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Sunday, May 03, 2015

Do it yourself food storage

The best food you can eat is the freshest food, the best food you can store is the food you will eat and the cheapest way to do both is to grow and store the food yourself.

We’ve been looking at food storage as a step by step process or in a tier format. This would be the last tier but does not have to be done last. You can start this portion of your planning at any stage. Heck you can start today!

In addition to adding to your pantry or emergency supplies you should add to your skills and knowledge base. Some of us might already know how to plant a garden, know how to ‘can’ our own foods or other such skills. I for one had no idea how to do any of these things!!!! In our modern times few of us know how to grow our own food or utilize the resources around us. We go to the market and food is just there…….. With this in mind; having the ability to grow (learned when your family does not ‘need’ the food) your own food is a skill few of us know how to do anymore!!!

“I do not know how to grow anything; I have nowhere to grow anything!”

This is the idea, learn how to grow something and find somewhere to grow something. The internet is full of information on how to grow food stuff!!! You can find literal hundreds of ideas on how, what and where to grow things. Does not matter if you live on the twentieth floor of an apartment building or in the suburbs, there is something you can grow!! Start small, find a window which has sunlight for most the day. Maybe you can put a pot or two in the window or maybe on the roof of the apartment building? Maybe there is that unused strip of dirt along the side of your house? If you start looking there will be a spot you can find.

Start small maybe just some parsley or other herbs in the window sill. Just to get in the habit of watering something every day. Then once you have grown these, a pot with tomatoes or onions or peppers? Find out what grows in your local area and try to grow what you know will grow. You want to give yourself the best chance at success! Do not try to grow too much too soon or you will become discouraged when all your plants die!!! I know this from firsthand knowledge!!!!

Bring the kids in on the growing of food, make it a fun time digging in the dirt, let them help water the plants and watch how excited they get when you harvest!!! Of course how much they can ‘help’ depends on their age. What you want to do is try to give them a skill set you might be learning from scratch but might just be what they need later in their lives!!! Plus it is fun to get dirty with the kids!!!

Look around your home. What plants are growing you can use? Our home came with an apple and apricot trees. I had no idea how to grow either, the internet helped me out! Now we have apples we do not have to buy at the store and I figured out how to make jam with the apricots!!! We had a neighbor who would bring oranges over and we would give them apricots. They would make apricot brandy??? We give away the apricot jam to friends and family.

Lemon trees, orange trees and others can be grown in pots and everything you grow on your own does not have to be bought at the store. Money you can use elsewhere. Of course most of us do not want to turn our yards into farms but there are things you can grow which do not take away from the beauty of your space and give you something you can use. We have apples, apricots, blackberries, onions, sage, potatoes and grapes growing in our yard!!! Grapes for making jelly not wine; although I’m sure someone in the house rather we grow wine grapes!!!!

This may sound generic but there really is something to be said for growing your own food and using the food to cook with. A certain joy in knowing you grew what you are using. It is hard to explain but once you do it you will understand!!

Remember we are trying to have enough food available for just ‘one more meal’ and the food you can grow in your own space might make the difference for your family and you!!! Go out and try it, learn a new skill set and have some fun!!!!!

As Always,

Stay Safe

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Long Term Food Storage

Once we have a cupboard full of food and some prepackaged food to take on the move, then we can move on to long term storage planning. This would be food which is packaged and able to store for twenty or more years.

Why would we need food to last this long? Think of it as ‘buy and forget’. Hopefully you can build a stockpile of these types of foods and forget about it until you need it. This way no matter what comes you have something to turn to. Maybe you lose a job and are completely broke, you still can put something on the table for the children to eat. Even if you have burned through all the other food you have. Remember we are planning for all kinds of emergencies not just the end of the world!

These types of stored food are expensive so be prepared for the sticker shock before you start looking for items to buy! Unless you package the food yourself, which is a post for a different day, you are going to pay in order to have food which last so long. To counter the shock of seeing the price start small, buy just one can a month focus on what is on sale. After twelve months hopefully you are in a better position to spend a bit more.

