Evacuation kits: What to put in a go-bag, plus what supplies to keep at home and in the car

Posted by admin on

A go-bag is a key piece of preparing for an earthquake, a wildfire or anything other evacuation order.


Go-bag: Daypack or small duffel light enough to be carried – one for each member of the household. This should contain necessities if you have to leave your home suddenly because of earthquake, wildfire, flooding or other evacuation order. Keep it packed and ready to grab and go.

Car kit / work kit: Basics for at least 24 hours in each vehicle and at your workplace, in case you’re away from your go-bag.

Stay kit: A box of larger items for a stay of three days either in or near your home during an emergency or to put in your vehicle before you drive to safety.


Though it seems convenient to keep the go-bag in your car, consider a) whether the car is sure to be near you at the crucial time and b) the security implications of keeping personal documents and valuables in your vehicle. For most people, it will make more sense to have a smaller kit in the car and keep the go-bag inside the home, in a place that it is easily reached.

If you have supplies in more than one place, put a note to that effect in or near the go-bag. (For instance: “Get black document pouch from fireproof box in Mike’s office. Put Felix in his carrier, which is in the laundry room. The stay kit is in the blue plastic bin on the garage shelf.”) Also consider taping a note near the bag that lists its contents. The goal is to be able to assemble everything you need to evacuate within a matter of minutes, without having to stop and think about where you’ve put things.


Designate a date to check your supplies every year. Rotate out food, batteries and medications before they become stale. Make sure your kids’ spare clothes and shoes fit. Update the information on your flash drive. Recharge your power block.


This will be different for each household, and the go-bag must remain light enough to be carried. Prepacked go-bags can be bought from emergency-supply businesses. A suggested checklist:

Car/work kit

Water, blanket, sweatshirt, sturdy shoes, first aid kit, flashlight with batteries, any crucial medications.


(It’s assumed that each adult will have phone, keys, credit/debit card and identification and that each pet will be on a leash or in a carrier.)

Water: This will be limited by the weight and what you have room for. Two quarts weighs 4 pounds.

Food: Non-perishable food that doesn’t require preparation, like granola bars, dried fruit, tuna in a pouch, sturdy crackers and squeeze peanut butter.

Pet food and bowl

Change of clothes and sturdy shoes

Mylar emergency blanket



Lighter, or matches in a waterproof container

Paper and pencil

Cash ($100 in small bills)

First aid kit

Prescription medicine

Spare prescription glasses

Hand sanitizer

Portable radio (battery-powered or hand-crank)

Extra batteries

Phone charger

Swiss Army knife

N95 mask for smoke/particulate protection

Irreplaceable jewelry or other small keepsakes

Documents (digital and paper) in a waterproof bag

• Some documents that you will want in the long term if your home is damaged (household inventory, insurance policy, treasured photographs) can be stored on your phone or on a flash drive that you keep in your go-bag.

• You’ll want paper copies of some items, including anything you’ll need accessible if you don’t have a working mobile phone or laptop:

· Emergency phone numbers

· Prescriptions

· Hard-to-replace personal documents, such as passports and birth certificates

· Recent photograph of each family member and pet. On the back, write the name, date of birth and physical characteristics, and the name and phone number of your out-of-area contact person.

Also consider: Laptop computer, charged power block and connector cords, external hard drive containing backup files

Kid’s go-bag

Clothes and shoes

Water and food

Flashlight, whistle, hand sanitizer

Emergency Mylar blanket

Book, game, comfort item

Stay kit (in addition to go-bag)

Water: One gallon per person per day for at least three days (for washing as well as drinking)

Food: Three days of nonperishable food

Pet supplies: Additional food and water

Mess kits or plates/utensils/cups

Manual can opener

Blankets or sleeping bags

Paper towels, wet wipes, garbage bags

Dish soap and bleach

Plastic sheeting, duct tape, zip ties

Wrench or pliers

Work gloves

Also consider: Fire extinguisher; books and games; camping equipment such as stove, water purifier, tent, lantern

Related: How to set up a family emergency plan

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →