Bug-Out Bags - Why Do We Need Them?

by Wendell

Is there any any more compelling reason to put together a Bug-Out Bag than being able to take yourself and your loved ones to safety with only a few minutes notice.

When catastrophe hits, contrary to the old cliche, we SHOULD be left holding the bag. Our Get Out Of Dodge (G.O.O.D) Bag should be stocked and ready to go on very short notice. Let us delve a little bit deeper as to why we should prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Bug-Out Bags - Why Do We Need Them? *** UPDATE ***

Clintonville, WI

While I was putting this article together reports began to come out of Clintonville, WI concerning strange noises and shakings occurring in the middle of the night with an uncanny frequency over a few days.  Town officials were stymied and brought in experts to evaluate the situation.  The final opinion was that the town experienced a small scale earthquake.  

Not everyone is convinced and in one of the videos I reviewed one resident made the following statement after spending one sleepless night in her home with no answers as to what was going on: "We are going to my Dad's house."

A Frightening Experience

Bug-Out Bags - Why?

Am I really going to have to get out?


In an earlier article on Wizzley I talked a little about creating Bug-Out Bags.  These pre-stocked grab-and-go bags should have sufficient emergency supplies to last at least three days, the estimated amount of time needed for disaster management personnel to reach victims of a major catastrophe.  Remember, three days is the average.  It would not hurt to be prepared for a little longer stay.

In this article, I want to address why there is a need for these bags, also called Get Out Of Dodge Bags.  For many of us, we have come to take for granted our personal safety and well-being.  If there is a threat of an emergency, we trust our local and national governmental authorities to execute the proper emergency procedures.

Photo credit: gracey from morguefile.com 

Crisis Management – A Personal Perspective

Thinking straight when chaos strikes

As we all know, there are different levels of crisis. 

Image of man hiding faceThere are those crises of inconvenience. You know the ones, like the crisis where the electricity goes out just before kickoff of the important game and remains out for a few hours so you cannot find out the results.  Most of us would weather this short-term inconvenience by pulling out a few candles and eating canned or cold food during the outage.  If the outage lasted more than a day or two, would we be prepared?

There are those crises that threaten our property or even our lives.  These could range anywhere from a wildfire to a tornado to flooding or any other natural disaster.  For a crisis that threatens our existing location, it could be quite necessary to leave our home until the threat subsides and assistance is available.  Do we have an evacuation plan in place?  Do we have the basic essential packed in a bug out bag and at the ready to go at a moment's notice?

For yet other kinds of crises, crises necessitating survival skills, we may find that our action plan to live out of a 72 Hour Bag will not suffice.  This survival mode requires different types of supplies than our typical Bug-Out Bags contain and could stretch our comfort zone even more.

We may find ourselves facing still another kind of crisis.  This crisis would necessitate taking "shelter in place."  This means that we would stay right where we are, secure our current location, and exist on what is currently available without having access to the outside world.  This could be the result of some kind of airborne threat.  Do we have adequate supplies to sustain our families and ourselves in the event we are unable to get out for an extended period?

Our government may be able to give us some warning and will eventually be able to mobilize assistance if necessary, but with the size of the population, we would be better off having our own emergency preparedness plan and execute it at the appropriate time.  By doing this, we will be ahead of the game and can let the government take care of those that were not prepared.

Emergencies Seldom Give Long Lead Times

Bug-Out Bags at the ready - how fast can we move?

Image of time running outHere are a couple of videos that demonstrate that natural disasters can happen at any time.  At the time of this writing, I live in the northern Nevada area of Reno.  Within the last six months we had two devastating wildfires, both destroying several homes and one claimed a life.

Nevada Wildfire - Too Close For Comfort

Time to grab the Bug-Out Bag

Here is what the poster of the first video said about this fire:

"This footage was taken at Skyline Canyon near Caughlin Ranch in Reno, NV at 3:25am. The fire origin is yet unknown. The 60 mph winds made this the perfect conditions for the fire to spread.

I woke up to a power outage and an orange glow outside my window at 2:30am. Across the canyon from me, the mountain was on fire and a few homes were in flames. Less than an hour later, it had reached my balcony.

I would like to thank all of the brave firemen who saved my home and countless others today. These men and women have my respect and gratitude."

The second video show how quickly destruction can come from a tornado.  Do you think the residents of these destroyed homes had time to think about what belongings and supplies they needed to take with them while they got out of the way?  A Bug-Out Bag, grabbed on the way out or stored in the family vehicle would have helped the victims adjust to the aftermath a little bit easier.  However, as you can see, having the bag in the vehicle may not have helped.

Michigan Tornado - Grab your Bug-Out Bag and Go

Would you be able to survive

Other Articles of Interest

Bug-out bags contain items necessary in the event a quick getaway is needed due to some unforeseen event. Catastrophic events can necessitate a focus on disaster survival.
Updated: 03/20/2013, Wendell
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