You may be all stocked up at home, with a Bug Out Bag for each family member ready to go and an emergency plan that you’ve practiced, and you still may not be ready when disaster strikes. If you commute to work or your kids go to school, you have to be prepared to get your entire family back home to safety – no matter the distance or what’s going on around you. For this, you need a Get Home Bag.
A Get Home Bag differs from your Bug Out Bag in several important ways:
- It goes with you everywhere, no excuses.
- It only needs to sustain you the amount of time it takes you to get home on foot.
- It needs to be small enough and inconspicuous enough to go with you and potentially be carried home by you.
If you’re asking yourself, do I really need to invest in a Get Home Bag, too? The answer is yes.
Why You Need a Get Home Bag
Let’s say you commute 25 minutes to work, which is just below the national average. You may be driving 15+ miles each way to work (or more). While at work, your region experiences one of these very plausible emergencies:
- Severe weather, including tornadoes, tsunamis, flash flooding, or blizzard
- Power grid failure or EMP Attack
- Terrorist Attack
- Acts of war
- Bridge Collapse
If a regional emergency occurs, you are certainly not the only person rushing home to be with their families. As gridlock sets in, and/or public transportation ceases to run, what are your options for trekking those 15 miles to be with your loved ones?
Not only are you stuck in place, but you are likely not dressed for the elements. This is where your Get Home Bag comes into play – you have everything you need to travel home on foot and in any type of weather. Because when disaster strikes, don’t be that guy sitting in traffic on a freeway for 10 hours.
Packing Your Get Home Bag
The bag that you choose to use should be sturdy with multiple compartments. Backpacks are great, but if you don’t want to bring a backpack into your office everyday, a laptop bag can work just as well. Now it’s time to pack:
1. Stainless Steel Water Bottle & Water
No matter how far you’re walking, you need to stay hydrated. Keep your water bottle full of clean water. The good thing about a stainless steel bottle is that you can also boil water in it if need be.
2. Water Filter & Purification Tablets
These may sound like overkill, but both are lightweight and worth throwing in the bag. If you run out of water and need to resort to drinking from a natural water source, make sure you’ve removed as much contamination from them as possible.
3. High-Calorie Energy Bars
Don’t overpack elaborate meals, but energy bars will provide you with enough fuel to get home, even if it takes you a full day.
4. Lightweight Emergency Shelter or Tarp
If your commute is on the longer side, you’ll be grateful to have somewhere warm and dry to rest on your way home.
5. Change of Shoes & Clothes
Walking home from work in a torrential downpour or raging blizzard sounds bad enough, but imagine doing it in your work clothes and shoes. Sounds even worse. Pack shoes and clothes you can comfortably walk or hike in.
6. Rain Poncho
A poncho will protect you from becoming dangerously wet, which could result in hypothermia. It is also more efficient than an umbrella.
7. Multi-Tool & Survival Knife
A multi-tool has so many useful tools, but a handy survival knife is a must as well.
8. Fire Starters
This could be as simple and inexpensive as a few bic lighters and cotton balls.
9. Emergency Hand-Crank Radio
This may be your only source of information as you travel, so be sure you can pick up on NOAA All Hazard Weather Alerts.
10. N95 Face Mask
Protect yourself from germs and debris that can have long-lasting effects.
11. 550 Cord
Super lightweight, it’s worth throwing in the bag for emergencies.
12. Headlamp & Batteries
You want to stay hands-free as much as you can, since you don’t know what will be asked of you. Headlamps are also lighter than flashlights or lanterns.
13. First Aid Kit
This should be pretty comprehensive, especially given that you may be dealing with extreme conditions that could lead to injury or illness.
14. Hygiene Kit
This refers to a small towel, hand sanitizer, hand wipes, toothbrush & toothpaste, toilet paper, and soap.
15. Paper Topographical Map & Compass
You may know how to get home taking the highways or main roads, but what about if you have to deviate or take a more direct route? Do you know how to go and what type of terrain you might encounter?
Keep a variety of denominations in a few different places in your bag. Everyone accepts cash, but you never want to show how much you have on-hand.
17. Solar Charger & Batteries
If your cell phone works, keep it charged up – you’ll need to be able to communicate with your family.
18. Self-Defense Weapons
If you aren’t comfortable packing a firearm, or you can’t because of where you work, at a minimum put pepper spray in the bag.
19. Paper & Pencil
You never know when you’ll need to record something or leave a note for someone.
Your preparations must include contingencies no matter the circumstances; so unless you live and work at home and barely leave, you need a way to get home to your supplies and your loved ones. Your Get Home Bag guarantees that you have the supplies to do it.