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Is Your "GO" Bag Ready to Go?

Excerpted from a message from Brooklyn South Community Affairs Unit.

As winter continues here in New York City, the weather forecast tends to fluctuate from one storm to another with nice weather in between. We want to stress the importance of always being safe and prepared because we never know when the next snow storm will hit. The New York City Office of Emergency Management recommends that all New Yorkers have a Go Bag: a collection of things you would want if you had to leave in a hurry.

Your Go Bag should be sturdy and easy to carry, like a backpack or a small suitcase on wheels. You'll need to customize your Go Bag for your personal needs, but some of the important things you need in your Go Bag should include:

  • Copies of your important documents in a waterproof and portable container (insurance cards, birth certificates, deeds, photo IDs, proof of address, etc.)

  • Extra set of car and house keys

  • Copies of credit/ATM cards Cash (in small bills)

  • Bottled water and nonperishable food, such as energy or granola bars

  • Flashlight Battery-operated AM/FM radio

  • Extra batteries/chargers

  • A list of the medications each member of your household takes, why they take them, and their dosages. If you store extra medication in your Go Bag, be sure to refill it before it expires. Get prescription preparedness tips from the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene First-aid kit

  • Toiletries

  • Notepad and pen

  • Contact and meeting place information for your household, and a small regional map

  • Lightweight rain gear and Mylar blanket

  • If you have children, pack child care supplies as well as games and small toys.

If you're older or have any special medical needs, consider including these items:

  • Instructions and extra batteries for any devices you use

  • Aerosol tire repair kits and/or tire inflator to repair flat wheelchair or scooter tires

  • Back-up medical equipment Items to comfort you in a stressful situation

If you have a pet, you need to pack a Go Bag for them:

  • A current color photograph of you and your pet together (in case you are separated)

  • Copies of medical records that indicate dates of vaccinations and a list of medications your pet takes and why he or she takes them

  • Proof of identification and ownership, including copies of registration information, adoption papers, proof of purchase, and microchip information

  • Physical description of your pet, including species, breed, age, sex, color, distinguishing traits, and any other vital information about characteristics and behavior

  • Animal first aid kit, including flea and tick treatment and other items recommended by your veterinarian

  • Food and water for at least three days

  • Food and water dishes

  • Collapsible cage or carrier

  • Muzzle* and sturdy leash (*Note: Nylon muzzles should only be used temporarily as they can restrict a dog's ability to pant)

  • Cotton sheet to place over the carrier to help keep your pet calm

  • Comforting toys or treats

  • Litter, litter pan, and litter scoop

  • Plastic bags for clean-up

Emergency Supply Kit:

Keep enough supplies in your home to survive on your own, or shelter in place, for up to seven days. If possible, keep these materials in an easily accessible, separate container or special cupboard. You should indicate to your household members that these supplies are for emergencies only. Check expiration dates of food and update your kits when you change your clock during daylight saving times.

  • One gallon of drinking water per person per day

  • Nonperishable, ready-to-eat canned foods and manual can opener

  • First-aid kit

  • Flashlight (Note: Traditional flashlight bulbs have limited lifespans. Light Emitting Diode (LED) flashlights, however, are more durable and last up to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs.)

  • Battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries (you can also buy wind-up radios that do not require batteries)

  • Whistle

  • Iodine tablets or one quart of unscented bleach (for disinfecting water ONLY if directed to do so by health officials) and eyedropper (for adding bleach to water)

  • Personal hygiene items: soap, feminine hygiene products, toothbrush and toothpaste, etc.

  • Phone that does not rely on electricity

  • Child care supplies or other special care items

Regardless of the season, it's a good idea to prepare for an in-car emergency:

Assemble an emergency supply kit for your vehicle, and consider adding the following items for winter conditions:

  • Blankets, sleeping bags, extra newspapers for insulation

  • Plastic bags (for sanitation)

  • Extra mittens, socks, scarves and hat, raingear and extra clothes

  • Sack of sand or kitty litter for gaining traction under wheels, small shovel

  • Set of tire chains or traction mats

  • Working jack and lug wrench, spare tire

  • Windshield scraper, broom

  • Small tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver)

  • Booster cables

  • Brightly colored cloth to use as a flag, flares or reflective triangles


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