By Chris Ruiz – The Bug Out Bag Guide
Jackson maneuvered his way swiftly through the crowded sidewalk, running as fast as he could, his briefcase in one hand and his get home bag in the other – the two things he never left home without. Realizing there was no way he could make his train at this point, he slowed his pace and fell in line with the window shoppers and couples out for a stroll. He was five minutes from the station and the next train wouldn’t be arriving for forty-five minutes, he might as well enjoy the walk. Suddenly, he realized that the entire street was moving against him, and swiftly. The road looked like a parking lot and people were rapidly abandoning their vehicles to flee on foot. For the first time, he noticed the thick stench of smoke in the air – not from cigarettes, but from something burning. Instinctively he reached out and grabbed a young man running past him. “What the hell is going on here?” “You don’t know?” The young man replied incredulously. “There was an explosion. The whole damn train station is up in smoke!” The young man wriggled free of Jackson’s grasp and took off running. But Jackson didn’t follow him. He didn’t need to blindly follow the panicked crowd that was descending quickly into pandemonium and chaos. He had been planning for just such an event and he knew exactly how to get home – that’s why he always carried his get home bag.
What Is A Get Home Bag?
Jackson and his wife Rachel are serious survivalists. They have a basement packed with enough food and water to last six months, each has their own bug-out-bag, and even their eleven-year-old son Derek knows what to do in an emergency. However, neither of them had considered packing a get home bag until a random car accident left Rachel and Derek stranded on a deserted road for several hours with no supplies and no way home. To be fully prepared in any emergency, there are three types of bags you should have ready – an every day carry kit, a get home bag, and a bug-out-bag:
- The every day carry kit contains items you would use with relative frequency, sometimes on a daily basis. Your every day carry kit helps solve frequent problems that come up in everyday life, as well as likely emergency situations.
- A get home bag has the sole purpose of getting you home as quickly and as safely as possible in the event your normal commute is compromised (this can be due to anything from large scale emergencies such as natural disasters or civil unrest to minor inconveniences such as road closures or a vehicle breakdown). It typically contains specific items needed for 24-48 hours of survival and is compact enough to carry with you at all times.
- A bug-out-bag equips you for survival in the event you will need to survive for several days or more. It is compact enough to carry, but not kept on your person at all times. Bug-out-bags are usually stored in an easy to reach yet concealed area of your house.
Building Your Get Home Bag List
The contents of your get home bag will vary greatly depending on where you live and the type of emergencies you need to be prepared for. You’ll also need to thoroughly examine your commute and improvise ways of getting home should your car or other types of transit be unavailable. If possible, use a map to get a bird’s eye view and consider the following when making your plan:
- Will you be traveling through wilderness, suburbs, or major cities
- Are there any major waterways you will need to cross or devise routes around
- How many hours will it take you to walk to your house (on rugged terrain, the average fit adult can walk approximately 10-18 miles per day)
To get you started, The Bug Out Bag Guide has created a free downloadable Get Home Bag Checklist that includes must-have items for your get home bag as well as essential must-dos for planning. For Jackson, who works at a bank in a major city about 25 miles from his home, comfortable clothes and footwear were a must for his get home bag. He also made sure to pack inhalation and eye protection, as these can help in the event of urban emergencies such as explosions or pandemics.
Organizing Your Get Home Bag Contents
Typically, you’ll want to organize your get home bag essentials into three compartments, or levels. Each level contains the items needed to survive for a certain amount of time, with those needed right away on top on those needed for longer-term survival on the bottom. Generally, a get home bag is organized as follows:
Level 1 Items (up to 3 hours from home by foot)
Your first and most accessible level should include items such as: Continue reading at The Bug Out Bag Guide: Get Home Bag List – How To Make The Best Kit For YOUR Needs