By Tamas Mondovics

As each official hurricane season (June1-October 31) begins, Hillsborough County and Tampa Bay area residents are encouraged to be weather emergency ready and prepared for a storm’s aftermath with the necessary supplies.

But aside from a weather event, emergencies often call for evacuations that may have to be done rather quickly, for which residents are also encouraged to be just as prepared as for riding out a storm.

This is where what many call a Go-bag or Bug-Out bag comes in handy.

According to a number of online weather and emergency-ready websites like, an emergency go-bag is a personal emergency bag that can be grabbed quickly, in case a fireman or a law enforcement officer knocks on the door and tells residents to evacuate immediately.

These bags, which are usually the size of a backpack or an easy carry case, are to include items like lifesaving prescriptions, some easy carry food, water and extra clothing to get each member of the family through the first few critical days following an immediate emergency evacuation event.
As former emergency responder and former volunteer firefighter Karina and Stuart Warsaw, founders of VLES designs and VLES Go-bags, are no strangers to emergency situations and in turn encourage people to visit their site to get go-bag ideas and perhaps take advantage of their products.

“Having gone through mass disasters like 9/11, Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene as well as experiencing people’s personal emergencies while a first responder, I have found first-hand the need to be prepared,” Karina said.

Of course the first question when it comes to being ready to evacuate is what to pack and to be sure the items in each go-bag is in an easy-to-reach location, like an entry-hall closet or under the bed.

Packing lightly as possible and tagging each bag with name and address is step one.
Something that many residents often miss is preparing their pets for an emergency situation.
Go-bags for pets, is also urged along with and many useful items and preparation methods to follow.

To prepare a Go-bag and for a complete list of items some of the sites to visit are:,,, or

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