Go Bag and Stay Bin

Go Bag and Stay Bin


Are you prepared for the possible emergency that might require you to leave your home?  The average number of climate- and weather-related disasters per decade has increased nearly 35% since the 1990’s.  Emergencies often are unpredictable. But you can still plan for them.

According to Tara Parker-Pope, No matter where you live, every home should have a “go bag” and a “stay bin”.  The go bag is what you grab when you leave the house to get to an emergency room or to evacuate in a hurry.  The stay bin is a two-week stash of essentials in the event you need to remain home without power or heat.  The hardest thing preparing your go bag is getting started.  Parker-Pope started with a Ziplock bag and added her passport, birth certificate, other important documents, and a pair of reading glasses.  Later, she added a phone charger.  According to an emergency room doctor it is the most requested item in the E.R.  Because of Covid-19, she added masks which are also helpful if the emergency is a fire or a chemical spill.

Recently, she upgraded her bag to a reusable silicone bag and added emergency cash.  Smaller bills are useful just in case cash registers are down.  You will not have to shell out large bills and forego change.  She added a list of phone numbers so family could be notified if she landed in an E.R.  If your cell phone/electronic technology is inoperable and you have not memorized phone numbers, a phone list is a must.

Some people will create more extensive go bags, including tools, compass, fire starters, etc. The go bag is for short term emergency evacuation.  Add a first-aid kit, essential medications, dental needs, flashlight, and batteries.  For nourishment, pack bottles of water, protein packed bars for the evacuation route or trip to the ER.  If you have little children or a baby, prepare go bags for their needs.  They may include diapers, formula, nutritious edibles, change of clothing, and a comforting toy, books, or games.  Be sure to add children’s documents to your primary go bag.  If you have pets, they will need a go bag with leashes, portable bowls, food, and favorite toy.

Remember, the go bag is grabbed as you head out the door.  You may not have enough time to start a go bag from scratch.  But you could pre-prep go bags and add foods, correct sized diapers, and medication before you leave.

If you need to hunker down at home, the essentials for a stay bin may be already close at hand.  Parker-Pope suggests gathering items together in a plastic bin or two.  The go bags would be a good start.  The stay bins would have enough supplies for two-weeks including bottled water, non-perishable foods, pet foods, toilet paper, and personal hygiene supplies.  In the event of a power outage, head lamps would be a good item to have in your stay bin.  It will free up hands to gather flashlights, lanterns, candles, lighters, and extra blankets around the house.  Your bin should include a battery-powered or crank weather radio (weather reports automatically receives emergency broadcast signal from the NOAA network), solar chargers for cell phones, duct tape, multi-purpose tool, trash bags for sanitation, handwipes, and sanitizers.

For additional information on emergency supplies go to the National Preparedness Month :: Washington State Department of Health   The city of Milwaukee has a helpful checklist for building your go bag.  The website Ready.gov has a checklist to help you build your stay bin.

Tara Parker-Pope, Is Your ‘Go Bag’ Ready? New York Times, Sept. 6, 2021