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  • Chegan SRM

Packing an Emergency Go-bag

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

Everyone has a role to play in planning for a crisis, and adequate preparation can make a big difference to ensure your safety. During and after a time of crisis, local stores may sell out of basic supplies, including food and/or water. This can easily happen, especially if communication and transportation is severely affected due to damages from the disaster. After Hurricane Katrina, the destruction and flooding left half a million people displaced in New Orleans and southeast Louisiana. The impact of the hurricane overwhelmed State and local responders, the communities had no power and virtually all forms of pre-existing communications were destroyed. With this in mind, should a natural disaster or other unforeseen emergency occur, it may be necessary for you to be self-sufficient for a period of time.

Currently in the United States, the President has declared a National State of Emergency in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The current guidelines are to self-quarantine and limit exposure. Keep in mind, situations can change and it’s up to you to ensure you have a basic level of preparation in case you are required to evacuate or, depending on your abilities, assist with any rescue efforts. One way you can prepare is by preparing a grab bag. A grab bag, or go bag, is a rucksack full of necessary items you may need if you have to evacuate your home at short notice during an emergency.

Essential items for a grab bag can be acquired easily. Clothing for example, should be well-fitting but not restrictive, giving protection from cold and rain while keeping your body ventilated. Other essential items you may need can be found at your local hardware stores. The kit should be stored in your room (or other easily accessible location) where you can grab it during an evacuation.

  • Portable Radio - the power may be out, so a battery-operated or hand-crank radio is preferable. Radios can provide State emergency information, including places to go for refuge

  • An emergency contacts list

  • Notepad and pen in a waterproof casing

  • Hi-visibility vests that can be worn by the person in charge / fire marshals

  • A small first aid kit (ensure the contents are kept in date) and medical gloves

  • Flashlight or head torch (and spare batteries)

  • A Whistle - to attract attention

  • Water - at least 1 gallon per person

  • Food - tinned food or survival rations can last for years. If you are required to move large distances your body will need additional fuel

  • Bleach - an effective cleaning agent, plus, 1/8 tsp is enough to purify 1 gallon of water for drinking

  • Condom - makes a good water-bag with the ability to hold 1 liter

  • Tampon - compressed cotton used for tinder when starting a fire

  • Rope, hard hat, crowbar and fold up shovel - depending on the severity of a situation, you may need to assist in rescue efforts. Better to have them and not need them

  • A plan - family planning is essential in the event of a sudden emergency. Rehearsing or discussing meet up locations should you get separated will help you reunited with your family members.

The above list is a general overview of items and is not exhaustive. Everyone is different and your grab bag contents should reflect your specific needs. Make sure you have a system in place for keeping emergency contact information current. Check expiration dates of food, water, batteries, and any medication, and replenish those items regularly. Keep first aid supplies fully stocked.

Click here for a comprehensive and downloadable checklist to get you started.

If you need further guidance, recommendations, questions or help preparing your your place of work for an emergency situation, Chegan SRM can help with: Business Continuity Plans (BCP), incident response, SOP development and staff awareness campaigns.


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