Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

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vveat
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Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by vveat » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:40 pm

My husband and I were debating whether to have an emergency kit (go bag) in the house. We sort of have one, but with just a few items and not really thought through. Our challenge is not to put in the bag, but what would we be preparing for - since that will determine what is needed.

If you consider the following circumstances:
- we live in densely populated suburban area (close to NYC), 2 kids and 2 pets, but fairly low maintenance faimily
- the area if not particularly disaster prone, flooding from rain overflow would be the most common risk
- we have a generator and are pretty handy - out of power for 2 weeks after Sandy (with nearby infrastructure mostly closed down) with no problems
- we work from home and the kids' school and sports are nearby. In 95% of time we'll be within 15 min of each other
- we are pretty well financially, no debt, no money problems
- we don't hike and are rarely in unpopulated areas

What kind of situation would the emergency bag help? We discussed a few scenarios

1. Flash flooding, fire or similar disaster requiring evacuation. In such a case you need only a few basic items and papers until we find a hotel or a friend's house. No infrastructure disruption, main risk is to lose property, but emergency bag won't help here

2. Big disaster with significant infrastructure disruption in the whole state. This is a heavier case of #1, maybe we can be stuck in a car or in a shelter for a while, but again moving to another state for the duration is the logical course

3. National level disaster with infrastructure down everywhere (PR-like). It's hard to imagine it will come down to emergency kit supplies. If the house stands, easier to survive in it, it not, then finding a shelter.

Maybe we are lacking enough imagination. Do any of you with somewhat similar circumstances have such an emergency kit and what is your thinking?

Thanks!


mouses
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by mouses » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:52 pm

I have planned for a hurricane, since that's the natural threat to my area.

I have done zero about Big Disasters or National Level Disasters. I mean really :-) this is like the CDC and its nuclear attack plans. You're either going to get fried or you're not.

ThriftyPhD
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by ThriftyPhD » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:03 pm

I've been putting some thought into this recently. Instead of a dedicated go bag that sits there unused until emergency, I've been thinking more about individual units that happen to be in a bag that could be taken in an emergency. A few of the more fleshed out units:
  1. Medical
    1. Current prescriptions
    2. Medical info (allergies, conditions, etc)
    3. Copy of insurance cards
    4. First aid kit
  2. Pets
    1. Vet records, particularly rabies information
    2. Pet medicine
    3. Extra leash and collar
    4. Chip ID
    5. Recent photos (in case they get lost)
  3. Food
The idea here is that you keep your medical stuff together on a shelf, and this is where you actively use it. However, it's in a bag, so if there is an emergency from an evacuation to your heat is out and you need a hotel for a couple nights, you can just grab the bag and go rather than hunting around for DS or DD's medicine.

Same with pets, we like to keep all of their paperwork together, and having everything in one spot in a bag that can be taken is useful, even if the emergency is one of the dogs gets sick and needs to be taken into the vet.

For food, it's best of use what you have. Don't buy a can of asparagus for an emergency and have it sit in the basement for 10 years. Just rotate your normal stuff, but maybe have a portion of that in a bag that could be taken. Non perishables obviously, but something like crackers and peanut butter, some bottled water, or whatever you normally eat in a bag you could grab would make your life easier in an emergency.

MathWizard
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by MathWizard » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:36 pm

I don't have a go bag.

I have emergency supplies in the car truck in case I get stuck in the snow (shovel, medical kit, tools
jumper cables and jump pack, tire inflator, flashlight, duct tape, blanket, handwarmers and hard candy.

I have water and LED lantern in the tornado shelter (under stairs). Little time to prepare, so no other preparation.

All meds are on one shelf. I would likely shelter in place, getting water from water heater if I needed to
(40 gallons of potable water). I have stayed through regional sized disasters with no problem.

One item you might add would be two long-range handheld walkie talkies with batteries in case you get separated.
I have 7 mile line of site ones that I have used on vacations. They work when cell phones do not.

They could be stored in the trunk, or in your go bag.

gretah
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by gretah » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:41 pm

Add to the list: cash in small bills.

ATMs might be out in a power failure.

Grocery and other stores will be having trouble making change if everyone has $20s, $50s, $100s.
Last edited by gretah on Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

FreemanB
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by FreemanB » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:43 pm

The only real answer is whatever satisfies you enough to help you sleep at night. I probably would have only had a small bag with some useful tools/supplies, but my wife wanted a more fleshed-out "bug-out" bag, a supply of water and dried foods, and some other emergency equipment. There aren't any particular scenarios we are preparing for, just a generic emergency, and now she feels more prepared for whatever may come. I would just figure out what bare necessities you feel are needed and make sure those are covered.

vveat
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by vveat » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:01 pm

OP here. Most of you seem to be replying what would you put in a go bag. The contents points are appreciated, but there is plenty of information of this, and I feel if we are clear in our minds for what situation does it make sense to prepare, we can easily decide what to take. My question was:

--------------------------
Do you need a go bag, in the scenarios I am describing (or others I need to be considering). In what situation do you see yourself actually benefiting of using this go bag (vs. staying put, or going to a hotel or going to a shelter)
-----------------------------

I am not talking about grabbing documents and medicines - they need to be in a handy location and ours are, but they are not going to be sitting in a bag.

