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What's in your Go-Bag?

 
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What's in your emergency Go-Bag?

Due to the crazy wildfires, absurd heat, crazy drought, and all that jazz in our area this year, the province recommends that every household have a Go-Bag.  

It's probably a good idea to have one anyway.  Usually, I can rely on my pocket knife to survive, but... wildfires don't leave much long-term food in the forest.  

We are going to have small packets in each car with a change of underwear and contact details for a family out of town (local lines are usually overwhelmed in an emergency, but long-distance lines are often open).  A blanket in each car and keeping the gas tank at least half full.  First aid kits are already there.  They are big enough for two people to sleep in, so that's good.  

But the main bag will be in the house.  I'm trying to think of what to put in it.  

here's the recomended list:

Emergency kit supplies
Put your supplies in one or two containers, such as plastic bins or duffel bags. Store them in an area of your home that’s easy to get to, such as a hall closet, spare room or garage.

Non-perishable food: three-day to one-week supply, with a manual can opener
Water: four litres per person, per day for drinking and sanitation
Phone charger, battery bank or inverter
Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
Battery-powered or hand-crank flashlight
Extra batteries
First-aid kit and medications
Personal toiletries and items, such as an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses
Copy of your emergency plan, copies of important documents, such as insurance papers
Cash in small bills
Garbage bags and moist towelettes for personal sanitation
Seasonal clothing, sturdy footwear and emergency blanket
Dust masks if you live in an area that's prone to earthquakes
Whistle
Help/OK Sign (PDF): Display the appropriate side outward in your window during a disaster.

 
r ranson
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Thinking about my Go-Bag, I want to make certain it isn't too heavy in case I need to grab and run/walk a long distance.  
 
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We pretty much match your list.  We add sleeping bags, tent, pet food, and a 30 day supply of meds.
 
r ranson
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I'm also thinking about making a secondary Go-Bag with things like my photography equipment.  It would be nice... well, as nice as it can be in that situation... to be able to document the events.  It would also help give me a sense of purpose.  
 
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I try to keep a 5 gallon jug of water in the truck. A couple energy bars and 5 gallons of water will keep one going for a good while in summer.

12v to usb adapter to charge the cellphone and the headlamp batteries.

Ideally I would grab my laptop OMW out the door, everything else critical lives in my vest anyhow..


But if I have 10 minutes I could have the tinyhouse hooked up and bring it along...
 
D Nikolls
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r ranson wrote:I'm also thinking about making a secondary Go-Bag with things like my photography equipment.  It would be nice... well, as nice as it can be in that situation... to be able to document the events.  It would also help give me a sense of purpose.  



I've seen some terrifying fire evac vids.. they are undeniably impactful, but I hope to never see one from you!
 
r ranson
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I'm superstitious.   If I prepare for the worst,  it won't happen.

Of course reality has its own opinions
 
pollinator
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After last years evacuation, I made a list of things that I wish I had. A couple of the big standouts were condiments, food tastes so much better with salt and pepper, and go-bags for the dogs. For the dogs, I wish that I had their prong collars and muzzles, as well as styptic powder. Nothing like a bleeding 100 lb. pit bull to stress you out during evacuation.

I've also collected take out packets of other condiments for this purpose, like soy sauce, barbecue sauce etc. Things that I would normally throw away, popped into my non-perishable food go-bag.
 
pollinator
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My go bag is stored in my van.       In my van I have a folding bike.     My plan is to  travel light as possible  the goal is not not survive for a week, but to get to my next refuge, or get home.        


But, if I did have to be out for a long time I have 8 cups of oatmeal stored in my go bag, that I can heat up with my alcohol stove.     I sometimes have dried fruit with that as well,  these seem to hold up very well for the high temps the inside of the van reaches.

The plan for me is to take only what need,  in my van I also have an old android phone with charger.      Old cell phones that are not connected to service still can make emergency calls,   or,  they can get on free wifi  of like resturants.      I found this most helpful recently when I could not find a location,  I drove to a resturant that had free wifi, and I could locate where I needed to be with the free wifi and a mapping site.

I have a couple first aid kits in my van and I have a thermos with about 2 quarts of water.      Water is critical for many reasons.      I also have a water purifier, and attachments that will allow me to use it with a 5 gal bucket.      Clean, pure water can not be calculated how important it is with grid down.

My cell phone has survival apps on it  that has a compass and allows me to download maps of the area.

