Whether you call it a Go-Bag, a Bug Out Bag or a Get Home Bag, the intent is the same; to survive when things get all shaken up. Each of us packs a bag of things we think we will need when either forced to evacuate our home, or if there is a disaster while we are somewhere other than home.
I happen to live in rural, coastal Oregon. Small towns, no traffic problems, no congestion and best of all, peace and quiet. The bag I carry is specifically for getting home. There is really very little need for folks in our area to have a bug-out plan. Some of the only reasons we might need to evacuate our homes would be wildland fires, flooding, or impending tsunami.
Now if I lived in a metropolitan area, my plan would be different. The entire climate is different. Where there are more people, the dangers are increased. Traffic gridlock contributing to frustration, road rage and downright panic is only one of the factors country folk don’t have to deal with. We have only to watch the looting and rioting when there’s a disaster to know people will misbehave when they know they can do so with impunity. Remember, scared people behave badly! If I were a city dweller, my entire plan would be centered around getting out of the city to a prearranged location. AND my plan would include a tipping point when certain factors dictated the prudent and swift egress of me and my family, before it was too late!
If society collapses for whatever reason, riot, natural disaster, or governmental breakdown, it is usually to one’s benefit to get out of town! This would not be the time to try to decide what to take, where to go and how to get there.
So let’s make a list. If I have to leave home in a hurry what do I take? Start writing down all the things you would need if you only had minutes to get out. Rather similar to planning a camping trip. If you have a destination in mind, good. If not, then arrange for a place you can stay for the duration. There is a term for a person escaping from a bad situation with no plan or predetermined destination. The term is refugee!
Good ideas for your list can be found at www.ready.gov and www.redcross.org. Both websites are excellent resources. Then go online and Google “bug out bag”. This will bring up dozens of websites who want to sell you a ready made kit. Whatever you do, resist the temptation to buy a ready-made bag. The value of these websites is to give you ideas when you’re making your list. The guy who put it together knows nothing of your individual needs and besides, it is important you know what’s in it. Remember many life-saving decisions are oftentimes made way before you ever leave home!
If you’re like me and your concern is more about getting home, then your list will vary a bit. It’s still a little like a camping trip, you just don’t know where you’re going to be. I spend 10 hours a day working a half-hour from home. In the event an earthquake closes the roads, I may have to get creative about perpetuating my well-being while making my way home.
Whether you’re an urban dweller or country boy (or girl) it’s important to plan for your survival. Today is a great day to get started!
As always send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Dave Robinson is a retired Postmaster and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other online booksellers.