Thanks again

Ragnoth
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by Ragnoth » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:30 pm

I’m not a big proponent of the “go bag.” Largely for the reasons you laid out in your original post.

Where I live there is quite a bit of warning before most disaster events (storms, floods, etc.). We always have toiletries/batteries/first aid/flashlights and more than enough shelf-stable food hanging around, and we usually grab a few days worth of bottled water just in case. Prior to Sandy we also picked up a giant plastic bag that you can keep in the tub and store 100 galons of clean water.

If your home is sufficiently well-stocked to wait-out the Sandy Aftermath, (or have somewhere to go out of state) I think you are in a good position to weather the vast majority of situations. At best, the “go-bag” just forces you to keep the items on hand and let’s you have an easy place to look when it comes time to grab the first aid.

I can’t imagine a National-level crisis where having a “go-bag” is going to make much of a difference. Realistically, the only situation where I can see it being of value is if you lived in an area prone to sudden natural disasters requiring immediate evacuation.

livesoft
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by livesoft » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:48 pm

We don't have a go bag, but we have "stay" kit.

I think all our documents are a matter of public record, so could be replaced easily.

When a hurricane is pending, we review and place the stay kit in the master bathroom. We also consider whether to create a go bag each time the stay kit is staged, but have not done so.

Re: tub bag. We use 35 gallon food grade Rubbermaid trash containers with lids. We store things in them, but when needed they go in shower or tub and get filled, then lid covers them. We can take shower with our gray companion and keep the water potable. I think this is much better than a tub bag and they have more uses.
Last edited by livesoft on Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MathWizard
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by MathWizard » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:50 pm

You have two questions here:

Do you need an emergency supply kit?
Yes:

You need one for your house in case of something like Sandy, in which you showed
you could shelter in place.
Yes, you need one for your car, at least in the winter, because you live in a cold climate, and
could get stuck away from home.
You need medicines with you at all times if you cannot live without them for a few days. Insulin, epipen, heart medicine)

Do you need a go bag (aka a bugout bag)?

No.

A bugout bag means you are leaving a place of shelter, and in a hurry. This is almost always the wrong decision, as
you saw with Sandy.

The only scenario I see where this would help would be the Calif. wildfires for homes back into the
wooded areas. Then you leave everything behind, and jump in your car and go. Anything you cannot live
without should be on your person, in your car, or be somewhere where you could buy it.

Other scenarios would not apply to you. You have resources so you can go away from say an impeding flood, and
would do so before it got to late.

Dottie57
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)? Of pharmacy.

Post by Dottie57 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:23 pm

MathWizard wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:50 pm
You have two questions here:

Do you need an emergency supply kit?
Yes:

You need one for your house in case of something like Sandy, in which you showed
you could shelter in place.
Yes, you need one for your car, at least in the winter, because you live in a cold climate, and
could get stuck away from home.
You need medicines with you at all times if you cannot live without them for a few days. Insulin, epipen, heart medicine)

Do you need a go bag (aka a bugout bag)?

No.

A bugout bag means you are leaving a place of shelter, and in a hurry. This is almost always the wrong decision, as
you saw with Sandy.

The only scenario I see where this would help would be the Calif. wildfires for homes back into the
wooded areas. Then you leave everything behind, and jump in your car and go. Anything you cannot live
without should be on your person, in your car, or be somewhere where you could buy it.

Other scenarios would not apply to you. You have resources so you can go away from say an impeding flood, and
would do so before it got to late.

I have several prescriptions which I really do need.

I have pictures of the bottles With numbers and back/front of my health insurance card on my phone. Same with credit card nfo etc in app called msecure (password and other data app). Also web address of pharmacy.

123
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by 123 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:29 pm

The most likely emergency situation is a household fire.

We've had "go bags" packed in the event we have to assist in an emergency involving elderly relatives who live out of our local area.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

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Duckie
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by Duckie » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:32 pm

vveat wrote:What kind of situation would the emergency bag help?
Listening to Katrina is a blog by someone who lived near New Orleans when Katrina hit. On this page and following pages he discusses "The Plan" for bugging out and what to take.

halfnine
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by halfnine » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:47 pm

Duckie wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:32 pm
vveat wrote:What kind of situation would the emergency bag help?
Listening to Katrina is a blog by someone who lived near New Orleans when Katrina hit. On this page and following pages he discusses "The Plan" for bugging out and what to take.
I agree. I think the whole blog is worth a read.