My folding bike is my choice because if an EMP hits, I still will have a means of getting to the next place I want to be.    Bikes will get you farther than your feet, and allow you to carry more if you have too.

The one thing I think I would like to do is upgrade to an electric bike,  so I could add an air horn.        I don't like dogs chasing me,  so an air horn would be an addition I would add to the electric bike,   I may get one of those air horns for games...        

I also stock essential oil that I can drink.     1 - 2 drops from that small bottle combined with a bit of stevia   gives me a drink with a great morale boost.



I have two sets of clothes in the bag,   one set for cold weather,  one set for hot weather,  you never know  what you will run into.     I also keep a winter coat in my van even in summer.     Weather is not predictable..        


My plan is if I have to leave my van is to remove everything from the bug out bag I don't have to have for the journey, and take only what I need,  lighter is faster.


 
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I don't have a Go-Bag really, I do keep my Get-Home bag in the truck. I build houses for a living and because of that I am frequently several hours from home, with population centers between me and the homestead. Here is the list:

First Aid Kit, with tourniquet and blood stop.
Lifestraw Water Filter.
Poncho.
Several pairs of socks, and a spare shirt.
Several knives.
A ferro rod, and a flint and steel kit.
A lockpick set.
A spare Bible.
A 1911, a holster and a spare mag.
Sundry other items.

I do not keep food in the bag as it resides mostly in the vehicle and I do not want to attract rodents. Sometimes I keep a rifle in the truck and several mags for it. The truck is a Go-Bag, I work out of my truck so it has a thousand different tools in it.

 
John F Dean
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As I read the posts, I realize I have 3 layers of GO bags.  I used to travel a great deal.  Still in my vehicle, at all times, are a couple iof bottles of water, energy bars, a space blanket, and a plastic tarp.   I also keep a back pack with the items already mentioned in my previous post. I also had a number of red totes with provisions for a longer evacuation. These involve a change of clothes, tp, cooking equipment, etc.

What I have not worked out, to my satisfaction, is what to do with the livestock.  At a minimum, given time, they would get added feed and water. So, a three day evacuation would not present a problem food and water wise.  There would be problems is if was a longer period. And, of course, there is the question of why we were evacuating in the first place.  Whatever I was running from, the animals would be left to deal with. As I said, I am not happy with this possibility.

While I live east of St Louis, the weather out of that city tends to travel 12 miles north of me. My weather tends to come from Oklahoma.  In my mind, that means I should have some time to consider my actions for weather disasters.   We do live in a major tornado belt. One tends to dive for cover without a great deal of warning.  The other likely problem is we have an underground coal mine a couple miles away.  That is the possibility that provides for a need to evacuate with minimal warning.
 
pollinator
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Always a balance between light and fast vs prepared for anything.

Notes to add to the government list...

Try to match battery sizes.  EVERYTHING should take AA or AAA.  Every store carries them if you need more.  AA have much better power and runtime, but hard to find things like headlamps that use them.

Things like Ziploc Bags and buckets are super useful.

Have a small quick dry towel and big cotton bandana or two.

Carry a pair of swim trunks (men and women) and synthetic t shirt and or  sports bra.  For walking in the rain and for public showers common in disaster shelters.

I have a go bag with the basics and go boxes either in the trunk or garage ready to put in the trunk.  One is a car camping box and another has bags labeled and sorted as extra food, wet and cold and hot weather clothes.  Add or remove from the bag as necessary.  I also have a couple cases of bottled water in the garage, too.

 
pollinator
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Not something we have here, but there is one thing that strikes me, the water, if you go for the 7 days worth of food then you also need 7 days worth of water, at their rate that's 28kg of water per person. Not very "Go". I think that some way of purifying water would be more use in many areas.
 
pioneer
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In my Go-Bag I have 48 to 72 hours of food and clothing. Along with any paper documents, ID's and meds in a water proof bag. I try to at a minimum check my Go-Bag every month to see that everything is in good shape. When the weather cools down a little I will do a dry run of using my Go-Bag. I find a little practice can help. For example, where are important documents , how fast can I get myself and my Go-Bag into a safe place. Lastly I am always asking myself "what things do I need to have in the bag?" and " If ABC happen, can I fix and/or prepare for that event?".

About a year ago this month a bad storm hit my city and my home. Since then I have been upgrading may Go-Bag. I view my Go-Bag as a work in progress.
 
