Saturday, February 9, 2013

Get Home Bag

Imagine. . .
     You're sitting at your desk, the lights flicker and go out. You hear crashing sounds outside. You go look out the window, you see a couple accidents and all the rest of the cars on the street are stopped. People are staring at their phones and mp3 players with dumbstruck looks. You look at your phone, it too is dead.
What happened?
Was it an EMP ?
People are already starting to look panicked.
When will the power come back on?
Will the power come back on?
What do you do now?
That is just one possible disaster scenario that you will better prepared to survive if you have your Get Home Bag under your desk.

What is a Get Home Bag?
A Get Home Bag is a pack that you leave at work, in case a disaster happens while you are at work. You just grab your bag and hit the road. Act normal, and by normal I mean, just like the rest of the people trying to get home.

I recommend a plain backpack, one that looks like any other backpack. Some of you may want to go for a military or camouflage pack but in a "Get Home" situation you are more likely to draw attention to yourself  with one. You want to look like any other person with a backpack, NOT a survivalist with supplies and a plan.

What should you put in your Get Home Bag?
That could vary, depending on where you live, how big your city is and what kind of work you do.
If you work a few blocks from your home in an office building, you might not need as much as the guy who works in a factory 22 miles from home across a combination of rural roads, farmland, a river and busy city streets. Adjust your supplies according to your needs.

1 Liter of water in a Stainless Steel Nalgene Bottle. A metal bottle gives you the option of boiling water/cooking food if necessary. You can toss some Water Purification Tablets in your pack too.

3-6 Energy Bars
Sustaining energy is key when travelling on foot. In an urban environment, so is NOT having to prepare food. I like Clif Bars but pack what you like. Having food you like can also help lift your spirits, making the trek home easier.

There are so many ponchos available, it's hard to narrow it down. Just choose one that will keep dry and you should be fine. Staying dry is important. Even when the temp. is as high 50° F, hypothermia is still a possibility, and is the #1 outdoor killer.

I personally like a lightweight Trail Tent. Hopefully, you won't have to make camp on your trip home, but a shelter is good to have, if you do have to stop for the night. You can just pick up a tarp if you prefer.

Shoes & Change of Clothes
Tennis Shoes are an important supply. A lot of people work in dress shoes, if you wear tennis shoes to work, you can delete this from your pack. The same goes for clothes. At the very least, I'd add a pair of leather gloves and a hat.

Fire Building Supplies
Bic lighters are inexpensive and dependable. WetFire is a good tinder brand (will start nearly anywhere) but cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly will work too. Take an nickel sized glob of petroleum jelly and work it into a large cotton ball until it is totally saturated. Wrap the cotton ball in a paper towel and squeeze until the excess petroleum jelly soaks into the towel. The cotton should be greasy but still easy to fluff up.

Quality Multi-Tool
I'm not even going to pretend to know why one is best. I like Leatherman, always have. Choose one that isn't going to break the first time you use it and has needle-nose pliers, flat & Philip's screwdrivers, knife, saw, bottle and can opener. Wire clippers can also come in very handy.

A source of light is not only useful, it may mean life or death. If you're in a large building and the power goes out, a stairwell can be a death trap. Flashlights are always good to have but a headlamp gives you 2 free hands. Or pack both, they don't take up much room and don't forget extra batteries.

First Aid Kit
Your kit should include items such as bandages, medical tape, gauze pads, splint, tweezers, lip balm, Tylenol, aspirin, antacids, etc. A small mirror, hand sanitizer and "wet naps" aren't a bad idea either.

Emergency Blanket
Mylar blankets are cheap, lightweight, and compact. Keeping warm is critical in any survival situation. Have at least 1 Mylar space blanket in your pack.

Face Mask
If there was a terrorist attack (like 9/11) there may be large amounts of toxic dust in the air. Or if a biological agent was released, a face mask may give you enough time to evacuate the area before you succumb or become infected.

Self-Defense Items
Disasters are a breeding ground for frustration, desperation, and confrontation. Violent crimes skyrocket in the wake and aftermath of any large scale disaster. Ideally, your self-defense items should keep some distance between you and an attacker.  Avoid hand-to-hand combat at all costs. Pepper Spray is enough for most encounters. A Stun Gun can also come in handy. As well as a compact handgun, like the Kel-Tec P-32. I don't recommend a handgun to anyone who hasn't been trained. An untrained person is more likely to injure a bystander or themselves. And DON'T carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

Paper Map and Compass
Having a map of your area can be invaluable. Have several routes from your work to your home mapped out. Expect and plan for detours. Also, depending on your city, you may want to only map your route close to home, in case someone else gains possession of your map. Do not rely on your cell phone or GPS system. Your brain is more impressive anyway.

Pencil & Paper
You may need to record information or leave a note for someone. One of the best ways I've found to do so, without the risk of my work being ruined is the Rite-in-the-Rain pocket journal.

Money, Money, Money
Cash only. Everyone understands cash, it's the universal language. Don't store all your cash in the same pocket and have a roll of quarters stashed in your pack for vending machines and such.

I keep 100 feet of paracord with me at all times. There are 1000's of uses for paracord and it weighs less than 8 oz. Trust me, you want it in your pack.

Emergency Radio
Pick up a small hand-crank emergency radio. Make sure it receives NOAA All Hazard Weather Alerts. This could be your only source of disaster-related information in an emergency. Get the one with the USB phone/mp3 charger.

Rescue Signal Items
Small signal mirror (mentioned in First Aid) and a whistle.

Other Items
Small towel, toothbrush and paste, bandana (multiple uses), toilet paper, soap and maybe some hard candy, to take your mind off things.

Weighing in at less than 25 pounds, you should be able to carry this pack all day and night.

Remember the goal of this pack is to get home. Once you're home and you reconnect with your other family members (or just to gather your thoughts in the safety of your own home) you decide how you want/need to proceed. Are you going to Bug In? Or are you going to grab your Bug Out Bag and hit the road?

If you have any critiques, comments or suggestions, please let me know.

~The One™

No comments:

Post a Comment