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West Sacramento Sun

Get Ready for the Unexpected with a Disaster Go Bag

Jul 14, 2021 12:00AM ● By Adrian M. Barnes, Jehova's Witnesses News

The Royal household prepares to face the unexpected with their go bags. Photo: Jehova's Witnesses News Communications

"Practical, common sense suggestions are available to make preparation and execution of a disaster plan much easier”

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Don’t think you need an emergency kit? Think again, say families who needed one.

Flashlights, bottles of water, a first aid kit, and ready-to-eat meal packs line the Royal family’s dining room table. The family isn’t going camping—they’re 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. 

Having lived in California all their lives, Sacramento residents Warren and Laurie Royal know the possibility of disaster. The Royals have even seen the Sacramento Valley impacted by disasters outside of fire season. “We have had our share of surprises. In the past, floods have devastated parts of the Sacramento Valley,” said Warren. “Preparing a go bag can be somewhat daunting. Our family has found the resources regarding disaster preparedness on the website especially helpful. Practical, common sense suggestions are available to make preparation and execution of a disaster plan much easier.”

“Having a personal preparedness plan increases your chances of staying safe,” according to a training program from the 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,” said Jacqueline. “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, 

"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 and from Jehovah’s Witnesses at

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