It’s early in the morning and your family is waking up to begin what seems to be a normal day. You walk into the bathroom and discover that the lights do not illuminate. You glance at your fully charged mobile phone and realize that it has no signal. You rummage through the utilities closet and despite your countless attempts at flipping the breaker switches, the electric will not turn on. Something isn’t right.
Your town is in the middle of a natural or man-made crisis, and you have to leave quickly. Hopefully this scenario never actually plays out. But if it did, what would you and your family do? Here are five tips for putting together a survival bag in five minutes.
1. Rapidly Assess Your Individual Situation
If you have a family, instruct your significant other to manage the children and tell them to quickly pack their clothes as if they are going on a vacation. If your family has large duffel bags or luggage, distribute those to your kids and tell them to quickly pack their shoes, coats and clothes into those bags. If luggage is not available, trash bags would work as an alternative. Instruct your kids to take all of the health products out of your bathroom and stuff it into their bags. If something is in your bathroom, it probably has some sort of value in a crisis situation. Items such as first aid supplies, toothpaste, hydrogen peroxide and dental floss can be helpful during a crisis.
While your family is getting packed up and your significant other is handling the kids, you will be responsible for gathering the most important items in your home. Even if you live alone, you must quickly prioritize your belongings and assets in order to evacuate successfully and increase your chances at survival. This rapid preparation will help you avoid issues en route to your next destination.
2. Your First Move: The Bedroom
In your bedroom, you will want to ensure that you have all of your important documents and belongings such as your government issued IDs, money and weaponry. Secure any valuables and personal mementos. Prioritize hard assets such as gold and silver over inferior assets such as non-essential electronics or collectables. The idea is to have items on your person with real value so that you can barter with them if needed. If you have a photo of loved ones that you can quickly grab, it will serve the dual purpose of a memento and an identity tool. The idea behind having your government identification and photos of your family is that you can somehow be linked backed to your loved ones should you get yourself in a situation where you are separated from them. Snatch up your cell phone charger. Having a communications device increases your chances of reuniting with loved ones and surviving a crisis.
3. Packing your Clothes
Secure your warmest and most protective clothing and put it in a backpack or luggage bag. Luggage is preferable because it sometimes has wheels which can make transporting oversized baggage easier. Regardless, if it is summer, it can still get cold at night. You should select jeans, long-sleeved shirts and fleeces over tank tops, shorts and T-shirts. Stop by your bathroom and grab any hygiene products and throw them into your bag. A large folded towel or lightweight blanket can be helpful if one is easily accessible.
4. Raid Your Kitchen
Basic survival guides tell us that humans can live nearly 30 days without food but only three days without water. Clean water is the most precious commodity during a crisis. Secure as many large canteens or water canisters that will fit in your bag. If you gain access to water post-evacuation, you will want to be able to retain as much of it as possible.
Stuff your bags full of bottled water and non-perishable food, if it is available. If you grab canned foods, make sure you are able to open the cans. You will want a can opener or a knife to access this valuable nutrition. A good pocket knife will open any canned goods if you do not have a can opener. Open your drawers and grab a few metal forks, spoons and a sharp kitchen knife to throw in your bag.
You should also pack up the following items from your kitchen:
- Matches or Lighters – Having a method to start a fire is a good way to increase your odds of survival.
- Carbohydrates – Foods high in carbohydrates typically have long shelf lives and they are easy to transport. Rice, crackers, beans and pastas can all be consumed for boosts of energy.
- Tuna or Canned Meats – Tuna or canned chicken is relatively cheap and it can be found in almost any pantry. These foods follow the model of long shelf lives, easy to transport and high in proteins.
- A Handled Cooking Saucer – This serves the dual purpose of being able to cook your food and operate as a serving dish.
- Flashlight – Your flashlight may not be kept in your kitchen but it never seems to be too far away. If the entire grid is down, your only light is the stars and the moon.
5. Consider Your Evacuation Methods
Where are you going and how are you going to get there? Leaving in your vehicle may be the obvious method. What if everyone else has the same idea and you are stuck in a never-ending gridlock of traffic? If you are evacuating solo and you have access to a bicycle, leaving on the bike could be a better idea in case gasoline is unable to be purchased. If you have to leave on foot, please note that most humans can walk 25-30 miles per day. If you have enough supplies on your person to last a few days, that will enable you to travel nearly a hundred miles away on foot before your supplies run low. That could buy enough time and give you enough separation from the crisis to ensure the safety of yourself and your family.