Draft in progress…
Scenario #1: The air raid siren is going off- you’ve never even heard a test and didn’t know it existed. It could be an incoming nuclear warhead from China, or another catastrophic train derailment that spewed hazardous materials or poisonous gas. If you get an evacuation order, how long would it take you to grab what you need and go? Put another way, what could you rescue from your home in ten minutes, and with those items, how well-off or ill-prepared would you be?
Scenario #2: What would you do if you woke in the middle of the night to screeching smoke alarms and a raging fire? Do you have a prepacked bag under the bed with clothes, financial records, insurance policies and contact numbers? Any family photos or memorabilia in there? How many vital, important and irreplaceable items would you be leaving to burn? Would you even know what all was lost? Will you be caught naked staring at everything you own going up in smoke?
Scenario #3: Zombies are all over the news, not the mindless social media types with their faces buried in their phones, but real flesh eating undead! Word is a horde is tearing apart the next town over. How fast can you get what you will need to survive the apocalypse, knowing it may never be safe to return home, and that EVERYONE will be competing for the same resources in a world where money has likely lost all value? How long could you live on what you can gather from your home in an hour or two?
Scenario #4: The recent crisis at the border was bad, but you never considered that the Chinese and Mexicans that have flooded in by the millions were anything but economic migrants and freeloaders looking for a handout from Uncle Sugar. Now it seems the two nations colluded for years to preposition males of military age all over the country, and have launched an effort to reclaim a good portion of the southwest for Mexico and the West Coast for China. Cartel members and the Yakuza are slaughtering US citizens, confiscating assets and rounding up women in work camps… “work” being a euphemism. Do you have go bags for your wife and kids, or better yet, trunks full of supplies, staged near the door to the garage & ready to load in the truck, full of stable food, clothing, weapons, ammo and camping gear?
The point behind these scenarios & questions is to assess how prepared you are to vacate your home in an emergency… or even permanent basis. This is an exercise to consider what assets, documents, gear and keepsakes you would prefer to rescue in a “bugout bag”, something you can grab literally on the way out the door, when seconds count & your life is on the line, to make life after the event not only survivable, but easier and more enjoyable.
We’ll post a list of likely items here, but each of us is unique, and you might need or want to prioritize space for meds, memorabilia or money in the form of cash, precious metals and coins. Preparing for one event will largely take care of all events, though in some situations, weapons and the ability to defend and feed yourself will be crucial, while in others that will not be necessary at all.
Your bugout bag should address food, safe water, cooking, shelter, fire, change of clothes, personal defense, first aid, operating at night, hygiene, and the ability to purchase (or even scavenge for) resources if necessary.
Bare Minimum Bugout Bag (BMBOB)
- 2 liters of water in metal (or nalgene) containers
- Sillcock key (to access water at commercial sites)
- water purifier, lifestraw, or drip purifier
- 3 spare underwear
- 3 spare socks (preferably hiking socks)
- 6 dehydrated meals
- plastic screwtop container of drink mix (Gatorade, Tang, etc)
- isobutane / propane stove and tank
- 750ml titanium cook pot w/lid to nestle stove in
- spoon or spork (titanium)
- knife with a five or six inch blade
- strike anywhere matches, lighter, magnifying glass
- small bag of lint for fire starter
- toilet paper
- 5-7 loaded mags for your weapon
- lock picks
- headlamp or flashlight
- 100 feet of 550 paracord
- toothbrush & paste
- deodorant stick & feminine or other hygiene items
- tarp, tent or bivy sack for shelter
- neck gaitor
- hard drive (more on this below)
- first aid kit
- sewing kit
- cash and precious metal coins
- leatherman multi tool
Optional additional gear could include
- Tomahawk or axe
- pry bar or crowbar
- ballistic goggles
- flex cuffs
- solar panel (fold-up) for recharging
- collapsible fishing pole & tackle, speedhook or yo yo fishing reels
- set of snares for small and medium game
- emergency maritime rations (compressed sugar cake)
- climbing rope
- gmrs or other portable radio
- plate carrier
- battle belt
- helmet with night vision goggles
These items will aid in scavenging & help protect you from harm if you need to enter abandoned or damaged buildings, feed yourself without operational grocery stores and restaurants, deal with aggressors, etc. Imagine everything that could happen and what you would need to deal with it, and the list keeps getting bigger. You have to limit yourself to what you can fit in a pack and carry, or strap on your body and wear.
You can also pre-pack storage crates with a whole lot more, from food and water to memorabilia and camping gear for instances where your life is not under immediate threat. If you have time to do more than grab a pack on the way out the door (or window), it will sure help to have supplies organized, packed and pre-positioned for quick loading into your vehicle.
A fire is most likely the only situation where only your home is affected. The neighborhood, town or city will operate as normal, so you won’t face a potential need to “camp out” and feed yourself. You likely will not have to defend yourself either, unless the fire was started intentionally. But better safe than sorry.
A fire bag should have the following:
- Hard drive (more on this below)
- Cash and one credit card (for hotel, food, other expenses)
- three complete changes of clothes
- nalgene water bottle (filled)
- concealed carry weapon w/3 mags
- first aid kit specializing in burns
- toothbrush and paste, deodorant
- small sentimental memorabilia
Every bug-out bag should have a solid state portable hard drive, loaded with financial records, documents, pictures, etc. They take up next to no space and weight a few ounces, but can be a lifesaver in so many ways. They can enable access to bank accounts and insurance, store a library of books or music to entertain you, and immortalize your family.
Take a few days and put in the effort to digitize and load important financial and real estate records, warrantees, account info, contact details and address books, music, family photos and finally, pictures of your home and as many valuable assets within and outside of it as possible. These photos will be invaluable if you have to make an insurance claim, should your home be burned, destroyed, looted or otherwise damaged. Take pics from multiple angles. In different lighting. Close up shots of serial numbers and manufacturer info.
Hopefully you get the idea. High dollar receipts in photo or email format are also appropriate. Claiming you had a 50″ TV is one thing, that could net you a few hundred, while photographic evidence of the model and serial number or receipt with actual value right there in black and white is another. Fighting with the insurance company over the value of your lost assets and replacement costs is the last thing you will want to do after losing your home. Do the prep work now.
… a “Get Home” bag is another consideration. Should an emergency hit your area while you’re at work, and vehicular traffic is untenable for whatever reason, do you have the means to make it home on your own? Sneakers or hiking shoes, money, weather appropriate clothing, snacks or meals sufficient to provide energy for however long it would take to walk are all recommended, as well as a weapon. If you live really close, a few miles from work, it may not be an issue. Thirty or fifty miles is another case altogether, and your trip could take several days and nights.