Ah, September! Not only does it usher in the return to School, Autumn colors, and everything Pumpkin Spice, it’s also Preparedness Month. With that in mind, we at Misty Meadows Homestead will be sharing some our favorite preparedness tips.
Lets begin with a long promised introduction to our special friend, BOB, aka. Bug Out Bag.
I was first introduced to this concept about 20 years ago while working with the American Red Cross. Then (and now) they sold 72 hour Emergency Kits, encouraging people to carry them in their vehicles (a precursor to the Get Home Bag we talked about several weeks ago) and have similar items at home and stashed under their desks at work. The latter was especially encouraged, as we were living in Southern California – Earthquake country. You can imagine how having something like this available under your desk, close at hand, after a catastrophic event such as an earthquake, would be an invaluable resource.
Catastrophic. That’s what you’re are planning for. Some may call you crazy, however, it’s better to be prepared and never have the need, than to have the need and be unprepared. There is time and expense to preparing, all well spent, believe me! Also, think about items you already have; if you’re a hunter or like to camp, you probably already have many of these items.
You should be prepared for any emergency (storms, earthquake, volcanic eruption, economic/governmental collapse, civil unrest, or zombie apocalypse), having enough supplies: food, water, medicine, etc. to (at the very least) get you through the first 72 hours of any event. However, what happens if all else fails and you find yourself in a situation where you and your family have to flee? If this occurs, BOB will be your best friend. Remember, fleeing should be your last resort – you have no other options but grab BOB and run for the hills.
There are many companies selling Emergency Kits and BOBs. For some of you, this might be the best option, however, personally, I found making my own was not only cheaper, but it allowed me to personalize BOB to each person in our family – yes, EACH person in your family needs to have their own BOB.
When putting together your BOBs, think about WHO you are making it for – Grandma? Your child? Yourself? Each of person will have different needs and abilities. Examples: Does everyone need a portable radio, fire starter or weapon? Can Grandpa or little Susie carry their own BOBs? Does the baby even need one? These are decisions you will have to make – it’s better to make them now when you aren’t pressed for time, running for your life and can think clearly.
This list is intended to give you some guidance in choosing your bag and what to put in it. You may notice that this list is very similar to a Get Home Bag:
- A backpack works best. Some people go larger, using duffle bags or smaller, using fanny packs (let’s be real, fanny packs hold very little, however they are a good size for a personal first aid kit). Also, it’s easier to chose your bag AFTER you decide what items you want to go in it.
- Focus on the 5 basic needs: Shelter, Water, Fire, Food and Security.
- Light weight tarp.
- Rope / paracord.
- Mylar blanket.
- Sleeping bag.
- Water / water purification tabs or water filter & a metal water bottle you could use to boil water in if you had too (The human body can go 3 weeks without food, but ONLY 72 hours without water.)
- Fire starter / lighter / matches.
- Food – energy dense, easy prep (protein bars/trail mix), MREs.
- Mess kit.
- Can openers.
- Personal defense items.
- Extra prescription medication along with items like: Tylenol or Motrin, Benadryl, antibiotics.
- First aid kit.
- N95 face mask.
- Sunscreen & bug spray.
- Toilet paper & wet wipes & female person care items.
- Change of “weather/seaonally appropriate” clothing.
- Walking shoes or hiking boots.
- Extra socks.
- Hat, bandanna & sunglasses.
- Work gloves.
- Ax and shovel.
- Rain poncho.
- Flashlight & extra batteries (never store them in the flashlight.)
- Battery operated radio & extra batteries (never store them in the radio.)
- Paper & pencil.
- Cell phone charging block.
- Paper map & compass.
- Rescue signal item.
- Cash and items to barter with.
While this isn’t a complete list, it does give you some idea of what you should have in your BOB. Don’t forget additional comfort items, especially if you have children: hard candy, MP3 player, favorite hand lotion, stuffed animal… I keep a copy of a medicinal/edible wild plant book in mine and our mom has a Sudoku puzzle book in hers.
Here are some items I recently picked up via Groupon, for our BOBs:
It’s advisable to update BOB seasonally: you don’t necessarily need a parka in the summer or light weight socks in the winter; batteries, even when not stored in the items, lose their power; food and water gets stale, etc.
Don’t Wait… Prepare now!
Do you already have a BOB? If so, please leave a comment below with some items you find particularly useful and why.
Content and Photos by Misty Meadows Homestead and S.Lago © All Rights Reserved