A Bug Out Bag …What’s The Point? (Part 2)

by jack on June 28, 2011

In my first installment of this series I pointed out that the trusty “keep my keester alive for 72 hour” bug out bag (BOB) that I was maintaining made little sense for the types of disasters that I would realistically face as an urbanite in the United States of America. Thus, I decided to modify my BOB into a more applicable “my house is being violated by fire or bad people” BOB. However, as I was dismantling my old BOB I got thinking; “When might I want to have a good old keep yo’ keester alive for 72 hours BOB?” After some thought, these are some situations that I came up with:

Unstable Environment – I define an “unstable environment” as an area with a high probability of putting its inhabitants into a situation where they will be forced to take care of themselves with little or no external assistance for a few days or more. Obvious areas like this are Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and other foreign countries that are plagued by war, civil unrest, or government instability. However, based on this definition, your local environment here in the United States may not be immune to becoming unstable either. In the recent past, earthquakes and hurricanes have both done a good job of thrusting entire communities into enough instability that its inhabitants have become “on their own” (i.e. Louisiana and Japan). Thus, assess your survival needs regularly and plan your BOB accordingly.

Unfamiliar Environment – I call this my “stranger in a strange land” scenario. If you are, or are planning to, reside in an area where you don’t have intimate knowledge of the geography, surrounding community, political climate, or in some cases, the language I think it’s a good idea to make a few preparations to enable you to take care of yourself for a while. The benefits of this are twofold, not only will you be able to care for yourself if disaster strikes but you will also have the power to help others, which as a stranger, is a great way to make friends.

Evacuation – As my wife can tell you from her experience with the evacuation of New Orleans for hurricane Katrina, an evacuation can be a long process with a lot of unexpected changes. That is why for this situation I feel it is necessary to have a traditional 72 hour BOB. Your vehicle could breakdown, or a series of breakdowns on the road ahead of you could make your evacuation route impassable. You could end up on a bus to a faraway football stadium like so many of those in Katrina. How indispensable would your BOB be then?

Isolated Homestead – If you live in the middle of nowhere (i.e. more than ten miles from your closest neighbor) I’d have a traditional BOB at the ready. The main reason for this is because a house fire could very quickly cause you to be naked and standing in the snow in front of your house with no means of communication. Now, this is no big deal when your neighbors are fifty feet away, but it’s a little different when they are ten plus miles.

So what do you think? When are the times that you feel having a traditional 72 hour BOB is necessary?

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