Bug-Out Bags Are Essential for Emergency Preparation

by Bill Hanover on December 27, 2012

Sometimes called a “go bag,” “Get Out of Dodge bag,” or “72-hour kit,” a Bug-out Bag, or BoB, is the most important item for personal preparedness needs. Military personnel and emergency responders are usually required to have one at the ready, and preparedness experts swear by them as an absolute essential.

What is a Bug-Out Bag?

There’s nothing covert or sneaky here, a bug-out bag is simply a mobile pack that contains essential survival items for at least 72 hours. The primary purpose is to have everything you’ll need to literally run out the door of your home or office when an emergency occurs. Since you never know when that might happen or which members of your family will be home, each person in your household needs their own customized bug-out bag.

A BoB focuses on immediate evacuation due to a disaster or unsafe event and its accompanying short-term survival needs (72 hours). Survival kits on the other hand, center on requirements to care for yourself or your family during times that demand long lasting solutions and possibly eventual rescue.

Potential Disasters Requiring a BoB

Localized disasters such as a fire or gas leak in your home are the most likely scenarios for you to use a bug out bag. However, more encompassing events like a neighborhood hostage situation, riots, or even earthquakes or floods are common enough to plan for.

In the workplace, terrorist activities, shootings, or large-scale blackouts might occur, necessitating the use of a bug-out bag. To be as prepared as possible, keep a BoB in your home, office and car.

Putting the Right Stuff into Your BoB

First, the criteria; plan for 72 hours, everything must fit into a backpack, and it must meet the needs of you and your family and pets. The basics of food, water, and shelter are the most important. The contents of your BoB will vary for the time of year, region of the country, and your personal circumstances. The following list provides for many needs, but is not comprehensive.

• Water The most important need; see the discussion below.
• Food MREs, energy bars, dehydrated camp meals work well.
• Fire and Cooking Tools Always have at least three ways to start a fire (i.e. matches, lighter, magnesium rod).
• First Aid Kit Include latex gloves to safely administer to others. Include medical prescriptions and spare glasses.
• Personal Hygiene Toilet paper, soap, tooth paste, etc.
• Emergency Plan Meeting locations, phone numbers, maps, money, etc.
• Tools Multi-tool, paracord, flashlight, solar radio, lock picks, compass, knife.
• Protection Firearms, pepper spray, taser.
• Important Documents ID, driver license, birth certificate, insurance documents, etc.
• Clothing and Shelter Season appropriate clothes; bedding; tent or tarp.

Water Sustains Life During an Emergency

Under normal circumstances, the average person needs two quarts of water a day to remain healthy. In a high-stress situation, that amount doubles or even triples. Prepare for each person to drink one gallon (3.75 liters) of water each day of survival. Beyond consumption, water needs include cooking, personal hygiene and washing/cleaning.

Never assume water is safe to drink without treating it first. The most common methods of purification are boiling, iodine tablets, chlorinating and filtering. An excellent example of a combined water container and filter / purifier system is the Berkey Sport Bottle. It filters and purifies dirty water from streams, storms, lakes and swamps so that it is clean and safe for drinking. The Berkey Sport Bottle comes equipped with a drinking straw for personal use or you can squeeze it to fill larger containers with pure water. It is an excellent grab-and-go water purification system that any member of your family can operate with ease.

Maintaining Your Bug-Out Bag is Part of Emergency Preparedness

To keep your BoB in optimum condition for use, rotate food supplies, replace batteries regularly, keep meds and phone numbers up to date, and adjust clothing for the changing seasons.

Speed is key, so keep your bug-out bag in a convenient place near an exit area or door. You’ll want to grab it and go without any need for additional supplies or looking for things.

Take charge of your own safety and remember that imperfect action is better than perfect inaction every time.

All the Best to You and Yours,


About Bill Hanover

I am and do many things: A child of God, the father of 8, a Lean Manufacturing Consultant, Hold a Masters Degree in Psychology and help many people prepare for emergencies by hooking them up with emergency water purifiers and other supplies. I am a proud and grateful citizen of the United States of America and deeply appreciate all who sustain her! Google+

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