes quickly to seek a safer location.

5 Go Bag Essentials

Family Go Bag for Emergencies

Families need an emergency go bag to grab in the event of a disaster that requires you to leave your home.

We recommend you have a go bag backpack, so it can easily be grabbed when needed.

There are many items you can include in a go bag, but I want to share the five items I believe are most essential.

Go Bag Essentials List

Here are five items you must have in your emergency go bag.

  1. Food. You need enough food for your entire family. This mostly includes snack foods, like meat sticks, protein bars, or other energy bars. You don’t need food that requires preparation since your main focus is just to get on the road and go. But you need food that won't spoil and that will be enough to get your family to a safe location.
  2. First Aid Kit. You should always have a first aid kit in your car, but I would also include one in your go bag just in case. This first aid kit should include plenty of band-aids, antibiotic ointment, disinfecting wipes, gauze, bandages, tape, etc. This particular kit is very popular and perfect for these situations.
  3. Phone chargers or other portable chargers. The last thing you want is your phone to die during an emergency. You may need it for navigation, current news, or communicating with others.
  4. Medications. You don’t want to forget any prescription medication or other medicines you might need during your escape. Some of these may include pain relief, anti-diarrhea medicine, and Benadryl. Here are some other ideas from Jase Medical.
  5. Water. More than anything, you need clean water during this time. If you own a Berkey, quickly take it apart to store and transport with you on the road. This will ensure clean water wherever you go. But, you’ll also need water during your drive. Have a glass jug of water prepared in advance (with cups) to drink in the car. Or, fill up reusable bottles with your Berkey water before dumping it.

The Best Go Bag During an Emergency

In my opinion, the five go bag essentials listed above are the most important when it comes to packing an emergency go bag for your family.

Of course, there are always more items that you could add (and should if you can).

Here are several items of honorable mention that we think are also important to take with you during an emergency exit.

  1. Cash. It's never a bad idea to have extra cash on you, especially during emergencies.
  2. Important documents. Worried about your house flooding or burning in a fire? Grab any important documents, like birth certificates, social security cards, insurance cards, marriage license, etc. These documents are good to have with you in an emergency, but it's also a pain trying to get new ones if they are destroyed.
  3. Toiletries. This could include toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine products, deodorant, and anything else your family would need on the road.
  4. Change of clothes. At least one change of clothes is better than nothing, especially if you don't know how long you'll be away from home.
  5. Blankets. If it's cold outside, having blankets with you is a good idea. But even in warmer weather, these could come in handy for several different reasons. Having a few would be a good idea.

Planning Your Go Bag Before Disaster Strikes

It's not wise to wait until a disaster is coming to pack your go bag essentials. Prepare for an emergency in advance so you'll be ready when the time comes.

The Preparedness Guy has a great tool to help you get started. You can create a specialized template for your needs to get your go bag ready early.

Here's another great resource to give some ideas on kits and food you can include in your emergency go bag.

The point is, that it's better to be prepared in advance. There are some things you won’t be able to pack until last minute (like prescription medication and your Berkey).

But other items, like extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, and food, can be packed in advance.

In the event of a natural disaster that requires your family to leave your home, be prepared with an emergency go bag and you'll feel much more prepared to tackle the situation.

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