Escape and Evasion
Go-Bag for Surviving Major and Minor Disasters
This article is a two-part article and part of a series of articles regarding Escape and Evasion (E&E) preparedness. Understandably, there is simply too much information to consider when discussing E&E Go-Bag options to fit into one article. Throughout the next few articles I will discuss a Go-Bag, shelter-in-place kits, vehicle kits, and cache options. In this two-part article, I’ll focus on what you need on your body and in a mobile Go-Bag. Be sure to read all the articles as they are tied in to one another and are all part of a process for survival.
One thing we should all agree on is our world is unpredictable. Certainly, it’s true some naturel disasters allow for hours to days of preparation time; yet, there are others that hit us hard when we least expect it. Think back to 2004 as many were enjoying a vacation of a lifetime on the beaches of Thailand. After a major earthquake in the Indian Ocean a large surge of water was headed to make landfall with one of those locations being the densely populated beaches of Phuket, Thailand. Many who survived the surge of water were immediately removed from loved ones with no means to locate them. The surprise, lack of planning and contingency plans added to the chaotic day. People were swept away only to stop miles from their beach resort, left clinging to trees, and stuck on rooftops. Of course, we can argue that having a Go-Bag in this situation may not have done much good since they had little to no time to grab their bag combined with the reality of the uncommonness of such an event, especially for a Westerner. Although the fact is many confessed to seeing the surge of seawater thinking it was a nice wave hitting the beach. Heck, some even reported running back to the room to grab their cameras thinking this was an opportune photo; however, that “wave” was in fact 50-foot multiple wave and surge of water. In this case, if they would have been more situationally aware and had a Go-Bag many did, in fact, have time to grab one. In many of the natural disasters in the United States we do understand them and have anywhere from seconds to days to prepare. Thus, having a Go-Bag at the ready assists you to be prepared.
This last paragraph touched on an important topic that needs more attention before we advance to the topic. This topic is situational awareness; it’s critical you are situational aware of your environment and what is happening around you. If there is time to escape, do just that. Getting away from the threat is always the best response to an emergency situation. Know your brain is the most important tool in your kit and it does not take up any additional space in your Go-Bag, so use it. You’ll be amazed at how your brain functions in an emergency, that is, if you have prepared for it (read my articles on stress and stress inoculation that explains in detail how to prepare for stressful events) Your Go-Bag needs to have items to support your brain and creative side when you’re forced to turn items into multiuse resources. In most scenarios, everyone arrives with different cognitive abilities so plan accordingly for all types of situations. Having basic survival skills in the categories of medical, food preparation, water purification, land navigation, and weaponry are basic skills you should already possess. If you don’t, you need to conduct a self-assessment and start to make change in your life and in the loved ones around you. I remind fathers they’ll be the ones confronted with risk (it’s just natural for a father to protect his family) however, I would be remiss if I did not give credit to a woman protecting her children, that’s not something I want to face. But dads, you need to teach your family members how to care for you, in case you are the injured person. Knowledge is power in the team and in cross training so that everyone knows everything is what you should achieve. I worked in a small unit in Force Reconnaissance and we worked in 4-man teams. We did not have a medical person attached to each team so it was critical our platoon Navy Corpsman trained us to take care of each other in the field, conducting advanced medical care for such injuries combat may produce. We also carried all equipment for the missions ranging from 2-6 days. That’s a lot of ammo, water, batteries, comm-gear, and a little food, with our packs weighing in the range of 100 lbs. You’re not looking to carry that much gear but you, as the leader of the family, need to be able to take on the responsibility of leader and trainer.
Some items to consider before getting your Go-Bag together are this: what area do I live in and what are the natural weather barriers I’ll face? Consider your location and where you’re moving too, which determines what you need in your go bag. Another consideration is to purchase a ready-made bag; however, I would strongly encourage you to research this purchase and consider the source. I searched the web today and found many ready-made bags with reasonable prices ranging from 50 to 400 dollars; however, I can assure you a lot of the items in these bags are low-budget items that will not serve you well in an emergency. So again, as I have stated, buyer beware and be sure you’re spending hard earned money well. There are some links to professional go-bags that include all high-quality and well-reviewed items at americansocietyofpreppers.com
Building you own bag starts with an assessment of your needs. Additionally, there are go-bags and shelter-in-place kits, so do not confuse the two. A go-bag means one thing, being mobile either by vehicle or other options (ATV, boat, foot, horse etc.). So, your go-bag is a smaller, condensed version of a shelter-in-place kit. Also, there’s another consideration you should make; caching gear, which is nothing more than additional support go-bags near your home and on your evacuation route. This is a series of resupply points where you can geo cache gear to ensure additional supplies of equipment and needed items. I will discuss this more in additional articles.