Start with items on sale. Most of the sales you will find are hit and miss. Try to focus on things you need for an extended situation, things high in protein, fruits, vegetables and staples. If you are to a point where you have to use your long term storage, things are bad. You are going to want to keep people full and healthy till the situation changes.

Focus on sales of items which “put meat on your bones” and items you cannot get in the local area. Canned meats are the most expensive but you are going to want your children to eat protein to stay healthy. Fruits and vegetables you cannot find locally will give you diversity in your meals and go a long way in keeping people healthy. Almost anything you eat regularly can be found in large #10 cans.

Why #10 cans? Because most have at least a pound or more of food stuff inside, the cans are sturdy and if stored properly will last the 30 years or whatever the length of time the company claims. They also let you adjust the amounts used to your needs.
These cans take up space and you need somewhere to store them. If you are thinking you will simply buy a year supply and been done with it you will have to have the space for all the cans. When you look for a space the same rules apply to these cans as apply to the smaller ones; a cool, dry, dark place, a place rodents and other pest cannot get to. If you are storing the cans in a garage or other area, place them off the floor and away from the side of the area which gets the most sunlight. This would be the north side of buildings for those of us in the northern hemisphere. By keeping them off the floor you cut down on flooding or moisture collecting on the can. Moisture brings rust and rust ruins food. The side away from the sun stays cooler and the temperature does not fluctuate as much as the sun exposed side.

The longest lasting types of #10 cans are the ones packed with dehydrated food. You can also buy none dehydrated food in #10 cans at most big box stores and at some grocery stores. These might not last as long as the dehydrated types. What they will do is allow you to increase your food storage and give you more selection of items. If you have a big family this might be something you want to put into practice every day and not just during a bad day.

Again, try starting off with items on sale. Start with items you cannot easily get in the local area. Move onto staples which will allow you to make different things. After these you might be surprised in what you can find packaged in cans!!!! (I have found the company Auguason Farms to have the best deals. No I do not get anything for promoting them!)

When you start on this project do not forget the most important item you will need........ a can opener!!!!

As Always,
Stay Safe

Monday, April 20, 2015

Prepackaged Emergency Foods

As we gather and stockpile food stuffs in our home we will get to a level of preparedness where we are ready to add another layer to our abilities. Each of us will reach this at a different pace and for this reason no set “must have” mile marker is suggested. Maybe you live in a very small flat; you have stocked up on what you eat every day, along with staple food items and have reached your goal of food stuff. This could be three days’ worth of food, one week or even a months’ worth of food. Each of our situations is different and we are customizing to each of our situations.

The next layer or tier to your food preparedness is suggested to be mobile food sources. These are items you can quickly pack, already have packed, grab and go. This gives you the ability to move quickly, save space and still have food with you if the situation you find yourself in causes you to leave your home. Fire, floods, earthquakes and other issues are reasons you might have to leave your home and cannot carry with you all the food items you have stored away. With these items you can move when needed; although not the ideal situation, your family will not go hungry.

Of course if you have to move weight becomes a major issue. You can only carry so much food. Your husband, wife, children and pets can only carry so much. Especially if you consider all the other items you need if you are forced to become a refugee! Are you going to carry ten pounds of rice or ten gallons of water, change of clothing for you and the children or fifteen cans of green beans, taking a tent to shelter in or meat for the children to eat? All of these can become life changing decisions if you are in this situation. Having prepackaged foods can go a long way in this situation. Any of the items we are going to discuss here are expensive and this needs to be factored in when planning for this level of readiness.

MREs are always brought into the conversation when mobile food sources are brought up. They are a quick solution to the issue. Having eaten these for days on end……. MREs get old really fast! There are only so many types and everyone is not going to like every type of meal. The upside to them is one meal has enough calories to keep you alive for one day, the have a variety of food items and if you buy the right type you can have a hot meal at a time you probably really need one. The military and civilian versions are not that different and there are types for every food preference.

Prepackaged containers or ‘buckets’ are another option. Most of these come in some kind of container for easy of carrying. The majority of these containers are not designed for carrying the food any great distance by hand. If you choose to purchase these types of portable food make sure you read the packaging carefully. Unlike an MRE some of these meals require water to be added in order to prepare the food for eating. Serving sizes also very greatly from one company to the next with most hovering around a 1 cup serving size. This could be far less than you might think the serving should be.

