If you had to abandon your home right now, with say . . . two minutes to get out (think fire, earthquake, chemical spill, gas leak, tornado, flood . . .) could you evacuate yourself and your family – along with a few necessary items – in that space of time?
To evacuate with the bare essentials – spare clothes, copies of important ID papers, Rx Medications, 72 hours of food, a toiletry kit, and a small amount of money – with just a couple of minutes advance warning becomes a lot easier if you create a Bug Out Bag (BOB) in advance.
Last August, I wrote a blog called What About BOB?. In it, I review the recommendations of Ready.gov. A bug-out-bag should be a smaller version of a much larger emergency supply that every household should maintain.
While a BOB should provide for 72 hours of your family's needs, you should be prepared to stay at home, without outside assistance, for at least 2-weeks.
Monday, August 17, 2009
It’s wildfire season out west, hurricane season along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and just about anywhere else floods, earthquakes, tornados, and all manner of other disasters could conspire to force you and your family from your home with very little notice.
Having an emergency `to go’ kit or `BOB’ is an important preparation, and could be lifesaving in an emergency.
While everyone’s BOB will be a little different, I thought I’d take you on a photo tour of mine today. Some of my choices, given my training and needs, might be different from yours.
You should consult the Ready.gov website for specific recommendations about what you should include in your kit.
Everything I’ve got fits into a single duffle bag.
I keep mine stocked (and checked for freshness every 6 months), and easily accessible in my home. If I had to leave on a moment’s notice, at least I’d be leaving with more than the clothes on my back.
You’ll notice in the pictures below just about everything is kept in plastic bags.
First comes the electronics.
While I would obviously want to grab my cellphone (and my beloved iPod) on the way out the door, some basics that stay in the bag are an LED Lantern, a battery operated radio, extra batteries, a small pocket knife, and a hand-crank flashlight.
Next in line is 72 hours of food.
I’ve a couple of MREs, a couple of `pouch meals’ that can be eaten warm or cold, some soup mixes, some instant oatmeal, and (don’t forget) something to eat and drink out of, and some plastic utensils.
Next come some basic `survival’ items.
Water (I usually carry 4 or 5 pints), hat, spare glasses, sun block, essential computer backups on flash drives, a copy of my medical history, and some plastic sheeting, duct tape, and some light rope.
With those last three items, I have the makings of an emergency shelter if need be.
Next comes a combination toiletry kit (toothbrush, paste, floss, toilet paper, small garbage bags)/mini first aid kit. I’ve also got some aspirin, and 3 prescriptions I’d hate to be caught without in an emergency.
Tucked away inside this kit I also have some quarters, some folding money, and copies of my driver’s license, a list of emergency phone numbers, and copies of some other important papers.
I also threw in a pair of reef-runners. Light mesh shoes that are good for walking in water. They dry out quickly. Admittedly, they are a bit bulky, but this is Hurricane country, and dry shoes could be a godsend in a crisis.
And lastly, I’ve some dry clothes and a fleece blanket. Everything, of course, bagged to keep dry.
There you have it.
Everything I need to stay warm, dry, nourished, and reasonably comfortable for 72 hours. Plus the added benefit of having two sources of light, an emergency radio, a little cash, a mini first aid kit, and some basic toiletries.
Things that would take me precious minutes to gather up during an emergency. Time I simply might not have.
Of course, you’d be hard pressed to put everything for a family of four into one bag. So each family member should have their own BOB.
Some items, like the radio, lights, and first aid kit needn’t be duplicated in each bag.
We all think that it will never happen to us. That nothing could drive us out of our homes with a moment’s notice, and without time to pack up some essentials.
But every year in the United States thousands of families find themselves in exactly that situation. A house fire, a flood, a tornado . . . even an earthquake . . . can occur with no advance warning.
I keep my BOB within arm’s reach of my first aid kit, and would hopefully be able to grab both, even in an emergency. Frankly, I’d feel naked without it.
Over the years, having a well stocked first aid kit has come in very handy. It is amazing the peace of mind that comes from being ready for an emergency.
I do these things because preparing is easy.
It’s worrying that is hard.
For more preparedness information, you may wish to visit these sites.
AMERICAN RED CROSS http://www.redcross.org/