HealthGrab-&-Go Emergency Bag

Grab-&-Go Emergency Bag

How long have you had “emergency kit” on your to-do list? Are you puzzled about what to put in it? Procrastinate no more. Here is an organized way to get it done.

A grab-and-go bag may be one large pack for the whole family or smaller ones for each person. In any case, you need a bag(s) with emergency supplies that you can quickly grab if you need to evacuate.

1. Plan where to keep your supplies. Remember that not everyone will be home during a disaster and may need to have supplies with them. I suggest keeping a kit in the car, one at work, and one at school. These secondary kits may be abbreviated versions of your main kit, which should be kept where you spend most of your time. The family car might be the best spot for your main kit.

2. Consider the right type of bag(s). A bag with many compartments and outside pouches for quick access is most practical. A backpack is handy as it leaves your hands free for other tasks, such as carrying a child or pet or clearing debris. Alternative options are a bag with a shoulder strap or a suitcase on wheels, but keep in mind that it may be challenging to wheel a bag if there is debris on the streets.

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3. Fill your bag(s) with the supplies listed below, including enough for 3–7 days. If you cannot purchase all the supplies at once, prioritize items based on your needs for water, food, shelter, protection of life and safeguarding from illness or injury.

Easy-access items

• cash in small bills and coins

• car and house keys

• a friend’s or family member’s car and house keys

• phone charger

• disposable gloves

• pen, pencil, pad of paper

• poncho or raincoat, ideally one that can be used as an overhead cover or small tent

• work gloves

• hand sanitizer, tissues

• sunglasses

• an old pair of prescription glasses

• flashlight or headlamp

• copies of your communication, evacuation and shelter plans

Personal hygiene

• medication you cannot live without

• toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss

• soap, shampoo, towel, deodorant, lip balm

• feminine hygiene supplies

• face cream, sunblock, bug spray

• flip flops for public showers

• toilet paper

• powdered laundry soap (avoid liquid soap because it may freeze)


• hat, coat, shoes, winter or rubber boots

• gloves, mittens, hat, scarf

• long pants, underwear, thermal undergarments, socks

• emergency blanket (silver, heat-reflecting)

• sleeping bag or blanket

• tent (or plastic sheeting)


• N95 masks

• candles

• extra batteries for flashlights, headlamps and other devices

• whistle (the international signal for help is three short blasts)

• battery-powered or wind-up radio

• sewing kit

Utility items

• rope (parachute rope is light, strong and compact, with handy smaller inner threads)

• zip ties, duct tape

• multipurpose tool

• safety goggles

• resealable storage bags, garbage bags

• waterproof matches, lighter

• knife, hammer, multi-screwdriver, screws, nails

• two-way radios (walkie-talkies) split between family members’ packs

• survival book

Mental wellness

• pictures or comfort items

• pocket-sized games, deck of cards

• toys, colouring books, stuffed animals for kids

• music, books

• earplugs (you may be sleeping in a crowded area)

Infant needs

• nutrition for at least 3–7 days (check with your pediatrician)

• extra clothing, blankets

• diapers and wipes for 3–7 days

• favourite stuffy

• medication

• copy of health and immunization record

First-aid kit

• store the first-aid kit for easy access, in an outside pouch or attached to the outside of a bag with a carabiner

• non-latex gloves

• bandages, gauze, tensor bandage, medical tape

• face masks

• slings and splints

• cotton swabs, disinfectant

• sanitary napkins (very absorbent and excellent for large wounds)

• scissors, tweezers

• CPR mask

• emergency blanket

• medications: antinausea/diarrhea, antihistamine, analgesics or painkillers, antibiotic ointment

• pocket-sized first-aid manual

Food and water

• food for at least 3–7 days

• basic cooking supplies: manual can opener, ladle, bowls, plates, cups, utensils

• alternative cook stove

• water for 3–7 days: for drinking, cooking, and hygiene (can be carried separately from the grab-and-go bag)

• chlorine tablets to disinfect water in case boiling is not available to you

Et voilà, you can check “emergency kit” off your to-do list! But don’t stop now, you are on a roll: Keep the momentum going and develop your communication and evacuation plan.

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