Volunteers put together ‘go bags’ for Jewish community in case of emergencies

PITTSBURGH — A crowd gathered at Rodef Shalom Synagogue in Shadyside on Sunday to put together “go bags.”

The kits are stuffed with supplies for emergencies including first-aid supplies, flashlights, phone chargers and zip ties and tape to secure doors.

“The notion is that these bags are here as tools until help arrives, and that can be in a matter of a few minutes, so if there is a traumatic event and wounds, there are first-aid kits,” said Shawn Brokos, of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh

Volunteers worked to organize and assemble the go-bags for schools, synagogues and community groups.

“This is a call to action. This is not just for a crisis event. These can be used for power outages, national disasters anything that may affect our kids in schools or orgs,” Brokos said.

Carl Osterholm came out to volunteer with his son, Pierce Osterholm. The 13-year-old has gone through lockdown drills at school already.

“It’s good to know no matter where I am, there’s always a backup plan to keep me safe, something in place to keep something bad from happening,” Pierce said.

And organizers say their mission doesn't stop with handing out the bags.

“We will follow up. Once we hand out the go bags, we’re going to follow up with a lot of training. We want our staff and organizers prepared to use these bags if they need to,” Brokos said.