This post – Critical Questions and Essential Information About Bug-Out-Bags and Vehicle Preparedness – is a valuable companion to the post Essential Checklist for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning – Including Vehicle Preparedness – Latest Update. You are encouraged to share this post and its vital information with family, friends, business associates, church and temple congregations and other members of any organizations to which you belong. May this post help you in your serious preparedness planning. Celebrate Peace of Mind!
Here are the crucial questions to answer when assembling your emergency kit/grab-and-go/bug-out bag – which is vital if you must leave your home or business quickly.
- If an evacuation has been declared, a severe weather event is imminent or a significant disaster has occurred, how will I know?
- If I have to evacuate, will I be in a cozy government evacuation center with food, water, blankets and a bed, or will I be on my own in the elements, a crude shelter or a friend’s/relatives house?
- If specific government, church, community and friend’s sheltering options are not available, where do I go? How far? How do I get there?
- What conditions can I expect to encounter – best scenario – worst scenario?
- What are the weather conditions I am likely to encounter? What is the season?
- Will I be alone, or are others depending on me? Family – children – elderly – pets?
- Am I dependent on others? Who? Why? Do I expect the government to take care of me?
- What kind of support is likely to be available?
- How long should I prepare for?
- What if there is nothing left when I return?
- Are my essentials, heirlooms, personal treasures, irreplaceable photographs, documents and financial assets secure if I leave with only my grab-and-go bag?
- Do I have a reliable communication plan to contact family, friends and business associates at a moment’s notice?
- What is the potential severity of the emergency I might experience?
- Will I have transportation, or will I be on foot?
- Do I have enough money on hand to pay for possible shelter, food or supplies if I am suddenly evacuated and away from home or business?
- Am I truly prepared for the unexpected, a procrastinator or am I in denial?
To have a truly adequate emergency kit/grab-and-go/bug-out bag the above questions must be answered. Your personal preparedness bag contents will vary depending on numerous factors such as time, number of persons, locations involved, mobility, support available, season, comfort level desired and the degree of peace of mind you want.
Here is a list of the basic essentials for every kit. Each category will have multiple options depending on how you answer the above crucial questions. Cheap, inadequate and poorly made provisions don’t belong in a quality kit. Prepare your kit as if your and your family’s life and comfort depended on it – because it does!
- Water – bottled/filters/purifiers/tablets/containers
- Food – ready-to-eat/bars/trail mix/freeze dried/shelf stable/food preparation equipment
- Medical – quality medical kit with instructions/prescriptions/glasses/essential medications/sunscreen/dental medic/foot care/safety pins/dust mask/gas mask
- Special Needs – food/medical/children/elderly/disabled/pets
- Tools – multi-tool/knife/wire/cable ties/duct tape/rope/paracord/gloves/small axe/repair tools/super glue/aluminum foil/ /manual can opener (often on multi-tool)/bungee cords/foldable or wire saw
- Communication – radio/hand crank – solar – battery/two-way radios/cell phone
- Fire – fire starter/lighter/matches/tinder/flint starter/magnifying glass
- Signaling & Orienting – whistle/signal mirror/compass/maps/GPS device
- Lighting – Hand crank – solar – battery/headlamp/flashlight/lantern/candles/lightsticks
- Power & Energy – batteries – regular and rechargeable/power-pack for batteries & cell phone recharged by solar and/or hand crank/solar and/or hand crank that charges devices directly
- Shelter – tarp/tent – tube or larger/plastic sheeting/insect protection
- Emergency Blankets/sleeping bags – emergency or larger or bivy sack
- Personal Hygiene/sanitary supplies/disinfectant
- Plastic Bags/ties
- Personal Security – weapon & ammo if appropriate/pepper spray/bear repellant/mace or other options
- Appropriate Clothing and Footwear – protection from the elements/apparel for warmth/heat packs – hand and body warmers
- Identification and Essential Documents – Bible/compact survival handbook/personal ID/insurance and other key documents/entertainment
- Spare Keys
- Phone Numbers and Addresses – friends, relatives, and emergency organizations/agencies
- Instructions on meeting and/or communicating with family and/or friends during or after an emergency
- Cash/credit cards
- Configured Compact Emergency Kit with Essential Items
- Carrying Device – carry bag/backpack/suitcase/sturdy container/Food & Supply Brick™/duffel Bag (very durable and if you anticipate carrying your bag any distance shoulder straps should be available with your carry bag or duffel)
If time permits, take irreplaceable items such as heirlooms, heirloom jewelry, photographs, military/marriage/birth/deed records, computers, tablets, and personal contact information and documents not included in your grab-and-go device.
