Here’s something lots of us don’t think about till it’s too late: your emergency supply needs a backup!
Disasters tend to destroy whatever’s in their path, and sometimes that includes emergency supplies. (Actually, emergencies supplies are destroyed in disasters pretty often.) And when it happens, it’s a double whammy. Not only does it cost a lot to replace, but you’re also stuck without survival essentials when you need them most.
But not to worry! Even if your supplies are destroyed in a disaster, chances are you already have a backup in place…though you may not quite think of it that way.
We’re talking, of course, about your bug-out bag.
Here are five ways your bug-out bag can be a lifesaver in a shelter-in-place emergency:
1. It’s Usually Kept in a Separate Location
One of the oldest prepper tricks in the book is to store your emergency supplies in different locations throughout the house. This is just in case any portion of your home is destroyed.
However, if you aren’t able to do that—or just haven’t gotten around to it—putting together a bug-out bag and keeping it in a well-traversed location like under the stairs or next to the door, is a great idea. It ensures that if your primary supply isn’t available, you’ll at least have something to fall back on.
2. It Keeps You Fed Just Long Enough
We’ve talked to thousands of disaster survivors, so we can tell you during most major emergency events, there’s a strong chance you’ll be alone the first few days waiting for even the slimmest rescue assistance.
With 72 hours of food (which any good bug-out bag should supply) you may have just enough sustenance to get by until help arrives and you can scrounge up a longer-term food source.
Having said that, we always suggest a minimum two-week food supply—even FEMA recommends that much. But 72 hour’s worth could be enough to get you through the very worst of a disaster.
3. It Keeps You Hydrated Just Long Enough
By the same token, 72 hours of water might be enough to keep you going until you can find a more ample supply.
The good news is that if your bug-out bag has a half-decent water filter, you’ve got the most important tool to stay hydrated for many weeks or months. Add a basic water source (like a pool), even it’s dirty, and you’re set.
The water in your bug-out bag can also come in handy during less severe disasters. A short power outage, boil advisory, or frozen pipes can hit quickly, and having 72 hours of water on hand can prevent you from breaking into your long-term supplies.
4. It Powers Your Most Important Gear
In many aspects bugging out and bugging in are not that different. Lack of power is common among both. That’s why you keep power sources in your bug-out bag—batteries and solar chargers.
In the first few days of sheltering in place, these will juice up the most important gear you’ve got: your flashlight and device charger. It’s hard to overstate how important these items are. A flashlight keeps you from injuring yourself in the dark, and a device charger keeps your radio and/or cell phone juiced.
5. It Sheds Light When Power Is Most Likely to Be Down
There are few guarantees in a disaster, and a power outage is one of them. Whether you’re in an earthquake, hurricane, wildfire, or blizzard, your electricity will likely go down. And when it does, it will stay down for at least a day or two, if not longer.
That’s where the light source[s] in your bug-out bag come in handy. You can never have enough of these! With an extra on hand, you’ll be set if one of your flashlights breaks, powers out, or if extra company comes over needing help.
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