Along with these types of meals backpacking meals are also an option. Some of these can be eaten right out of the bag without water. Most have the same concerns as the prepackaged “emergency” meals, serving size and the need for water. On the plus side when using backpacking meals; they come in a wide variety of meal types and they lack the weight of MREs. You can even find ice cream and other desserts if you shop around!!!!

Another option is emergency ration bars. These are ‘bricks’ of food used aboard life boats. If you decide to buy these try and find ones approved by the Coast Guard because they have the most nutrient value in almost every case. You will often see these as items in survival kits which state they will keep you and others alive for days at a time…………….. yes these can keep you alive. One word of caution, they taste like cardboard and in most cases are not pleasing to the pallet!!!! You can live off of these food rations but you will not enjoy eating them for days at a time. A suggestion would be to have these rations as a last resort, the finally line between your family and starvation.

One thing we can do with all of these items which is seldom discussed is to give them away. If you are in a situation where you are at home, have other food stuff and are not in fear of starving or going without having these items on hand can solve a problem. “What do you do when the neighbors ask for food? What do you do when you see other people’s children going without? One answer can be to give them any of these items. I know some people say they will never give anything to anyone during an emergency and I would say you have never seen a child really going hungry!!!

If you do not want to be charitable, what about using these items for trade? During an emergency people are not going to want to be paid in money, checks or by credit card not if they are hungry right now and do not have access to food. Food will be a far greater priority then the check they might be able to put in the bank later. What if you need something done or an item you do not have and you can pay for the service or item by trading someone a prepackaged meal?

Think of this tier as giving you more options. If you can, buy some of each type of prepackaged food to give you more flexibility in your response to situations. Should you have to leave do not think you can only bring these sorts of food items with you. If you have the ability bring ALL your food with you!!

As Always,
Stay Safe

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Reality of Government help.

Over the course of time I have had conversations with people who believe the government, primarily first responders will be there when something happens, this gives them a reason to not take any steps to prepare on their own. A few quick searches on the internet should be enough for most of us to understand this is not always the case. For those of us in areas where the government, at any level, does not provide for first responders you already understand this.

Let's say the tornado or storm rips through your area, luckily no one you care for needs immediate assistance from the first responders. What do they do? They move on to people who do need their assistance. What else can you expect from the first responders? Simply getting on the web and doing a search will tell you in the agencies own words what most people do not want to consider, you are on your own for a while:

From the FEMA website, I highlighted the relevant section


A disaster supplies kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.

You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days.

Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages."

In some literature this time period has been upped to as many as five days!!! The government is telling you what to expect from them. The minimum amount of time you can expect before the government even claims to be able to help you. And the time frame when you can not get upset by the lack of 'help'. Agencies people think they are going to count on in their time of need are already giving you the reasons why they will not be there to help you and your loved ones BEFORE anything has even happened!

Let that idea sink in for a minute………. What if your health insurance provider told you the same thing? “Sorry we will not be able to assist you for at least three days. Yes we understand you broke your arm but you have to take care of it for three days before we can even claim to be ready to help you.” If you could odds are you would change your provider, right? For us we have a choice and change our “provider” for emergencies. We can change the provider to ourselves! This way we do not become another statistic on a spread sheet somewhere in a government office.

Now to be fair to the government workers out there, they have to follow rules and at times those rules do not allow them to do what needs to be done in a timely manner. The guy in the warehouse cannot let supplies go until his supervisor tells him to and the proper form is filled out. Why? Because she/he does not want to lose their job when everything is said and done. They have family to feed also. Their supervisor won’t fill out the form or tell them to release supplies from the warehouse until their manager tells them it is alright and they present the supervisor with the proper form. Of course the manager will not tell them to release the supplies until the executive level person above them is told all of the factors revolving around the present situation have been taken into account, along with any mitigating circumstances the manager may not be aware of have been brought into the conversation and only after all concerns have been address in the committee meeting, at which a joint decision will be reached in regard to the appropriate response the agency should deploy in order to properly assist with, in keeping with the mandates of the agency and maintaining a positive impression with the laws regulating the response of the agency to the situation which might or might not require a response from the agency. Of course none of this can take place until such time as the director of the agency has been directed to formulate a response to the crisis by the chief executive officer overseeing the agencies delegated with the responsibility to respond to situations which they have been organized to provide, if required, responses to. If you are confused after reading all that try working in an environment where all of this makes sense!

