Like ships that pass in the night, my husband and I sometimes barely have time for conversation. Today we finally had a short discussion on a topic that was concerning me: what should we do if there is some type of emergency that prevents him from being able to get home? I don’t expect major tornadoes or a devastating earthquake, but civil unrest in the central part of our city, in particular, is easier to imagine, along with major flooding.
The decision we made is that I will assume that he is on his way home and that he will get home, no matter what. With his Alice Pack in the truck and a firearm close at hand, he’d be pretty well equipped to hike home. Likewise, if the kids and I are away from home, he can assume that we will get home, again, no matter what. I feel better knowing that we’ve talked about this one detail.
Unless it’s a catastrophic event, say a nuclear detonation above our city, our home will be our meeting place and we will assume that each person is on their way, even if they have to walk the entire way, and even if it takes hours or days.
If a family or individual is unprepared, getting home may be easier said than done. A small, well-packed Get-Home backpack in your car, one per person, would be a smart addition and could make getting home a reality. Here’s a checklist of items to keep in your vehicle should you find yourself having to hoof it home.
- comfortable pair of shoes stashed under the car seat, one pair per person (You will SO thank me for this tip one day. Count on it.)
- an extra pair of socks per person (could double as strange looking mittens in cold weather)
- a small backpack per person
- bottles of water* (If you wrap the bottles with paracord and then wrap a couple of feet of duct tape over the paracord, you’ll have two extra survival supplies on hand without taking up any extra space.)
- a few water purification tablets (If bottled water runs out and all you can find is “wild” water, these are a compact method of water purification.)
- long-sleeved, cotton shirts and floppy hats
- large black plastic trash bags (use as raincoats, protection from the weather, an emergency sleeping bag)
- band-aids, moleskin
- small bottle of sunblock
- hard candy (sugar for quick energy)
- granola bars (2 or 3 per backpack)
- cell phone charger (just in case cell phones are still operational)
- one or two flash lights with a set of extra batteries
- signaling mirror
- roll of toilet paper
- Swiss Army knife
- waterproof matches and a fire striker
- 2 or 3 vaseline coated cotton balls
- pepper spray and a handgun with an extra loaded magazine (What? You want me to be out on the road, alone with the kids, and no way to fend off zombies??)
My goal is for everyone to get home quickly. I have light camping equipment in my vehicle’s 72 Hour Kit, but I don’t want to be camping if at all possible! If I load everyone’s Get-Home backpacks with too much weight, all I will hear is complaining from the kids, and you know how that wears on a mom’s nerves. I want to have only the essentials, but plenty of them. If you divvy up the supplies on this list, no one’s backpack should weigh more than just a couple of pounds.
I didn’t include emergency food because once everyone starts eating, you know what happens next, and who knows how available toilet facilities will be. With some hard candies in everyone’s packs, there will be a steady flow of sugar and something to keep the kids busy on the trek home. The granola bars will take the edge off true hunger if our journey takes longer than expected.
If you’ve ever been homeless or even away from home during a crisis, you know the almost physical feeling of longing to be where you belong, at home. If a calamity strikes while you’re out and about, assess your situation. Decide if it’s better to stay put or head for home, and if driving is impossible, pack up those Get Home bags and get home!
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