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Personalize your "Go Bag" - Takeaways from ENN's Emergency Preparedness Workshop


Planning, preparation, and practice are three of the keys to survival in an emergency or disaster.  An essential element of preparation is an emergency kit or "Go Bag," as described by Rebecca Chatfield, emergency preparedness educator and possibly one of the best-prepared people you'll ever meet. 

Rebecca cautions against buying a ready-made backpack kit. To be ready for the unexpected in your world, consider your situation and what you'll need for days, weeks, or even longer. At a minimum, build a kit for your bedside and one for the trunk of your car. For your car kit, rolling luggage is easier to manage than a backpack. 

In a severe earthquake, you may not have access to roads, bridges, hospitals, or supply sources. Where are you likely to be? Who should be your out-of-area contacts? How will you reach them? (Text is your friend here!) How many people will be with you? Will there be children? Animals? People with mobility needs? Will you need medications for yourself, a family member, or your pets? Rebecca provided a Preparedness Checklist and a Disaster Preparedness Calendar and to assist in the planning process. She also distributed space blankets and recommended water filtration straws and blue water blocks to address two basic survival needs in an emergency,  

A bedside kit is a good place to start. Pack a tote bag with shoes and socks, a flashlight or headlamp, a spare pair of garden gloves, and a bicycle helmet. Train yourself to put your shoes on before you get out of bed to avoid stepping on broken glass. And practice using your tablet or cell phone to be sure you are comfortable using it, even in the dark. Still using a flip phone? Consider an upgrade - you might not be able to get Internet access in an emergency. 

These are just a few first steps anyone can take on the path to emergency survival.  Visit the City of Bellevue Emergency Management site or the Red Cross planning page for more specifics.

Additional information: 

Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why  by Amanda Ripley (Barnes & Noble)

"A Memorable Weather Event - and Suggestions for the Future."
City of Bellevue Neighborhood News - March 2019 (choose 2019 - March; weather article begins at the bottom of page 2)

If you are interested in a follow-up work group to build your plan and emergency kits, complete a brief scheduling survey here, or send email to with the subject line, "Emergency Preparedness Group."  

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