Logistical the response you can expect from any agency is going to be slower than what you might think it should be if you are the one needing assistance. Especially if you are a parent and are forced to watch your children while they suffer. Trucks only drive so fast, planes can only fly so fast and lines only move so fast. Some issues simply cannot be changed by wishing they were different. In any situation supplies along with aid have to come from some area outside the affected area. The larger the incident the further away the aid has to come from.

Reality check!!! When the people bringing the aid are deciding where the aid goes first they do not care about you! Your family is not the first people on their list to help no matter the situation. In large scale incidents the people directing the response do not see individual people; they look at the larger picture. If they can deliver water to a hundred people by driving the truck past your house they are going to. They are thinking about larger numbers of people and in the end five is a smaller group to lose than 100. Sorry this is the reality of the situation. Sure they would love to be able to help everyone but it would be impossible to give each person involved this level of personal care. Aid workers have to deal with large groups of people only in smaller scale scenarios could you ever hope for the personal level of service most people want during large scale emergencies.

Given the agencies flat out tell you, you are on your own for several days we should think of any aid as supplementing what we have already set aside. If we believe the cavalry is going to come over the hill and save the day we have only ourselves to blame when we are hungry, homeless and desperate! Never count on others to take care of you and your family. You have to take care of yourselves first and foremost.

Any time a disaster happens there are good people in the government working hard to bring aid to those people in need. These people must wait for the red tape to be taken care of before they can do anything which might help. After the red tape is dealt with they have to deal with logistics. Something they can do very little about at the end of the day. Physics dictate how fast supplies can be moved and not governments. When planning we must take into account this reality, we must provide ourselves with the supplies and skill sets to survive until help can supplement what we have already provided ourselves with.

As Always,

Stay Safe!

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Food storage - whats in the can?

Working in layers or tiers we need to build up our stockpiles. Why? Because most of us can afford to only spend a small amount on planning each month. Once we have put some staples in the house we need to think about adding some canned goods to what we have on hand.

Can goods can last a very long time, if you properly inspect them before purchase and if you store them properly. Once you start looking at canned goods you might be surprised to see what comes in a can now days.

The first thing to do with any can is check if the can is dented, deformed, rusted or any other issue which does not make it the perfect can. These are all signs of the food in side of the can not being edible. Bulging cans are absolutely not something you want to buy. We need cans with nothing which might compromise the seal of the can. The next thing to check is the date. The date is when the food inside of the can starts to lose nutritional value. From that date forward the company is saying the food is degrading. This does not mean the food is not edible, it does mean the food is not the same as the day it was put in the can.

When selecting cans try to replicate what you eat on a regular basis. You can easily find precooked meals in cans which are a plus during a bad day. Toss a couple cans of chili in a pot and feed everyone quickly. You can also find ingredients inside cans to make different meals with. Of course having the meal already made in the can cuts down on the number of cans you have to buy.

Buy things which are good for you. During an emergency, be it a lost job or natural disaster you want to keep everyone's health as high as possible. With the proper nutrition your body can fight off dieses and infection. You can perform more physical labor if need be and believe it or not, eating good food keeps you mentally clear and in better spirits. If you are in a truly bad situation eating good for you food can help your body last longer than filling yourself with chips and soda all day.

Vegetables should be one of the first things you look for in canned goods. There are a host of options in this category and you should look for items your family already eats. This will help with keeping things as close to normal as you can, get it…. CAN!!! A good suggestion is to focus on buying mixed vegetables to start, especially if you are on a tight budget. This gives you the most variety. If you have a picky eater they can take out what vegetable they do not like. Once you have a couple cans of mixed vegetables focus on getting a variety. We do not want to have to eat the same thing every day.

