With all the natural and man made disasters these days, you never know when you will need to grab a bag and go. Here are some general ideas for your Emergency Bag.
The Right Bag - First you need the right bag for you and your family. A good sized backpack, or maybe a rolling suitcase. Something that will be easy for you to carry with you and keep with you. Also, think of what your kids might need that they can handle as well. Even a toddler can carry a small backpack with necessities for them!
Necessities Please - Some necessities to pack may include: Electronics: Radio (with plenty of batteries), cell phone charger (if you have electricity) and a portable battery pack if you don't. Have a long lasting LED flashlight. Paperwork: Fill a zip top waterproof bag with important documents like birth/marriage certificates, driver's licenses, Social Security cards, legal papers (like wills, power of attorneys, divorce decrees and written trusts). Have a proof of address, insurance, medical records and information about all your credit and bank accounts and cards. Cash: Put some cash in the bag and keep it there. If you can't use your bank cards or credit cards for some reason, you will have some money to use. Use some bills and have roll of quarters so you can use them in a vending machine if you need to.
Personal Needs - These items will differ according to your own personal needs, but here is a general list to start with: Toiletries: travel size items you need for a typical day, back up eye glasses if possible, first aid kit, baby wipes and a multipurpose tool with a can opener. Clothing: A few days worth of practical clothing. Layers you can add or remove and lightweight rain gear and waterproof boots. Medications: At least three days worth of all your prescriptions and have portable versions of any other medical equipment you might need. Bottled Water & Food: This is important to have as well as maybe some energy bars. They can be filling and give you some essential nutrients to keep you going.
These are just a few ideas to help you get started on making your emergency bags for your family. As you go along, you will know what items are essential for you that may not be on the list. Just remember: The bags need to be ready to go and easy for each member to handle. If you have a baby or someone that will not be able to handle their own bag, some family members can double up their bags so that no one person is carrying the extra weight. I hope you never encounter an emergency situation where you may need your bag, but, if you do, you will be so glad you were as prepared as you could be for an un-preparable situation.