So, skipping over the blight that is FEMA’s disaster response history, and using the logic of a broken clock being right twice a day, there is some useful information to be had from them. While it’s good to gather knowledge from a variety of sources, any emergency preparation you do needs to be carefully tailored to your family’s needs. What may be right for someone else might not be right for you. That being said, everyone has to start somewhere. A 72-hour bag is a great place to begin, and here are a few reasons why.
1. You can’t always expect help to arrive when you need it.
I’ve recently read some very good information on why you DON’T need a bug out bag. The author made some very good points, If you hear on the news there is a tornado, and you look out the window and see a funnel cloud, you are most certainly not going to grab a backpack and dash out the front door. In the U.S. we are lucky to have early warning systems for many natural disasters. We know days in advance before floods arrive, hurricanes strike, sometimes even when power outages are expected. But what of those still displaced days after an emergency? What if the roads are blocked and supplies can’t be delivered to your family on time? Naturally, 3 days worth of supplies won’t save you if the system is down for weeks, but it can be the difference between several days of discomfort and several days of aching misery.
In the case of hurricane Sandy, several FEMA sites ran out of food and water, mere days after arriving. The storm resulted in forced evacuations of people from their homes, areas were blocked off and they weren’t able to return for days. Having a bug out bag on hand could provide you with supplies that might not be available from any government agency, such as…
2. Your own medicines
In this day and age, daily medications for cardiac, respiratory or other diseases can be the difference between life and death. Many of the patients I treat in the ER answer questions the same way when they come in for hypertension.
“Do you have high blood pressure?”
“Do you have medication to treat it?”
“Did you take it today?”
And is it any surprise? A couple days without prescribed medication and these conditions can hospitalize you. (This could refer to natural or conventional medicines) Keeping a few days, or even a few weeks worth of your vital meds in your bug out bag could help you avoid a preventable emergency if you are forced to be away from your home for any period of time. It’s also good to keep lists of your medications, not just names but the dose and how often you are suppose to take it, as this can vary greatly from person to person. Also included with this should be a detailed list of your medical history and any food and drug allergies you might have. You should have a secure, water-proof pouch for these supplies and inside that, you should also keep…
3. Copies of important documents.
Please trust me on this, you do not want to have to dig through a flooded basement for your birth certificates or insurance information. This is the kind of stuff that can cause you countless hours of headaches to replace, and can grease the wheels of rebuilding your life after a disaster. Some documents you might want to consider carrying copies of?
- Drivers licenses
- Insurance papers
- Marriage licenses
- Phone numbers
Keep in mind that these all contain very personal information. If you have a way to conceal them in your bag, you probably should. You may even want to go as far as having them laminated.
There are other reasons to keep a 72-hour kit. Food, water, shelter … you know, the essentials.
Jonathan Parker is an EMT-Paramedic and Preparedness Instructor with a love for emergency medicine, self-sufficiency and homesteading. His goal is to empower people towards a natural and sustainable lifestyle.