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Watty
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by Watty » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:35 pm

vveat wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:40 pm
Do any of you with somewhat similar circumstances have such an emergency kit and what is your thinking?
We have emergencies supplies in our house that we could throw into the car if we had any advance notice if we needed to evacuate.

Around here there is little risk earthquakes or sudden forest fires so the most likely sudden emergency would be if a tornado struck us. In that case there would be little chance to grab the "go bag" and things like prescriptions could be replaced if we could get to undamaged facilities a few miles away.

We do have emergency supplies but not a specific "go bag".

One thing we do have are plug in cell phone chargers in our car that we have tested to make sure that they work. We have run into cheap cell phone adapters that did not work so it is import to actually test them.

margered
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by margered » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:20 pm

We live very near the area that was under evacuation orders for a recent southern California wildfire. Before going to work the next day, we packed cars with some things we could put our hands on quickly, including precious belongings, in case the evacuation area was enlarged. Drove around with those for a few days, brought them back into the house but not unpacked and put away for a few more days. Then we made an actual list of what we should include given enough time to collect it all.

We do have stay in place supplies in the event of something like an earthquake if we are able to stay at home.

The morning after the big earthquake in 1994, I went to the grocery store which was bare of water and batteries. I was very amused to see a woman in the checkout line with an armful of packages of frozen raspberries.

stan1
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by stan1 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:42 pm

We've had to leave our home quickly 4 times in the past 15 years (two wildfire evacuations, two medical events leading to hospitalization). All 4 have turned out OK for us but others are less fortunate in those situations. We were out the door in 60 minutes for the fires, and 10-15 minutes for the medical situations (no ambulance).

We keep bags packed with clothes, important medications, copies of ID and insurance cards, and extra charging cords all the time. They are kept in the master bedroom closet. We have important papers like passports, one copy of utility bills to prove residence, etc. gathered together into boxes in our office (which we would also bring with our computers). We also have a short list of sentimental items we'd load in the car quickly. We do not have valuable collections to worry about. When we've evacuated the house there hasn't been time to worry about replaceable items like flat screen TVs or furniture. We keep several 24 packs of bottled water on hand and have taken other steps for earthquake preparedness. Nuclear explosion is probably more likely than hurricane.

I think its a personalized answer based on the threats you face where you live and your health situation.

MJS
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by MJS » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:20 pm

I keep my cat carrier & locked fire-safe box with essential papers (insurance, house deed, passport, cash) near the door. For fire, gas leaks, transport chemical spills -- when you have 5 minutes to gather & go. It's the stuff that it would be emotionally or tediously difficult to replace.

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tooluser
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by tooluser » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:05 pm

Pretty good list for a medical Go bag:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying- ... -emergency

Other than that, a nuclear disaster is probably the only thing I would leave for, and it would likely be too late.
Earthquake is most likely a stay-put situation. (I am in Los Angeles.)
Fire or chemical spill is extremely unlikely where I am.
No mudslides or hurricanes or tsunamis in my neighborhood.
There was a SWAT standoff several blocks away once. I would imagine such an evacuation would only be several hours at most.

I once evacuated from a condo because the people across the canyon were throwing a loud party.
Hey! What? That's What!

TravelforFun
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by TravelforFun » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:36 pm

If a hurricane, tornado, or flood strikes my home, I just grab my laptop bag that contains an external drive which has the exact copies of the files stored on my home desk top computer. We keep everything digitally: passports, driver licenses, social security cards, medical records, bank and brokerage statements, bills, charitable donations, tax returns, purchase receipts, insurance policies, passwords, wills, family pictures and videos, etc. This drive is the most important item I own.

If for some reasons everything in town is shut down, I bet my wife's pantry could last us a month.

TravelforFun

GCD
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by GCD » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:02 pm

vveat wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:40 pm
My husband and I were debating whether to have an emergency kit (go bag) in the house. We sort of have one, but with just a few items and not really thought through. Our challenge is not to put in the bag, but what would we be preparing for - since that will determine what is needed.

Maybe we are lacking enough imagination. Do any of you with somewhat similar circumstances have such an emergency kit and what is your thinking?
I completely agree with your thought process. Surviving the apocalypse has become a fun hobby for many. Full disclosure, I got into it for awhile too. But the reality is that you can't prepare for a complete change of reality (TEOTWAWKI as the survivalists call it). Gonna prepare a seed bank to grow your own crops? No? Yeah, I thought so. For anything less than https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Road your credit card is going to work just fine for side-stepping the whole thing. (Assuming you are a good BH and have some emergency savings). If it is a Road scenario then your go-bag isn't gonna be much good if you don't pair it with some serious survival skills, and then you're talking lifestyle change, not just preparedness.

At this point, my real go-bag is my credit card. I have a pretend go-bag as an excuse to buy toys. I suppose a go-bag with water/food/electronic charging cords would be good for sitting in traffic as you get out of the immediate area though.