Fruit can also be found in cans. Almost any fruit you can think of is found in a can. Start with a couple cans of fruit salad for the same reason we have mixed vegetables. Most cans of fruit are also filled with syrup and water all of which can be used to increase the amount of calories your family is taking in. During an emergency you should never count calories in a negative light. Be happy you have the ability to put those calories into your families’ stomach! Syrup from a can of peaches can be poured over rice to give the rice some flavor other than “rice flavor” and increase the odds of people eating the rice for yet another meal!!! By a variety of fruit and focus on what your group will eat. I have someone who likes strawberries; a few extra cans were bought just for this person.

Protein is essential and cans are the easiest way to store meat. Start with some basic protein, SPAM is a good example. A couple of cans of SPAM can be put away and then added to all sorts of meals to ensure your family is getting protein. Ham, turkey, fish and all kinds of other protein can be found in cans. Be careful of the price!!!! Meat in a can of any type can get expensive!!! Store meat this way is especially easy if you have no idea how to smoke meat or know any other way of preserving meat.

If you have some staples in the house another category of canned goods to look for are items to enhance your staples. Spaghetti noodles can be eaten alone yet are so much more appetizing if you cover them with sauce. A good suggestion is to buy several types of sauce to give you variety in what you are feeding the family. Tomato sauce and other ingredients can be found to add to staples.

Look for items on sale and pick up what is on sale. There always seems to be sales on soups and other items when I go to the store. Plan on spending a extra two to five dollars when you shop every week. If you pick up a can a week only you will be working toward being able to feed your family one more meal and this might make all the difference. One can of chili, macaroni and cheese might be all you need to get through until the situation changes for the better.

Spending some time at the dollar store is good idea when you start to look for canned goods. You will be surprised when you can find the same item there for a dollar which you seen at the grocery store for two or three dollars! Buy some cans, mark the date on them you bought them and find a box or bin to hold them in. After a month or two of just buying one or two cans each trip to the store you will be surprised how many cans you have put away.

As Always,
Stay Safe

Monday, March 30, 2015

Reality of a bug out bag, #2

When discussing bugging out we need to stay clear of thinking we have the knowledge, tools or physically ability to stroll out into the woods and make a new world. We also need to think in terms of reality. Reality is the world does not become a Mad Max wasteland instantly. For most of us the need to bug out comes from a local emergency such as a tornado, flood, storm or wild fire. Even if one region is involved in the emergency other areas will be unaffected.

Yet even a situation like these might lead us to circumstances where we have to abandon our vehicle or do not have time to pack everything we can. Maybe the situation has come upon us so quickly we can only grab a few items and run. Flood waters rising, chemical cloud drifting toward you or a wildfire is advancing toward your home. What can we do ahead of time to assist our family in the moments or days ahead?

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

Before we grab what we can and load up we need to figure out one very important thing, the most important thing. Where are you going?

Without a destination you cannot prepare. We have to know the goal, we have to give ourselves a destination and we cannot simply pack our car up to drive in some random direction. This is for obvious reasons, one not really thought about is a destination gives you a goal, gives you an ending to the journey and gives you something to focus on when confronted with despair or obstacles. If the group you are with or if you find yourself alone a goal, destination, will allow you to focus your efforts. This focus could mean the difference between life and death for you and your family.

Having a destination allows us to plan on how much we have to pack. We need to have a destination outside of the affected area. This might be Grandma’s house or a friend in another city, this location needs to be far enough away to actually be somewhere we can find refuge from the emergency. Odds are this means the worst case is we walk for a day or more? What do we really NEED to make this journey?

Imagine grabbing what you need in less than five minutes, putting it on your back and walking toward your safe location. Put your children into the scenario, your ailing parents………….

We need a bag we sling onto our backs as a last resort! Having a bag and nothing more needs to be our last resort. Even if we are fleeing with only a few minutes notice we need give ourselves tools to survive.

The first of these tools is identification. We need to be able to prove who we are. Even if we end up in a refugee camp having identification will allow us prove who we are and allow us to enter faster than those who have none. Our bag needs to pre-packed with copies of identification. This can be a copy of your current driver’s licenses with maybe an old one. Copies of birth certificates, passports or any other valid form of identification but please DO NOT keep the originals in a bag!! Keep them locked up!!

