Its that time of year again and several people are hitting the roads to visit friends and family for the holidays.
While the holidays can be hectic, this is also the time the weather can get nasty. Its no time to forget about emergency preparedness. About two years ago, several cars were stuck on a local highway here for about three days due to the excessive snow. The people were cold, hungry and unfortunately some people did pass away.
I recommend keeping a kit in the car just in case. Some simple items can save your life.
In the kit I have:
basic first aid supplies (gloves, bandages, alcohol swabs, etc)
a wind up radio with extra batteries so I don’t kill the car battery
some easy foods(granola bars, tuna, fruit salad for the kids)
manual can opener
hand warmers (these can be put in your sweater if needed)
a survival blanket (easy, compact way to keep warm, can also be used to signal for help due to shine)
a mini camp stove to cook with (please don’t use inside the car!!)
hand sanitizer (both for hygiene and as a de-icer)
light sticks (comfort item for children, can be used to signal)
book for entertainment
garbage bags (hygiene… when there’s no toilet…. )
a zip bag of cat litter – for a few reasons. Cat litter can help your tires to gain traction if stuck on ice, but I keep my car kit in a cat litter bucket. This is because my car keeps getting broken into and everything gets stolen. No one has stolen my “cat litter”. They did once open the lid and this is what they saw:
a bucket of cat litter… not really worth stealing. But underneath that sneaky cat litter, lays the real prize.
This kit is light weight (about 7 lbs) so can be carried if you have to leave your vehicle.
Some additional things to keep in your car at all times are: basic tools (tire iron, jack and jumper cables and KNOW HOW TO USE THEM!), a case of bottled water (do not eat snow, it will lower your body temperature, let it melt first if you have no water) and a weapon that you are comfortable using.
All that aside, please take your time going where you need to go, don’t drink and drive and be safe!!
Bug Out Bags 101
A bug out bag is a bag that you keep full of supplies ready to go at a minutes notice in case of an emergency where you leave your home. It is also known as a GOOD bag (Get out of Dodge) or a 72 hour bag. There is a few different types depending on what your plan is. Be sure to use a heavy duty bag with good supports (such as a waist band and thick straps, possibly with metal framing).
A basic bug out bag contains everything you would need to survive for 72 hours away from home or as long as it would take you to get to your retreat spot, including:
shelter (such as a tent and sleeping bag, making sure to buy weather appropriate)
food (usually light weight such as dehydrated or freeze-dried and a way to cook said food ie: pot, mini camp stove or fire making implements)
water or a way to purify water (here’s a handy mini filter I keep in my purse)
First aid requirements (bandages, alcohol swabs, gloves, gauze etc)
Any medications you or your family requires
small amount of cash
hygiene needs (toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, shampoo, fem care etc)
It’s also a good idea to have a survival manual of some sort and a copy of any important documents (birth certificates, deeds etc which you can scan and put on a thumb drive)
Many people carry an EDC (everyday carry bag) which includes a lot of the stuff already mentioned but it is said in the prepper/survival universe: “two is one, one is none.” or as I say “rather too much than too little”. Your bug out bag should be as individual as you are. No one can tell you exactly what to put in your bag because we don’t know where you are or where you are going. I do recommend the above list as a starting point and that every family member have their own bag in case someone gets separated from the group. It is a good idea to keep your bug out bag readily accessible (in the front hall closet etc) so you always know where it is. Keep in mind this is a very basic list to get you started on thinking about what you might need. Just remember, you will have to carry this at least part of the time so make sure it doesn’t weigh you down so much that you can’t function. A good exercise is to strap on your bug out bag and go for a hike, see how far you can make it with the weight and adjust as necessary.