The first step in preparing for an emergency situation that may require you to quickly leave your home, is setting up a disaster kit, or what's often known as a "bug out bag." In the case of a flood or fire, you may only have minutes to grab what you need and go—which is why having a bug out bag that is packed and stored in an easy-to-reach and known location can be vital to your safety.
Choose a sturdy bag that is easy to carry either as a backpack or slung over your shoulder. You may need to walk long distances with it. It's also helpful to keep items stored in their own containers so when you need something immediately you won't have to dig into a black hole of gear. A rolling duffel bag is also another great option as they are lightweight and easy to pack, but they are much easier to transport. Get one with shoulder straps if you want even more portability.
It's also important to label your bug out bag and make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is located and what it looks like. Tie a bright red or yellow strap to the handle, so you can find it easily in storage.
Here's a list of things to pack if you want to be prepared for a few hours or days aways from help or your home.
- Important documents like copies of insurance policies, identification, bank records, medical records, copies of deeds
- Prescriptions medication and extra eyeglasses
- Mini first-aid kit containing bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin
- Cash, several hundred dollars in small denominations
- A prepaid phone card
- Matches in waterproof container
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Chargers and cables for phone and personal electronics
- Whistle to signal for help
- Portable NOAA weather radio (battery or hand-crank powered)
- Food (e.g., granola, nuts) and bottled water
- Extra set of keys for your home and car
- Multitool and small knife
- Infant/child necessities
Article written by Timothy Dahl and reposted with permission from Popular Mechanics.
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