What are the benefits of a go bag? There are little things that you can do on a daily basis to help prepare for active threat situations. We have talked about practicing situational awareness and implementing an active threat mitigation plan, but it’s also important to arm yourself with the necessary tools to help you in case of emergency.
That’s where a “go bag” comes in. You may have great protective gear at home, but that gear won’t help you if you don’t have it with you during an active threat situation. Most active threats won’t occur in your home – 70 percent of active shooter events that have occurred since 2000 occurred in a business or educational environment, so you need to be ready for anything, no matter where you are. Carrying a go bag with you every day guarantees you always have the basics you need to protect yourself in an emergency situation.
Your go bag shouldn’t be too large that it prevents you from bringing it everywhere. For women, consider a small bag you can place in your purse; for men, a small pack that you can fit in your everyday backpack or briefcase. The key to the go bag is ensuring that its contents are compact with maximum impact, otherwise you won’t carry them every day and you’ll find yourself in an emergency with no tools to help.
Go bag contents may differ from person to person based on different lifestyles and environments, but there are a few items that should be in your go bag no matter what:
- Keys: What good is it if you escape an active threat situation and then can’t gain access to your car to get home safely? Make sure you have your keys on you at all times to ensure a quick escape is possible.
- Wallet: Your ID, credit cards and cash are necessities for any escape situation to make certain you can buy what you need when you need it.
- Phone and Portable Charger: Whether you’re calling 911 to report an emergency or using Google maps to map out your escape route, your phone is a multifunctional tool that can serve many purposes in an active threat situation. Make sure you have a backup power source in your go bag to keep your phone charged.
- Medication and Medical ID Cards: In an active threat situation, you never know if you’ll be able to return to the area or if you’ll be on the go for a while. It’s important to make sure you have a supply of any medications that you require on your person in case of emergency. It’s also important to have medical ID cards with you to flag allergies or special needs in case you need medical attention.
- Flashlight: In case of blackouts or fires, or even for walking through unlit areas at night, a flashlight can come in handy in an emergency. You don’t need to carry a huge flashlight – a small LED keychain flashlight can do the trick.
- Paracord: Paracord was originally used during World War II on US parachutes, but it has many more uses that make it a valuable tool for active threat situations. In an emergency, you can use paracord to remove debris to help you escape or use it to tie off a door. If you or others become injured as a result of an active threat, you can also use paracord as a sling.
- First Aid Kit with Tourniquet: If you or someone else should be wounded in the event of an active threat, a first aid kit can help minimize damage while you wait for emergency personnel. If you obtain a wound to your extremities, you can use a tourniquet to prevent bleeding out.
- Plastic Hose: A small amount of plastic hose – roughly 5 feet long with an opening the size of your thumb – can save your life. In the case of a fire, you can stick the hose into a sink drain or toilet drain where there will be smoke-free air for you to breathe while you wait to be rescued or to find an exit.
- Whistle: Should you become trapped under debris, an easy-to-access whistle can help emergency personnel find you.
- Food and Water: You never know how long an emergency situation will last, so it’s important to have a source of water and some sustenance to keep you going in an emergency. Nutrition or energy bars are a convenient snack to keep with you.
Intelligence Consulting Partners (ICP) active threat mitigation training can prepare you and your organization for any active threat.