To adequately prepare for an emergency situation, you have to know for what sort of emergency you are preparing. I live in Southern California, and work outside the home. The most likely emergency situations I will face are earthquakes and wildfires. And, it is quite possible that these situations could occur while I am at work and my kids are at home or at school. I work approximately 25 miles from where my kids go to school and we live. In the event of a wildfire, I’ll probably be able to go get them – in downtown Los Angeles, I don’t see a wildfire sweeping through. But in the event of an earthquake, it is quite possible that the freeways and streets will not be driveable, and it is also possible my car could be stuck in its underground garage. So I’m guessing I will be walking home.
My kids have bug out locations – I just need to get to them. So I have a “get home” but out bag at work, designed to allow me to get home safely. Assuming there are no major obstacles, I should be able to get home within 24 hours – probably more like 6 hours. So I have a relatively light “get home” bag designed for the conditions I might face in the event of an earthquake and I am forced to essentially walk home.
Now, the tendency is to put everything you can think of in a bug out bag so you can live for at least 72 hours outside the house. And that makes for one heavy bag. My plan is to keep it light so I can travel quickly home . . . where we have more emergency supplies. Hence, this is my “get home” bag and not a complete bug out bag.
So, what do I have. I have comfortable walking shoes – worn in tennis shoes. Yeah, tactical boots would probably be better, but those are in my real bug out bag. I have a pair of leggings, a short sleeve sports shirt, a long sleeve sports shirt and a pull over. I wear dressier clothes to work but I sure don’t want to walk home in them through some not so nice areas of Los Angeles. I have an emergency poncho in the unlikely event we have rain here. I have a crushable hat and sunblock (critical in sunny Los Angeles). I have a very small medical kit basically just for bandaging, cleaning, topical antibiotics, and some pain killers. I have some waterproof matches. I have an emergency whistle. I have a paper map of the area of would most likely be traversing. I have a head lamp, a collapsible tactical baton, clean socks, clean underwear (thanks mom), some wipes, a bottle of water, some jerky, some energy bars, some alcohol based cleaner, a small towel, a rope, and that is pretty much it. I also have a multi purpose tool and a tactical knife. I have 2 survival blankets. I also have a couple of items I can ditch – neoprene face mask, shoe polish (if I need to travel at night), gloves, extra plastic bags, and warmer jacket. Light enough to make tracks if I need to, and good enough to survive. All of this is in a comfortable backpack, fitted to me.
Now, this is really just for one person to get home. It isn’t going to support my kids – I have another bug out bag in my vehicle if I need to do that.