We All Need To Be Ready For Emergencies
August 1, 2016
You may have heard the term "bug-out bag" - for sure you've heard or read about it if you ever visit any tactical shooting sites. What is a bug out bag? It's simply an easy-to-grab bag that contains everything you'll need for about three days in case of emergency.
The emergency can be a forest fire, weather, terrorism, natural disaster - it doesn't matter what it is; a bug out bag should enable you to survive for a few days until things simmer down or until help comes or whatever.
At Home And Away
Since we hunt, fish, and hike a lot, our car trunks are basically bug-out bags. You never know when you'll break down in the middle of nowhere or even just get stuck in some mud or rocks. We are often in places with no cell service, so hiking until we get a signal, then waiting for help is a definite possibility.
The stuff we keep in our cars is a bit different from the bug-out bag we have in the house, though, because if we have to leave our house, we need more than just food and water. Here are some ideas for stuff you might want to throw in your trunk (ours are in small backpacks) or stow in a closet at home (ours is a big duffel bag).
Home Bug-Out Bag
Odds are, if you have to leave your home because of a disaster or something like that, you won't really have to worry much about food and shelter. Fortunately for us, the United States has plenty of organizations that can help you.
But remember those people after Katrina? Stuffed in those huge buildings, crowded like sardines, standing in line for water and food? No thanks.
So you may want to put some food and water in there after all, and maybe even a quick and light shelter of some kind. You definitely need a few days' worth of your medications - for everyone in the family. You should also have your personal papers (or copies of them), plus some cash. We keep the papers together in the safe, ready to grab and go.
Nowadays you can buy water filters really inexpensively, and they will filter even really nasty water and make it drinkable. They are small, too, and you can get one for around twenty bucks at any outdoors store. So get one of those, or even one for each family member.
Don't forget your cell phone, and a solar charger or one that is good for several charges. Get some tasty protein or energy bars and put them in there, but don't make the mistake I made: I got protein bars that melted in the heat. Yuck.
Taking Care Of Sanitation
You're going to want to take care of sanitation, so include toilet paper, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, soap, and a small towel, as well as feminine-hygiene needs. If you have a pet, don't forget his papers (proof of shots), any medications he needs, and a few days' food for him. Don't forget a bowl! Another very important thing to include is some good socks. It's amazing how uncomfortable wet socks are.
In our home bag we also have a hand-crank radio, LED flashlights (they make the batteries last longer), batteries, a fixed blade knife (we carry folding knives all the time anyway) maps, a compass, emergency whistles, and pencil and paper. We stuff odd leftover corners with resealable plastic bags and trash bags. We also added a couple of those little emergency ponchos and emergency blankets, sunglasses, and some duct tape as well. A first aid kit is a must. Get the best one you can afford.
This is not an exhaustive list. If you have more than one person in your family who is able to carry a load, you may want to use two bags or backpacks - then you can take more. I'm going to end up switching to a couple of backpacks myself, just because a backpack leaves both your hands free and doesn't unbalance you. There are tons of Web sites online that will give you advice on what to put in your bug-out bag – read several of them and winnow out the things you think you will use.
And, If You Have Kids
If you have kids, bring some toys and small games with you, and don't forget to grab any special blankets or stuffed animals that they are particularly attached to before you hit the door. Some sites advocate bringing weapons, but that is a highly personal choice and very much dependent on the circumstances.\
Make sure you include some way to make a fire and include some waterproof bags of tinder or some fire starting sticks. When I was a kid, my dad and I made our own windproof, waterproof matches by dipping wooden ones into melted paraffin. We also dipped short pieces of cotton rope into the paraffin. Once they dry, they are awesome fire starters - they burn a long time, even in the wind, which makes it much easier to get the wood going.
Bug-Out On The Go Or At Home
You can get as elaborate with your bug out bag as you want. Remember that you have to carry it though. In big cities after earthquakes and such, roads are almost impassable and utilities are usually out for days. Having food and water and shelter for those few days is imperative. You may not even have to "bug out" with your bag - but having it in your home and knowing you'll be fine for a few days without fighting the crowds stripping the store shelves is a great feeling.
Trunk Bug-Out Bag
Obviously, what I have in my trunk is more elaborate than the one I would grab if I had to go on foot. For one thing, when we're out on our adventures, we already have a lot of survival gear with us as a matter of course. But ,in the car you can carry a case of water pouches, for example.
We basically have a bug-out bag plus a bunch of other stuff, including tools like shovels that are a bit heavy to carry otherwise. Margie has a little 72-hour emergency back pack that came already packed. She got it for a Christmas present from one of the kids. They know their mom! You can get those kinds of things on Amazon.
A Good First-Aid Kit
A car gives you the opportunity to carry things like tents, stoves, cooking supplies, etc. One of those locking tool chests in the bed of a pickup would hold a lot of survival gear. One essential item that we always carry is a good first aid kit. Margie even has a fairly big one that she carries on every single hike we ever do, no matter how short.
She has doctored up many a scraped kid, some of them not even ours! The best one I've found is the Grizzly by Adventure Medical Kits. With this kit, you'll be ready for almost anything. Adventure Medical Kits also has a bunch of other great survival and first -aid gear. We actually have a lot of their stuff. Go to http://www.adventuremedicalkits.com to check out their stuff. It's all high quality and the company has been around a long time.
You may not like to think about it, but you never know when an emergency will strike. It happens to people all over this country every year. You don't have a choice about that, but you can choose to be ready.
Start with the FEMA Web site and go from there. Make sure your home is your haven, and if you have to leave it, make sure you can do so immediately, and still have everything you need to survive and thrive.
Hopefully, you'll never have to use a bug-out bag. I never have. But wouldn't it stink to need one and not have it?