LIfehacker 10/19/17 by Lilliedeshan Bose
Here’s how to prepare an evacuation “go bag” that you can quickly grab in case you ever need to evacuate.
Choose a bag. Each member of the family should have his or her own. Start with a backpack or a nylon camper’s laundry bag with a drawstring.
Take photos of all the rooms in your home, along with all your valuables. Store these photos on a cloud server, and back them up on a flash drive.
Scan all your important documents, and save them on a flash drive. You could also save them onto a cloud server if you have an encryption service you trust.
These documents include:
- Driver’s license
- The deed to your house
- Your will and/or trust
- Proof of insurance
- Medical records
- Social security cards
- Birth certificates
- A list of personal contacts with their addresses and phone numbers
- Your kids’ immunization records
- Your pet’s paperwork for vaccinations and medical history
Include the flash drives of your photos and important documents in your bag.
Add essential supplies to help you get by for a few days. This includes water (one gallon per person per day), non-perishable food, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, batteries, clothes, diapers and pet supplies. Ready.gov has a full emergency kit checklist that you can download.
Create an evacuation to-do list. Note the items you will want to pack during an emergency: your “go bag,” your pets, and a list of valuables (jewelry, paintings, photos) you can’t live without. Also list your action items, such as turning off utilities and locking up your house. When you need to evacuate, break out the evacuation to-do list, check off each item, and get the hell out.
Beyond the “go bag,” here are other important ways to prepare yourself for an emergency disaster:
- Take a first aid and CPR class. Look up your local American Red Crosschapters for information.
- Buy—and learn to use—a fire extinguisher.
- Buy a fire and waterproof safe. I looked them up after a fire and realized they’re not as cost-prohibitive as you think. They can cost anywhere from $30 to $1,000.
- Learn now how to safely shut off all utility services—electricity, water and gas—in your home. (FEMA has tips for shutting off utilities.) Many fires are exacerbated by natural gas explosions after disasters. Share your knowledge with all the people in your household.
- Make sure your pets are microchipped.
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