With recent national disasters such as the wildfires in California, and the hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, you have no trouble seeing how they are a constant reminder that disasters can hit at any time and any place. And to be perfectly frank, no area of the country is exempt. We also take into account the threat of tornadoes, earthquakes, and human disasters such as toxic spills.
Of course, circumstances may be different, but one tip that everyone should take away from all these catastrophes is to pay attention and learn how to pack and keep handy a Grab ‘n Go Bag.
So, what is a Grab ‘n Go Bag?
A Grab ‘n Go bag is a packed case such as the backpack in the above image that you can quickly grab on your way out the door, and this will help keep you safe and comfortable in the coming hours and days if and when a disaster hits. Think about this…stopping to hunt for your medications or other important needs can cost you precious time in an evacuation! Sometimes the evacuation order gives you not even 5 minutes to run to the car and high-tail it out of town!
Make sure you pack a separate Grab ‘n Go bag for yourself and everyone in the household…also, please keep these bags stored in one location with easy access.
What do I need to pack?
- Basic Electronics: Pack an extra phone charger…you might bet lucky and find electricity. Otherwise pack a portable battery pack in case you’re not lucky. Pack a long lasting LED flashlight. A small hand-cranked or battery-operated AM/FM radio is also necessary.
- Personal Needs: List every toiletry item you use in a day, and then buy a travel version of each. Don’t forget backup eyeglasses, first-aid kit, baby wipes, a multi-purpose tool with a knife, and hand can opener.
- Clothing: Pack for a few days. Make sure you take along layers you can add or remove. Also remember lightweight rain gear and waterproof boots.
- Medication: Pack at least 3 days of each med. If you need to pack larger items such as an oxygen tank, make sure you have a portable version.
- Perfect Bag for You: Always think small and portable. Remember, you may be running with your bag.
- Paperwork: Use a zip-top waterproof bag with copies of your birth certificate, driver’s license, Social Security and Medicare cards, power of attorney and will, any marriage, adoption or naturalization certificates, proof of address, insurance medical and immunization records, and information about your credit cards.
- Food and Drink: You need bottled water! Granola or energy bars are great and don’t take up essential space…and are filling.
- Cash: You will need enough money for a few days. Make sure you include small bills and a roll of quarters. If you need something out of a vending machine, you will be happy you had this roll of quarters.
I know how important this Grab ‘n Go bag is when a disaster hits. I lived in SW Florida for 24 years. I really didn’t take hurricanes seriously since we never had a direct hit. However, everything changed on August 9, 2004 when Charlie hit the west coast of Florida. I remember that we were not asked to evacuate because it seemed to be by-passing Ft. Myers and heading towards Tampa. Five minutes later they frantically told all of us in the Cape Coral/Ft. Myers area to evacuate…then it tuned directly towards us and we were told not to evacuate. The order was given within a 5 minute period of time. We had a Grab ‘n Go bag fixed up and ready to go. We were as prepared as we could have been. This is thanks to an article I read in an old issue of the AAA magazine.
Are you prepared and ready to Grab ‘n Go? It took us about 3 hours to collect the items and information and pack everything into the bag. It only takes a few seconds to order an evacuation or for a tornado to devastate the area you reside.
Don’t let this happen!
Join our dialogue and let us know if you have a plan of action in case of a disaster. Share your tips and suggestions to our community.
As always, I am…a prepared Boomer Explorer.