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Your Emergency Go-Bag: Bare Necessities for Disaster Preparedness

There's no question that California is an amazing place to live. From pristine beaches to snow-covered mountains to deserts filled with yucca plants and enormous boulders, there really isn't much that California lacks, especially for us outdoor enthusiasts. However, living in California also comes with some added risks: in 2018 alone, 12 separate "states of emergency" were declared in California, resulting from natural disasters, namely, wildfires and mudslides. And, let's not forget about the ever-present looming threat of a major earthquake: the San Andreas fault line runs almost the entire length of the state, spanning from just south of Eureka all the way to Palm Springs.

So, how does one prepare to evacuate at a moment's notice? Should we start clearing our garages to make space for 50-gallon drums filled with drinking water? Do we need to invest in gas-powered generators? Well, you certainly can--check back soon for a post on longer term survival kits. In the meantime, you can check out our Emergency Preparedness page for a more detailed list of supplies.

For now, we're going to start small. Everyone should have an easily-accessible "go bag" filled with essentials to last your family a minimum of 72 hours. Essentials include water, food, light, medical/health supplies, power sources, and a signal whistle.

Go-Bag Essentials:

- A water filter, such as the LifeStraw or SteriPen. Pouches and small containers of water work too, but are quite heavy in a portable bag. The LifeStraw is an effective, lightweight filter that can be used instead of pre-storing water. Water purification tablets are also lightweight and effective in purifying water by adding iodine or chlorinedioxide.

- Non-perishable food. This can be traditional survival food rations, energy bars, or a combination of both. If you have pets, you should pack food for them as well.

- Portable lighting. Compact lanterns are a lightweight and space-saving option. The solar-powered, inflatable Luci Pro Solar light offers 4 settings and up to 150 lumens of light, AND you can charge your phone through its USB port. Additionally, a compact headlamp offers a hands-free lighting source that won't take up much room in your bag.

- Emergency whistle for signaling, in case cell phone service is unavailable.

- Dust mask. Ideally, an N95 mask (respirator), which filters out at least 95% of dust and mold in the air.

- Basic first aid kit containing adhesive bandages, butterfly bandages/wound closure strips, sunscreen, antibacterial ointment, insect sting relief ointment, tweezers, non-stick sterile pads, medical tape, scissors, and over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen. You can build your own kit or choose a pre-made one. We stock a variety of pre-assembled first aid kits that include the essentials mentioned here.

-Solar chargers and compatible power banks can keep your electronic devices charged without access to an electrical outlet. Goal Zero offers a variety of different solar panels and power banks.

- Miscellaneous items to include in your go-bag are: a few days' supply of any prescription medications, any medical supplies that you or a family member

These items should be stored in a sturdy backpack or duffel bag, and should be easily accessible at all times. Check out a few of the daypacks we have in stock.

Check back soon for information on building a more extensive emergency supply kit.

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