September is National Emergency Preparedness Month. The following blog post first appeared on the North Bay Organizers and Coaches website.

Fires and Floods and Twisters Oh My!

Lightning fast wild fires, flash flooding, tornedos and impending earthquakes; they’re in the news every day. Are you ready? You know you need to be prepared, but you aren’t. What’s stopping you?

Most people are under the impression that it takes a lot of time and no small amount of money to make the necessary preparations. There are all those documents to locate and copy and that long list of supplies to have on hand.

We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be daunting. You can start now and be prepared quickly and easily by putting together one small “Grab & Go” bag. This bag will contain only the most important things you’ll need in case of evacuation. It will give you and your family great peace of mind knowing it is ready to go.

Start by filling one ordinary day pack. Once you have one bag packed, it is infinitely easier to create one for each member of the family or to enlarge it into a full backpack size with many more items that will insure your safety and comfort for a longer period of time. be-prepared-image

Here’s a list to get you started:
Daypack ($13 – $37)

Supplies:
• Headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries ($7 – $20)
• Pocket knife or multi-purpose tool ($12 – $39)
• Basic first aid kit ($7 – $20)
• Work gloves ($11 – $26)
• Lighter and matches (under $2)
• Whistle (under $2)
• Vital documents in re-sealable, waterproof bag (insurance policy, Social Security card, deeds and wills)

Personal Items:
• Medications
• Glasses
• Toilet paper and hygiene supplies
• Jacket and rain poncho ($2 – $7)
• Hat ($2 – $16)
• Water – one bottle per person
• Energy bars (12 for $11 – $16)

We did the work of pricing things out for you. The above basic items can be purchased from Amazon, at the stated prices, in one online order. You hardly have to lift a finger and it comes right to your door. Easy-peasy. All of the priced items above, including the daypack, can be bought for $69 and the rest you can gather from around your home. Of course this kit can be expanded and improved upon based on your budget and personal comfort needs. For a more extensive list of supplies click here for the NBOC’s Emergency Grab & Go Bag contents page.

The Vital Documents section is an important part of the Grab & Go Bag. You need to have these documents with you in case your home or belongings are damaged. With the “Emergency Grab & Go Bag” List (mentioned above), it should not be too hard. Check this list for suggestions of what you might need. Start a folder or envelope to keep your documents in as you gather them. Label it clearly, Documents for Grab & Go Bag. Now gather as many documents as you can. Make a date on your calendar to find the rest.

You can either copy them on your home copier, if you have one available to you, or keep them in the envelope or folder to be copied at a later date. Be sure to stick a note on the documents telling you where you got them from so you can easily refile them after they are copied.

Voila, all done! Put the envelope of documents in a re-sealable, waterproof bag and into the daypack.

when-disasgter-hits-imageFinally, there are a few items we recommend you grab in addition to the backpack on the way out the door. These include:

• Computer portable hard drive
• Jewelry and cash
• Safe deposit key
• Cell phone and charger
• Family photos if you have the room to carry them (good reason to scan old photos and store in the cloud or on a portable hard drive)

A little preparation now goes a long way towards your comfort and safety in an emergency. It starts by putting one item in one bag. Tie a red ribbon on the bag to help you remember what you got it for. Leave it under your desk or next to your shoes in the closet until it is full and ready to find a home near an exit. If you need help, call a professional organizer who will be happy to help you get this task done!

A Grab & Go Bag is a life saver in an emergency. By the way, check out NBOC’s Emergency Preparedness Scorecard to see just how well-prepared you are, over-all, for an emergency.

This post was created by the following NBOC members:

Teri Mendelson of Full Sail Organizing
Jillian Stocks of Jillian Stocks Organizing