Texas received 35 trillion gallons of rain in the past month according to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, as reported by NBC News. That’s a lot of water. Tragically, flooding in Texas caused loss of life and devastating property damage. A massive hail storm pelted Eastern Tennessee with golf ball sized hail a few days ago. Is it just me or do two or three tornadoes touch down somewhere in the Midwest or South every two or three weeks? When I was a kid growing up in Kansas City, people used to say that California was going to fall into the ocean.
An emergency backpack kit won’t help me if the state falls into the ocean, but I figure that I’ve got plenty of reasons to assemble bugout bags for each member of my family, including the dog.
What’s a bugout bag? It’s a bag stocked and ready to go in case of an emergency or sudden evacuation. The peace of mind, you get from knowing you have an emergency backpack kit set up, and ready to go for each member of the household is priceless. Here are some tips for things to remember when planning your own family’s emergency packs.
Who should have a pack?
Each member of your household should have his or her own backpack containing any specific items they need, plus essential items given in this article. Make sure to include your pets, too.
What kind of pack should you use for your emergency kits?
A durable backpack is the best way to go. We have plenty of the kids old backpacks stored in the garage. That’s a good start because it will save me money as I start assembling our emergency packs. I won’t have to buy backpacks right away, and I can replace the older ones as time passes. Doing it like that will keep my initial expenses down. Bear in mind that you don’t have to do everything at once. If it suits your situation, pack your kits one at a time, as you can afford to. This will keep you from having to spend a large amount of money all at once
Backpacks are made to distribute the weight evenly over the back and shoulders and allow the hands to be free, making it an excellent choice for all ages. Also, considering you may have to walk a distance, it’s important to be as comfortable as possible. You’ll also find the various pockets are handy to separate and store specific items.
What should you pack?
FEMA recommends that each person have 1 gallon of drinking water per day. It’s important to be sure everyone stays properly hydrated. Dehydration can cause fatigue, confusion, low blood pressure, delirium, unconsciousness, and even death. One gallon of water is 128 ounces, which is about 6 to 8 store-bought bottles depending on the size of the bottles. If you are unable to carry that much water, plan ahead how you will get drinking water from clean sources.
Amazon sells several emergency water supplies on the following page, emergency water. The prices vary, and some of the items are not cheap. The water packets that contain 125 ml or slightly more than 1/2 cup have a shelf life of 5 years. The 12 oz cans have a shelf life of 50 years. With a shelf life that long it will be there if you need it. Amazon also sells emergency water filters. One water filter I looked at will filter about 1000 liters of contaminated water. Check out the page and read the reviews, it doesn’t cost anything to look. And it will be priceless if you ever need it.
Pack nonperishable food in airtight containers. Some good things to pack are granola, trail mix, snack and protein bars, beef jerky, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, peanut butter, or individually canned meat (such as tuna, sardines, kippers, salmon, and chicken.) Pack a manual can opener. Plan to pack enough food to last for several days. Amazon also sells emergency food supplies at very reasonable prices. Check the link.
Another important thing to pack in the event of a disaster is plenty of clean socks, underwear, several thin layers of shirts, extra pants, a windproof and waterproof jacket, and a hat. In an emergency situation you may have to walk for long distances, so, if your budget allows, pack an extra pair of good walking shoes.
This item can include many things, but, at the very least, pack some sort of tarp and rope so you can string up a makeshift shelter if needed. If you have a small pop up tent, that is even better. Include one small roll of plastic sheeting in each person’s pack to form a waterproof layer on the ground for sitting and sleeping in case you have to sleep outdoors. Take a look at these tents for sale by Amazon. I saw one shelter I plan to buy. I saw it while researching this post, and it’s perfect for our bugout bags and best of all it only cost $7.95. It’s an excellent choice, and it has several great reviews. You can find it here, Emergency Survival Mylar Thermal Reflective Cold Weather Shelter Tube Tent – Accommodates 2 Adults – 8′ X 3′- by Grizzly Gear
What else should you pack?
Besides water, food, and shelter, there are essentials that everyone needs if an emergency occurs. This is a short list of items that shouldn’t be forgotten:
Waterproof matches and a steel and flint fire starter
Flashlight, extra batteries, or a hand crank flashlight
Prescription medications and over the counter medications
Rain poncho for each person
First aid kit
Copies of identification, or any other important papers you may need sealed in a plastic ziploc bag or waterproof container. Also, write out and laminate one card for each person with their critical information. Include their address, phone, work address, school address, health information, parents’ names, kids’ names, other family names, and addresses, etc.
Space will be at a premium, so carefully pack all of your items into each backpack. Clearly mark the packs with each household member’s name and the date it was packed. As time passes, the family’s needs will change, so it’s a good idea to mark your calendar and to evaluate your kits routinely. Some items, such as food and medication, will need to be checked and rotated periodically. The identification information may change, such as schools, phone numbers, etc.
Designate a family meet-up place in case of evacuation and set up an out of state contact who everyone can call, in case family members are not together when an emergency strikes. Store the packs in easily accessible place. My plan is for each family member to keep their bag in their closet. In the event of an emergency evacuation, each person needs to easily find their emergency backpack kit so they can grab it and go. Remember to practice your evacuation procedures each time you update the packs. This will keep this safety procedure fresh in everyone’s minds. You may never need to put these bags to the test, but isn’t it better to know that they are ready if you do? Have a safe week. God be with you until we meet again.