An obvious necessity for everyone. Know what water sources are available to you during an emergency, or in the outdoors. Plan accordingly and don’t hold back preparing for this essential category.
Determine whether or not you want to purify water for viruses. Not all water filters are designed for this purpose – look for water purifiers that specifically state that they will kill viruses.
Numerous options are available. This category must be accessed carefully and the quality and quantity of foods chosen should be appropriate to the anticipated length of time of the emergency or outing, and severity of circumstances you anticipate might occur. For shorter term scenarios foods in most situations should be nutritious and ready-to-eat; however you might want to consider some foods requiring only the addition of cold or hot water. If you do need hot water you must plan for the appropriate means and equipment to heat your water. Options listed have a longer shelf life and are suitably packaged for kits or backpacks.
When your health and survival during a medical emergency is at stake, you don’t want to rely on cheap or inadequate medical supplies. This is an important category to thoughtfully evaluate. Don’t forget medications or products needed for those with special medical conditions. If your pre-assembled kit doesn’t include one, make sure you get a good book on medical emergencies.
Protection from the elements and insects is essential, especially in a harsh climate.
Numerous unforeseen situations or just routine conditions occur during an emergency or during an outdoor adventure. Be prepared and secure with the proper quality tool.
It is important to keep informed during an emergency with friends, family, and appropriate governmental agencies and emergency organizations. When in an outdoor environment, unsettled weather considerations necessitate weather alert radios. Avoid a sense of isolation during serious emergencies. If you get lost or are separated from your group signaling can be crucial. Since electronic items are included in this category, you may want to consider a small solar power device.
This is an essential category to address when anticipating any situation where you may be in darkness. Not only for a sense of security and comfort, but to be able to see clearly and act accordingly if emergencies occur in the dark.
For some this may not be an essential basic category. Each individual must decide the extent to which they will or will not provide protection for themselves and their families from physical harm by others or wild animals.
This article provides a very basic list of suggested items we believe are essential for emergency preparedness and outdoor recreation; especially if space, weight, and mobility are important. For an expanded list of suggestions read our article: Essential Checklist for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning Including Vehicle Preparedness
Here are suggestions for your vehicle emergency kit from my article: Essential Checklist for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning Including Vehicle Preparedness
Emergency Preparedness Items for Automobiles – Trucks – Vans – RV’s
These items are especially important for long trips, family outings, new younger drivers, inclement weather, remote areas and at night.
AS A FATHER OF 3 DAUGHTERS AND 3 GRANDDAUGHTERS, I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE FATHERS AND MOTHERS TO ENSURE YOUR CHILDREN ARE SECURE AND PREPARED THIS WINTER WHEN THEY ARE DRIVING!
- Cell phone/smart phone/charger
- Spare tire
- Jack with tire iron and supporting tools
- Tire inflation device – portable power and/or aerosol can inflator (for use only in an emergency as it will void the warrantee)
- JB Weld/super adhesive
- Jumper cables
- Portable power unit for jump starting
- Chains/cables/bungee cords for tightening
- Hidden spare key
- Device to break window and cut seat-belts from the inside in an emergency
- Extra oil
- Extra gas/funnel if appropriate
- Siphon hose
- Extra fan belts/bulbs/hoses/additives/sealers/hard to get parts
- Window scraper
- Important phone numbers/documents/insurance information
- GPS device if appropriate
Additional critical items from the Essential Checklist to carry in your vehicle:
- Blankets/emergency sleeping bag
- First Aid kit
- Baby supplies
- Food and water/water purification/containers if appropriate
- Personal documents and photo ID
- Duct tape
- Repair tools
- Plastic bags large and small
- Emergency radio/hank crank radio
- Emergency lighting
- Small solar/12 volt power packs for small electronics
- Cash/credit card
- Extra clothing in harsh and/or wet weather/hat
- Hand/body warmers
- Rain gear/rubber boots
- Toilet paper
- Small fire extinguisher
- Matches/fire starter
- Extra Batteries
- Personal protection devices or items as appropriate/pepper spray
Check the “Essential Checklist” for other items relevant to your needs.