I once worked at a job where I did emergency response in a remote area and I kept my government vehicle stocked with supplies to live comfortably for a week, but that was artificial. That was where my work obligations forced me to consider staying away from home for a week without resupply and no opportunity to "Just Say No" to the problem.

If you care to make a hobby of it or get the other opinion, see these guys: https://www.ar15.com/forums/Outdoors/Su ... ssions/17/

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Sandtrap
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:33 pm

My son is a paramedic and helped us put together an extensive medical "go bag/trauma kit" for the house as well as for each car. We also have SHTF/GO bags in the home as well as in the cars. TEOTWAWKI gear. It's like insurance, great to have but hope you never ever ever need it. One can be "prepared" or go deeper into it and be a "prepper". YMMV.

Besides a "bag" of things, preparedness can be comprehensive throughout one's home.

The other key is to practice with what you have. There's no sense in having the gear if you have to figure out how to use it in an emergency. The best "gear" is one's skillset. CPR. Pediatric CPR, etc, etc.

There is a circle of survivability (rule of three). IE: Air - 3 minutes, Water - 3 days at 3 gallons per day per person, Food - 3 weeks, then energy, etc. (can you survive without electricity for 1 week? More?, etc, etc)

In Hawaii, we went through Hurricane Iniki, Hurricane Iwa, etc. And, recent nearby wildfires in Northern Arizona that forced evacuation in some areas. Preparedness is a real thing.
j :D

goodlifer
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by goodlifer » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:30 am

You basically need to prepare for being in a car for a long time. In any disaster, you face traffic gridlock. We drive 3 hrs each way to our vacation home. If there is traffic, we plan on 5 hrs. If there is an accident, it might be 7 hrs. Our drive home from the eclipse took us an additional 10 hrs. Our most popular items are USB powered handheld fans in summer (with the inverter, proper adapter plugs, and cords to charge them and the phones), a blanket or 2 and some hot pockets in winter, $10 to $20 in quarters because you never know when you need to feed the family from a vending machine or a 3 year old will suddenly pee his pants and need to stop at a laundry mat on the way to your destination, and snacks. We like the Datrex food bars as snacks because you don't need extra water to drink it. They taste pretty good, especially if you are hungry. I recommend eating them well before the expiration date. We tried one the other day that was still at least 6 months out from expiration and it tasted nasty. It was stored in our kitchen pantry and not even the car. But we ate some that were a year old and tasted fine.

If we know we are going to hit rush hour traffic on our way, we bring a roll of tp, a can of gas, and the portable dvd player in addition to everything else. I can't tell you how many times we were delayed because someone decided to get on the expressway with fumes in their tank and then stalled out because of an accident. Help them, help yourself get home. Or keep it to help yourself.

The things I use most from our first aid kit is the sunscreen, bug spray, and flashlight. We also seem to use up the gauze and tape well before the band aids.

Mike Scott
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by Mike Scott » Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:52 am

You may or may not actually need a "go bag". However, the exercise of thinking through what you would put in one and the potential for needing one is a good thing to go through. There are also the questions of where you might go and how you might get there. We have more of a "stay bag" if you count the whole house as a bag. Ultimately, we are more likely to experience a few days without power or local flooding restricting travel while other locations may have a higher risk of volcano, earthquakes or fires or whatever that may need a different response.

I know some pretty serious "preppers". It is not unusual for them to have a couple hundred pound "go bags" in their cars at all times but very few of them know where they would go since we live in one of the general locations people talk about "going".

Shallowpockets
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by Shallowpockets » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:31 am

A go bag is certainly an easy thing to do and have. There are many reasons why you may think one is not needed. Until you do.
A go bag is for essentials, not the kitchen sink. Mush less than what people typically haul around to vacations. Less than a carry on.
Go ask the people who lost houses to the fires in California not long ago. Ask the ones who lost houses to the recent mudslides. Maybe ask the ones who died because they stayed too long trying to bring things with them when they should l have grabbed and gone.
We have the luxury of living in such a civilized world that such a thing as a grab and go bag is not at the forefront of our thinking. Almost a denial. We can mostly get away with it. Unti, we can't.
A go bag is for a scenario where you GO. Not where there is a perceived and coming threat. Not for a hurricane on the radar. It is for immediacy. NOW! As in stop reading your BHs forum right now, get out, the fire is on the neighbor's house, the mudslide is coming down the street, the levees just gave way.
Oh, I did not think about that. I figured I could pack the car with the old photos, backup hard drives, Jennies favorite teddy bear, my Keurig machine, a couple days of clothes. Hmm, maybe I'll bring my guitar and make sandwiches.
Going, going, not gone. Too bad, you died. Your car got stuck in the flood, the roads were impassable by the time you collected your "stuff". The disaster may not be a black swan but the particular circumstances that you encounter during the disaster may well be.

runner540
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by runner540 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:55 am

vveat wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:01 pm
OP here. Most of you seem to be replying what would you put in a go bag. The contents points are appreciated, but there is plenty of information of this, and I feel if we are clear in our minds for what situation does it make sense to prepare, we can easily decide what to take. My question was:

--------------------------
Do you need a go bag, in the scenarios I am describing (or others I need to be considering). In what situation do you see yourself actually benefiting of using this go bag (vs. staying put, or going to a hotel or going to a shelter)
-----------------------------

I am not talking about grabbing documents and medicines - they need to be in a handy location and ours are, but they are not going to be sitting in a bag.

