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From the Desk of Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel: October 23, 2009

Preparing for the Unexpected: Part 111: Prepare An Emergency Go-Bag

This is the final installment of my three-part series helping you to prepare for the unexpected. In previous columns you learned about the NY-ALERT program as well as how to make an emergency plan. In this installment, you will learn how to prepare an emergency kit.


Be prepared for the unexpected by assembling a kit of emergency supplies. You should plan to make it on your own for at least three days (72 hours). It is important that you and your family think about the kinds of resources you use on a daily basis and what you might do if they are not available.

Keep in mind that an emergency situation can force you and your family to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home for a long period of time. So consider getting two emergency kits, a home emergency kit and an emergency go-bag. In your home disaster kit you should put everything you will need to stay where you are and make it on your own for a period of time. The emergency go-bag should be a lightweight smaller version that you can easily transport and take with you in the event that you must leave your home. The following is a list of recommended items to include in each emergency kit:

Home Emergency Kit:

Three-day supply of water-one gallon of water per person, per day.

Three-day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener for canned food.

Childcare items.

Pet food, bowl, extra water and toys.

Portable battery-powered or hand crank radio and extra batteries.

Flashlights and extra batteries.

First-aid kit, whistle to signal for help, and toiletries (toilet paper).

Supply of prescription medications and a copy of prescriptions for each.

Extra clothing and blankets.

Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities .

Important Emergency Documents: photocopies of family records, wills/deeds, credit cards, bank accounts, drivers’ license and insurance policies (homeowner, flood, car and healthcare).

Cash (in case ATMs are not working).

Emergency plan and local emergency contact information.

Emergency Go-Bag:

Non-perishable food, can opener, bottled water and pet food.

First aid kit, whistle to signal for help, and supply of prescription medications.

Portable battery-powered hand crank radio and extra batteries

Flashlight and extra batteries.

Important emergency documents (see above list for specifics)

Cash (in case ATMs are not working).

Local maps with evacuation routes and list of local public shelters with phone numbers.

Copy of emergency plan and local emergency contact information.

Please make sure each household member knows where your emergency kits are located. Remember to change the stored water and food supplies every six months and check supplies annually. For more information about assembling an emergency kit please visit the following websites:,, and

If you have any questions pertaining to the topics discussed in this column series, please feel free to contact my district office at 482-6966.