So first off, what exactly is a bug out bag? This is a portable ‘kit’ of items that you would typically need for a 72 hour period in the event you need to evacuate your home. Also known as a ‘72 hour kit’ or ‘go bag’, the term ‘bug out’ was popularized during the Korean War when being overrun was imminent, and troops were advised to “bug out”, or flee their location.
Some people store their items in plastic storage containers, while others prefer to have everything more portable and choose to store and pre-pack their 72-hour supplies in a dedicated bag or backpack. Either way, the question of why do I need a bug out bag seems to be getting ever clearer in this day and age.
Bug Out Bags Aren’t Just for Survivalists
When you hear the term bug out bag it’s often associated with hardened survivalists preparing for all types of eventualities. However, every family can and should have a basic go bag prepared. In increasingly uncertain times, having some emergency supplies ready should you and your family need to vacate your home at very short notice can literally make all the difference.
Whether it’s a catastrophic natural disaster, a terrorist attack, or a virus, it doesn’t feel like a day goes by where fear over unknown threats isn’t present. That’s why regular folks are waking up to the importance of being prepared for emergencies. Here are a few reasons why you need a bug out bag today.
- Hurricanes: from summer to early fall, storms form in warm waters off the coast that produce powerful winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surges. Most likely, you will have a 24-36 hour warning, but it may be significantly less and it’s possible you’ll be told to evacuate quickly.
- Tornadoes: violently rotating columns of air that don’t give much warning and can destroy entire neighborhoods in seconds. You’ll be forced to shelter in a basement or safe room for an unknown amount of time.
- Wildfires/Fire Storms: Recent events in California have shown us just how quickly fire can devastate entire towns and cities. Evacuation is likely and you may be forced to flee in a hurry.
- Floods: Breaks in levees or dams brought on by extreme weather have been increasing in frequency and often end up wiping out entire neighborhoods. Evacuation warnings may not give much time.
- Earthquakes: Nearly impossible to accurately predict, living in an earthquake-prone area can feel unnerving. The best you can do is be prepared for the worst.
- Tsunamis: Warning time is often short and if you live near the coast, the impact can be devastating.
- House Fires: Having a family evacuation plan is critical in this type of emergency. You will likely have to evacuate quickly and may face the reality of losing all of your belongings.
- Bioterrorism: The intentional spread of bacteria, viruses, or toxins where information will be sparse and it will take time for local authorities to diagnose the situation.
- Pandemics: Widespread threat of exposure to a deadly virus. You may seek to relocate and be asked to shelter in place for up to 2 months or more.
- Nuclear Explosions: Although very unlikely, the damage could be catastrophic. Evacuation will be imminent.
- Power Outages: Depending on how long and how suddenly your power goes out, you may need to leave home for many days, with little warning.
In the event you experience any of these scenarios, having a ready to grab go bag can literally save you and your family’s life. Building out a family bug out bag is inexpensive and doesn’t require much effort to put together, so although it’s unlikely you’ll have to use it, if you do, it’s value will be priceless.