Your Family’s Go Bag for National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). Does your family have a Go bag? Hurricanes, wildfires, and floods have been more common in recent years than any of us really want to think about. Here’s just one way to get your family prepared.

National Preparedness Month GO bag

First, don’t overlook the obvious. There is some really good info over at Check out their checklists and mantra: Make a Kit, Build a Plan, Be Informed.

The thing about disasters is that they can span the gamut from a dead car battery to a meteor hitting your neighborhood. I hope that none of that happens to you, but let’s try and focus on what’s likely in your area. If you live on the east coast, the most common disasters are house fires and floods. Take steps to check smoke detectors, sump pumps, and insurance coverage this month.

The next step is assembling that all important Go bag. That’s the “make a kit” part of the site. I put mine together a few years ago, but since my kids have gotten older, I needed to make some changes. Actually, it should be updated every year at least. Let me show you what’s in my bag.

How to Make an Emergency Preparedness Family Go Bag

I started with a list like this from the Red Cross site, showing everything that is in their bag, and then added a few things. I keep this list in the bag and update it as needed.

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You can also purchase a ready-made bag, but since I already had a perfectly good backpack and many of the supplies, I assembled this myself. Through the years I upcycled old backpacks to make enough GO bags for each member of our family.

Backpack used to make an emergency GO kit.

I added some personal care items. I need to add two more toothbrushes, since my kids all have teeth now. They, in fact, didn’t the last time I looked at this kit.

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Then I’ve got a first aid kit, some tools and light sticks. These are out of date, so I’ll be replacing them and adding a few more.

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Then there are the personal protection items: gloves, hand warmers, ponchos, and such. Also, the plastic sheeting, duct tape, and masks. I don’t really want to think about this one too hard. I’ve got way more of this stored away in the house if we need to shelter in place, but this is for the GO bag, remember. It’s gotta be portable.

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Then the food. I hesitate to call this food, but it’s a start, and it stores well for a long time. If we shelter in place, we’ve got a week’s worth of food in the pantry. Notice anything here? I can’t tell if these expired in ’09 or if they expire in 2016, but I’m not taking any chances. Time to replace!

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Then the whistles and hand sanitizer. (Note to self…need a MUCH bigger bottle of sanitizer.) Did you ever go on a Duck Tour? I never, ever want to hear these duck beaks again, but they are just fine in this kit that I hope we never need. I’m not entirely sure my kids would know how to blow them, so we’ll do a drill sometime soon. (Lord, help me!)

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I’ll showcase my favorite part of this whole kit. This little radio from LLBean is tiny, has a weather channel, and a flashlight AND it hand cranks, so it never needs batteries. We have had this out and ready to go during recent hurricanes. You can get this same Etón NFR160WXB Microlink Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger (Black) radio from Amazon for about $30.

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These are all the supplies that are in my Go bag. I purchased most of them at my favorite hardware store on earth, in Wayne.

Water for Your Household Emergency Kit

The one thing actually missing from my kit is stored water. I need to add that back into my kit, but usually we just store some water in advance of a storm. As long as it’s stored for only a day or two, that has always served us in the past. The rule of thumb is that you want a gallon of water per person per day.

Restock Household Batteries

Of course, I stocked up on batteries recently. I found huge packs for just $2.50-$5 at Big Lots. These don’t actually go in my bag, but it’s time to check all the flashlights, and add some smaller ones for my girls to our Go bag.

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Keep Your Basement Dry (and cell phones charged) During a Storm

And, quite coincidentally, just yesterday, I picked up this Ryobi home generator for just $549. It runs up to 8 hours on just one gallon of gas, and will be just enough to keep my sump pump running so my basement doesn’t flood should we lose power. It’s about the size of a carry-on suitcase, so I’m thrilled that it will be easy to store the 364 days a year we don’t need it. Best of all, I’ll never again have to be worried about not being able to recharge my cell phone during a power outage. Watch for a review as I get a chance to set it up and run it.

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Be Prepared, Not Scared

So, I hope you can see that it’s not overwhelming to be prepared. There is no ONE RIGHT WAY to be prepared. But being at least a little prepared is better than not at all.

If this is something that you always meant to do, but never quite found the time for, you can either go and purchase a ready-made kit today,


or you can contact me, and I’ll come and customize a kit for your family.


This content was not sponsored or paid, but there are affiliate links in this post. I just really though you might want to know about how we get ready.


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Joey Fortman

    WOW! This is awesome Darla. YOU ARE WAY TOO ORGANIZED. HAHA. I seriously never would have thought about this. But you definitely have me thinking now!

    1. Darla

      Joey, I seriously look at this as insurance. As in, I hope none of us ever has to use these. But, I LOVE my generator, and I can’t wait to use that!

  2. Barb @ Frugal Local Kitchen

    We love our Honda generator which we bought way back when we only had 2 kids. Greg can put 2 freezers and the fridge on it, plus run the d/w and washing machine when I need it, and a few smaller items. The trick is staggering the start up since the load is biggest on start up.

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