With Alaska’s recent earthquakes and aftershocks, it was a good reminder to be prepared for the worst. Whether these incidents are happening more often than they used to is up for discussion, but what isn’t up for discussion is the need to have a Go Bag ready for any emergency that may come our way. I have a Go Bag that I had just torn apart to redo for winter survival and did not have it ready to go when the 7.0 Anchorage Earthquake hit on November 30, 2018. Never again!
Disclosure: This post not only shares what to pack in your Go Bag, but also has Affiliate Links that I earn commissions from. This is how I make a living and keep this little blog running. Thank you for supporting me! I appreciate it. Much love, Kristi.
I’m a firm believer that everyone needs to have a Go Bag or Bug Out Bag ready, but this is an absolute must for those of us that live in an area of frequent earthquakes, near a volcano, has hurricanes, or tornadoes. When you need to evacuate your home, taking even just a minute or two extra to find important items can mean life or death. Most of us pay for insurance and do what is needed to protect our homes and our businesses from disaster, but let’s pull no punches here. Protecting human lives is the most crucial part of any emergency situation and we need to prepare ourselves for that reality.
Do you have a Go Bag ready? Have you double checked it recently to be sure that it has everything that you might need? If you need a little refresher course, or if you aren’t even sure what a Go Bag is, here is a little run down of what is important to have in it.
What kind of bag should you choose?
A Go Bag should be easy to carry and each member of your family should have one of their own. Yet, these bags should hold enough supplies to get you through three days.For this reason, I think backpacks are the best bag choice when building your Go Bag. You can easily carry them on your back to free up your arms for anything else that may be needed.
I personally use my Go Pro Backpack as my Bug Out or Go Bag. It has a hydration pouch in it too which I keep filled up with water. I buy heavy duty carabiners to attach Porter’s water dish and anything else that I can easily clip on and go.
What should be in your Go Bag?
Never forget that your Go Bag is for survival essentials. No, you don’t need three days worth of cute clothes, you need three days of stuff that will keep you alive!
- Bottled water or a filled up HydroFlask, and a water filtration straw like LifeStraw
- Dried foods (jerky, granola bars, dried fruit, nuts) dried food is lighter to carry than canned foods.
- A small first aid kit
- Any medications that you take (at least a 3-day supply in their original prescription bottle if you can). I’m on a ton of meds for my allergies and use a 7-day pill box. Each day has a different type of pill in it – that way I can fit in a lot more pills. I print out what is in each slot and tape this to the bottom of the pill box. I also make sure to have 4 Epi Pens with me. Two in the Bug Out Bag and two in Porter’s Medical Alert Service Dog Vest.
- Emergency blankets and hand warmers – I keep at least a dozen of these in my bag at any one time
- Candles – surprising how much heat one candle puts off, especially if you are stuck in your car.
- Flashlight or headlamp – I have this on a carabineer on the outside of the bag
- Extra glasses or contact lenses
- A multi-tool with a knife or a hunting knife (which is what I have). My gun is not kept in my Bug Out Bag, but if I have time I grab it too.
- Extra phone charger and portable battery chargers
- Clothing that can be layered and extra socks!
- Food, water, and medicine for your pet. I also have an extra chew and a toy in the bag for Porter
- Laptop – this is not necessary unless you live on yours like I do. It’s not in my bag, but I do grab it and my phone and get it in the bag when I need to get the hell out of my place.
- Money – grab cash or have a little tucked into your bag. During the first couple hours of this earthquake there was no way for the gas stations to process credit cards. If you didn’t have cash, you didn’t get gas.
What documents should you bring?
While preparing your Go Bag, consider bringing along important paperwork for each member of your family. You may want to bring photocopies, which is fine, just be sure they are sealed inside of a waterproof bag inside of your go-bag. These are the documents that you should aim to bring:
- List of emergency contact information
- Birth Certificate or Passport
- Social Security Card
- Current family photo
- Health Insurance Cards and medical/immunization charts
- Driver’s license
- Marriage, adoption, citizenship certificates
- Home deed
- Banking information
- Home and auto Insurance policy information
- Power of attorney and will
- USB drive with all of the above information and a digital list and photos of the valuables in your home in case of insurance claim later.
For me personally, I have my Passport, Drivers License and insurance information in my wallet at all times. In the future though I will have that USB drive with all the info in my bag. Dealing with insurance is frustrating, time-consuming, and stressful. I wish I had done this step BEFORE the earthquake hit. It would have saved me a lot of tears and stress hives.
It took me two long minutes to get out of my condo after the 7.0 earthquake. As the quake was happening, I grabbed my dog, Porter Storm, and instantly started planning on how to escape. There was so much glass on the floor that I couldn’t put him down. Once the quake ended, I carried him to my bedroom and set him on the bed. He was shaking terribly. I quickly put on a pair of leggings, grabbed one of my Purple Bear Hoodies, thick wool socks, and a beanie. Then for some reason I stopped to brush my teeth and pulled my hair into a pony tail. I put Porter’s Service Vest on, grabbed my winter boots, my heaviest winter jacket and my skoop skirt. Then went back into my living room for my laptop and shoved it into my Go Bag. I grabbed a bag of treats and a toy for the pup and out the door I went as the next 5.8 quake hit. We braced in my doorway until it was over.
Let me tell you, I was TERRIFIED. I’m on the 6th floor of a condo building in downtown Anchorage. The epicenter for that quake was just 9 miles away! My phone was blowing up with Earthquake and Tsunami Warnings. I thought for sure that was a 9+ earthquake, it was so violent. In the 1964 earthquake the area where my condo was sank 40 feet and was decimated. I kept thinking about that as I ran down those stairs as fast as I could and out to my car.
I am writing another post based on what I went through with this quake.
My point though was if my GO BAG had been ready, I could have been out of my place in under a minute.
Now that you know what should be in your go-bag, what is stopping you? Your life could depend on it.
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