The best option in almost every emergency is to bug in- meaning to shelter in place at home where you have the most provisions available and do not have to brave the roadways and other gathering places. However, that's not always possible and sometimes, it's safer to leave the area quickly.
If that happens, having a bag already packed with critical supplies will save you a great deal of time and will ensure that you have everything you might need. A typical bug-out bag might contain:
- rain ponchos
- a first aid kit
- N95 breathing masks
- candles and waterproof matches
- photocopies of all vital documents, sealed in plastic
- two days worth of easy-to-eat food, such as canned chili, granola bars, and MREs
- a collapsible set of camping dinnerware- plate, bowl, cup and cutlery
- a manual can opener
- a multi-tool and jackknife
- heavy-duty leather work gloves
- a reading book for every family member
- a hand-cranked radio
- copies of all current prescriptions
- a deck of cards
- personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, shampoo and conditioner, and combs and brushes
- garbage bags
- 2 rolls of quarters
- $100 in cash in small bills
- a list of other things that need to be packed into the car at a moment's notice: 2 gallons of water for each person, a change of clothes for each person, an empty gas can, sleeping bags, pillows, phone chargers, prescription drugs, diapers, toilet paper, shovel, and mapbooks. If you have been diligently prepping, all of these items are close by and easily accessible.
At least twice a year, go through your bug-out bag and rotate out food and other perishable items to make sure that it is always fresh. That way, you are always set to jump in the car and evacuate at a moment's notice.