With potentially deadly hurricanes and tropical storms on the horizon once again, it’s important to be ready for an emergency.
Pack a Grab & Go Bag now so you are ready for stormy weather, fire, or even a personal family emergency that requires immediate travel.
Because sometimes you will have only minutes to evacuate safely.
This list of must have items is from the NYC Dept. of Emergency Management, and it applies to anywhere you live that might be in the path of a hurricane, flash flood or tornado, so you can be ready in moment to grab and go.
Copies of your important documents
Pack these in a waterproof container. This should include insurance cards, photo IDs, proof of address, etc.
- Make those copies now, before you need them in an emergency.
- Take photos of important documents on your smartphone, and put them in a folder, to have them handy.
- Put copies of important documents on a portable jump drive, to put in your emergency bag, in case your phone gets wet or runs out of power
Extra set of house keys and car keys or fob
- Ditto, make that spare set of keys now, before you need them in an emergency.
- Get a spare car fob, just for your emergency bag.
Credit and ATM cards and cash
- I recommend you keep at least $50-$100 on hand, especially in small denominations. Plus a few dollars in coins, especially quarters.
Bottled water and non-perishable foods
- Such as energy or granola bars, and high-protein foods such as canned sardines.
- Also pack utensils and plates
- Traditional flashlight bulbs have limited lifespans, and batteries can be heavy.
- Light Emitting Diode (LED) flashlights are more durable and last up to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs.
Battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries
- Fully charge your phone and other electronics before the storm, in case the power goes out.
- Also pack a portable device charger – make sure it’s fully charged before you pack it.
A list of the medications each member of your household takes
- The list should include why they take them, and their dosages.
- If you store extra medication in a pre-packed Go Bag, be sure to refill it before it expires.
- Either a store-bought, pre-packaged kit, or one you put together yourself.
- First aid kits should contain – at the minimum – bandages and gauze, antiseptic lotion or wipes, even bug repellent for those annoying creatures who love humid weather.
Contact and meeting place information for your household
- Old-fashioned paper maps won’t drain precious juice from your phone or tablet.
Child care supplies or other special care items
- A several-day supply of diapers and baby food, and a change of clothing.
A Go Bag should be packed in a sturdy, easy-to-carry container such as a backpack or suitcase on wheels, and it should be easy to find, grab and go if you have to leave your home in a hurry.
- A Go Bag should be ready to go at all times of the year.
Let’s hope you don’t need it. But it always pays to be prepared.
This article was posted originally in Sept. 2017, when Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria were in the headlines, and has been updated annually for each subsequent annual hurricane season, including 2022.