A bug out bag is an emergency store of sufficient food, water and whatever else might be deemed necessary to survive for up to 72 hours following the occurrence of a natural disaster or major catastrophic event.
Bug out bags, also called go-bags or good bags (Get Out Of Dodge) must be portable and therefore of a reasonable weight. After the addition of water, which is almost certain to be the heaviest necessary commodity, there is not an awful lot of leeway for other items. Many survivalists lay in a stock of electronic gadgets and gizmos, believing that these will be able to carry enough information to get the party safety back to civilisation. It is unwise to place too much faith in delicate electronics which can be disabled by electro-magnetic pulses and GPS systems which rely on satellites for navigation – depending on the nature of the emergency, the satellites may not be functioning properly. Even the relatively simple matter of a vital cell-phone tower being knocked out of action could be enough to scupper a survival plan that relied entirely on a mobile signal.
Despite books being made of weighty paper and taking up a fair amount of space there are several books which certainly should be included in a bug out bag.
To cover for the event that satnavs and mobile phones are not working after a disaster, every bug our bag should contain an up to date set of road maps and detailed atlases showing all the features of the surrounding area. Maps must be updated regularly, possibly even yearly if that is feasible. This information can be invaluable if a party is trying to navigate safely to a predetermined meeting spot, saving time-consuming detours and backtracking.
First Aid Books
A medical encyclopaedia with anatomical diagrams, information about common illnesses and their symptoms and treatments as well as information on basic medical knowledge, and step by step first aid treatment are a vital part of every bug out bag. These must be kept up to date to stay on top of the latest medical treatment processes.
How to… Survive books
People are always fascinated with the idea of being cast away on an island, lost in a desert or stranded in impenetrable jungle, and publishers have long been aware of this fact. When choosing survival books for the bug out bag be sure to choose those that deal with survival in a setting that is relevant to your particular area or terrain – desert survival is not going to be much help to someone stranded in a wintry city! Make sure that as many people as possible have read through the book, long before any disaster strikes as it is foolhardy to assume that one specific member of the family will be healthy enough to take charge, the designated first-aider may be unconscious and in need of care!
We human beings have not changed too much from our caveman ancestors on a primal level. We still have only three basic needs: shelter, food and warmth. Sure, we like our televisions and computers, but we can survive without them if necessary. Being able to cater for these three needs can ensure our survival until such time as we can return to safety or begin to rebuild our lives in a wake of a disaster.