Thanks again
Yes, I think you lack imagination: it's not just natural disasters (which you feel aren't a risk to you). What about house fires? Gas/chemical leaks? Major cyber attacks or power outages that don't get fixed for weeks? What if ebola had spread in the US a few years ago? Etc. etc. Especially as we see more extreme weather events, and vulnerabilities in the cyber and electricity networks, a "it won't happen here" attitude is not something I can endorse.

I also live in an urban area, no financial stress. Someone else linked to the Listening to Katrina blog. That convinced me to get bags ready. (and explains why you don't want to depend on a shelter or hotel). A go bag and quick evacuation plan means you get ahead of everyone else trying to do the same thing. Not done with everything on that list yet, but something is better than nothing. Cash, ID, snacks, computer files, clothes, medicines, phone, chargers, flashlight. I always keep cash in the house and half a tank of gas in the car at all times. If there is a cyber attack or major power outage, banks/atms/credit card machines won't work.

A friend experienced a fire in their apartment building, and what they grabbed in the moment was not what they actually needed. If you don't have a list that you have drilled, or have a bag ready to go, the adrenaline and panic will make you make poor decisions.

halfnine
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by halfnine » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:04 am

A few thoughts...

I think a get home bag or get home strategy is probably more important than a go bag. Particularly, how to get the kids and everyone home assuming there isn't any cell phone coverage and traffic gridlock prevents transport by car.

A shelter would be my last option. Even then a go bag that you could take to the shelter would likely be a great improvement. Our bags are streamlined for carrying. In our situation (and I imagine in most people) any gear that's function is to help one live off the land is unrealistic and a waste of space and weight.

If we have to leave the strategy is to load up the car and bring the bikes. If the car becomes unviable and sheltering in it is not prudent, then load the bikes with the essentials and continue on.

We could probably hold out at home for about 2 months. In reality don't need much more than food, water and any necessary medication. Preparing much beyond that probably isn't going to matter. After that there is likely to be some new world order and at some point one will have to resign themselves to fate and whatever it brings.

Finally, being part of the police, emergency response team, or similar government/military organization is probably better than a go bag or any other preparations. They will take care of their own first.

stan1
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by stan1 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:12 am

vveat wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:01 pm

I am not talking about grabbing documents and medicines - they need to be in a handy location and ours are, but they are not going to be sitting in a bag.

Thanks again
Not to be argumentative but this is the question you asked so perhaps you have already answered it for yourselves. Some of us DO have documents and medication in a bag (or box) ready to go. You may not feel you need that but having left our home quickly 4 times in 15 years we are prepared to do so.

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by WoodSpinner » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:14 am

vveat wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:40 pm
My husband and I were debating whether to have an emergency kit (go bag) in the house. We sort of have one, but with just a few items and not really thought through. Our challenge is not to put in the bag, but what would we be preparing for - since that will determine what is needed.

If you consider the following circumstances:
- we live in densely populated suburban area (close to NYC), 2 kids and 2 pets, but fairly low maintenance faimily
- the area if not particularly disaster prone, flooding from rain overflow would be the most common risk
- we have a generator and are pretty handy - out of power for 2 weeks after Sandy (with nearby infrastructure mostly closed down) with no problems
- we work from home and the kids' school and sports are nearby. In 95% of time we'll be within 15 min of each other
- we are pretty well financially, no debt, no money problems
- we don't hike and are rarely in unpopulated areas

What kind of situation would the emergency bag help? We discussed a few scenarios

1. Flash flooding, fire or similar disaster requiring evacuation. In such a case you need only a few basic items and papers until we find a hotel or a friend's house. No infrastructure disruption, main risk is to lose property, but emergency bag won't help here

2. Big disaster with significant infrastructure disruption in the whole state. This is a heavier case of #1, maybe we can be stuck in a car or in a shelter for a while, but again moving to another state for the duration is the logical course

3. National level disaster with infrastructure down everywhere (PR-like). It's hard to imagine it will come down to emergency kit supplies. If the house stands, easier to survive in it, it not, then finding a shelter.

Maybe we are lacking enough imagination. Do any of you with somewhat similar circumstances have such an emergency kit and what is your thinking?

Thanks!
How about FIRE?

Absolutely set up a Go-Bag and spend some time thinking and periodically checking what goes in it.

