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AARP Expert

how (and why) to pack a GO BAG

I've just survived living near the largest wildfire in the USA as of now, and out of necessity I've packed a "GO" bag, as in, the absolute essentials needed if i have to evacuate the fire. I was thinking about how handy having a GO bag is under many circumstances, from fire evacuation to going to the emergency room with your loved one. If you have one already packed, you will be so relieved when you get where you're going.


Things to put it in (and update/replace periodically): 

* a typed or legibly written list of medical problems and history. Your primary care doc (or her/his medical assistant) can print this out for you at each visit.

* a typed or legibly written list of medications, doses, what they are for

* a copy of any and all advanced directives, including POLST, living will, durable power of attorney for health care

* list of any thing a medical team should know like, your loved one has no spleen, had her armpit lymph nodes taken and so therefore do not do a venipuncture in that arm, is afraid of needles, speaks only spanish, etc.

* a sturdy photo of the family. canvas prints are great for this. even if s/he is in the hospital just one night, a photo can be welcome and emotionally calming.

* anything else that would soothe or comfort. For me, i'd want vanilla mints, a plastic rosary, and really comfortable clean underwear. 

* which reminds me, special blanket or small pillow

* denture cup and powder. eyeglasses in a sturdy case (perhaps only reading glasses), an old set of hearing aides (not the snazzy new ones you've paid a fortune for.)


Keep it near the door, and update it as needed. 


Here's a terrific list from ready.govaarp go kit.jpg


I found another awesome way to decide what to take with you, from The Washington Post: 

To make these choices, here are questions to ask yourself, which you can also use if you are decluttering or downsizing. As you walk around your house, think about:

  • What are the three to five things that matter most to you for sentimental, historic or other reasons (keeping in mind that the expense of an item rarely determines its personal value)?
  • Picture losing everything. If you had only 15 minutes to pack, what is irreplaceable?
  • What are some of the oldest objects in your home, and do you care for them?
  • Is there something that most reminds you of the comfort of home, such as your everyday coffee mug? (One Okanagan victim also suggested that, while fleeing, you snatch the clothes out of your laundry hamper, because those are the ones you love to wear.)
  • What handmade items have special importance?
  • Do you have loved holiday decorations, travel mementos, boxes of photos, collections or possessions that bear personal inscriptions?
  • To preserve the ritual of mealtimes, have any specific dishes been used by your family hundreds of times?
  • What objects do your children cherish (an old baby blanket, stuffed animals, trophies or report cards)?
  • As for artwork or jewelry, do you truly adore them, or can you have them appraised and rely on insurance to cover their loss?

Once you’ve made your selections, fill easy-to-grab bins with these treasured items, plus passports and critical papers. As an extra measure, put small objects in a fire-resistant safe (although few are foolproof, Murphy warns). For regularly used possessions you can’t yet pack, make a list, so you don’t forget them (including the items in the safe) if the time ever comes.

Gold Conversationalist glad you are ok.  I only wish I were as organized as you are.  I'm good in emergency situations helping others but I panic when the emergency happens to me.  Fear takes over and I can't think. 

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