Growing up I used to wonder why my mom had a toothbrush, toothpaste and a change of underwear in her purse, at all times. It was so weird to me. I’m glad that I kept on living because now I fully understand!
It was a beautiful Tuesday morning, the sky was a perfect shade of blue and life couldn’t be any grander. That night however my life was forever altered. That perfect morning was September 11, 2001. My husband and I along with thousands of others, had to walk home over the Williamsburg Bridge. To say it was a surreal experience would be putting it mildly. My outfit for the day was a summer skirt, cute top and sandals. That outfit was not suitable for a trek across a bridge that spans 1.2 miles. By the time I got to Brooklyn my feet were in pain.
Fast forward 15 years and I still work in Manhattan. I am a part of the Fire Safety staff for my building on Madison Ave. Last week we had a training class that provided information would have been great to know in 2001. So I’m sharing what I learned with you.
Personal Get Home Bag
A personal “GO” or “Get Home Bag” is essentially an emergency supply bag that is tailored for the individual’s specific needs. Having a get home bag will put the tools you may need during an emergency at your fingertips. If I had a “GO” bag on 9/11 my feet would not have been hurting by the time I crossed that bridge.
Your get home bag should be plain in appearance & color. Here is a short list of the contents. They may vary depending on your needs and environment, but some are essentials:
- Change of comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes. Have a change of clothing for seasonal changes (shorts, t-shirts, caps, sun glasses for warm weather or jeans, jackets, wool caps for colder)
- Maps. Keep in mind that your phone might die so Google can’t help you! Be prepared by having a physical map including train, subway & bus maps.
- Protective equipment work gloves, hard hat, N95 Dust Mask/disposable respirators, safety goggles/glasses
- Rain poncho/gear
- Flashlights: 2-3 (LED type) with extra batteries
- Portable emergency weather/AM/FM radio hand rechargeable/phone charging capable
- Charged mobile battery and charger
- Multi-tool & folding knife i.e Swiss army knife
- Water metal container as well as several plastic bottles before you begin your journey
- Snacks note of any vending machines in your office, building or nearby convenience stores in your area
- Cash roll of quarters for landline coin telephones/vending machines & $50 in one and five dollar bills
- Metrocard or transit card based on your location. Unused & in sealed packet
- Mini First Aid Kit (ladies this should also include sanitary items)
- Duct tape. for securing items, first-aid & posting messages. Can be bright, reflective color
- Markers. Thick, permanent markers for writing messages
- List of telephone numbers (I don’t know about you but I really don’t remember phone numbers anymore thanks to my mobile phone. This is VERY important!!!)
- Wet wipes/toilet paper
- Emergency blanket
- Heavy duty garbage bags
- Glow Sticks
Also plan for alternative options if you cannot make it home (hotel, motel, nearby family or friend’s residence)
Your “GO” bag should be stored in the area at work where you spend the majority of your time. If you spend most of your time driving, place an additional bag in your vehicle. For those who travel via public transportation, a smaller bag with specific items essential to getting home from where you are at moment.
I found this great site with a helpful list and directions to create Kid’s Go Bags for home! I gotta get on these too!
What’s in your ‘GO’ Bag?
Until next time…