From my experience working in disaster response, I know the work and thought that goes into running a shelter during a disaster. Emergency management workers try very hard to make shelters safe and comfortable. However, the lack of privacy, resources, and independence makes me pretty hesitant to choose to go to a shelter as long as I have other options.
Personally, it would take a very severe reason for me to evacuate or “bug out” from my home in the first place. Leaving the house would entail me having to leave many of my in-place systems and make me more vulnerable to outlaws and well meaning (and otherwise) bureaucrats.
Want and Reality aren’t the Same
However, just because I don’t WANT to evacuate from my homestead doesn’t mean I won’t HAVE to evacuate. I don’t want any kind of disaster to befall my family, but measuring risk says I should be prepared “just in case”. This leads me to the subject of emergency kits.
Any prepper or interested party with access to the internet has probably noticed the love of acronyms as they relate to kits and gear. You have: BOB, INCH, GOOD, GHB, and EDC, IFAK, 72 hour kits, and 1st 2nd and 3rd line gear. The confusion just piles on.
Basically, it all related to the stuff you need to survive and the philosophy that caused you to pack it all together.
Basically it all starts with the 72 hour kit, which comes from the US military and is based around the fact that American soldiers are resupplied so often that they only need to be self-sufficient for three days at a time. This level is what the US government recommends for all citizens, because in the event of a federally declared disaster it will take FEMA approximately three days to get a supply system organized to provide relief. A 72 hour kit should have basic cooking, lighting, shelter, water, and food to survive for three days.
EDC or everyday carry are things you have on you everyday. A whole prepper subset has evolved around EDC. Generally for me my EDC is a couple knives, a cell phone, a cheap screwdriver set and P-38 on my key chain, and if I am carrying my “baur bag” to school some Altoids tins with containing a sewing kit and OTC medicine, and some car charger adaptors. I would love to have a pistol in my EDC, but I work on a National Guard Base so that is verboten.
BOB, bob, or B.o.B means Bug Out Bag. A BOB is a small bag that is basically a portable 72 hour kit. The idea is that if a fire or something broke out and you had to leave RIGHT NOW, you can throw on your shoes, grab your BOB and have whatever essential medicines, food, and clothes that you would need. A good idea is to have copies of vital records in your bob, so that you won’t loose them if you don’t have time to dig around in your filing cabinet.
A GHB or Get Home Bag is practically the same as a BOB, but philosophically the opposite. A GHB is a portable kit containing the essentials you would need if you have to find an alternate route home if disaster struck while you were away from home. I work inNashville, but I live about a 45 minute drive away. If something happened and I had to leave my car and walk home, I would want a light backpack type kit that allowed me to change out of my work clothes, and gave me some comfort and security on a long trek home.
I keep a GHB in both mine, and my wife’s vehicles, and due to the nature of cars, my GHB is actually a box that has a lot of stuff, both for light repairs, minimalist camping, and a walk home. Space and weight is not an issue in the car, so I have things in my box that I can pick through to make a bag that best fits my situation.
Many people keep firearms in their GHB’s and I totally understand that, however, if you have a AR or other long arm and change into a multi-cam uniform, your going to attract unwanted attention. Consider a more concealable approach to defensive weaponry. Personally, I want to look like Joe Sixpack with no more on me than anyone else. In a disaster I want to blend in until I have to stand out.
A GOOD bag or Get out of Dodge is a larger BOB, but still small enough to pack quickly. It’s pretty much interchangeable with a BOB. Some preppers have GOOD trailers or GOOD vehicles that are pre-packed. I use big plastic totes with a color code system. Each food tote contains approximately a month of food rather than a single commodity. In an emergency I can grab as many as I have room for and not have to worry about grabbing a 50 pound bucket of wheat but forgetting the salt or grinder.
An INCH bag on the other hand means “I’m Never Coming Home”. Its more of a mad max/ the road/Postman type problem where you have to take what you can carry, but all you get it what you take. My inch bag would contain everything in my GOOD kit, plus extras like my hand reloading press, more tools, and reference materials.
IFAK is not a general preparedness kit, but it took me a minute to connect the dots so I will throw it in as a “good to know” IFAK is an improved first aid kit. This improved kit that is part of a new military Soldier in a system initiative. It basically is a one pound kit that addresses major blood loss and airway distress.
Line gear is also a military concept and centers around the gear you would need to complete a mission. It’s not exactly applicable to citizen preppers, but it is related in many ways.
First Line Gear is your EDC
It focuses on what you would carry on your person. This would include your clothing, knife, weapon and maybe a small survival and first aid kit. Obviously, if you’re a office worker your EDC would be much different than a law enforcement officer, or a coal miner. Don’t go mall ninja on me though and carry a bunch of neato jiffy wow stuff to feel cool. Everything needs a use or you won’t carry it all the time.’
2nd line gear is your “fighting load,”
When I have my “baur bag” (my wife calls it a “murse” but jack pack, messenger bag are all appropriate terms.) I can carry more prepper stuff, flashlights, hand held radio, batteries, power bars. It also can go with me almost everywhere and gives me more capability without sacrificing a lot of maneuverability. IF it was a full on WROL (without rule of law – VERY unlikely) this would most likely take the form of a load bearing vest, or chest rig to hold ammunition for your rifle.
3rd line gear is your pack
Sustainment items you need for a longer term. Your not going to fight wearing your rucksack, you would drop it and depend on your 1st and 2nd line gear during the fight and then go back and get your pack to refill your empty magazines.
The thing is, who cares what you call your stuff, organize it to suit your needs and as long as you understand what your doing and why you are light years ahead of guys that follow the conventional prepper wisdom and build kits based upon what some internet guru wrote in a list. Your also Galaxies ahead of people that don’t even have a thought about prepping.
You don’t need to be scared, but it is important that you take some time to develop a plan that you can work with.