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An honest to blog "Go Bag" (Paolo Mastrangelo's flickr).

So yesterday we had our first notable earthquake in generations, and suffice to say, we didn't handle it very well. Next month we've got the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and this weekend we're now being told to batten down the hatches in preparation for the possible arrival of Hurricane Irene (the city's tips on preparing are here!). But all of these visions of cataclysm have us wondering...has anybody actually bothered to make one of those "go bags" that we're all supposed to have?

An informal poll here at Gothamist HQ found that no, nobody has one (though at least one of us has a crank-powered radio just in case). That doesn't mean that you (and we) shouldn't. They certainly aren't hard to put together! Different places have different suggestions for what should be in a "go bag," but a pretty basic bag should probably include:

  • A flashlight
  • A radio (battery or crank operated)
  • Batteries
  • Dust mask
  • A pocket knife
  • Emergency cash in small denominations (and quarters for phone calls!)
  • A change of clothes and sturdy shoes
  • A map marked with your family's emergency meeting place
  • Some water and non-perishable food
  • Paper, tape and markers (in case you need to make a sign)
  • A toothbrush and toothpaste
  • A list of emergency contact numbers (in a zip lock bag)
  • A list of any medical conditions you and your family might have (in a zip lock bag)
  • A copy of your health insurance and ID cards (in a zip lock bag)
  • An extra pair of eyeglasses or any other vital personal items
  • A first aid kit
  • Extra medication if you take any
  • Photos of family members and pets for identification purposes
  • And extra keys to your house and vehicle/bike locks


That shouldn't be that hard to put together, right? And yet nobody we know seems to have one—and even stranger, nobody seems to have a particularly good reason not to. Other than laziness, that is. Hmmm, maybe we'll finally get around to making our bag tonight?