Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to take steps to making a Bug Out Bag, otherwise known as a GOODY bag (for “Get Out Of Dodge”), a 72-hour survival kit, or simply an emergency evacuation kit.
When we talked preparedness last spring, we worked through many different steps to getting your home and family ready for the “in-house” sort of emergencies, such as power outages, snowstorms, or other problems that might cause your family to be stuck in the house without access to the outside world for a while. (photo source)
If you’ve watched the news this past month, it’s been hard to miss the volumes of people who have had to leave their homes because of emergencies, including hurricanes, floods, fires, and storms.
Those folks needed Bug Out Bags.
Here’s a 20-step list, designed to be tackled one per week for 20 weeks, to help you and your family be ready to evacuate on short notice with the basic items you might need to survive in an emergency situation:
- Gather backpacks/storage containers to keep your emergency kit in. Plan one per family member. Can also use storage tubs or 5 gallon buckets. Do you want to divide each person’s things into their own container, or have 1 container per category (food, clothes, supplies, etc.)? How would you transport items if you are alone–wagon, stroller?
- Three Days of Non-Perishable Food Per Person. Suggestions: MREs, high energy food bars, freeze-dried pouches, canned soups, meats, veggies, fruit, juice; peanut butter, hard candy, beef jerky (recipe can be found in the newly expanded Healthy Snacks to Go eBook along with over 45 real food snack recipes – click HERE to learn more.) Make a menu and plan each meal & snacks. Label the food as “Breakfast Day 1”, “Lunch Day 2”, etc. Put expiry dates on packages & your menu. http://ow.ly/5fPjg
Plan on one gallon of water per person per day-two quarts for drinking, two for food prep & cleaning. UPDATE: a commenter pointed out that you can’t possibly carry that much with you. Better to have a small Berkey filter or water bottle so you could reclaim water from other sources, and also plan to need zero for cooking, because if you’ve bugged out you don’t want to have food with you that you’d need to cook! I’d pack about a half to a full gallon per person, period. Don’t forget pets! More on how to make it safe and store it here.
- First Aid Kit. Tips on an herbal medicine cabinet here and here and Herbal Nurturing ebook. Other ideas: 1st aid manual, hand sanitizer, vinyl gloves, alcohol pads, bandaids, gauze, elastic (Ace) bandage, anti-bac ointment, pain reliever, tweezers, needle, small scissors, safety pins, cold pack, thermometer…
- Portable Radio, Flashlights (and batteries, if needed.) Check out solar or hand crank options like this one to the right which even has attachments to charge a cell phone. Look for a radio that is NOAA capable. NOAA broadcasts local emergency weather and evacuation instructions (radio is set to your local zip code).
- Personal Hygiene Kit for each family member. Include items in Ziploc bags or waterproof container: small towel/washcloth, comb/brush, soap, liquid detergent, toothbrush, toothpaste and other dental hygiene needs, deodorant, feminine hygiene items, other personal hygiene items, small wash basin (optional). Even easier if you go no ‘poo and can make your own deodorant!
- Sanitation and Waste Disposal. Store the following in a 5-gallon bucket with lid (and optional toilet seat): toilet paper (remove cardboard tube to save space), plastic bags & ties, for disposal, chlorine bleach or disinfectant, toilet chemicals (optional), paper towels, wet ones, small shovel (optional). (Bleach is a tough one when it comes to emergencies. It begins to break down and lose potency after only 6 months, and you hate to have to use or dispose of bleach and replace it when it’s not something you would normally have in your home. Full strength vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, stored separately, should do a sufficient job.)
- Clothing. For each person store: Pants, sweatshirt, t-shirt, socks, Shoes (optional) in Ziploc bags labeled with name and clothing size. For children, store clothes that are 1-2 sizes larger. Rotate clothes out when child grows into them. Be sure to note clothes sizes on your “Master List” so you know when to rotate clothes. Tips for clothing kids on the cheap here.
