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A relatively easy first step in prepping is to create what we call Grab-N-Go (GNG) bags.

Here’s a question for you: How quickly could you evacuate if you got the order to do so?

Sure, you could run out of your house, maybe grabbing your wallet or purse on the way out, and be out of there in 2 or 3 minutes. But would you have everything you needed when you got to wherever you are going? With a little preparation, you can be out of the house just as quickly with items that will make your life easier when you get to your destination.

The recent explosion in West, Texas is a perfect example of an unexpected need for GNG bags. Your GNG bags will be comprised of a number of bags in which you have items you want to take with you in an emergency. When given an evacuation order, you simply grab the appropriate GNG bags and head out the door.

Begin by asking yourself “If I were told to evacuate immediately, what would I want to take with me?” Think through various scenarios and you’ll begin to identify more than first comes to mind.

We found that as we did that exercise, there were “groupings” of items that we opted to pack in separate GNG bags, which prompted the next question: “How would I want to carry these things?” We ended up creating a “master” GNG Folder (more on that below) and a number of other GNG bags.

Contents of a GNG Folder
Our GNG Folder holds the cash we think we might need as well as paperwork. Here are things you might want to put in your GNG Folder. Include in your folder the things appropriate to your life.

  • Cash – as much as you are comfortable taking (and probably a little more) in various denominations. Include lots of small bills. If you end up staying at a luxury hotel and have to pay for it in five’s, that’s OK. Better than needing $3 worth of something and having to pay $50 for it. We have our cash in an envelope in our GNG Folder
  • Passports
  • Birth Certificates
  • Marriage License
  • Military DD214 (Certificate of Discharge)
  • VA Certificate of Eligibility
  • Social Security Card
  • Important phone numbers – family members, close friends, etc. Remember, your electronics may not work after a short period of time.
  • Insurance information – account/policy numbers, contact info
  • Maps of your area and the area(s) you anticipate you might be headed – Again, your GPS may not be working.
  • Instruction sheet – This page lists the various GNG bags we have and where they’re kept, a brief summary of what’s in each, and where each is kept! The purpose for this is to keep me from having to think and move quickly at the same time. I want to avoid thinking in an emergency.

Overview of Other Potential GNG Bags
Our approach to GNG bags allows us to grab whatever bags we think might be needed should we have to evacuate in a hurry. In addition to the GNG folder, you might want to create the following GNG bags:

  • Personal safety bag of firearms and ammunition
  • Food and water bags
  • Electronics bags
  • Survival gear bag
  • First aid kit
  • Clothing and personal care items
  • Tool kit

The temptation is to take everything including the kitchen sink. Resist it! Each bag should be easily grabbed and thrown in the car – that means nothing heavy or awkward. You don’t want to take as many clothes as you’d take for a week’s vacation, for example. Notice that there are no keepsakes on the list. Think back to those old movies of people crossing the frontier. They started in wagons weighed down with precious belongings. Most of those belongings had been dropped along the trail to lighten the load. Lighten your load before you leave.

It’s probably not practical or safe to keep all these bags in the same place, but keep them in logical places, and don’t move them! And don’t forget to note the location of each bag on your instruction sheet. Remember, you want to make it as easy as possible to get out of the house as fast as possible.

Double Duty
Creating your GNG bags now will serve you well in life, even if you never get the evacuation call. For example, our master GNG folder now holds all my important papers in one place. Need to grab my passports for a trip? Easy-peasy. Need my birth certificate? Easy-peasy. I didn’t used to be so organized with these things. I love this new organization. But it goes further than that. Get a phone call in the middle of the night with news that my mom has been hospitalized? I have the assurance that I always have some cash on hand (just go to my GNG folder) and I have a small suitcase of clothes packed. It means I leave the house prepared to spend a day or two away from home (or three or four if needed). (Don’t forget to replace the cash and repack your clothes after your emergency use.)

And the super-extra double duty that your GNG bags perform – giving you peace of mind. POM is a wonderful thing and just spending a little time and little or no money to get it is even more wonderful. Thank You, Lord!

Take Action! Build Your Bags Now!
Creating your Grab-N-Go bags is pretty easy. It doesn’t take long and doesn’t cost a lot of money (unless you want it to, of course). So here’s your assignment for today:

  1. Take 15 minutes to make a list of the GNG bags you think you need.
  2. List them in order of priority for you. I recommend putting your GNG folder at the top of the list because it’s easy and it holds that instructions list identifying your other GNG bags.
  3. Decide when you’re going to work on creating your #1 priority GNG bag/folder. Put it in your calendar!

When you reach that appointment time in your calendar, spend the first few minutes making a list of what’s going to be in your #1 priority GNG bag/folder. Then begin assembling it. When you finish, make an appointment in your calendar to work on your next priority GNG bag.

Oh – and enjoy the peace of mind!