My sister in-law recently lost everything to a fire and this spurred a lot of research, planning and discussion I. Our house.

Good luck

WoodSpinner

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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:30 am

I don't because natural disasters are very rare where I live. If I lived in a place where earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, floods, etc. were common, then I would. I wouldn't go crazy though. Unless I lived in an isolated place (Puerto Rico).

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AtlasShrugged?
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by AtlasShrugged? » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:18 pm

vveat....The answer is an unequivocal yes. Emergencies, by nature, are unpredictable. The severity is unpredictable.

I have an emergency 'go bag' in all our cars; dried food, nut and water to make it three days (assumes 48 Oz H2O daily) for 2 people; first aid kit; two pairs of good sneakers......and my golf bag (just kidding about the golf bag). :happy
In our home, two backpacks ready to go. But truthfully, it would take a lot to make us leave our home.

Now, I am no 'end of world prepper' or some paranoid nutcase. But having observed natural disasters, some very up close, convinced me of the need to have the ability to bug out on short notice. Cars break down. Weather happens. Chemical spills happen. Terror attacks happen. We say, "it won't happen to us" - until it does. :oops: Then you're screwed.

It is sort of like an insurance policy. You hope that you never have to use it, but it is always there.
“If you don't know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.”

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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by MoonOrb » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:15 pm

Yes, of course. But this doesn't have to be a big complicated or expensive project. This is one of those "likelihood is small but magnitude is big" type of things.

The way I think of this is a go-bag is just a subset of "shelter at home" supplies, which is basically our camping equipment + some food and water + some tools. We have tools and camping equipment and food + water anyway, so it's really a matter of just organizing all of these things so we can access them easily in case we need them in a hurry.

I can't really think of a reason not to do this, unless what you're contemplating is a big financial commitment. This is a small investment of time and money and mostly requires you to take things you already have and organize them so that you can grab them at a moment's notice.

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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:26 pm

JCE66 wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:18 pm
vveat....The answer is an unequivocal yes. Emergencies, by nature, are unpredictable. The severity is unpredictable.

I have an emergency 'go bag' in all our cars; dried food, nut and water to make it three days (assumes 48 Oz H2O daily) for 2 people; first aid kit; two pairs of good sneakers......and my golf bag (just kidding about the golf bag). :happy
In our home, two backpacks ready to go. But truthfully, it would take a lot to make us leave our home.

Now, I am no 'end of world prepper' or some paranoid nutcase. But having observed natural disasters, some very up close, convinced me of the need to have the ability to bug out on short notice. Cars break down. Weather happens. Chemical spills happen. Terror attacks happen. We say, "it won't happen to us" - until it does. :oops: Then you're screwed.

It is sort of like an insurance policy. You hope that you never have to use it, but it is always there.
Yes. The golf bag.
It is a key survival item.
Crucial life decisions. . . "layup or go fer it", "chip or pitch"?
j :D

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M_to_the_G
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by M_to_the_G » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:48 pm

No, you don't need one. Your neighbors don't have one, after all. Your friends and family will think you're weird for having one. It will sit there all year long and gather dust, and eventually some of the things inside it will start to expire and need to be replaced. That will be a serious annoyance. It may even slowly migrate itself to the back of a closet, and you might even forget it's there. Did a disaster happen yesterday? Did one happen today? No. So you don't need one.

Until a disaster happens, that is... then you will desperately need one.
"It’s basically the plot of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' If you stick around, doing nothing, while everyone around you ****s up, you’re going to win big." - John Oliver

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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by texasdiver » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:02 pm

We had a bad scare back in Texas in 2012 during the drought when a nearby grass/range fire nearly swept into our subdivision. I realized then I needed to have things organized to grab in a moment's notice. After that I did the following:

1. All important documents (passports, shot records, birth certificates, insurance documents, car titles, pet records, etc) were into a single accordion folder which I keep in my bedroom safe so that I have just one thing to grab to get all the documents we might need for some time on the road or away from home.

2. All important documents, photos, and electronic records are also backed up on DropBox which automatically syncs with my various home computers so that there is nothing on any computer at home that I can't replace or pull up on my phone or iPad from anywhere.

3. Each car has a survival kit in it which I beef up during the winter with chains, snow shovel and such. Here in WA we do take occasional winter trips across the mountains so I keep various survival and emergency essentials in a crate in the back of each car from roadside emergency equipment to first aid and emergency food and water.

4. I keep my day hiking backpack permanently stocked with all the emergency equipment I might need if ever lost in the woods for an extended period (first aid, survival gear, backup phone battery and charger etc.). I grab it for every day hike and it is what I would grab in any emergency to stuff things in. In a quick bugout emergency I would grab my accordion folder of family docs and stuff it into my survival day pack, grab the kids and pets and drive away.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:18 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:02 pm
We had a bad scare back in Texas in 2012 during the drought when a nearby grass/range fire nearly swept into our subdivision. I realized then I needed to have things organized to grab in a moment's notice. After that I did the following:

1. All important documents (passports, shot records, birth certificates, insurance documents, car titles, pet records, etc) were into a single accordion folder which I keep in my bedroom safe so that I have just one thing to grab to get all the documents we might need for some time on the road or away from home.

