I recommend that every family have a BOB. Bug Out Bag. While it need not be a bag, it should be a container which has everything you need for a 3 + day stay away from home. One you can grab in a hurry, always in the same place, and one in which you have confidence that the things in the BOB are always there, ready to go.
A BOB is a package of things you will need should an emergency happen that will require you to leave your home with little or no planning, and should allow you and your family and/or dependants to be self sufficient for at least 3 days.
LOOK; Think of the police knocking on your door and telling you that there has been a hazmat release of a dangerous chemical on the railroad tracks just a mile or so from your home. The wind is shifting and you have to leave NOW. It is 12:43 AM and you just went to sleep an hour or so ago. Oh…… and just to add to your fun, the power is out. Gah!
Can you find all the stuff you need in a hurry? Where did you leave your sleeping bag last time you came home from that camping trip last year? Water? Where is it? How are you gonna carry all this stuff?The cops are leaving because they can smell the chlorine from the ruptured tank car, and are saying “RUN! GET IN YOUR CAR AND LEAVE NOW!We are out of here!…… bye…” Where do you go? What do you do? If you have no plan then you are dependent on someone else to help you. Feed you. Clothe you. You are under their orders….their rules and their choice to protect you (or not) You have no clothing, no food, and no shelter except your car. Your money? Left it at home, didn’t you?. With your wallet. And your ID. And your medicine…… and this was a bad week for your wife/GF to have to leave in a hurry.
Now you know why you need a BOB. And why you need it packed and ready to go. Always.
I suggest at least 3 days worth of no/low prep food… Per person…. Plus sanitary supplies, clothing, medication (should you require it) plus either water for 3 days per person or a method of filtering water (or otherwise rendering it safe to drink). Have special needs? Then you should have at least enough supplies to fill those special needs for a minimum of 3 days (better to try and have 10 days worth). While this may not be practical for everyone, it is a good idea. Rotate items which might spoil, or if your medication needs to be kept cold, then have a cooler & icepacks in your freezer with your medication ready to go.
What should your bugout bag contain? It depends….What are your needs?. Female? Male? Kids? How many? Where do you live? What is the climate? Hot, cold, dry, wet? All these things should factor in your thinking and planning.Pets? Kids? How many? Can they walk with you or do you need to contain or carry them?
Each bug out bag should have clothing for the person carrying it (at least one set) as well as anyone/anything that person is going to be responsible for (children, elderly parents, pets, etc.) one change of clothing or more; shoes, socks, underwear, outer clothing appropriate for the weather which you might encounter in your area of operations. It makes no sense for a person in south Texas to have a parka, nor does it really make sense for the person in Minnesota to have shorts packed.
My bag contains 25 + meals. Seems like a lot, but it isn’t when you divide by three meals a day. My go kit contains a few more meals. along with food and water for the dog and cats… “Go Kit”? Yes. I have a tote full of food and water and such. It is stored in the same place, so that the stuff to run with is all easy to find. I literally can corral the cats (cat carriers are in the same place as the go bags) in the time it takes to carry the bags up the stairs. In the same place is the tote with more food….food for animals AND humans. Along with water and clothing for all normal occupants in the house. All can be tossed in the back of the car or truck in less time than it can take to grab the cats. 2 trips and I am ready to go. One trip brings the essentials….the second is just to extend the time that I can be non dependant on someone else for survival. It isn’t hard to keep a weeks worth of food in a 16 gallon tote. Total time to load, (if the cats cooperate) is less than 7 minutes.
Part of my stuff is in a backpack, the rest is in totes. The backpack allows me to be able to run with 3 days worth of supplies, the rest is to make me more comfortable and less dependent, but less mobile. You can’t carry a weeks worth of food and water and supplies in your shoulder bag. You have to be realistic about what you can and cannot carry.
Later, I will have a post up with what my “BOB” contains….it is a backpack, and it weighs 54 lbs. It covers most issues which I can think of. It assumes that I am not in a shelter with other refugees. It covers food, shelter, water, defense, clothing, and fire for cooking and warmth. It is a pack with which I can easily be fairly comfortable for 4 days and nights. 54 lbs is, however, more than most people can carry, so you may have to adjust such a pack to your physique and fitness level. You may always be able to carry all of your stuff in your car, but I like to keep my options open, so I choose to have most of my stuff in a backpack, so I can walk if required.