The Public Information Go Bag Updated

In the past, I’ve talked about building a go bag for public information
officers
. The
idea came from the FirePIO blog, and
was supplemented by the great Mike Staley from CDC. Well, now I’ve got an update. I’ve got a
brand new bag, as Mr. Brown would say.

Everything listed here is in addition to my more general preparedness stuff
(e.g., whistle, blanket, flashlight, car kit, etc.) and is supposed to
specifically support a public information emergency response. Not everything
listed will be useful in every situation, but it works for me (consider a
public health emergency vs. a conflagration or law enforcement response or
corporate/PR crisis). I think, though, that the bones are there and this kit
will enable you to grab and go into any JIC or war room ready to contribute.

The reason it’s taken me so long to follow up on that original post is
because I’ve been struggling with storage. I wanted something that was
compact, easy to grab, and could hold everything with a minimum of fuss.
Thanks to a post at BoingBoing.net, I think I found
something that works: the AmazonBasics Universal Travel Case. Just $15, and I got it within
two days, it carries everything.

Case closed

Case open

Here’s what I mean by everything:

  • Flip-type video camera (Kodak Zi6)
    with 4 GB SD card (for four hours of continuous recording)
  • Old digital camera with 4GB SD card (can hold hundreds of high-quality
    pictures)
  • Virgin Mobile Mifi card
    (Converts Sprint 3G network into wifi for up to five devices; great deal
    when I bought it: $40/Month unlimited bandwidth with no contract. Pay $40
    when you need it and you’ve got access for a month.)
  • Two Rite-in-the-Rain notebooks
  • Two Fisher space pens, slightly modified
  • Griffin PowerBlock dual USB charger
    (can charge both my iPad and my iPhone at the same time, or the Mifi and the
    emergency iPhone battery
    at the same time, or any combination thereof)
  • Magnetic Joby GorillaPod tripod
    (This can hold either the digital or the video camera and connects
    magnetically to anything metal—like hand rails, street sign poles, file
    cabinets, you name it. Great for setting up, hitting record and walking
    away.)
  • Two USB to iPhone retractable cords (for charging iPad and iPhone)
  • One USB to microUSB retractable cord (for charging Mifi)
  • One USB to miniUSB retractable cord (for recharging iPhone battery)
  • Two extra SD cards (2 GB each) in a case
  • SD card iPad Camera Connection kit (for transferring photos and
    videos to the iPad for editing with Photogene iPad app and use)
  • iPad VGA connector (for
    hooking up to projectors)
  • Business cards and emergency responder ID
  • Typed and laminated list of emergency phone numbers and email addresses
    (just in case)

And here’s how I have everything stored, by section:

Left pocket:

Left pocket

Top right pocket:

Top right pocket

Bottom right pocket:

Bottom right pocket

Behind right pockets:

Behind right pocket

And for size comparisons, here is the whole thing next to my iPad:

With iPad

With iPad askew

When combined with my iPad (which has image editing software, video editing
software, document editing software, PDF editing software, email, internet
access, social media accounts and all of my reference materials), I’m pretty
sure I’m ready for just about anything.

Like I said above, not everything here is necessary for everyone, and there
are things that you might need that I don’t (PIO armbands, for example). But
hopefully this will give you a start on what you may need.