LISTENING TO KATRINA
PAGES IN THIS BLOG ARE RATED 'R' AND DO CONTAIN
PROFANITY, VULGARITY, GRAPHIC VIOLENCE, NUDITY,
SCENES OF HUMAN EMOTION, DEATH, DESTRUCTION, MAYHEM, AND VARIOUS
HYST - BOB 1
Remember our mantra: HAVE YOUR SHIT TOGETHER BEFORE IT HITS THE FAN!
At this point, we have a rescue plan for our documents and irreplaceable photographs. We now need to turn this into a survival kit for our wealth. We keep these in a bag which becomes our BOB (Bug Out Bag), aka a 'Grab-n-Go' bag. Different people have different needs, so there is going to be some diversion past this point as to what people choose to put in that bag beside the vital records and photographs.
The most important part of the bag is, believe it or not, THE BAG. Your BOB should be a dedicated bag that you use ONLY for that purpose. If you are cheap, you can use an old pillow case or go buy a $10 duffel bag at Wal-Mart. Some people turn their BOB into an uber-Survival Kit that weighs 80 pounds. DO NOT DO THIS! If you cannot lift your BOB with one hand, then it is too heavy.
Our next topic for conversation, then, is supplies. I don't mean supplies in the context of having food and water available, I'm talking about critical supplies. Things that you need to get through the next 24 or 48 hours. For most people the #1 item on that list is going to be their prescription medications, if any.
We need to establish some criteria for making decisions about what goes in the bag, but first, let's get every person in the house set up with their own BOB. This is the bag that each member of the family can grab during Escape Plan Alpha - the 60 Second Plan. The bag that each member of the family selects should be large enough to hold all the essential items on their list. It should also be small enough for them to carry. Any child over the age of 5 will be personally responsible for his or her BOB. I find that a small or medium sized duffel bag works well. If you are strong enough to carry two bags, then you might have your own BOB in addition to your laptop bag. That is what I do since my laptop bag doesn't have enough room to accomplish the BOB task.
Let's talk about what does not go into the BOB. First, no luxury items. Remember that we want a kit that contains only essentials. The things we need for the next 24 to 48 hours. Nothing goes into the bag that can be replaced. Video games, toys, and other non-essentials do not belong. Your pistol does not belong in your BOB. Your pistol belongs in its holster on your hip. Your rifle goes over your shoulder. Spare ammo can go into the BOB, but remember that you have to carry it so don't make it too heavy. Resist the temptation to fill your BOB with crap. If you really think you need a toothbrush and a razor to survive, then make sure they are small and light. Your BOB is not a Dopp kit.
Always have the towel. The towel is not optional.
A basic starting adult BOB contains the following: 1 or 2 16oz bottles of water. High energy snacks like Snickers bars or other energy bars - but not more than one or two. (Chips don't last well in BOBs... Remember to change out food and water items at least once a year. A five year old Snicker's bar is kind of stale.) A change of clothing. Two changes of undergarments. You may have to change the clothing out seasonally. A working flashlight. I prefer small, light LED headlamps. A personal first aid kit. A small radio or MP3 player that is radio capable. A small towel. A supply of prescription medicines. Maps, travel information, detailed rendezvous information for each member of the family, and a copy of all of your families emergency plans. (The easy way to do that is to just keep your Preparedness Workbook in your BOB. A pen and some paper or small notebook. A full duplicate set of house and car keys. That's only the start, but it's a good start. If you can fit all of that into your BOB and you have room left, don't worry. We'll need that space a little later on.
The personal first aid kit does not have to be elaborate. Some aspirin and a few Band-Aids in a Zip-Loc baggie is fine. What you're trying to avoid with this is having to pull out your 'big' first aid kit every time someone has a scratch or a little headache.
The contents may need to be adjusted for children. Infants and toddlers should have a diaper bag, which will essentially be their BOB. Taking a long drive with an infant and no disposable diapers is one of those long nightmares that is best avoided at all costs. Especially if you have cloth seats.
Assembling your BOBs does not have to be expensive. I like to use a small backpack for my BOB. Other items may be included, so long as they do not make the bag heavy, especially for the kids. There are some other things that go into your BOB, but we'll get to those a little later. For now, just get it started and have it ready.
The various books and magazines all tell you how to put these bags together, with some variations on the theme. They tell you all about all kinds of useful stuff you need in your 'kit' - but remember, Survival is NOT a kit! What the books and magazines do not tell you is what the bag is actually for - which seems so intuitive that nobody ever explains it. Well, I'm going to explain it to you now and then you'll say, "Oh. I never thought of that." Either that, or you'll say, "Well, DUH! Everybody knows that, doofus."
In any case, I'm gonna tell you, so just stick with me, OK?
In one year, fire departments respond to about 400,000 residential fires that claim the lives of over 3,100 people. Residential fires are the most common disaster in the United States, affecting more families than any other. Floods - especially flash floods - are #2, claiming almost 150 lives each year. Fire, though, is the big one. You are more likely to wake up to find your house on fire than you are to experience a widespread disaster of any kind.
I'm going to give you the brief sermon about smoke alarms now. Now that you know that fire is the most common disaster, you should install smoke alarms in your home. If you already have them, make sure the batteries are fresh. Fire is your most likely disaster. Smoke alarms are your primary warning system to help you protect Health and Wealth. Do it.
A lot of those 3,100 people die because they do not have working smoke alarms in their homes. Either they do not have them, or the batteries died a long time ago. Studies also indicate that people die in fires because they do not get out of their homes in time. They do not get out because they stop to look for pets, call 911 from inside the home, or stop to get dressed. Let's look at two scenarios.
Pre-HYST, you wake up in the night to the sound of your smoke alarms. The house is on fire! You roll out of bed naked, stumble about trying to put some clothes on and eventually manage to be 'decent'. You dash out into the living room, which is now filled with smoke, and you start searching for Whiskers the Cat, who you finally find under the sofa. He doesn't come when you call, and you can't quite reach him so you spend some time working on that. When you do manage to fish the ungrateful creature out from under there, you stand up with him to try to get out of the house - but it's too late - you are overcome by smoke and you die on the floor.
Post-HYST, you wake up in the night to the sound of your smoke alarms. The house is on fire! You roll out of bed naked, snatch your BOB and your wife's BOB out from under the bed, grab your laptop bag, and dash out of the door. Your wife, who grabbed Junior out of his crib in your bedroom is right behind you. She's naked too. (May as well get as much play out of that as I can...) The whole family rendezvous at the mailbox, where you all unzip your BOBs and pull on some clothes. Whoever is dressed first dials 911 on the cell phone. If the weather is warm, you can call before you get dressed. Health and Wealth protected.
Too bad about Whiskers, but you were more of a dog person anyway...