Water, we need a way to carry it and a way to purify any we find. There is no way we can carry in a bag enough water for a walk of several days. One gallon of water weights seven pounds!!! A suggestion would be a light weight hiking filter system.

Food, for simplicity one MRE has enough calories to keep you alive for one day. There are other options but these come pre-packaged with everything, including a spoon.

Shelter, pack at least one set of clothes. Complete with underwear and socks. If you are able and have the room in the bag pack more than one pair of socks. There is nothing better than putting on a clean pair of socks after hiking all day. Add a jacket and a hat to the bag. Our basic shelter comes from utilizing layering to keep us warm. Put an emergency blanket into the bag, the silver reflexing type. These are good no matter what, in most cases you get what you pay for and a good suggestion is to spend more than a dollar or two on these if you can. The higher priced ones are usually made to be used more than once. A tarp or even garbage bags can be used to make shelter and are excellent at just putting something between yourself and the rain. All of the items you pack for shelter need to be appropriate to the climate you live in. If you live in Minnesota your shelter needs are going to be different than someone who lives in Arizona.

Hygiene, pack a toothbrush and other items, do you absolutely need them? No, but it really helps with morale. You can go much longer without a shower or even brushing your teeth than most think they can. TOILET PAPER, is an absolute must!!!! You have to pack at least one roll per person!!! Ladies or fellas packing for ladies, pack items for that time of the month. Because odds are something bad will happen during that time period!!! You can pick up a lot of these items at the dollar store or any of the big box type stores for cheap. Pick up foot powder, fresh socks and foot powder will make you feel human again after walking all day!!!!

Tools, this is an issue of weight. A knife, good solid tang construction, nothing too fancy and something you won’t feel bad hitting with a hammer is the first thing you should pack for this category. With a good knife you can solve many of life’s issues. Fire starting kit with at least three different ways of starting a fire is a good suggestion. Again, with fire you can solve many of life’s issues!! Para-cord, with this you can build shelter, secure equipment and a host of other things. Just do not try and take a tool for everything you think might come up. Keep tools to multi use items, a multi-tool would fit this bill.

Medication or other special needs have to be planned for and packed for. If someone is allergic to bees they need to pre-pack a bee sting kit or medication they will need. This way they do not end up in a situation without what they need. Same goes for any other person requiring medication on a daily basis or with any issue which might require medication. If you have asthma ensure you pack an inhaler!!! Someone needs catheters; make sure they have some pre-packed. Everyone’s situation is different and you need to take your special needs into account.

A bug out bag should remain your last option! This last option should only be put into play once all your other options have been exhausted or cannot be used. This should be incorporated into your planning and thought of as part of a complete plan and not just your “plan”!!! Sure we could add to this bag, remember this is our last ditch item, we need to move and we need to pack only what we can carry.

As Always,

Stay Safe!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Reality of a bug out bag

The reality of the famous “BUG OUT BAG”!!!! The internet, books and the guy your friend knows, who is a ‘prepper’ will tell you the absolute need you have for a…….. wait for it…….. “BUUUUUG OUT BAAAAAG”!!!!!!!

Let’s start with what the purpose of the bag is. This bag is designed to be carried when you have to walk away from everything, your house, your car, your bicycle or anything else which would be better than carrying everything in a bag. You have to be in a situation where you are leaving it all behind and surviving off of what you can carry on your back!!!

Can there be a situation in which you have to pack a bag and run into the hills? Yes, civil war, electric magnetic pulse, nuclear war and a host of other issues at the far end of the spectrum of possibilities. This means we should plan for the possibility because there is a chance of any one of these situations happening and each of them could happen……. Now!

What we want to do is realize in reality most of us are not physically able to carry everything we would need on our backs to survive FOREVER in the frozen, apocalyptic, zombie ruled wasteland! A pack to even think about doing this with is going to weight far more than most of us can carry, say 100 pounds easily. Think about it, you would have to carry water, food, shelter, clothing, fire starter equipment, cooking equipment, lights, medical supplies, communication equipment, batteries for the equipment, cutting tools, firearms, ammunition, fishing equipment, snares and, and, and…………..

