Preparing Your Family for Disasters: Part 2
In our previous post, we talked about the characteristics of Disaster Types and what you should be getting ready before an emergency crisis, and what to expect during one.
Today I’d like to Talk about Survival bags… what their purpose is and what to put in them.
Having a survival or bug out bag for yourself and your loved ones can keep you and your family in good shape should you get stuck somewhere away from your home for a few days.
These bags should be stocked at all times since you usually don’t get a warning when a disaster crisis is going to happen. We keep one in our car, another at the office, and it isn’t a bad idea to keep a 3rd one in the garage or shed. The purpose of his kit is to have it ready whenever you need it, and to keep you fed and safe for at least 5-7 days.
What if you’re out of house and home for longer than a week? The answer to that can be found in other posts of ours like Finding Shelter in the Wilderness.
Here are some of the most essential things a small family should have packed and ready to go to survive for an extended period of time.
The Red Cross recommends keeping enough emergency supplies to last you and your loved ones for 3 days. So the amount you keep in your bag is going to depend on how big your group is. You may even need more than one bug out bag so plan accordingly.
Canned goods are going to be too bulky and heavy for your bag so stick to pre-packed items:
- energy bars
- oat meal packs
- dirty rice,etc.
- Water and water purify tablets
- Sunflower Seeds – They’re light and packed with healthy fats.
- Pinto Beans – Provides a lot of protein and will last and last.
- Peanut Butter Pouches – For protein and energy
- Tuna Pouches – Lots of calories and protein content
- O.S Rations – Very dense (3600 calories per package) with very long shelf life.
- Meal Replacement Powders –Can be added to water and lightweight. Just like electrolyte powder they’ll help keep you hydrated. Just put them in a ziploc bag.
- Sardine Tins – Sardines in oil have lots of protein
- Make your own trail mix of-granola, oats,banana chips,raisins,pistachios, and peanuts
- Sprouting Seeds –Great nutritious snack. Keep them in your bag with a paper towel. Later you can dampen the towel and wrap it around a hand full of the seeds and in a couple days you’ll have a delicious treat.
- Beef Jerky – Prefect staple to naw on but can cause dehydration so a little at a time
- Meals Ready to Eat MREs– These are a military staple with very long shelf life even in extreme weather conditions
The first thing to focus on in your survival bag is shelter, and the reason for this is simple: if you don’t have anywhere to sleep, you’re going to be vulnerable to the elements, so the simplest solution is a tent.
Look for a tent one person bigger than the size of your family. For example, if you have a three person family, you’ll want a four person tent for comfort. If you plan on being able to store it in a bag along with other essentials, it will obviously need to be made of very light material.There are a number of them available so check the weight ( try to keep it 5 pounds or less).
There are also a number of light-weight emergency blankets on the market (some made of mylar) and you’ll be needing these in cold regions.
It’s the same story with sleeping bags. You need to pack small so buy ultralight bags.
As far as extra clothing goes, think of the extremities ( hands and feet) and make sure everything is light enough to squeeze in a ziplock bag that can be flattened for loading into your bag. In warm areas think light colored, light weight, and breathable clothing.
No matter how good your shelter and clothing setups are, you won’t last long without food. Canned goods are going to be too bulky and heavy for your bag so stick to pre-packed items like energy bars, oat meal packs, dirty rice,etc. Ultralight Backpacking Canister Camp Stoves are ideal as they only weigh a few ounces and take up very little room in your pack. Carry a small pan that you can load with other items inside so it takes up minimal space in your bag (and don’t forget to check out the Pemmican Bars on the image above ! )
Ideally, you’ll be able to find medical help quickly, but this is not something you should rely on in the case of an emergency that destroys resources on a large scale, such as a hurricane or a particularly damaging earthquake or flood.
Make sure you have essential medicines for any family members who need them, such as allergy medicines or heart medicines. You’ll also want a first aid kit with ways of stopping bleeding and cleaning out cuts and wounds. It also doesn’t hurt to have a lot of pain relievers handy.
Navigation and Communication
Finally, pack radios, watches, compasses, and maps. You’ll want an idea of where to go and how to get there, and a way to call for help along the way. Other items to consider are bio-hazard bags, premoistened baby wipes, emergency communication plan/contacts, Emergency power station,flashlight, AM/FM radio, siren, and a cell phone charger.
You may not be able to pack all of these items in one bag so you might need to consider having an additional bag packed, especially if you are providing for several others.
So where will you keep these bug out bags stored if a storm rages and you are flooded out? That is going to depend mostly on your living environment but here are some possible choices.
- At home, at school, or at the office
- In the car, boat, or RV
- Perhaps you have a fallout shelter or protected storage area.
For more suggestions check out my emergency supplies post