Ben House
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Skandi Rogers wrote:Not something we have here, but there is one thing that strikes me, the water, if you go for the 7 days worth of food then you also need 7 days worth of water, at their rate that's 28kg of water per person. Not very "Go". I think that some way of purifying water would be more use in many areas.



That is one reason I have the LifeStraw, it is enough for one or two people to use for several days drinking from water sources that are less than perfect.
 
pollinator
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We have a staged list - do I have 5 minutes to get out or 2 hours?  Can I get to my sisters house to stay, or a hotel, or are we camping? In addition to your list and the suggestions from others, here are a few more items that come to mind. I lists for different packs for different situations but won't go into that kind of detail here.

I won't leave without the cats so we will have to use vehicles.  The pet pack has a disposable litter tray, one gallon bag of kibble and small bowls. The cats will be in carriers. Water for all of us is in the garage and ready to load.

I added face masks with a carbon p95 insert for smoke since I assume we will be driving through really bad air. I also have two respirators with particulate filters if needed but they are harder to breath through.

Pre-printed contact list and evacuation route maps since we may have to go on roads we're not familiar with. Assume that phone service is down because it would suck if you depended on it and it wasn't there. If phone service is good then that's probably better for navigation.

Wet wipes. Paracord of different lengths. Compass. Waterproof matches. Lifestraws. Multi-tools. Folding saw and shovel. I could go on, but again, it depends on the situation. Obviously you can't carry too much if walking out.

This is a difficult subject for all of us because the idea of having to evacuate is so scary, but I feel much better being as prepared as possible.
 
pollinator
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Mart Hale wrote:

My cell phone has survival apps on it  that has a compass and allows me to download maps of the area.



Mart, if there is an emergency and cell towers go down and/or you are in an area that has no signal, the app-based cell compass will not work.  (I speak from experience). Much better to have a real compass that is liquid-filled to guide you.
 
Mart Hale
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>>Mart, if there is an emergency and cell towers go down and/or you are in an area that has no signal, the app-based cell compass will not work.  (I
>> speak from experience). Much better to have a real compass that is liquid-filled to guide you.


It is true that if you have an app that pulls the data from internet the app will not work.


It is also true that if you have an app that downloadeds the data to your phone it still works  ( may not have GPS ) but the map function still work, and you can use the app.

Examples ->  https://geoawesomeness.com/top-offline-map-apps-navigation-android-ios-2019/

These work even if the cell towers are down,  

But yes the compass function may not work as it may be GPS dependant,   then would be good to have a real compass.









 
Stacy Witscher
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My daughter and I were just talking about this as fire season is upon us. Woke up this morning to smoke filled skies. One thing that we have found helpful is baby wipes or any other kind of pre-moistened wipes. We have levels of go-bags, fire level is mostly about comfort.
 
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Food, water, laptop, writing stuff, variety of clothing, etc. etc. - no real surprises there, but you should see my "bag"  
  - a full camper in a car that weighs under a ton.  
 
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Some really good responses in this thread. One other thing to consider adding to your emergency plan is what you'll do with any livestock you have. Last year, when the Almeda Fire wiped out two towns next to me and we had to evacuate, I had a plan for my dogs and cats but not for my newly-acquired rabbits. That caused a great deal of additional stress! We've been working on our emergency plans and go bags in earnest this year, and adding a plan for the buns and the necessary equipment to work that plan was one of the first things I did. Make the hard choices ahead of time and commit to those choices (what you'd do with a few hours to get out, 30 minutes to get out, or *get out now* are very different) so that if the time comes that you need to use your plan, you don't have the additional dithering about that makes your physical and emotional survival harder.
 
Stacy Witscher
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So true, we left the chickens and outdoor cats, no choice. A family friend lets her goats loose when the evacuate. She figures that gives them a better chance. They are very attached to her so they always come back.
 
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No maps listed? Waterproof paper maps. Road maps & terrain maps. For use with a real compass. GPS & phone apps are great but in a true emergency the odds are high they won't work. I use gps & a basic phone but wouldn't bet my life on them. Ever.

A portable way to recharge batteries with the sun is a good idea. I use this https://www.renogy.com/solar-panels/portable-solar-panels/ to charge USB devices directly & a smart charger with USB input for charging AA & AAA batteries. https://www.amazon.com/EBL-Smart-Battery-Charger-Rechargeable/dp/B01M9A2O98/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=EBL+smart+USB+charger&qid=1626370328&sr=8-5

NOAA ham radio or at least a NOAA weather radio of some sort.

