Emergencies and disasters by their very nature are never convenient. Certain disasters can be predicted or forecasted to some extent such as hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and even ice storms, but then others come unexpectedly. Given the state of the world today manmade disasters should be expected. It is not a matter of if anymore, but simply a matter of when.
What happens when you are at work or simply away from home when disaster strikes? Have you thought about how you would get back, and have you thought about what you need to survive so you can get back to your family?
Not the Typical Bug out Bag
No one is usually in one place 24 hours a day every day, so plans have to be made for when you are not at home. Your home is where the bulk of your emergency supplies would be stored. It is assumed in most cases you would shelter in place.
Some call it their “every day carry” those items needed to assist you if you are caught up in a crisis away from home. Some may keep the items in their vehicle, their office and in some cases on their person. You have to consider however, you may not be able to get to or use your car if a disaster strikes while at work so to be fully prepared you can carry your supplies in a satchel, briefcase or even an over sized purse. Carry the items into your workplace, and secure properly where you have complete access in the event of an emergency.
There are some things, you must first consider however. When disaster strikes and you are away from your home you do not want to become a target of looters and others as you make your way back, so avoid backpacks that standout and “scream” bug-out-bag. Individuals not prepared will be looking for those that are.
Emergency Essentials to Get You Back Home
Staying put is not an option when you have a family to get back to, and it is likely you will have to make the trek on foot. Highways, bridges and roads may be damaged and if not they are likely to be clogged to point where they are a disaster in and of themselves. On foot, you can maneuver around obstacles and take routes unavailable by vehicles. Life’s essentials are the same regardless of your situation and they are shelter, water, fire and nutrition.
- Water for 24 hours which is at a minimum two quarts/liters for hydration, add more if you have the room because you simply cannot have too much water but space and weight is a consideration
- Emergency shelter such as a lightweight all weather blanket, rain poncho and/or emergency thermal blankets, shelter in this type of situation may be simply wrapping yourself up as you walk
- Food for 24 hours which can be two Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) high protein bars, trail mix, beef jerky and small containers of peanut butter and crackers. You will burn more calories than normal and to maintain your energy levels you must replace them
- Personal protection, consider a firearm, pepper spray and stun batons that extend up to 48 inches versus the smaller ones that require physical contact and/or a collapsible walking stick that can fold up and be placed in the pack
- Maps of the area and a compass
- Waterproof matches and a magnesium stick/Ferro rod, always have more than one fire starting method
- First aid kit
- Knife and multi-tool
- Canteen and empty water bottle for water collection and water purification tablets such as chlorine dioxide or iodine tablets
- Extra socks, you cannot walk in wet socks/feet
- One two-way radio and make sure there is one at home and both are always tuned to the same channel
- Cell phone and extra battery
- Coffee filters for emergency water filtration
- Face masks to protect from dust, contaminates and debris in the air
- Work gloves, hat, bandanas and sunglasses
- Optional items if space allows may include 50 feet of paracord, small camp axe and pry bar for extraction from a damaged structure and heavy duty shoes
Adapt the list to include prescription medications, extra glasses, contacts and so forth. Make sure you know how to start fires using a magnesium stick or Ferro rod. Learn proper water purification methods because you may need to replenish your supply. You can collect water from public fountains, swimming pools, reservoirs, public lakes and ponds. Do not consume any water you have collected until it has been filtered and purified.
The average adult can walk at about three miles per hour on a relatively flat and even terrain. However, having to backtrack around obstacles and possibly elude others will slow your average pace.
Things you can do to prepare include walking the route from work to home or various other places you may be at when disaster strikes. Street level views will look different from what you would see while driving or as a passenger on a bus or in a taxi. Landmarks will look different so make sure you actually know the route you would take while traveling on foot. Ensure you are physically capable of it as well.