What is an Emergency Go Bag?
When you need to evacuate in an instant
An emergency go bag is a bag packed with essential items kept ready for use in the event of an emergency evacuation of one’s home. There are other names for an emergency go bag, such as a bug out bag and an emergency kit. For al of them, the concept is the same. Most emergencies are resolved in 72 hours (three days) so a go bag (bug out bag, emergency kit) should be properly equipped to be away from home for three days.
FEMA, the Red Cross, and many municipalities such as New York’s Department of Emergency Management strongly urge everyone to have an emergency go bag. Frequently when an evacuation is ordered, or you need to leave home immediately for other reasons, there is no time to properly put a go bag together and to gather the important things you need. The key components of a go bag include emergency supplies, medical supplies, critical personal items such as medication, copies of important documents, and a plan.
In our opinion, the bag itself should be able to be worn as a backpack for ease over rough terrain, it should also be able to roll since it can weigh upwards of thirty pounds or more depending on the supplies, and it should be easily stowed since it may need to travel in a bus, a car or plane. You may also find yourself in a shelter where it may be necessary to stow the go bag.
Preparing an emergency go bag can be a daunting task, but it can be done with the use of diligence and time. We believe everyone should have an emergency go bag and we have assembled a full list of emergency go bag supplies. Our Readiness Playbook is available for free download.
The hope is that you’ll never need to use your go bag, but should the need arise, it can prove to be a crucial component to you and your family's well being.