2. All important documents, photos, and electronic records are also backed up on DropBox which automatically syncs with my various home computers so that there is nothing on any computer at home that I can't replace or pull up on my phone or iPad from anywhere.

3. Each car has a survival kit in it which I beef up during the winter with chains, snow shovel and such. Here in WA we do take occasional winter trips across the mountains so I keep various survival and emergency essentials in a crate in the back of each car from roadside emergency equipment to first aid and emergency food and water.

4. I keep my day hiking backpack permanently stocked with all the emergency equipment I might need if ever lost in the woods for an extended period (first aid, survival gear, backup phone battery and charger etc.). I grab it for every day hike and it is what I would grab in any emergency to stuff things in. In a quick bugout emergency I would grab my accordion folder of family docs and stuff it into my survival day pack, grab the kids and pets and drive away.
+1
We are surrounded by 4 national forests and huge swaths of open land. There's no tow truck passing by on forest roads or b grade highways. And potentially no cell phone reception. So, be prepared. One rubbermaid packer box in back holds everything.
j :D

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:26 pm

JCE66 wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:18 pm
I have an emergency 'go bag' in all our cars; dried food, nut and water to make it three days (assumes 48 Oz H2O daily) for 2 people; first aid kit; two pairs of good sneakers.
The amount of food most people need to get through three days is zero. Weather appropriate clothing is usually much more important.

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M_to_the_G
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by M_to_the_G » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:01 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:26 pm
JCE66 wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:18 pm
I have an emergency 'go bag' in all our cars; dried food, nut and water to make it three days (assumes 48 Oz H2O daily) for 2 people; first aid kit; two pairs of good sneakers.
The amount of food most people need to get through three days is zero. Weather appropriate clothing is usually much more important.
That's true. The rule of 3's: a human can survive 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 hours without shelter (in serious exposure conditions), 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food. Food is the least of your concerns in a survival situation. Still... if you've got room in your pack, food is a good idea, if for nothing else than morale and comfort in a disaster situation. Throwing a few packs of trail mix into an emergency kit can't hurt.
"It’s basically the plot of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' If you stick around, doing nothing, while everyone around you ****s up, you’re going to win big." - John Oliver

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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by CppCoder » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:12 pm

Your go bag should include
  • Small bills in multiple currencies
  • Fake passports from different countries using multiple identities
  • Possibly a handgun
  • Possibly a change of clothes...you can change your appearance from scissors and a bottle of hair dye you buy in a drug stores as you escape.
The bag should be hidden in a false bottom of a drawer, a panel that can be pulled up from your hardwood floor, or sewn into the couch. The bag itself should be a black duffel bag. That's what I learned from spy movies and TV shows, anyway. :D Sorry, I couldn't resist...I know, not helpful...

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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by inbox788 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:34 pm

Ragnoth wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:30 pm
I’m not a big proponent of the “go bag.” Largely for the reasons you laid out in your original post.

Where I live there is quite a bit of warning before most disaster events (storms, floods, etc.). We always have toiletries/batteries/first aid/flashlights and more than enough shelf-stable food hanging around, and we usually grab a few days worth of bottled water just in case. Prior to Sandy we also picked up a giant plastic bag that you can keep in the tub and store 100 galons of clean water.

If your home is sufficiently well-stocked to wait-out the Sandy Aftermath, (or have somewhere to go out of state) I think you are in a good position to weather the vast majority of situations. At best, the “go-bag” just forces you to keep the items on hand and let’s you have an easy place to look when it comes time to grab the first aid.

I can’t imagine a National-level crisis where having a “go-bag” is going to make much of a difference. Realistically, the only situation where I can see it being of value is if you lived in an area prone to sudden natural disasters requiring immediate evacuation.
I concur. Depends on the type of disaster that might strike your area and the frequency. If you live near a tornado, hurricane, or wildfire area, a go bag is probably helpful. If major disasters are 0 or 1 in a lifetime events in your area, then maybe not so important. Many of the emergency items are general (water, flashlights, first aid kit, etc.) that they're useful to have around for any event. There are perishables and non-perishables. Most perishable items go wasted and might not be functional when you need it, so these go bags need to be continuously maintained. Batteries get old, canned and dried food does go bad or stale including bottled water.

A bag and a checklist, with some of the nonperishable items (e.g. tools, cash, blanket, etc.) preloaded and keeping the perishable items in your pantry so you consume/rotate them and keep them fresh, but always ready to load to go might be a good compromise for readiness. I have most of the items scattered around the house, so in a panic, I'd likely forget some things. So I'll take a small step in additional preparation by printing out a list and prepare a bag to hold things, but not go all out.

