What to Put in Your Go-Bag in Case of an Emergency

iStock
iStock

It’s always a smart idea to prepare for the worst while still hoping for the best, and one way to stay safe in the midst of a sudden crisis is by packing a go-bag, an emergency carryall with just-in-case supplies. A go-bag’s contents will vary according to your own personal needs, but experts typically suggest including a few staple items.

We don’t recommend becoming a walking grocery store, but every go-bag should include at least a three-day food supply, and at least one gallon of water per person per day. That said, don’t just raid your pantry for leftover bags of chips or Lunchables and stash them in a duffel bag. Opt instead for healthy non-perishables, like pouches or cans of tuna and beans (don’t forget a manual can opener!) and protein or granola bars.

Pre-packaged nuts, trail mix, beef jerky, and peanut butter are other good options, as they’re packed with energy-boosting protein. You’ll also need plenty of water for both hydration and sanitation purposes, but if you don’t want to weigh down your pack with multi-gallon bottles, consider bringing water-purifying tablets, mini-filters, or a reusable water bottle equipped with a filter.

Additional go-bag items include a prepackaged first aid kit (customize it by adding your prescription medicines to the mix), an emergency whistle, a wrench or pliers (for turning off water valves, circuit boxes, and gas appliances), a flashlight and extra batteries, a battery- or hand-powered radio, and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert. These items are all likely available at your local big box outdoors store.

Other less obvious—but no less important—supplies include a dust mask (it helps filter contaminated air), plastic sheeting and duct tape (to construct a makeshift shelter), and wet wipes, trash bags, and plastic ties (to stay clean and hygienic in the absence of showers and routine garbage collection).

Cell phones can be just as useful in a crisis as they are for checking social media feeds, but you should pack some old-fashioned local maps along with extra chargers and phone batteries. That way, if you lose service, you won’t be stuck relying on a malfunctioning Google Maps page to find your way.

While shopping for your go-bag (it should be durable, yet lightweight), look for a large waterproof pouch to store money, credit cards, and essential documents, including copies of your passport and visas; your driver’s license; and your marriage, birth, adoption, and naturalization certificates. If you have pets or an older relative, you may also want to purchase and pack a second bag just for them.

While essential, these go-bag suggestions are by no means comprehensive. Feel free to add extra supplies, or tweak the ones above as needed. But since disasters can strike at any time, do consider packing three separate go-bags: one for home, one for work, and another for your car. Hopefully, you’ll never need them—but it’s always worth your peace of mind to have them.

This piece originally ran in 2017.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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More Than 38,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Has Been Recalled

Beef-ware.
Beef-ware.
Angele J, Pexels

Your lettuce-based summer salads are safe for the moment, but there are other products you should be careful about using these days: Certain brands of hand sanitizer, for example, have been recalled for containing methanol. And as Real Simple reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recently recalled 38,406 pounds of ground beef.

When JBS Food Canada ULC shipped the beef over the border from its plant in Alberta, Canada, it somehow skirted the import reinspection process, so FSIS never verified that it met U.S. food safety standards. In other words, we don’t know if there’s anything wrong with it—and no reports of illness have been tied to it so far—but eating unapproved beef is simply not worth the risk.

The beef entered the country on July 13 as raw, frozen, boneless head meat products, and Balter Meat Company processed it into 80-pound boxes of ground beef. It was sent to holding locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina before heading to retailers that may not be specific to those four states. According to a press release, FSIS will post the list of retailers on its website after it confirms them.

In the meantime, it’s up to consumers to toss any ground beef with labels that match those here [PDF]. Keep an eye out for lot codes 2020A and 2030A, establishment number 11126, and use-or-freeze-by dates August 9 and August 10.

[h/t Real Simple]