You Have 20 Minutes To Flee Your Home… What Do You Take With You?
Imagine a time of civil unrest, the uncertainty of safety for your family and a situation where you had to flee from your home in hopes of finding freedom and safety. You have to think about your family. What they will need. What you can bring. You have to remain mobile, everything has to be carried, and weight is a huge factor because you don’t know how far you’ll actually have to go, how long it will take, or what dangers you may encounter along the way.
Sadly, these are things that the Syrian refugees, among all the other people who flee their homes in fear for life and safety need to think about. For some, it’s not something they’ve thought about until the moment of impending disaster. For people like us, it’s called Prepping your BugOut Bag.
This article was inspired by the various reposts of the bag dumps from the Syrian refugees (linked above) that made me think about my family, our lives and what we’d need if we had to leave all of a sudden from our home.
The term “Bugging Out” means leaving an area of danger with all possible speed for safety. It’s could be a situation where opposing forces are closing in on your town, and will kill anyone without prejudice. It could be a closing hurricane where the order to evacuate has been issued. Whatever the case, this is the moment when you have very little time to stop and think about what you (and your family) will need to take with you in the journey to safer ground.
While this site, The Everyday Carry is an EDC Enthusiasts site, being prepared for an evacuation situation will save precious time if you do have to flee your home. Having a Bugout Bag, or Evac Bag simply means having the essential things you need ready to go at a moment’s notice. If it’s just you, then you may just need one bag. If it’s a whole family you have to think about, there’s a lot more to worry about. This is my concern. Our family consists of three adults (our oldest daughter being over 18), and three under the age of 12. In planning for a bugout situation, I (and any interested parent reading this) have to think about:
- What kind of bag can everyone carry for long distances
- How much weight can each bag reasonably hold for each child according to strength
- What each family member needs with them at a minimum for long distance travel
- The basic needs of any human: food, clothing and shelter
While a single person, or even just two adults make this planning a lot easier, the above four concerns still apply. In thinking about this myself and how it applies in my family, the two younger kids under 10 can’t carry more than 10 lbs for long distances. The 12 year old can carry 15-20 lbs, and us adults can carry 30-50 lbs fairly easily.
Only Take The Bare Essentials
“No, leave your tablet. it’s dead weight.” I tell the kids. Our ideas of essentials are very different. For each child, the right clothing, protection from rain and elements, food and drink are about all they have to have, and each child needs to be able to carry a bag that can support them if they do get separated from us.
For us adults, we take only the essentials as well, but there are general family needs, like the emergency shelters (mylar tents), weather appropriate gear and sustenance for all. We have to be able to get the family from danger point A to safety point B as quickly as possible.
Plan To Go On Foot
In a true evacuation situation, the roads will be jammed. Everyone will be trying to evacuate and there probably will come a moment when you have to abandon the family minivan in lieu of going on foot. Plan your bags around having to walk great distances. If you come across viable transportation (even bicycles), you have to easily take your gear with you without stopping long. The last thing you want to have happen is abandoning your essential gear to move faster. You want to be able to move and carry.
Check The Weight Often
While you assemble your bugout bag, check the weight often. Even if all you have is a bathroom scale, it’s better to have a rough estimate of weight than to find out your bag is too heavy to realistically carry long distances.
Test Run with your Gear
On any given weekend, a couple times a year, take the family to a park and hike a trail that’s a little longer than the kids would normally be up for. Take your gear and test the family to see if the bag loadout is right of if adjustments are needed. Constant tweaking may be necessary if the kids are growing fast (they usually do).
Keep Your Bugout Bags Up To Date
At least twice a year, go through the bags, update the clothing for the season, add or remove the sunblock, hand warmers, rain ponchos and other seasonal items. Also make sure that you keep the kid’s clothes current and clean in water proof bags (like gallon Ziplock bags). The last thing you want is to pull out ruined clothing to put on your kids when you already have the stress of leaving your homestead.
On a final note, We all hope that there won’t be a day when we’re forced to leave the safety of our homes in search for higher ground. It’s something that generally no one is ever truly prepared to do, but if the time comes when you have to look for somewhere safer, then having the bags ready to go can help immensely in terms of lowered stress, family organization and getting out of Dodge fast.