Discussion: Emergency preparedness

Yesterday's plane crash here in NYC didn't turn into a full-blown emergency for the whole city, but it was extremely serious for residents of the building that was hit. It made me reexamine my ideas about emergency preparedness. I had been thinking primarily in terms of having supplies to help us wait out a blackout, terrorist attack, flu epidemic, or weather emergency in our apartment, and in having Go Bags (do they call them that in other countries, or is it just am American thing?) with essentials in case we had to evacuate the city.

Yesterday exposed a major weakness in my plan. Watching the smoking wreckage on TV, I realized there were hundreds of people who lived in that building that left for work or school in the morning, and then weren't going to be able to access their homes or stuff for at least another day. This accident was an anomaly, for sure, but there are fires in buildings every day, and a mid-sized fire could keep people out of their apartments for days, so anyone could end up locked out of their homes with no warning. (We had a fire in our building last year, in fact, so I know it's a real possibility.)

So here are my two questions. 1) Is there any way to set up a plan to cover what to do if you can't get your Go Bag and stuff from your home for a few days? Or do you just have to depend on the kindness of friends and hope that everything will still be there when you get home? and 2) What are other emergency situations we haven't thought of that could come up? Is there any way to prepare for them at all?