I didn't see this mentioned, but civil unrest and riots can strike urban areas. Preparing to evacuate for these type of disasters depends on how paranoid you are (helicopter lift, assault vehicle, weapons, etc.). You can prepare to wait out a disaster or escape one, and the items you need are different. In both cases, the goal is save human lives, and possessions should be considered expendable. If you want long term survival like preparing for Puerto Rico like disaster with months without power, you have to start thinking of going off the grid (renewable power generation, water wells, composting, etc.). A go bag isn't going to do it.

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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by mouses » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:46 pm

This thread is really depressing.

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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by halfnine » Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:36 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:26 pm
JCE66 wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:18 pm
I have an emergency 'go bag' in all our cars; dried food, nut and water to make it three days (assumes 48 Oz H2O daily) for 2 people; first aid kit; two pairs of good sneakers.
The amount of food most people need to get through three days is zero. Weather appropriate clothing is usually much more important.
I have 3 days of food and water available and ready to go. Once on the move I would decide whether to keep all of the food and water or ditch some or possibly all of it. But, it is unlikely I would ditch all the food. I make poor decisions when hungry and better decisions after eating a little snack. And I assume I am going to have to make quite a few important decisions.

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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by topper1296 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:55 pm

I have one that will get me by in the case of a weather related issues, however it would be inadequate if there was a Walking Dead scenario. :D
Last edited by topper1296 on Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by Mudpuppy » Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:36 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:02 pm
4. I keep my day hiking backpack permanently stocked with all the emergency equipment I might need if ever lost in the woods for an extended period (first aid, survival gear, backup phone battery and charger etc.). I grab it for every day hike and it is what I would grab in any emergency to stuff things in. In a quick bugout emergency I would grab my accordion folder of family docs and stuff it into my survival day pack, grab the kids and pets and drive away.
If you are hiking regularly anyways, a day pack makes sense because your hiking activity will keep the food and other supplies in rotation and fresh. You can keep a small luggage cube (or other small organization item) with non-hiking essentials in it, so that it's easy to leave in the trunk of the car at the trail-head while you're out on the hike. You could likewise have a small luggage cube of extra food in the bag for emergency purposes, even if it's more than you'd use on a day hike, as long as you rotate the food through your day hike activities to keep them fresh.

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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by White Coat Investor » Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:23 pm

vveat wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:40 pm
My husband and I were debating whether to have an emergency kit (go bag) in the house. We sort of have one, but with just a few items and not really thought through. Our challenge is not to put in the bag, but what would we be preparing for - since that will determine what is needed.

Maybe we are lacking enough imagination. Do any of you with somewhat similar circumstances have such an emergency kit and what is your thinking?

Thanks!
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by H-Town » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:14 pm

Yeah... we do have a go bag (passports, cash, credit cards, guns, and the like) in the house. In my car, I keep a bag of dry food, water, flash light, first aid kit, blanket, spare clothes, and shoes.

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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by Nate79 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:11 pm

We have a 3 day/2 person emergency kit in each vehicle as well as documents easily accessible in an emergency.

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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by vveat » Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:16 pm

OP again. Apologies for the depressing thread, but this was a really fascinating discussion and great food for thought. Thanks to everybody who contributed - whether with practical advice or fun remarks :)

If you are curious what I am taking out of it (considering again the particular circumstances I put in the original question)
- Stay-at-home is the default scenario - full pantry, enough water, a generator, wood burning stove and plenty of wood outside - we'll be fine for a month. One interesting idea to add was that plastic bag that goes in the bathtub for clean water
- Scenario where we are stuck in a car for say 10-20 hours getting out of state doesn't seem impossible and we'll prep a bag for it. Interesting points I hadn't considered - spare chargers, walkie-talkies and quarters. I also put our most essential documents which were in 3 places into 1 folder within the home safe (and if we have 1-2 hours to prepare I guess we'll take the whole safe :sharebeer)

It seems a good idea to make a list of what we would grab if we have 10 minutes (this is just the fire or flash flooding scenario for our area), or if we have 1-2 hours warning (can grab some sentimental value items) - just to keep us organized. And for the fun of it I am thinking we can do a drill and see how much time it takes us to get out of the door. Organizing the kids and finding the cat will probably take most time :)

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:32 pm

vveat wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:16 pm
It seems a good idea to make a list of what we would grab if we have 10 minutes (this is just the fire or flash flooding scenario for our area)
If you only have ten minutes you don't have ten minutes. Leaving immediately is almost certainly more important that anything you can bring with you. You want to be at the front of the traffic jam leaving the impending disaster area.

Water and clothing (including stout shoes) are much more likely to save your life than food. Paper work will almost never save your life. Choose wisely.

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