The weight quickly adds up and every bit of the weight makes a difference. More stuff equals more weight, more weight causes less speed and takes a toll of your body quickly. Our own personal physical fitness needs to be taken into account during our planning. If you have not seen your feet in over a year, you are not going to go very far with a 100 pound pack!!! Period, end of story and I do not want to hear about how you’re sure you can really do it!!!!! Even if you are the palates doing, vegan who runs marathons twice a year, you are not ready to physically carry the weight you would need to carry in an all-inclusive bug out to the hills for the duration bug out bag! Should you doubt this, put a couple sandbags, full of sand, in a pack and go for a ten mile hike.

Having a bag with items to help you make it 72 to 96 hours is a good idea. These can be stashed in the closet or garage and pulled out when a storm is coming or a wild fire threatens your home. These types of bags should work with other items and not be the sole item or plan you have for evacuation. Think of these bags as more of a step up from your Get Home Bag. Combined with your Every Day Carry items, maybe a Bail Out Bag and your Get Home Bag this type of bag allows you to survive a few more days. Instead of packing a backpack to carry everything you need we need to see what we have on hand which would assist us if we did have a situation where we had to leave our home or bug out.

First let’s think about our cars. Most situations we face the odds are we will be able to use our vehicles to move equipment and people. Major storm heading your way, forest fire or maybe a chemical spill are situations where we would have to ‘Bug Out’. In each of these situations we have to take everything we need to set up housekeeping somewhere else as we live like a refugee for an unknown period of time. The vehicle or vehicles allow us to pack more than we could ever strap to our backs and walk with. Of course we have to only take what we “need” when we pack out.

If you have never had decide what goes and what stays this can be an almost paralyzing decision. This type of situation, bugging out, is where prior planning is the key. You need to have items pre-packed or have the ability to quickly pack them. Items such as your identification, insurance papers, and other items to prove who you are and contact information for family and friends. Clothing, bedding and toys for the kids if you have children in your household. You need food with a way to transport it, a cooler or a couple of ice chest. Any medications you or someone in the house needs. All of these things come first before you even start to worry about pictures, your favorite plant or Aunt Betty’s diary from the 1800’s.

Vehicles should be our first choice to move or ‘Bug out’ with. Next you should think about other means of transporting you and the family. If you have them for the family bicycles are better than walking! Of course you cannot haul as much stuff on bicycles as you can in a car but you can move faster than walking. Adding trailers to the bikes slows you down but allows you to take more with you.

Strollers, wagons, gardening carts and even grocery carts need to be utilized before we resort to carrying everything on our backs. If you have children than you have strollers, when we purchase items such as strollers or wagons in the back of our minds we should be taking into account if we could use these items in an emergency. There is a slim chance we would yet buying the right item could help us greatly later! If you do not have children in your household you could still buy a gardening cart and the right one could come in handy during an emergency. Grandchildren give us a reason to have a stroller or a wagon sitting in the garage.

Thinking of bugging out should not revolve around a backpack with hundreds of dollars’ worth of equipment packed into the bag. “Bugging Out” should be thought of as a worst case scenario and planned with reality at the forefront. Should you have to leave; realistically plan by incorporating everything at your disposal, cars, bicycles, wagons, strollers and even a few liberated shopping carts if need be in to the plan. The last thing you want to do is plan for the fantasy of putting packs on to your family and strolling away from the area only to find out your children can not carry their share, your better half is on crutches that month and you really are not in the physical shape you lied and told yourself you were in……………………

With this in mind, take a moment and consider what you would have to do if you did have to leave your home in the next hour! What would you take? How would you transport it? What is a priority? Where would you go? Then make a list! Make a list of everything you would need, locate these items to make sure you know where they are and over the next few days see what you can preposition or prepack in case you did have to go. Do these things now when there is no pressure instead of adding to the stress of making these decisions when the clock is ticking!!!!! Prior Planning, Prevents Poor Performance.

As Always,

Stay Safe