Flashlights, water, a first aid kit, and ready-to-eat meal packs line Pamela Brady’s couch. She is not going camping — she is preparing for disaster by putting together a “go bag.” Preparing in advance with a disaster-ready kit has helped families nationwide through extreme and abnormal weather events, which experts warn are on the rise.
Pamela Brady has lived in the Seal Beach area for most of her life and is always aware of potential disasters, such as earthquakes and fires. Pamela recently devoted a day to reviewing her “go bag.” “Think about where your family lives and what your family will need,” she said. Pamela feels confident and prepared emotionally and physically should disaster strike.
“Having a personal preparedness plan increases your chances of staying safe,” according to a training program from Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness.
Jolted awake by a neighbor’s urgent knocking, Aaron and Jacqueline Pate were horrified to see the encroaching flames of the fast-moving Woolsey fire that had been miles away when they went to bed. It burned to within 100 feet of their Westlake Village home in 2018 as part of California’s deadliest wildfire season on record.
“Because we had ‘go bags,’ we weren’t running around trying to pack things at the last minute,” Jacqueline Pate said. “We had the time we needed to comfort our kids and get everyone safely into the car.”
The Pates credited the disaster-preparedness help they received as Jehovah’s Witnesses, both through periodic reminders at their congregation meetings and from tips for putting together “go bags” on the organization’s website, jw.org.
“Life is precious, so we encourage all to heed the Bible’s advice to take practical steps to protect ourselves from danger,” said Robert Hendriks III, spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States.
“Go bags” also have proven useful in the opposite circumstances as “stay bags.” Disaster-preparedness suggestions and tips for putting together a “go bag” are available from FEMA at ready.gov and from Jehovah’s Witnesses at https://www.jw.org/en/library/magazines/awake-no5-2017-october/disaster-steps-that-can-save-lives/.