Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Bugout Bag 101-Damsel in Defense in your bugout bag

Could be due to a natural disaster making your home unsafe,
or a man-made disaster ranging from natural gas leak
to terrorist or wartime situations.  It's not all about the zombies
Ladies, we all know that we need a bugout bag.  We’ve heard about them, we’ve seen them advertised, and you can spend an astronomical amount of money buying one that has been put together for you, but what do you really need in a bugout bag? 

1. What is a bugout bag?

A bugout bag is a bag that contains everything your family needs in the event that you need to escape quickly.  This could be due to a natural disaster making your home unsafe or a manmade disaster ranging from natural gas leaks to terrorist or wartime situations.  It's not all about the zombies, folks!

2.    Where should my bugout bag be stored?

Store your bugout bag where you can grab it on a dead run on your way out of the house.  Many people store theirs in the trunk of their car so they don’t have to worry about which direction they have to exit their home.  Things to remember are:

·       Don’t bury it in a closet

·       If you store it in your car, are your keys handy all the time to get it out?
·       If you store it in the front of your home and have to escape out the back, how will you get it?

3.    Who should carry a bugout bag?

Everyone.  If you’re married, you should each have a bugout bag.  If you have children, they should each have a bugout bag, providing they are strong enough to carry a backpack.  Mom and dad can carry the bulk of it, but a child can also carry a pack filled with lightweight things such as freeze dried backpack meals, an emergency blanket, a filter straw, an ultra-light whistle, and a collapsible water bottle for water collection.

4.    What do I put in my bugout bag?

There are three essential things your bugout bag should have:

·       Shelter

·       Water
·       Food
·       Emergency supplies

In that order.  In a survival situation, you have 3 hours to secure shelter, 3 days to secure water, and 3 weeks to secure food for optimal survival.  Let’s break each one down.

·       Shelter-shelter doesn’t have to be a structure.  It can be as simple as making sure you pack an emergency blanket for each person in your family.  Think light.  You may have to carry your bugout bag for a while, so you don’t want to be packing a structure around with you.  Leave that fancy pop-up canopy behind.  Make sure everyone has a pair of hiking boots, a pair of jeans, 2 pairs of socks that are not cotton, 2 shirts, a light weight waterproof jacket, long underwear, a beanie hat, and a bandana.  Ultra light tents are perfect for bugout bags, but if you can’t afford one, pack a tarp large enough for your family to huddle under, but not so large that it is cumbersome and heavy.

·       Water-You need one gallon of water per person per day in optimal conditions, but in a bugout bag, that is not possible due to the weight and space involved.  There should be 1 liter of water per person per day.  Most people pack bugout bags with 3 days worth of supplies.  Waterpouches are great for this.  They are small and light.  Pack a filter straw such as Lifestraw for each person.  You can also pack a small container about the size of a pill bottle with bleach as long as it’s air and water tight to help decontaminate water sources that you find.  It only takes ¼ tsp. of bleach per gallon.  Don’t use color safe bleach or bleach with scents. Bleach will not kill some disease causing organisms commonly found in water.  It is better to boil and cool your water first before treating with bleach, but even then it’s not a guarantee that your water will be safe.  Filter straws are a much safer bet.

·       Food-In an emergency situation where you need a bugout bag to get away, chances are you will be burning a lot of calories, so think high protein.  High protein bars are sold at local gun shows, outdoor shows, and also any store that sells a wide range of camping and outdoor gear.  The higher the protein, the less you have to eat to stay going, the longer your rations will last, and the lighter your pack will weigh.  You should also add freeze dried backpack meals to your pack as well.  DO NOT fill your bugout bag with junk food. 

·       Emergency supplies-This is very important to think ahead about. 

o   Medication-If you, or anyone in your family requires medication, most doctors will give you an extra prescription for your bugout bag.  Fill it and put it in the bag right away.  When it expires, take it to your doctor and ask for another emergency prescription.  If you wait to fill it until an emergency happens, it’s too late.  Also pack enough ibuprophen (Advil), and acetaminophen (Tylenol), and naproxen (Aleve) as well as children’s versions for each person for 3 days. 

o   Medical supplies-You need a first aid kit in your bag.  End of story.  It’s best to build your own.  It should contain:

§  Alcohol pads

§  Band-Aids
§  Multiple pairs of gloves
§  Triple antibiotic ointment
§  Bee sting/insect bite packet
§  Burn gel
§  Benadryl-both child and adult if you have children
§  Sawyer Extractor for snake bites
§  Cpr face masks
§  4x4 bandages
§  Gauze
§  Tape
§  Antibiotics-Fish antibiotics are the same as human antibiotics, they just have different names.
§  Sucher kit
§  Tweezers

o   Fire-Purchase a Wetfire fire-starting kit that contains a striker and wet fire starting cubes.  Practice using it once or twice.  Make some petroleum jelly fire starters.  Learn five different ways to start a fire.

o   Lighter-strikers are better, but sometimes you just need a good ole’ lighter.

o   Cooking-collapsible stoves and pots are great.  Also, backpack can openers for foraging for food.  2000 cans of corn do you no good if you can’t get into them.

o   Hand powered flashlight.  There are several kinds, use your best research to purchase one that is right for your family.  Each bugout bag should contain one.

o   Chemlights-These are great long lasting cheap ways to light up the night. 

o   Weapons-Firearms are best in most situations, however, not everybody has access to them.  Protecting your supplies and family can quickly turn into a scary situation, so don’t go out unprepared.  In the very least, you should have a can of pepper spray (replace every 12 months), a stun gun (at least 6 million volts strong), and a kubaton.

o   Personal alarm-In the event you need to draw attention or use it to wake you up, pressure alarms are small, lightweight, and battery operated.  Place them under the tire of your car, under something that will set it off if stepped on, and it could be the difference between sleeping through your stuff getting stolen or stopping the theft.   

o   Map-learn your area.  Come up with a plan and practice it.  Where does your family meet on your street, 1 block away, 3 blocks away, and 3 miles away?  Do you all know how to get to each place?  Do you know at least three ways to get to each place?  What do you do when you get there?  What if it’s not safe when you do?

o   Compass-Learn what they are and how to use them.  It’s easy to get turned around when your landmarks are destroyed.  Teach your children how to use them and how to use the sun to tell which direction they are going.

o   Pictures-Children need pictures of normalcy in the event of an emergency, especially if they are separated from a loved one.  It’s also a good idea to pack a very small, very light stuffed animal to make night time easier.  You can take your child to purchase something together and talk about how important it is to have it in their bugout bags.

o   Hand powered radio-Electronics won’t always work in every situation.  Learn about what is going on and what you need to do with a hand powered radio.

o   Soap and TP-Mom was right, wash your hands.  Most things that make you sick can be avoided simply by using good hand washing.  You can also pack antibacterial gel, or “hand sanitizer”. Make sure there are a couple of rolls of toilet paper in your bag as well.  You won't regret it.
    My advice to you is to gather your supplies before purchasing your bags, that way you know how much space you need.  There are a million other things you can put in your bugout bag, but remember, you may be carrying it for a long time.  Make sure it fits you well and that you can carry it for long periods of time. 

You will need to modify yours for your family.  If you have infants, you will need diapers and formula, women will want tampons and such..  Always check expiration dates, and make sure you replace things as they expire.

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