evought's picture

The Go-Bag is the container of tools and supplies which will sustain a volunteer through 12-20 hours in the field. It should be packed and accessible at all times such that, upon receiving an activation warning, it can be grabbed and packed in a vehicle, or carried if necessary. A balance must be struck between ensuring that essential gear is available when needed and keeping the Go-Bag as light and compact as possible. This is a balance we will need to work out through time and training.
Suggested Contents (discussion about equipment standardization elsewhere)

  • uniform
  • 2 l water (1 day's supply drinking water)
  • snacks (preserved food suitable for munching on-the-go)
  • knife, fixed blade or locking (a good multi-tool will cover several items)
  • flashlight
  • Individual First-Aid Kit (IFAK)
  • protective gear (gloves, hard hat, back support, etc)
  • 1 machete and 1 folding shovel per two kits
  • rain or weather gear
  • 2-way radio
  • safety vest
  • firearm and ammo if needed/authorized, with bolt lock or locking case, compact cleaning kit (discussed in depth elsewhere)
  • bandanna
  • lensatic compass and map
  • small pad and pencil, grease pencil
  • whistle
  • length of paracord or lifeline
  • screwdriver (flat, hex; again a quality multi-tool will do the job)
  • credentials (e.g. First Responder certification, CCW, LCSA ID, etc.; some of these best kept in purse or wallet at all times; a spare copy of critical items in the Go-Bag is a good idea)
  • dogtags (on your person)
  • ICE (In Case of Emergency) information
  • bag shall be labelled clearly with full name, unit, address, county (we may deploy with responders from other areas); ensure that the label is permanent and waterproof

Emergency response volunteers should be in the habit of carrying essential supplies at all times. It is perfectly possible and reasonable for a CCW-holder and First Responder to have a firearm, flashlight, compact first-aid kit, and knife on their person at nearly all times (wherever permissible). Recall that many businesses were open and operating at the time the Joplin F-5 tornado struck. There was no possibility, in many cases, of getting to emergency gear in the first aid kit behind the counter or an emergency kit in the trunk of the car: in many cases, neither the kit nor the car were still there after the funnel passed. People who are prepared and have emergency equipment are in a position to help others and begin organizing an effective response.
To this end, it is recommended to have a compact version of an essential tool (e.g. a pocket knife) on your person and a more robust tool in the Go-Bag. This provides a backup item or an item to loan another responder and also ensures that you are not caught flat-footed if you cannot access your bag. For example:

  • a case knife in your pocket and a fixed-blade knife in your Go-Bag
  • an LED mini-flashlight on your keychain and a larger flashlight in your Go-Bag
  • a compact first aid kit in a belt pack or purse; at a minimum, a CPR mask and gloves in a pouch on your keychain and a bandanna or clean handkerchief on your person, and your full kit in your Go-Bag
  • your daily carry firearm on your person with 1 spare reload/magazine and an extra reload/magazine in your Go-Bag
  • if your carry firearm is a compact or non-standard piece, it might be worth a full-sized firearm in a unit-caliber locked and secure in your Go-Bag
  • your 2-way radio can be carried in a belt-pack, purse, or otherwise on your person

Medication: It is also worth noting that if you need daily medication, especially one which will cause problems if it is not taken, you will need to have it with you when you deploy (along with doctor/prescription information for emergency purposes and for obtaining more in an extended circumstance). If this is a critical issue, you can have your pharmacist fill and label a small bottle with an emergency supply for your kit (rotate and use up periodically) or just get in the habit of keeping your medication on your person or in your Go-Bag all of the time. Ensure that the Chief Medical Officer is aware of the condition and the required medication.