Hi, My Name is BOB. I Will Be Your Bug Out Bag for This Disaster

We are going to talk about BOB, our Bug Out Bag. He has other names, like Emergency Kit, Earthquake Kit, and Evacuation Bag.


Why might we need BOB?

  • Hurricane Katrina's sister storm is headed our way.

  • Blizzard, tornado or flooding is expected soon.

  • Civil unrest. Riots in the streets. War. 

  • Ebola or other deadly virus gets a foothold in our town.

  • Earthquake or flood destroys our house.

  • Wildfire is coming our way.


Whatever the reason, it pays to be prepared. What will you need if you must leave your home and survive for a few days? Each scenario is different. You might be living in your car. You might be living in a school with other refugees. You might be stuck living on the street or in the woods. 


Here are some ideas for your BOB. You'll have to personalize it for your family.

Flashlight with extra batteries. It's even better if you have one that can be powered by solar, crank, USB or batteries. 

Knife - Swiss knife or multi-tool knife is a great option. Use it to make a shelter, gather food or for security.

Pen, paper.

Matches and perhaps paper to start fires.

Duct tape.

Bottles of water. Water is heavy, so a filter straw would help you not need to carry as much. You should have at least a three day supply. I have the Sawyer straw that I got for $20. With it I can drink out of streams or even mid puddles. 

Food - freeze dried is lightest to carry. Canned food is cheapest. You can either buy cans with pop tops or bring a can opener. Granola bars and trail mix are cheap and light. Have at least a three-day supply.

Eating utensils and plates. Or just eat out of the can.

First aid kit. Disinfectant wipes. Disease is one of the biggest dangers in any survival scenario. Include a mask or handkerchief for your face in case it's dusty or smoky.

Rain gear. You don't want to get wet and cold. Large plastic bags work in a pinch. Wear one like a poncho.

Personal hygiene. Toothbrush, comb, hair ties if needed, wet wipes, Kleenex package to use as toilet paper, etc.


Small folding shovel.

Small tent and/or tarp for shelter.

Spare clothes. Good walking shoes. Coat. Warm hats.

Extra cash! What if the banks are not open? Or the electricity is off so your credit cards don't work.

Protection. Gun and ammo? Knife? Pepper spray? Taser?


A map, small radio and compass.


Phone numbers and password hints. How many of you have  your loved ones' phone numbers memorized? What if you lose your phone? What if you are a refugee somewhere with computer access, but you can't remember your email password? I only write down hints as I don't want anyone to hack me if they steal my paper. For example, if my password is "123ABC," I might write 1-A-

Copies of important papers. This is a little controversial. If your home is destroyed, it's wonderful to have your important papers; however, if you lose your bag or it gets stolen, that could be a disaster.

Medicines? Hearing aid batteries? Extra glasses?


Mosquito repellent? Sunscreen?


Toys or books for kids? Pet food? Leashes?


Backpack to put it all in. If you want to save some money, go to a thrift store. If you can't find a backpack, a suitcase on wheels would be better than a bag you have to carry.



You are prepared and ready to go at a moment's notice!


Get Home Bag

What’s a “Get Home Bag?”


It's like BOB, but going in the opposite direction. A Get Home Bag usually lives in your car. BOB lives in your home.

Imagine you are at work, and an earthquake hits. (or a flood or a tornado) The roads are impassable from great cracks in the ground and rubble from fallen buildings. The bridges have collapsed. You are NOT DRIVING HOME. How far is the walk home? How far to your children’s daycare? What kinds of shoes are you wearing? How are you dressed? 


Wouldn’t it be nice to have a comfortable pair of walking shoes, a raincoat, some food, and water? If you are far from home, these could be lifesaving. On 9/11 all transportation was stopped in that part of New York, and thousands of people walked home.


Snow or flooding frequently close roads for hours or days.


If you drive to work and around town, it shouldn’t be a problem to have a “Get Home Bag” tucked into the trunk. If you ride the bus, it’s a bit harder, but you might keep a bag under your desk at work. Your kids might keep a small bag in their locker. Think about where you might go, and ask yourself what it would take to get you home if you had no transportation. How many miles is it? Most of us walk about 3 mph. 12 miles divided by 3 mph equals 4 hours of walking to get home. 21 miles divided by 3 mph is 7 hours of walking.


Find a small backpack to hold your essentials. (Backpacks go on sale in August before school starts, or you can pick up one cheap at a thrift shop.)

Look at what you need for BOB and make a similiar pack for your car.


Good job. High five! You are ready!

Imagine you are in one of these cars. You are either evacuating your home, or you are trying to get back home. There are 20,000 other people in cars just like yours, crowded on roads that at most can only handle a few hundred. Traffic is at a standstill. It may be days before you reach your destination.


This exact scenario happens time after time with people evacuating. 

What do you have in your car right now? Could you live for a few days with what you have? Think about what you would want if you were stuck. That is what you should put in your car right now.


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