This is a continuation of our comprehensive series on emergency preparedness. Our aim is to help equip every neighbor to become more knowledgeable and to take practical measures in preparation for an emergency. This is proven to be crucial to the health and well-being of neighborhoods and communities. So we urge everyone to do their part. Be a good neighbor; be prepared™.
Even if you are happily married to a man with another name, you need to get a BOB. We’ll explain.
The BOB we have in mind won’t be spotted at the grocery store checkout line. “He” won’t be mentioned at cocktail parties or in tabloid magazines. But the one we have in mind can play an essential role in your emergency preparedness. Every household should have one —even if a Bob already lives there. For that matter, you should consider keeping a BOB at work and in your vehicle.
BOB is the acronym for bug out bag. It’s what you should keep packed and ready to go in the event of an emergency that forces you to evacuate for more than a few minutes to a few hours or so. It’s essentially an emergency kit on steroids. Evacuations due to violent storms, an earthquake, a flood, or some other severe emergency situation are why BOB can be your best friend at times.
BOB takes all forms and sizes. It can be a right-sized duffel bag, backpack, or even a suitcase designated solely for this purpose. A soft shell may be preferred because you can stuff it into spaces that a hard shell may not fit. You may want to label it BOB or some other name that reminds you of its use.
Regardless of its size, store your BOB in a convenient place so you can grab it as you head out the door. Some people opt to have a BOB in each vehicle. While this lessens the need for one in the house, it does take up trunk space so be sure to take this into consideration. Still, it’s a good idea to have at least a small emergency kit in each vehicle you own.
Lots of folks, including many retailers, sell BOB bags and packs in the color red. However, this is not very discreet so some prefer another color, such as black. BOB can’t talk back to you so he won’t complain about the color you choose.
Your BOB, bag, or pack, need not be waterproof but it should be water-resistant like many good duffel bags and backpacks. If you choose to use a duffel bag be sure it includes a sturdy shoulder strap. Of course, your budget is a key consideration but strive to purchase the most durable BOB bag or pack you can since you intend to hold on to it indefinitely. Of course, over time it may show signs of wear or deterioration so replace as needed. (Sorry, good old BOB.)
What to Pack in Your BOB
Many items listed below are available from online and brick and mortar stores. Many retailers that specialize in emergency supplies kits and bags offer them. One of our online favorites, EDS Emergency Disaster Systems, offers most of the items you want to consider for your BOB at competitive prices. The links in the list below takes you to the respective item on their website. They allow customers to checkout using Amazon.com and PayPal.
For food, we suggest looking at the kits offered by 4Patriots. They offer different sizes and most of the essentials come in lightweight packaging and they are rated with a 25-year shelf life.
Based on the advice we curated from authoritative sources, BOB essentials include the following items. Keep in mind this list is not necessarily everything you may need. Time, space, and financial constraints and any special needs of yours or your loved ones should be taken into consideration when you prepare your list and pack your BOB. Where a waterproof bag is listed, don’t confuse this with cheap zip style food storage bags from your grocery stores because they are typically designed for single use and are not durable.
- Hand-held multi-function tool with a knife blade
- Waterproof bag(s) for daily or regular medications for all household residents (Place your meds in this bag if you have time before evacuation.)
- Waterproof bag(s) for copies of important documents including:
- printed contact list
- printed map of region (unless waterproof)
- copies of birth certificates of all household residents
- Waterproof bag(s) or bag containing:
- space for cell phone(s)
- space for cell phone charger(s)
- LED flashlight(s) (unless waterproof, and in addition to one built-in to radio)
- flashlight batteries
- lighters or matches
- Waterproof bag(s) containing small hand-held crank am/fm radio with flashlight
- Waterproof bag(s) containing first aid kit
- Rain ponchos
- Emergency blankets (ex: space blankets)
- A minimum 3-day supply of emergency food
Note: The stock image accompanying this report shows votive candles. While these can be to use around the house, they do not store well in high temperatures, require a wind screen outdoors, and, as with any open flame, they present a safety issue. Consequently, they are not recommended for your BOB.
For your convenience, EDS offers a 4-person, 3-day bag that includes many but not all of the items listed above. They also offer a backpack version along with many other versions for home and work. However, as mentioned above, it is very important to consider your individual needs and circumstance including any special needs.
Once you have your BOB or BOBs packed, put an annual reminder in your calendar to refresh the items that have an old expiration date or one that is within the next year.
In short, keep BOB handy. If you’re a wife with a jealous husband, you can explain yourself by giving him a copy of this report.
While we took a light-hearted approach in this report with regard to BOB, being without one can be deadly serious. We urge you to prepare a BOB today.
After completing this step, you’re ready to move on to the next step in emergency preparedness which we’ll cover in our next report. Here is a link to our introductory report that lists Things To-Do Before a Disaster.