What would you grab if you were one of the families in Japan and needed to flee your surroundings within thirty minutes?

I’ve recently heard of the “Go-bag,” which is basically a component of your disaster kit.  Disaster kit?  Yes… and due to current events, it is something I recommend everyone has.

My family recently received our Go-bag in the mail.  We bought the Kelty Red Cloud from Amazon.  It is large enough that my two-year-old daughter fits in it comfortably.  We have been in the process of purchasing items and setting things aside to go in our Go-bag.

I have limited disaster relief training.  When I was in junior high school, I remember having a tornado drill.  The students had to crouch down in front of the lockers for maybe five minutes.  I had fire safety training as the Director of Marketing for Simon Property Malls.  And, I taught a fire safety lesson to both of my girls last year.  We even have our own family meeting place at a neighbors in case of a fire.

My husband printed off a preparation sheet for me to read so that I am familiar with what items are essential for us to travel with.  Many of the items are so clever, definitely things I know I’d skip packing if I were in a panic to leave my house in such a short period of time.

I shared with my husband, that I was considering writing about our experience packing our bag.  I thought the information was important enough to share with other families.

How many other families out there on this planet are like ours?  What is their disaster relief training?  I am thirty-five years old, my most precious cargo is my family… my girls and husband.

I don’t want to put our family at a disadvantage.

So, what are the bare necessitates after all?  The basics are food, water, fire, shelter, first aid and signaling.  Food and water are vital to your survival.  Fire can purify water, cook food, signal rescuers, provide warmth, light and comfort, help keep predators at a distance.

Shelter is the means by which you protect your body from excess exposure from the elements.  First aid is not just the basic medical needs, it is the primary way in which you act to survive.  Signaling is having available the means and ability to alert any and all potential rescuers that you are in need of help.

How do you prepare a Go-bag?

First, assess your needs.  How many dependents do you have? Second, print off this article and highlight the items I list:  flashlight, radio (battery operated), batteries, whistles (one for each adult or even each family member in case you get separated), dust mask (one for each family member), pocket knife, emergency cash in small denominations and quarters for phone calls, sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat, local map, some water and food (seeds!!), permanent marker, paper, tape, photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes, list of emergency point-of-contact phone numbers, list of allergies to any drug (especially antibiotics) or food.

The bag should also contain: copies of health insurance and identification cards, extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items.  Prescription medications and first aid supplies, toothbrushes, toothpaste, extra keys to your house and vehicle. Heavy work gloves, plates, utensils, manual can opener and other cooking supplies, rain gear, disposable camera, toilet paper, duct tape, hand sanitizer, feminine supplies, nail-clippers, attach a fishing pole and bait. Also, any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities and any pet care products should also put in the bag.

The list continues with adding: tools such as a crowbar (heavy, I know, but something to consider), hammer and nails, staple gun, adjustable wrench and bungee cord, blanket, sleeping bags, tent, large heavy-duty plastic bags and a plastic bucket for waste and sanitation, sewing kit, clothing (cotton is useless once it gets wet; add thermal wear), rope, signal mirror, bug repellent, sunscreen,  magnifying glass (fire starter), lighters, magnesium strip (another fire starter), goggles, notebook, pen, pencil, water bottle (we own two Platypus fold-up water bottles).  Also, you will need a water purification kit or a SteriPen. Don’t forget to make a copy of your list for your bag!

If you have children, here are some other items to consider: notebook, colored pencils, a few of her/his favorite books, scissors, glue, watercolors, paint brushes, favorite toy, cards, travel board game, small people figures, play vehicles, favorite blanket.

Whatever comes your way, just try to remain calm and do what you have to do to take care of you and your family. STOP means Sit, Think, Observe, and Plan. It is the most intelligent thing you can do when you realize you are lost or stranded. The most important element is to keep your brain functioning rationally, this is basic first aid for survival.

After a major disaster, the usual services we take for granted, such as running water, refrigeration, and telephones, may be unavailable.  Experts recommend that you should be prepared to be self-sufficient for three days.  You can go crazy adding stuff to your Go-bag depending on the potential for emergencies and the environment you live in.

The tsunami in Japan, earthquake in New Zealand and Hurricane Katrina are recent cases that warrant the necessity of having a Go-bag for yourself and your family.  Do you remember the horrendous conditions of the Superdome in New Orleans for the refugees of Hurricane Katrina? It’s a bag that you pack and hope you will never need.

Would you sleep more soundly knowing you have a Go-bag prepared for your family?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Courtney Cappallo of Massachusetts, USA. Courtney can be found homeschooling on her blog, Table of Four.

The photographs used in this post are attributed to the author.

Courtney Cappallo (USA)

Courtney Cappallo is a mom of two girls, ages 7 and 4-years-old. She is living her dream life by residing on Cape Cod and being able to stay at home with her two little beauties. Courtney is currently homeschooling both of her daughters for 2nd grade and preschool, respectively.

Courtney uses a mix of Classical Education and Montessori. She is a strong believer in teaching to the five senses. Courtney’s homeschooling efforts are unique, as she uses the latest technology of the Smartboard. She is also taking on the task of learning Spanish as a second language, as well as, teaching her two children and husband Spanish.

Prior to becoming a homeschooling teacher, Courtney was the Director of Marketing for Simon Property Group, which is the largest U.S. real estate company. Courtney was Simon’s Director of Marketing for the Burlington Mall, Arsenal Mall and Cape Cod Mall. Courtney is a graduate of Villanova University and is proud of her small town roots from growing up in Oxford, Pennsylvania, which only has two traffic lights! She can be found making homeschooling lessons and more at Table of Four !

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