Ladies, We live in a tumultuous time. It's no secret that the political landscape is fraught with underhanded warmongers, and bad actors pushing for dangerous legislation. The media has created boogeymen of nations and leaders of nations to blame for the goings on of which that they don't approve. The media also plays off existing tensions to instigate agenda that could blow back unexpectedly.
Our foreign policy, flawed though it may be, has done a good job of keeping those tensions across the pond for the most part. The risk to us as citizens has remained low in regard to seeing combat on our own soil; save for a few events we refer to as “terror attacks" and view as isolated incidents with mitigating factors that prevent us from recognizing them as acts of aggression from foreign entities. Meanwhile, the contention of limited immigration and the struggle to stifle the flow of incoming players and the failure to pass meaningful legislation regarding their expulsion has left us open to the possibility of covert organized operations like the compound in New Mexico and potentially much worse.
The low-risk environment we have all grown up with, having the protection of the greatest military in the world has made us naive, lazy, and ill-prepared. Our enemies, especially those disguised as allies, don't suffer the same misfortune. Israel, for example, practices conscription for all citizens, which means their entire able-bodied population is combat ready whether they are active military or not. Meanwhile, a large portion of our population neither uses nor understands basic sidearm home protection. It's a scary thought.
It's not the only danger. We have many active and dormant volcanoes. We have annual disastrous weather events, and we live in a society wholly dependent on a fragile electrical grid. Any number of things can happen, locally or nationally, that can strand you in an emergency situation. What are you gonna do?
Well, I am going to tell you.
Most of us spend a significant time in our vehicles traveling to and from work, shuffling kids to activities, shopping, going to dinner, and vacations. Any fictional show or film you have seen about a disaster demonstrates that inevitably there will be long lines of cars cluttering up roads. Many of you will have experienced evacuations already and have first-hand knowledge of the hours spent trying to vacate an area. How many people have what they need already inside their car? Hardly anyone.
That's where the Bug out bag (or go bag) comes into play.
The first thing that you will need is a bag that's large enough for your family or several bags, one for each family member.
A phrase that you need to become familiar with, that I will repeat, and you need to repeat. Two is one and one is none. That means you need 3 of anything of which you need one. If you have one you can assume it's already used or broken. If you have two of an item and one is used or broken then you still only have one of it and it can get used or broken. That's why you need a third. Simple, right?
Water: Even in our world of abundance, we hover perilously close to death by dehydration. Depending on your lifestyle you are anywhere from a few hours to a few days away from critical body failure due to lack of water. Each family member needs 3 large bottles of water, or 1-3 quarts. This is the first thing that you need. Periodically you should replace the water, especially if you live in a warm and wet your climate. In addition to bottled water, you should have water treatment methods such as water purification tablets and a life straw.
Food: Trailmix without chocolate and beef jerky are fast sources of protein and vital nutrients that you will need to maintain energy levels needed to get yourself to safety. MREs are compact, lightweight, and can be purchased at any outdoor store or online. Plus, they are fun to taste test with the family while figuring out which ones you'd like to store. You need to prepare three meals for three days for each member of your family, on top of the emergency rations.
First aid kit: You can either make your own or purchase pre-packed first aid kits from the pharmacy. Bandages, alcohol wipes, a thermal blanket, hot and cold chemical compress, and pain relief are typically already included. If your family member has medical needs you should also include a baggy of their daily medications for 3 days. Normally people don't lug about their medicine cabinet for their daily activities but if you are caught unable to return home or have to wait for rescue it would be a shame to not have your blood pressure medication available.
Fire: Two is one and one is none. A lighter would come in handy if the need to make fire comes up but if it gets wet it won't work. You need multiple ways to make fire and multiple of the multiples. 3 lighters, 3 sets of matches, a magnesium fire starter are great items to have. In order to start a fire, you will need tinder. Sticks don't just enkindle on demand and will need help to burn into something that can keep you warm. Dryer lint is a readily available source of tinder that we all have in the home. Place enough for a few fires in a waterproof bag; wet tinder will not start a fire. Remember to spread it out before laying the sparks, the surface area is important.
Flashlights: Half of each day darkness and the need to see is important especially to identify rustles as dangerous or not. Those nocturnal critters (bug and small) are generally averse to light, so shining torches at them is sometimes all you need to scare them off. If you are awaiting rescue, waving lights can alert rescuers to your location in the dark where otherwise they wouldn't see you. Finally, flashlights can start a fire if all the other fire starting methods fail. The silver curved part of a flashlight that reflects the bulb into a beam is called a parabolic lens. It can be used to focus sunlight onto tinder in the same way a magnifying glass can use the sun to burn ants.
Eyeliner: What self-respecting lady would find herself in an apocalyptic or emergency situation without proper eye-makeup? Hollyweird tells us that there is no situation where it's acceptable to have unlined eyes and that includes zombie apocalypse, nuclear fallout, and running through dense forests. In addition to looking fabulous no matter the circumstances, no-smudge eyeliner is an every surface friendly message scrawling device. It will write on glass, wood, cloth, concrete, paper, skin, plastic, and metal. If you are forced to move from a clear open good for rescue location due to the need for shelter you'll appreciate being able to leave a note for your rescue team that won't wash off easily. So will they. Two is one and one is none. Lipstick serves the same purpose, just don't put it on your eyes.
Self-defense: Gun, ammo, knife, pepper spray.
If you have a gun I hope I don't need to explain that the ammo should not be stored inside the gun, but just in case: store the ammo separately from the gun. You don't want a misfire on the way to soccer practice and it's pretty basic gun safety.
Hygiene: Baby wipes for sponge baths.
Travel toothbrushes and paste or tooth powder, and feminine hygiene items. Don't bother with shampoo or other hair care items, do bring deodorant if it has aluminum silicate as an ingredient as it can be used as a burn treatment for mild burns. Don't believe me? Next time you get popped with grease, a nasty sunburn or a curling iron injury rub (new) deodorant on it and feel the soothe.
Clothes: This is not a vacation, and you don't need a suitcase amount of clothes, however, three pair of socks and underwear per family member is practical. Keeping your feet dry is important if you want to stave off hypothermia or gangrene.
Yeah, you're never gonna escape paperwork, sorry. You need to make copies of a bunch of paperwork so that you can be verified upon rescue and receive medical treatment. In the case of fleeing your home in case of disaster, you may need to replace documents. Birth certificate, insurance card, driver license, social security card, passport, medical records including blood type, prescriptions, marriage certificate, divorce papers, child custody papers, diplomas, school transcripts, military documents, weapon permits, credit/debit card, deeds and titles, insurance and registration, emergency contacts.
Make sure to do front and back copies of any double-sided document.