Thursday, October 1, 2015

Show Us: What is ‘Essential’ for You?

When a disaster or crisis strikes, you may have only minutes to evacuate to a safer place. Whether that safer place means heading into your basement or storm shelter in advance of a tornado, fleeing to higher ground to escape flood waters, or driving miles out of your neighborhood to escape the flames of a wildfire, three things are critical: having a plan, an easy-to-grab emergency kit, and access to information that could save your life.

What would you take with you? Do you already have a go-kit ready? What you take with you should include the supplies that are essential for you for up to three days.

A lot of people think immediately about food and water, but think also about the other things you couldn’t live without: Medications. Immigration papers, insurance and other key documents. Phone numbers and addresses as a backup to your phone. Photos of loved ones. A change of underwear. A toothbrush. A beloved toy.

And there are other things that are unique to you. Things that would devastate you to lose if you fled and could never return to your home or your home was destroyed.

The Red Cross wants you to think about this very important set of things and take action to assemble them so that you are prepared. And then show us your kit. Show us what is precious to you. Show us the things that you define as “essential” for your well-being over 72 hours.

If you’ve survived a disaster, we also want to know what you learned and how that influenced or changed what you see as essential for your go-kit.

An Associated Press photographer is documenting people and the things they choose to take with them in times of emergency. If you are willing to be photographed, please contact Brennan Linsley at

At the Red Cross, we hope this creative project will provide inspiration for important conversations that spur action. Got your kit ready? Don't forget to make your plan. You can find more information, ideas and resources here:

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