How to pack a go-bag ahead of an emergency

A well-stocked emergency kit can be useful to have amid winter storm warnings.

A recent snowstorm left hundreds of drivers stranded on I-95 near Virginia. With winter just getting started, and more snow expected, this has left people asking what they should do to prepare for an emergency.


One of the most important steps is to have a prepared emergency kit, or go-bag, ready to go. This kit should contain a combination of supplies needed to survive, along with tools that can come in handy in emergency situations.

Go-bags are useful in situations when a quick evacuation is required, but they can also be incredibly helpful for people who find themselves suddenly stuck.

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According to, a good emergency supplies kit should have three days worth of water and food per person (one gallon per person, per day). The kit should also include items like a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, first aid kit, extra batteries and backup cell phone chargers.

These kits should also include items like can openers, maps, basic tools, garbage bags and duct tape.

The Red Cross also recommends making sure that it has a seven-day supply of necessary medications and copies of important personal documents.

If possible, it’s also a good idea to include some cash, as power outages may make paying with credit or debit cards impossible.

Of course, people expecting to travel in cold weather should also pack emergency blankets, hats, gloves, warm socks and a change of clothes.

It’s also important to ensure that any vehicles are ready to travel. Ahead of bad weather, the state of Michigan advises that drivers double-check fluid levels for power steering, brakes, windshield washer and oil. It may also be necessary to add windshield washer fluid that has an anti-freeze agent in it.

Depending on the size, cars can also be stocked with emergency shovels, ice scrapers and even cat litter (which can be used to give tires traction on icy or snowy roads).

If you do get stuck, it’s important not to leave your engine running for heat. If the tail pipe gets blocked and/or you get plowed in, the exhaust can suffocate the vehicle’s inhabitants. If it’s safe to leave the vehicle, check with nearby drivers. Other vehicles, such as 18-wheelers, may have supplies.