A small bottle of high proof alcohol. For purifying medical things & calming nerves if need be. Even if you don't drink someone else might benefit from a sip in a highly stressful environment. The small packets of alcohol wipes are prone to failure & drying out.

Several methods of water purification AND filtration. A guaranteed way to boil water & something to boil it in. A few salt tablets too. Water & not becoming dehydrated is that important.

I see lots of good suggestions here already & I don't have the time or inclination to dive deeply into it now. Just enough to say I use a layered approach. I keep a few things on my body at all times. Keys, a pocket knife, & a wallet sized fresnel lens for example. I take a well stocked small (27liter) backpack with me everywhere further than a couple hundred yards from my vehicle. Which is almost everywhere every day since I live in the wilderness. I can survive for a few days or get away from any situation with that. It's very light, about 10 lbs or so. My road vehicle has a larger better stocked backpack (80 liter with a detachable medical kit) & trunk load of excess camping gear & food & emergency supplies & several types of tools.

https://theprepared.com/prepping-basics/guides/sane-prepper-mantra-common-sense-rules/
 
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Those maps and a (good) compass are SUPER important - but, learning how to use them is equally important. It would be wise to take a course on navigation, too. If you're heading somewhere specific, and end up off-road, for whatever reason, being as little as.5° off can put you a very, very long way off from your intended destination, and that could potentially be the difference between life and death.
 
John F Dean
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Great point Carla.  Moving with roadways, it probably isn’t that important.  But cross country, one, at a minimum, needs to know the difference between magnetic north and true north.
 
Mike Barkley
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Excellent points. Here's an easy way to find the magnetic declination in your area ... download the sectional for your area ... they are printed with true north on top ... the compass roses are oriented to magnetic north.

https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/productcatalog/vfrcharts/sectional/
 
Stacy Witscher
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I'm not trying to be rude, but what type of natural disaster would being on foot with a compass help? If a wildfire is coming quickly if you can't drive out, a root cellar or something similar is your best option. Even in a zombie apocalypse, why would going one direction be necessarily better than another? If you are talking about being out hiking or something, than that's not really a go-bag, but rather a hiking sack. Our last evacuation we were fortunate enough to get a room at a hotel with a kitchenette, my go-bag is primarily meant to handle if we can't get a room or food if the evacuation area becomes sparse as did last time. The area that we evacuated to usually gets their food from our town.
 
Carla Burke
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If your car breaks down, you have an accident, or you run out of gas, the road is blocked by downed trees, rock-fall, collapses, or other vehicles, you could easily end up on foot. On foot, especially on winding &/or hilly/ mountainous roads, sticking to the road, on foot would take far more energy and time, than cutting away from the roads. But, without good maps and reliable compass, for direction, that's not a wise choice, unless you're very familiar with the off-road area you're traveling through.
 
Stacy Witscher
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I guess that’s my point, that’s not what I would describe as a go-bag.
 
Carla Burke
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Stacy Witscher wrote:I guess that’s my point, that’s not what I would describe as a go-bag.



We may be mixing terms, here, too. One person's go-bag might be another person's bug-out or get-home bag. But, r. Ranson's OP sounded more (to me) like what I'd call a bug-out bag, so I treated it as such, as I think most others did.

My 'go bag' has always been essentially an overnight bag, in case hubs and I decided to travel for a weekend, or something along those lines.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Fair enough, that’s just not how I view it. Thank you for the clarification.
 
Mike Barkley
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Let's just use the wildfire example for a moment. Suppose you have been rerouted from your original planned route by emergency crews. Then the wind shifts & the situation drastically changes so they can't make sure people are off that road. Then thick smoke stops your engine. A map can point out where a safer road to walk out or a river might be. I wouldn't expect much careful orienteering would be happening in a situation like that but a compass can keep you going in the correct general direction to potential safety & rescue. The smoke can get so thick that seeing the sun or moon is impossible. Without visual references, such as in thick smoke or darkness, people tend to walk in a big circle. A creek or river is somewhat safe in fire for obvious reasons but they almost always lead to civilization too. Follow them downstream if possible.

Be super aware of your surroundings in wildfires. They can jump 10 or 20 miles in an instant. Bad stuff happens fast. The best bet is to get far away as early as possible. Don't make the mistake of all the dead people who underestimate them. I've seen half of TX burning & it isn't something to fool around with.

Just for grins here's some pix of a controlled burn we did last month.
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