I ask my classes at the beginning of each semester this same question.  It is a self check and reality check to most students, whether graduate students out in society or undergrads living on campus.  Here is the “Go Kit” for one of my students.  If you are looking for a place to start, this is a pretty good list:

Being personally prepared for a disaster is definitely something that I always have in the back of my mind.  When I started in the emergency services field I read a lot about what things I would need to keep my family prepared and safe if a disaster would strike.  I started small with the basic things like flashlights and batteries, matches/hand-held propane lighter, hand-crank radio, weather radio, prepackaged food including canned food/manual can opener and bottled water (3 gallons for each person – enough for 3 days) and toiletries (toothpaste, tooth brushes, toilet paper, pads, paper cups, plastic trash bags etc.).  I made up “Go-Kits” (backpacks) for every member of my family and have them in the closet by our front door for easy access.  I check the contents every month when I check my smoke detectors.  My daughter even chose what small things she would take with her to comfort her if we would have to leave home.  Next, I made copies of all of our medical insurance cards, bank account numbers/debit cards, credit cards and SSI cards, along with all of my certifications/diplomas (EMT, nursing license).  I also made copies of the scripts of our daily medications and keep our meds together in a basket for quick packing.  My husband and I went and bought vehicle adapters and solar powered chargers to charge our cell phones.  I made up a first aid kit which includes a medical information card on all family members including allergies and blood types. I made a small address book which includes a list of all of our family members cell phone numbers and addresses along with a paper map that I picked up from my local AAA center.  Things that are paper and could be ruined if wet are all packed in plastic zip-lock bags.  I bought one large plastic tote for each member of the family and in there have packed extra clothing, socks, underwear, blankets, a small pillow, the bottled water for each member and small zip-lock bags of money in case ATM’s/banks are destroyed.  Of course, my daughter HAD to pack some extra “small stuffies” that she could hold if she was “extra” scared and my husband had to add a “special” pliers for utility shut-off.  I found a plastic whistle at the dollar store and added that to my tote.   I did just recently add hand sanitizers (because the hand wipes dried out), dust masks and a 5 gallon bucket that has a snap-on plastic toilet lid!  This gets kept out in the garage right by the door because I have no more room to store things in my closet.  As for the house, we purchased a portable generator which we have had to use multiple time with the snow storms that we have endured. However, we ran into the problem when the power would go out and the ground was saturated with water, everyone’s basement would flood.  So when my husband and I were out on fire calls for hours on end on pump detail (pumping out basements with submersible pumps), ours would be flooding too.  We would have to run home, hook up the generator to the sump pumps, try to get it started and make sure we had enough gas to last while we were out running calls. So after hours of pumping out other people’s basements, we would have to come home and finish doing our own!  So, we saved our pennies and last year FINALLY purchased a large home generator so we don’t have to worry now that our basement is flooding when the power goes out!  I am constantly on the look-out for different things that I can add to our totes that would be of a great benefit to us during an emergency.

After reading her list, I have to ask you, “Are you prepared?”

And. don’t forget the animal “Go Kit” if you have pets!

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