As of today, there are forest fires burning all the way from the Yukon, through northern Alberta and into central Saskatchewan. There are also isolated fires in Quebec and Northern Ontario. As recently as June of this year flash flooding devastated Sicamous, British Columbia. If you are in any of these areas you may be forced out of your home at a moments notice and if you are not prepared you may be left standing on the side of the road with little more than the clothes on your back.
In this blog most of the posts have been related to keeping your home and family safe, but what if staying in your home isn’t an option? Even though you have taken the time to stock pile a six month supply of food and water, fortified your house as best as you can, none of this means squat when the local authorities come knocking on your door at three in the morning telling you there is a mandatory evacuation or the undead are about to breech your last line of defence. Either way you have to get out and you have to get out now. Do you have a bug out bag for each member of your family ready to go? If you are like most Canadians your answer is probably no.
A bug out bag is one of the most difficult things to put together for anybody. I have pondered what should go in mine for the longest time. There are a myriad of items that you will want to bring with you such as family photos and mementos as well as all the things you need such as water, food, medical supplies, clothing, and essential documents. Then there are the survival items such as tents, fire starters, water purification systems, blankets, communication equipment. How do you get everything you need into several relatively small backpacks? The answer I have come up with is to look at my stockpile and widdle it down to a 3 day supply. Unfortunately I think that is about as good as it gets. Practicality is an issue when dealing with a bug out bag. You have to have the bare minimum to get by but you also have to be able to carry it all with you.
The first thing you should look at is how to carry all of your supplies with you. The last thing you want when you are rushed out of your home in the middle of the night is to grab your bug out bag just to have it fall apart 100m down the road because you decided to cheap out and bought the $10 Walmart special backpack. Your bug out bag should be tough, comfortable, and light enough for you to carry for extended distances. An idea I’ve been toying with is purchasing a wagon with large wheels and the wooden rails on the sides to put additional equipment in. I figure this will double my carrying ability for very little cost while the large wheels and rails will allow it to be pulled easily through almost any terrain.
I have found numerous sites on the web that list all the items you should carry in your bug out bag. I am not going to list them all here, there are just too many. If you google the term bug out bag you will find all kinds of information on what you need. One of the things I have noticed about most of the sites and videos is that they don’t mention things like maps, compasses and plans. Always ensure that everybody in your group knows and fully understands the bug out plan. Have several safe locations marked on everybody’s map as rally points. The other thing I picked up on right away is that most of the information on bug out bags is supplied by Americans and therefore the authors have no clue about survival in Canada or cold weather. Remember that it gets extremely cold at night during the spring, and fall. Even during the summer in an rural area it can become uncomfortably cold after the sun goes down. Always plan your bug out bag around cold weather survival. You can always take layers off but if you don’t have them you can’t put them on. You will also notice a heavy emphasis on weapons. Once again, be aware of the gun laws in Canada, as far as I know carrying a concealed weapon of any kind is highly illegal in Canada and will result in jail time. No matter what the situation ALWAYS obey the law!
A couple of final notes on bugging out. First do not depend on your cell phone for communication between group members as more than likely the cell networks will be overloaded once an emergency situation is in full swing. Invest in a set of good hand held radios and several batteries for each. These will always work even if their range can be somewhat limited. And probably the most important thing is to keep copies of all your essential documents in your bug out bag. These are not limited to but include SIN numbers, deeds to property, mortgage papers, birth certificates, insurance policies and recent pictures of each member of your group. Lastly don’t forget to rotate the contents of your bug out bag at least once a year, twice preferably just like you would your stockpile. If you do this you will be able to grab your bag and go with confidence that you have everything you need to survive for 72 hours. Whether it is in a Red Cross station or on the run from an undead horde. When you change the batteries in your smoke detector every spring and fall stop and think about your bug out bag and ask your self… Are you prepared?