5 Things That Can Save Your Life in a Natural Disaster

In the wake of Alaska’s recent earthquake, I was reminded that many aren’t prepared for such an event.  It’s so easy to say it’s not going to happen to you, but if you don’t prepare today you could be paying for it big time in the long run.

I watched the news and saw many people who had no shelter because the damage to their home was too extensive for them to safely stay in it.  So what would you do if this happened to you?  Do you go to the nearest city and find a make-shift shelter to stay in along with hundreds or even thousands of other people? It’s a personal decision, but we want to make sure you’re aware that there are other options.

Many people have heard of a Bug Out Bag, often referred to as a BOB, yet they haven’t ever considered making one.

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What is a BOB?

A bug out bag is an easy to locate, easy to carry bag that contains essential supplies in case of an emergency.  It should be located in a place where you can grab it in a flash emergency as you’re headed out the door.  Every member of your family needs this bag.  Don’t try to combine enough for everyone into one bag because it’ll be too hard to carry it due to the weight.

An increasingly common thing to do is put these supplies in a backpack.  However, we recommend you purchase a pack specifically made to stand up against the rigors, weight, and stress that a BOB will endure.  Even if you have to start out with a basic backpack, it would be wise to save money and replace them with a tactical bag to make it permanent.  Make sure each member of your home has a different identifier on their bag so it’s easy to identify who’s is who’s.

You need enough of each item to last at least 72 hours.

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Here are the 5 most essential parts of a BOB.  This is in no way a complete list of BOB items, but if you’re just starting out, these are the easiest to start acquiring.

  1. Water

Water is life!  It’s more important than food because you can go weeks without food and survive, but you can only go a few days at most without water before you will die of dehydration.  There are several options when it comes to water for your BOB, pick the one that fits your needs the best, keeping in mind the resources available in your area.

Water Bottles;
Sealed, purified water pouches;
Iodine Tablets; or
Water filtration device such as the Sawyer Mini

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2. Food

Not just any food!  You want food with a long shelf life, high in calories and protein, and that can easily be eaten on the go or without cooking.  Make sure that whatever you select is something you’ll actually eat.  Nothing is worse than being in an emergency situation with food you can’t stomach!

Energy bars;
Nuts;
Grains;
Dried fruits;
MRE’s; and/or
Trail mix.

3. Clothing

Many people forget about clothing or have the idea that they can survive with whatever they have on their back at the time.  While this may be true for a short period of time, you need to consider what you will do if the clothes you’re wearing become wet, torn, burned, or what happens if you have to use an item of clothing as a makeshift first aid item.  The clothing you pack will depend on the climate you’re in, and I suggest rotating it out so it’s seasonally appropriate every 6 months at the least.  Here’s a general idea of what to pack.

Long pants;
A coat to stay warm/stay dry from rain;
A head covering such as a hat, bandana or beanie;
Sturdy boots;
Extra socks, long ones are best; and
Extra shirts for layering.

4. Shelter

Your shelter can be simple or complex.  It mostly depends on the size of your bag.  Keep in mind the climate you’re in and if you have children or not.  Many people will pack 2 tarps, one to create cover and another to sleep on.  Make sure you have rope and or stakes if you plan on using a tarp.

Tent; and/or
Tarps;
Rope and/or stakes;
Sleeping Bag; or
Tact Bivy.

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5. First Aid

This is one that is often overlooked but is of the utmost importance.  You need to make sure you have a full first aid kit in your bag.  They don’t take much space and can literally be the difference between life or death.  At the minimum, make sure you have the following items:

Bandages of varying sizes;
Gauze of varying sizes;
Medical tape;
Tweezers;
Scissors; and
Disinfectant.

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