Guest Post written by: Mike Thomas
From possible economic collapse to potential terrorist attacks and natural disasters, there’s been increasing interest in preparing for such events. Having a bug out bag is an essential item that survivalists as well as government agencies such as FEMA recommend an individual put together. What exactly to put in the bag, however, is an area of disagreement. The following information discusses what items FEMA advises to have and how that stacks up against other advice concerning bug out bags.
FEMA Bug Out Bag
The government agency FEMA suggests that families and individuals put together a survival kit to prepare for potential disasters. Things that FEMA recommends include enough food for three days, a gallon of water a day for each person, and a first aid kit. They suggest food that does not need to be prepared, heated, or refrigerated in any way. Water should be kept in a cool, dry place. Supplies such as trash bags for personal sanitation, batteries, and flashlights are also on the FEMA list. Whistles, local maps, and a cell phone with chargers, preferably a solar charger, are a few other items they suggest having.
Survivalist Bug Out Bag
Most people devoted to prepping and planning for disasters see FEMA recommendations as just the beginning. For starters, most survivalists will recommend having some sort of weapon. This doesn’t always mean a gun. Even something such as pepper spray or having self-defense skills are usually suggested. Warmth and shelter are two other areas that aren’t really addressed in the FEMA guidelines. Most people who advise on bug out bag preparation suggest carrying a tarp of some sort and tools to start a fire. Other items that are often included on lists are cash, dry bags for wet clothes, toothbrush, and toothpaste. A bug out bag probably needs to be adjusted seasonally to fit the weather.
When a Bug Out Bag May Not Help
There are certain situations and aspects of bug out bags that may be detrimental to an individual. If you have to travel long distances, carrying something that weighs 30, 40 or more pounds on your back may cause you to be susceptible to injury. Most of us aren’t physically fit enough or trained to properly carry a bag of that size for long distances. Carrying too large of a bag may also make an individual a target.
Since the primary purpose of a bug out bag is for getting you from point A to point B, in some situations, such as disasters that force you to stay where you are, having a bug out bag is going of be of little use. Possible scenarios include a biological or nuclear attack that comes without warning. In cases like this you would need to stay inside, possibly for weeks. Of course you can still use the items in the bag, but its main purpose is no longer necessary.
So, are bug out bags really going to help in a disaster? The answer is yes. But it does depend on what kind of disaster unfolds and each person’s circumstances in that disaster. Since a basic bug out bag is easy and relatively inexpensive to put together, it’s always a good idea to have one on hand.