20 January 2020

Happiness Homemade - Bug Out Bags

I joke with Wayne and the friends we go four wheel driving and camping with that I can be packed and ready to back out of the driveway in 30 minutes if a trip comes up.

It's not really a joke though, I can be, because after every trip I restock and repack, ready to go again.

Australia has seen some horrible weather in the last three months, with the last 10 days or so being absolutely horrific. We've had extreme heatwaves causing mass blackouts, bush fires and a collapse of society as the communities involved suffer.  All this weather means that people have had to pack up and leave their homes, often with very little notice, and not knowing when, or even what, they will come back to.

So my question is if you had just 30 minutes notice to evacuate your home, and you didn't know when you'd be back, would you be able to pack the necessities, enough for at least three days (the timeframe that is standard before disaster relief *may* be available)?

Would you know what to pack?  Do you know how much water to pack for three days? Do you have shelf stable food that doesn't need to be cooked? Enough for everyone? Do you have a bug out bag for each of your pets?

In our personal bags we have:

  • 7 sets underwear
  • 4 changes of clothes - t-shirts, jumper, trousers
  • Hat and sunglasses - these don't stay in the bag, but they're always in the car
  • Toiletry bag - toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, sunblock, face washer, towel
  • Personal first aid kit
  • Personal medications, enough for a week

In the "kitchen" box we have:

  • 2 small gas stoves
  • Spare gas bottles
  • Canned and dried foods to make meals
  • Bug spray
  • A camp oven
  • A frying pan
  • A small saucepan set
  • 2 plates
  • 2 bowls
  • 2 mugs
  • 2 knives
  • 2 forks
  • 2 spoons
  • Tongs 
  • Sharp knife
  • Foil
  • Baking paper
  • Paper towel
  • Toilet paper
  • Wet wipes
  • Sunblock
  • Chap sticks
Right now we don't have pets, but when we did, I had a box with food for a week, food bowls, old towels and blankets and a box of kitty litter (we had two cats). It was the one time I splurged on pouches of cat food, because they're lighter and easier to carry than tins - but they were far to expensive to use all the time. It lived in the laundry cupboard and was easy to pick up and pack. We never had to use it to evacuate, but it came in handy when we were taking them to be cat-sat when we were away.

We also have wind-up torches ($5 each from Kmart a few years ago) and a wind-up radio so we don't need to rely on batteries. ABC radio has been advertising and suggesting that everyone in a fire zone should have a battery operated radio. That's fine, if you can get one - but you need to keep on top of the batteries. If you're not using the radio, take them out or they may corrode and ruin the radio. That means you need to keep fresh, spare batteries handy to use all the time. If you can find a wind-up radio I believe they are a much better option, simply because you don’t need to worry about batteries. Ditto for the torches.

Last year I added solar phone chargers to the box. In the case of a natural disaster often the electricity is the first thing to go out.

We have a 90 litre water bladder in our Patrol, that we keep clean and filled. This gives us nine days of water for the two of us.

On that note, these days I make it a habit to keep both our cars at least 3/4 full. It means I fill up every week, but in an emergency we have enough fuel to get us a few hundred kilometres (if we need to go that far).

With all this, we're pretty well set up and virtually self-sufficient. But what about you?

If you had to evacuate in a hurry would you have everything you need?

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