I believe the very idea of preparedness has gotten a bad rep lately in our society. From hokey TV shows, and media perception to the general dependency on authority and the discouraging of critical thought. In reality preparedness is just an extension of living our lives, especially now as adults. Simply put it just means having your basic needs met with a bit of resilience. Preparedness takes many forms but I think the one that most accessible and possibly the most overlooked is what’s called a bug out bag.
As the name suggests it’s just a bag that you have available either in your home or car in case you need to leave suddenly. When would you need a bug out bag? Despite the scene we often imagine of a guy crashing through the woods to evade capture (thanks Hollywood) the situations where a B.O.B would be handy are actually quite common. If you are a parent or have a significant other how many unplanned hospital visits and overnight stays have you been through? If you have aging family in another county or state, how many bad falls or say your “goodbyes” trips? Perhaps you’ve had a bit too much to drink and need to crash at a friend’s place. Even if none of these have happened to you I’d that someone you know has gone through one.
You may be wondering what should be in your bag? Excellent question but it depends. The first few pages of search results for “bug out bag” will suggest as a basis everything you need to flee from a disaster and survive for 72-96 hours. That can be a daunting list in some cases exceeding 75 items. Although those types of bags certainly have their place this not where I suggest people new to the concept get started. The best place to start would be to plan for whatever is most likely to happen to you. This varies by location and climate but there are universal basics that are very beginner friendly. To get our feet wet let’s start with a bag, the size that you’ll need will vary by person and situation but a weekend or small duffle bag with due for a start.
Now that we have a bag the first and easiest thing is clothing. Start with 2 days of clothes not counting what you are wearing. This can be as simple as 1 pair of jeans, 2 t-shirts and 2 sets of socks and underwear. The idea here is that you’ll be back home or at someplace where you can do laundry by 3 days. Next is a spare phone charger. In situations where you need to leave unplanned and quickly having a way to communicate is vital and smartphones give you so many ways to do so. The next item I would suggest is food. This usually takes the form of snacks of some sort like granola bars. They store well, will be at hand and will probably be better for you than whatever is available at the airport terminal. Finally we’ll look at hygiene and medication. A travel size toiletry kit will cover most things and some clean wipes from the dollar store are never a bad idea. Lastly have 2-3 days of any medication you need including the names and dosages. If you are asthmatic a spare inhaler is a good idea.
Optional but recommended items:
Basic first aid kit
Portable power bank
Water or at least a water bottle
Is this the bag you want when hurricanes or wildfires are around the corner? No, it wasn’t designed with that in mind. If you have to catch an unexpected flight with barely enough time to stop home this will be a winner. However if the disasters do come it’s a lot better than nothing and good place to start in ensuring your well being. As always feel free to comment bellow.