A while back I wrote a post on my newly remodeled pantry. I explained that I had begun to "prepare" for the unexpected events that cause it to be difficult to buy groceries for a period of time. Today I wish to share with you some other thoughts about how and why you should be prepared (also known as "prepping") for other situations, namely emergency evacuation.
But I'm going to begin with a background story.
A few years ago, we here in the Indiana experienced a Hundred Year Flood. On that occasion we happened to be visiting my in-laws and were consumed with helping them with the water rising in their basement. We had planned to go home, but after watching the news the television realized that we couldn't get there if we tried.
Had we been home we would have been stuck at home for a few days. But, had we lived merely a few miles down the road, we would have been evacuated. I've thought a lot about this over the last couple of years.
I've decided that I need to be prepared in case 1) I can't leave my house for a few days and 2) in case I must leave my house in a few minutes.
I have devised a plan. I haven't yet implemented it, but I'm using this as a motivator to help me (if I post it I am accountable, right?) as well as looking for other thoughts.
I have 6 children. My desire is to have a Bug Out Bag (BOB as they are called) for each of them that is packed with - at least 3 pairs of undies and socks, at least one set of long pants/long sleeved shirt and one pair of shorts/short sleeved shirt. Also an extra toothbrush and maybe a hand towel. I'm not sure yet whether I will pack each a bag or partner pack them. I'm pondering other items that need to get packed without consuming too much space (Diapers for the baby, etc.), as it is easy to "over prepare" and have more than you can manage in an emergency.
I have yet to decide what I'm going to do about food. I know I can't possibly carry enough food for long term, but it would be best to have a few bottles of water and simple snacks (granola bars, raisins, etc) handy that will allow me some flexibility in an emergency. Should I have each kid pack a few items or keep them all together in one additional food bag?
In addition to that, I'm packing a BOB for the bathroom. Since I already buy extra of everything to keep on the shelf, I'm going to keep one set of everything (shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, bandaids, triple antibiotic, diaper wipes, etc.) in that bag.
I already have a nice plastic container with a lid and handle containing flashlights, candles and matches. It has grown up flash lights and kid flashlights so each kid has their own (reduces fighting).
Besides a BOB for each member of the family and the bathroom supplies, I have decided it is more important that I get the kids in the habit of keeping shoes and a jacket at the shoe/jacket rack/hook area. I was even more convinced one day as, while we were trying to leave, we had the inevitable 20 shoe search realizing that had this been an emergency she'd be shoeless.
The last thing I want to touch on with prepping for an evacuation is cash. I know some people never carry cash, for various reasons. But I urge you to obtain an amount of cash (determined by you through careful consideration) and keep it safe at home. Don't necessarily carry it in your purse, wallet or car, but keep some at home, preferably in a fire proof safe. Think about what the situation might dictate. If money is tight in your world, what would happen if it was Tuesday before payday Friday, and you were evacuated from home. You must leave and be prepared to provide for your family for a period of days before payday hit. Could you 1) put gas in your vehicle 2) buy yourself a meal or a few meals 3) provide your family a place to stay? If you can evacuate in your own vehicle, that helps the situation, but can you get away someplace? Is your car perpetually on E and you don't have the money to buy enough gas to get to a loved one's house? Do you need to stay in a hotel? Cash gives you choices and choices are powerful.
It might help to have a list by the main exit of things you need/plan to grab. Let the kids know where everything is so they can grab things. If you have a larger family, assign bigger kids to carry bags for and hold hands of littler kids. It might help to think "What can I grab in 10 minutes and be on the road?" You should be planning no more than you and your help (kids, spouse, etc.) can grab in one trip. Backpacks reduce what you must have in your hands, therefore increasing what you can grab on the go.
What are your thoughts on prepping? How are you preparing for an emergency that forces you to leave your home quickly? What have I not mentioned that I might need to pack in our BOBs?