Life is truly unpredictable and a potential disaster; human or man-made, can strike us unannounced. It is our personal responsibility to prepare for such situations and have robust survival preparations in place to ensure safety for ourselves and loved ones. One such survival preparedness tool is a Go-Bag, one which you pack today and wish that you never need in future. A go-bag is essentially a sturdy bag that consists of personal emergency supplies to be used by an individual if they have to undergo a hasty evacuation in the face of a disaster. Although every individual will have a personalized checklist of items to stock their go-bag with, based on their living conditions, climate, and the number of people accompanying them, here is a list of some items that are undeniably a must for every Go-bag:

  1. Water Purification device: As per the guidelines issued by the American government, a normal human being, on an average, requires at least 1 gallon of water per day for sanitation and drinking purposes combined. Whatever amount of water one may carry, it is bound to end one day; this is where water purification devices come into play. There are many options, such as a compact purification tube, purification tablets or even a LifeStraw. These devices can remove almost 99.9999% of the bacteria and can filter up to 1000 liters of water.
  1. Food: The next essential item in the survival list is food supplies that can last almost a week. To compensate the weight, it is recommended to keep high quantities of Ready to Eat meal packets that are high in calories. Concentrated chocolates, nuts, and even dehydrated meat are great options for your Go-bag. Small instant coffee packets can also be included since caffeine helps a great deal in keeping your mind alert in an evacuation scenario.
  1. Clothing: Selecting the proper clothing to pack can be a difficult choice. You should base decisions off your body shape, durability, climate encountered and fitness level. Since space occupancy is a major concern, always pack lighter and more compact clothing sets such as travel ponchos and foil blankets. It’s a great idea to swap out clothing options every six months to be prepared for the immediate and impending seasons.
  1. Handgun: Self defense is undoubtedly an item of high importance. If you ever get involved in an “it’s either Them or Me” situation, it better be you. Make sure you have a firearm that you have used before and are comfortable shooting. Also, make sure you have plenty of ammo for the gun, otherwise you’ll be carrying around a useless paperweight until you come across some more. Don’t worry about whether you have a permit or not. If you’re in a situation where you have to grab your Go-bag, odds are pretty good that government and regulatory agencies will not be too concerned with how much heat you’re packing.
  1. Long gun: A rifle or a shotgun can be included as a part of a multi-layered protection system, depending on the person’s shooting skills and training. Shotguns are a great option, but rifles give more versatility. If you find yourself caught in the wilderness and needing to resort to hunting to live off the land, a rifle becomes a great all-purpose firearm to have. For small hunting ranges, .17 HMR Cartridge can be used whereas a .22 Magnum Cartridge can be stocked for reasons such as its affordability and range.
  1. A fire piston: Being able to start your own fires is an incredibly valuable skill, and can oftentimes mean the difference between life and death. Luckily for us, intelligent folks from ancient times used science to invent a tool to start brush fires without the need for lighter fluid. The concept stems from increasing the pressure in a chamber of air to heat it up enough to ignite a piece of tinder. You can make one yourself with some inexpensive items or buy one online. It requires some effort to learn how to build one; but once built, they are incredibly easy to use and can be packed compactly.
  1. Cash: It is an obvious fact that banks will be closed and you will not be in a position to withdraw cash in the event of a catastrophe. Due to a potential lack of electricity, electronic transfer of money might also not be possible. Hence, having a decent amount of cash in your Go-to bag for basic amenities such as food, fuel, and transportation becomes absolutely indispensable. Pack a mix of large bills and small bills. Small bills to use as currency/barter if it’s a temporary disaster and larger bills for national disasters where it may take more time to restore the economy.
  1. Sanitation Supplies: In order to keep yourself safe from infectious diseases personal hygiene and sanitation should be accounted for. Toiletries such as soap, toothpaste, and sanitary napkins (for women) should be packed securely in the Go-bag. Leave the combs, gels, and razors at home.
  1. Radio: Accurate information and emergency broadcasts can be a real life saver in times of a crisis. Nowadays, radios can be powered by built-in generators so that they can be used anytime without worrying about wasting battery. Radio may become even more essential if power grids, cell towers, and internet access become a thing of the past.
  1. First Aid Kit: Any personal prescription items and basic medications should be included in the first aid kit box. Items that can help you tend to wounds or injuries such as bandages, painkillers, scissors, surgical wraps, etc. should all be included in your kit.
  1. Flashlight: Another great tool to have on hand. Select flashlights that have LEDs and are of a high lumens, so they will last longer and shine brighter. Pack an extra one for backup and emergencies!
  1. Documents: Keep  current or expired ID’s in a sealed waterproof pouch/case. These will help in accessing your bank accounts and claiming your assets once the disaster has passed. They also help the government in identifying the number of people evacuated from a certain area into safety.

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