If you are serious about emergency preparation, then I’m going to suppose your home is a place you could stay for a long, long, time. Plenty of food and water stored away, fuel to cook, a way to stay warm, if you can “Bug in”, you should be just fine no matter what the circumstance.
It’s when you have to hit the road and quickly, that things get interesting. Of course you have your 72 hour kit. One for everyone in the family, plus kits for your autos, kits all around! And in case of an evacuation, a bugout bag really is a lifesaver. But the tough question is: What about beyond 72 hours? I’m not talking end of the world, I’m talking say a week or ten days with no services, evacuated from your home, possibly with a lot of other people around. You probably would be with or near your automobile, a good thing since you can store and haul more in it than on your back. Which brings us to the number one concern you will have if your evacuation stretches beyond a day or two:
-Water. Specifically, clean, drinkable water. In refugee situations, which is where you have just found yourself, sickness from water-borne disease is often the leading cause of death. I’m sure you have a small supply in your kit, but the need for water for drinking, for cooking, for hygiene, just won’t stop. In some areas of the country such as the Southwest, the problem is having water, period. In other areas, there is plenty of surface water. It’s just that you don’t know what might be in it.
If you are bugging out, unless the flames are bearing down on you as you run, take 30 seconds or even a minute, grab some of your water storage, and throw it in the trunk. The more, the better. Remember, in summer heat, you may need a gallon or more a day just to drink. Plan on at least a half gallon, plus some for cooking and washing. Realistically, you may need to pad your needs because others won’t be as prepared as you, and you may get the opportunity to share.
If water is plentiful but suspect (all untreated water is suspect.), then the most important item in your kit may turn out to be either a water filter or a means of chemical treatment. Even if you plan on treating it, use the cleanest, clearest water you can find. Spring water is usually the best.
-Food. As strange as it may sound, this is not as critical as it may seem, because while you will die of thirst in about three days, it takes several weeks to starve to death. But if you don’t eat for a couple of days, you won’t have the energy to take care of your family, and all you will be thinking about is getting something to eat. For just a few days, balanced nutrition can take a back seat to calories, though I don’t recommend a diet of straight anything. Mix it up a little, and you should be fine. Longer term, you need vitamins and a balance of carbs, protein, and “good” fats, but that’s another article. Same with fuel. For a few days you can get by on food you don’t cook.
One last thought. WHEN you have to evacuate plays a big role in your preparations. I already did a post on evacuating into winter if you want to look it up, but this may serve as a reminder-are prepared to keep you and your loved ones warm in the case of a winter evacuation? If not, remember that emergencies don’t just happen in the summer.
by Lorin John
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