With fires in both northern and southern California, millions of residents are concerned about evacuations.
The go bag (or bugout bag), once thought of as a security blanket for the conspiracy theorist, has gained the status of a legit safety item that you need in your home. In fact, government and city officials have a bag ready at all times.
The idea behind the go bag is simple. If an emergency happens, you grab your go bag and … go . It contains items that help you survive until you can return home. Here's everything you need to know.
Why do you need a go bag
Think you need not bother? Wildfire preparedness is not the only reason you need a go bag. Earthquakes
What kind of bag is best?
The city of Chicago, no stranger to strong winds, recommends that they each have their own go bag. If you are the parent of small children, however, you can make use of everything you and your children need.
Remember, the best child of the bag is the child you can carry. Do not get a huge duffle bag unless you're very strong and can handle it. So, you want to fit that easily in your car. You do not want one that's so big you'll have to leave one of the kids behind to take it with you.
A hiking backpack with various pockets is your best bet. Make sure it's made of a strong canvas material and has a strap that secures around your chest. If you need to walk a long way.
So, look for a pack that has a water reservoir you can fill with drinking water. These are often called camelbacks or hydration packs.
I recommend the Sandpiper of California bugout, which is like my husband used in the military. It's currently our family go bag. It's a little under $ 90. Another highly rated choice is the LA Police Gear Atlas 72 Hour Tactical Backpack ($ 80).
Water is important, but does not carry it
Though many experts recommend having a three-day supply of water in your home in case of an emergency, running with that amount of water can be impractical, especially if you do not have a car. The alternative is keeping a device in your bag that will turn water from ditches, streams, ponds and other water into clean drinking water. Some good choices are the LifeStraw Go Water Bottle ($ 37 to $ 46) or the Icon LifeSaver ($ 85). You can not take it up in the pockets.
Be warned, though. Many emergency filtration devices like these need to be prepped with drinking water before they can be used as a filter for yucky water. Be sure to read the directions and prep your bottle before clipping it to your go bag.
Get lighting that loads
In an emergency, batteries may be in short supply. That's why it's a good idea to put a lighting system in your bag that can be powered by a renewable resource.
The Thorfire LED Flashlight ($ 18) can be powered by sunlight or a hand crank. A solar or crank flashlight that doubles as on AM / FM radio is a good choice, too.
Nonperishable food: Meals ready to eat (MREs) are a popular choice, but freeze-dried items work, too.
Need a new foul weather friend? This.
Originally published Jan. 28, 2017.
Update, Oct. 31, 2019: Updated for California wildfires.
Update, Aug. 30, 2019 : Updated for Hurricane Dorian.
Update, Sept. 1, 2019: Adds latest information about Dorian.
Update, Sept. 2, 2019: Adds that Dorian hit Bahamas.