- Eating/Cooking Supplies. Include a can opener, stove w/solid fuel or heat pellets, utensils, cups, aluminum foil, Swiss army knife/utility tool with pliers & sharpening stone. Plastic plates & utensils may be used, but be sure to have at least one container for boiling water. How to Keep Cooking When You’re Cut Off.
- Stay warm and dry with ponchos or rain gear, emergency solar blankets, and heat packs (hand warmers) for each person in your family.
- Fire Making Supplies. Suggested: waterproof matches, flint, firestarter, which you can make by gently melting a bit of Vaseline. Put 6-10 cotton balls in melted Vaseline and saturate completely. Let cool & store in film container or Ziploc. To use, place 1-2 cotton balls under tinder and light with match. Dryer lint is good but doesn’t burn as long.
- Be ready for anything. Rope and/or twine, duct tape (wrap around a drinking straw to reduce space), extra garbage bags, extra Ziploc bags, whistle, old CD for signaling, and small sewing kit (needles, thread, tiny scissors), surgical tubing (drinking tube).
from helpful Facebook readers: Use paracord for your rope/twine. Be sure to buy the kind with the seven strand core so that if you need the finer twine you can use you core strands. I got some from a seller on Amazon that had only a four strand core and it is fairly useless… tangles up terribly! We are trying to use it up on everyday disposable tasks.
Paracord is used to make emergency “jewelry” too, braided into belts and watch bands, key fobs and bracelets. Super strong and very multi-use.
- Entertainment supplies. Paperback scriptures, paper and pencils, pens, crayons, playing cards, small toys, extra eyeglasses, sunglasses. What packs the biggest punch of fun for the smallest amount of space?
- Be Ready to Go with spare house and car keys, local map for locating shelters, evacuation routes, etc., money. (Have enough cash to support yourself out of your home for 3 days. Keep most of it in very small bills along with some quarters.)
- Important Documents. Keep copies in a waterproof bag of: birth certificates &/or passports, immunization records & health records, bank account & credit card information, homeowners’ insurance information, emergency plan, important phone numbers, family emergency plan contact numbers. *Keep originals in a watertight, fireproof box in your home.
- Where will you lay your head? Consider a tent and lightweight wool blankets or sleeping bags. If you have a large family tent, keep it in a place where it will be easily accessible in an evacuation. Soooo…not up in the rafters of the garage like ours is… You’ll find some supply recommendations and sort-of-survival skills in The Family Camping Handbook.
- Tools. Folding shovel, hand ax, small hand saw.
- Special Needs Items. For littles: formula, bottles, water, diapers, wipes, ointment, medication, baby sling or carrier (selection of some of my fav babywearing supplies at Sweetbottoms, one of this month’s sponsors. Choose one that doesn’t take up much space for a Bug Out Bag like this, or put it on your “pack when you’re heading out” list.) Disabled/special needs: Assess what you need. Add to kit or place on a list of “other items to bring” and keep list with your kit. Pets: supplies and food *Note: most shelters will not allow pets. Make arrangements ahead of time.
- Make an “Other Items to Bring If Space and Time Permit” List. Coats, hats, gloves, boots (winter), tent, pillows, purse or wallet, diaper bag, cell phones and chargers, camera, tarp, extra food and water, special needs items, etc. What else would you need to bring?
- Choose an out of town contact; it may be easier to make long distance calls than local. Set meeting places, one right outside your home and one outside your neighborhood. Compile contact info for family members including work & school. Plan escape routes from home as well as safe places in case of flood, tornado, hurricane, etc. Prepare a list of people, boarding facilities, & vets where pets can go.
For more on what to include, where to store, and a few tips on how to organize it all, see this 72-hour survival kit post. In general, you’ll want to keep a master list of everything in your kit, plus a list on each bag of “what’s in there” including expiration dates on food and batteries and clothing sizes, so you know when to replace certain items. That list of “things to bring if we have time” is helpful as well.
See all the real food preparedness posts HERE.
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Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Herbal Nurturing, Emergency Essentials, and Amazon. See my full disclosure statement here.