7 Go-Kit Items You Might Not Know You Need
Emergencies from weather, civil unrest, workplace violence, and terrorism are all on our mind.
And for good reason, they are occuring more frequently than ever.
As such, we need to also increase our preparedness for such situations.
These crisis situations can mean that people get cut off from basic communications or amenities for various amounts of time before first responders can assist.
It is one thing to not have a wifi signal to alert your emergency contacts and a completely different situation when a large group of people does not have access to clean drinking water, food, or medical supplies.
It is a likely situation that you, your employees, or your loved ones will be in need of these items, so let’s pack them in our emergency go-kit.
Definition: Emergency Go-Kit – an easy-to-carry collection of essential emergency supplies an evacution coordinator takes with them in an emergency evacuation to help evacuees stay safe, healthy, and comfortable.
It is important to be prepared for these emergencies with the proper supplies, as it may mean the difference between life and death.
A key aspect to being prepared for these emergencies situations is having the right items in one’s go-kit.
Note: be mindful of your unique situation – not every item listed here may be appropriate for you. Use your noggin!
The 7 go-kit items you might not know you need:
7. Utility Items
Every go-kit should have utility items that could come in handy to solve a variety of problems during an evacuation.
- Need to tweeze, saw, screw, scrape, or cut? Look no further than every boyscout’s first love: the Swiss army knife.
- Not everyone can rub two sticks together to make fire, so have matches or a lighter available to start a fire for keeping warm or boiling water.
- A whistle and a map, in case you get lost and cut off from a group.
- And last but not least, everyone’s go-to adhesive for home repairs: duct tape. A roll of duct tape will make a valuable addition in cases where you need to bind things or close holes in order to stay warm.
6. Sanitation Supplies
In major earthquakes, it is likely that plumbing may be unavailable during an emergency evacuation, so you need to have necessary sanitation supplies in your go-kit.
These should include:
- Toilet/tissue paper
- Hand sanitizers
- Sanitary wipes
- Feminine hygiene products
These will help combat germs and infections until help arrives.
5. Water Filters
You can never know where you will wind up during an emergency evacuation situation, therefore it is important to have a water filter with you to ensure that the safety of the water you find isn’t compromised.
There are a lot of inexpensive very portable water filters you can get, making a valuable addition to your go-kit.
Note: water filters can also be substituted by water purification tablets, depending on what you prefer to use.
4. Emergency Food Rations
In addition to a good emergency food storage supply, you should also have a modest amount of emergency food rations in your go-kit that are non-perishable and easy to prepare.
In large emergencies, grocery and supply stores may be closed, out of inventory, or impossible to travel to.
Choose foods that do not need electricity to store – preferably canned foods which are high in nutritional content and do not require heat to prepare.
Important Note: the best food items to have in your go-kit are those that do not provoke thirst. Sorry, that “emergency bag of flaming hot cheetos” will have to go.
Go-kit food should also be checked often for their shelf life. You don’t want to be stuck with expired items.
On the tastey side of things, candy can be included because simple sugars provide fast energy for the body.
3. Emergency Water Rations
Water is the one of the most essential elements known to man. In some crisis situations, water supply can be cutoff or made unsafe for drinking.
It is recommended that you have a gallon of water per person in your emergency storage supply and additionally have a smaller, portable, amount of water in your go-kit. Go-kit water provides immediate relief for victims in the safe zone while the water from storage can be retrieved.
Combined, this should be enough to cater for your people’s needs for up to 72 hours.
Dehydration is one of the most common problems encountered during emergency evacuation situations, and having emergency water will come in handy especially if infants are present.
Note: store water in clean bottles or buy emergency water cans, and remember to check the water often, as water is known to have a shelf life of about 2 years, even at room temperature.
Flashlights? Yes, flashlights. Flashlights are your eyes at night or in rooms that all of a sudden have become dark due to electricity being cut off. A fully charged LED flashlight is a very important addition to each go-kit.
The flashlight should be either battery powered or solar rechargeable. Alternatively, here there are mechanical flashlights that can be recharged by winding.
Magnetic shake lights or flares may also be helpful for similar circumstances and can be used to signal for help.
Interesting Fact: there are some solar powered flashlights with batteries so powerful that can even charge a mobile device.
1. First Aid
Yup, medical supplies! Okay, this one I hope everyone knows they need, but since it is so important we’re adding it as #1.
Having a portable first-aid kit is an essential item for all go-kits. Injuries are an unfortunate side effect of most emergency evacuations and having some medical supplies immediately available for people in the safe zone or assembly point can be critical.
The first aid kit should contain antiseptic wipes, aspirin, antibacterial cream, gauze, tweezers, medical tapes, band aids, and other necessary items which can be used in the treatment of splinters, scrapes, bites, and other minor injuries.
If you have prescription medication or other necessary medical items such as glasses, contact lens or hearing aids, these should also be packed in the first aid kit.
Based on your specific situation, choose the essential items that fit you, your organization, and your environment’s needs.
The items above should give you a guide on some of the essentials, but remember, you need to be prepared with supplies AND you also need to be mobile!
Don’t pack your emergency go-kit like you pack for vacation with 5 kids.
While it is a best practice to assemble your go-kit yourself, there are various already stocked go-kits you can buy off the shelf.
Emergency situations won’t always give you the opportunity to run down to the local store, so let’s prepare ourselves and take control of the situation before it happens.