Welcome to Jercol's Back to the Basics. This is where I will post useful information, tips, and gear reviews about what I learn about Outdoor Survival, Activities, and Disaster Preparation. My only goal is to be informative, realistic, and at least a little entertaining.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fema Disaster Kit and BOBs

From the Fema websight (http://www.ready.gov/basic-disaster-supplies-kit):

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
These are all very practical items, very useful, and vital for any sort of disaster.  There are a few things that I like to add:

1. Fire starting kit.  Most people have matches or lighters laying around the house, why not toss a couple in the kit?  Fire can be useful for a lot of things, heating food, light, heat, boiling water, etc.
2. Water purification.  There are many companies and products available, probably the cheapest option are the chemical treatments, tablets or drops.  They're easy to find in almost any store that sells outdoor products.
3. Tools.  Hatchet or saw, multitool, shovel or trowel.

The theory behind the Fema list is that there is a temporary situation, people only need supplies for a couple of days, and will be sheltering at home for the duration.  That seems a fairly optimistic situation, one where shelter, clothing, and transportation are non issues.

Having the Fema kit should be the bare minimum for every household.  However, I would encourage you to take it one step further, if all your supplies are in your closet and the disaster is a flood or fire or any other major natural (or unnatural, ie. Fukishima Nuclear Plant) there is a distinct possibility that you might need to leave the area.  Are your supplies portable?  If you can only take limited supplies with you, what do you take?

There are many places online that list supplies for a "Bug Out Bag" (BOB).  The idea for the BOB is that you can have a back pack in the closet that has the survival basics for 72 hours.  A person could grab the bag and 'bug out' if necessary in a disaster.  If each person in your family had one of these bags than the family would be well prepared for at least 3 days in most scenarios.

There are dozens of guides, lists, and opinions about BOBs. The links below are probably the most comprehensive, and practical, lists I've found.



The two most important things to remember if you decide to build a BOB:
A) Use the lists as a guide, but tailor it to your needs and region.
B) Actually use these items occasionally.  This lets you get familiar with them, check their effectiveness, and make better choices on the items to keep in the bag.

I'm sure there will be much more on BOBs later on, it's a fascinating topic.  And if you are never in a a disaster scenario than at least you have a grab 'n go pack for a last minute weekend camp out.

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