This post was guest-written by Team Blue (Kyrie-Inn Blue with help from Tao Blue, Service Dog, Canine Good Citizen; and Mijo, Service Dog In Training).

 

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Often disabled folks are too busy trying to survive day to day that they neglect tackling the emergency preparedness necessities that may just save their lives, their health, their property, their sanity, and their independent living status. Where do you store your important documents? How can someone track you in a SHTF (“sh*t hits the fan”) situation? Do you have a plan in place for solid shelter if you face a storm? If so, what do you need to have on hand to create viability? Two weeks without power has faced Team Blue on multiple occasions. Let us help you avoid omissions in your checklists!!

 

Today’s topic: creating a Bug Out Bag (BOB)

 

We all need to seriously evaluate our personal emergency preparedness on at least a quarterly basis, rather than wait until the weatherman predicts a “superstorm.” Emergencies of all kinds happen on a daily basis, even those that are un-weather- related, like fires, certain types of evacuations, identity theft, etc. Can you efficiently respond to rather than freeze in a crisis? Team Blue knows it’s easier said than done… unless you have taken the time to prepare, equip,and practice.

 

Today’s topic: Creating a Bug Out Bag (BOB) (aka survival bag, aka GO bag, aka get-home bag, if anyone cares to search Google for further information and ideas!)

 

Today, we look at what one should stock in their BOB.

 

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The Basics

We should first define what a BOB is, how we prepare and use a BOB, and then you may adapt your BOB to serve your particular needs and situation. BOBs contain the supplies, documents, and whatever you need in case of emergencies, where you may be forced out of your residence or vehicle and need to stay safe until you may return to either, or until you can get to a safe location. We have found it helpful to have one centrally located in the house, clearly marked, so if we find ourselves needing to have people like our home health aides, case managers/case workers go get it, they can easily run in and grab it.

 

We choose backpacks of different colors to identify which BOB is for which situation (we need several). Our service dog has his own doggie backpack for outing and a messenger bag for his hospital/fire BOB. Choose the bag that suits your physicality best. Often one can find reasonably priced gently used backpacks or other styles of bags at thrift stores, or by posting a “want” on freecycle.com; if you want a new bag, we recommend LL Bean as top choice… they guarantee their backpacks for life, which supports the higher prices. If you buy Walmart or cheaper grade bags, you run a large risk of having your bag fall apart just when you need it to hold up! (Ask us how we know…) We love backpacks because they keep our hands free.

 

We employ several types of BOBs. Below, we will define and explain the contents of each. Remember, this is what works well for our situation, proven by experience, usage, and years of internet research for new ideas when we upgrade. (Warning—we discuss personal items, bodily functions, and other possibly sensitive information below. Please exercise self-care if any of these topics disturbs you.)

 

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Our Bags

Hospital (pink LL Bean backpack, in residence)

If we are admitted to a hospital for medical reasons, our workers can easily enter our residence, retrieve the hospital BOB, and deliver it to us. We will absolutely not wear hospital clothes (trauma triggers). Therefore, we took the initiative to pre-pack this bag with two to three days worth of street clothes. We added all personal grooming and bath necessities (shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush/toothpaste, comb, hairspray, flossers, tampons, razor, lotion, soap, etc.), encased in plastic ziploc bags to contain spills and to separate items.

 

This backpack is evaluated and repacked four times a year to match clothing appropriately with the change of seasons. We do not carry personal papers and such in this particular bag, (except for Tao’s and Mijo’s data, our service dog and service dog in training); we have our personal papers everywhere else so we did not add that. However, we do advise if you have not contained all your personal information (living wills, list of support phone numbers, copies of important legal documents) into any other BOB or other method you carry on your person, that you do include these in this BOB.

 

All purpose (blue and black Adidas backpack, in residence)

This BOB travels anywhere and everywhere with us. EMS can easily hand it to us when we are transported from our residence. We can easily grab it and go in case of residential emergency (fire, evacuation). We take it to appointments and outings. This is our preferred kitchen sink BOB. We include very minimal provision for Tao’s and Mijo’s needs in this bag, in case we cannot get to one of their BOBs—a few chew toys, some cookies and small treats, a small fleece blanket, poo bags, wipes, bowl, and a water bottle, plus all copies of local, state, and federal service dog laws, ADA/CDC provisions in special circumstances, and finally their applicable vet documentation (rabies, last shots, et. al.) We have our pertinent medical and legal documentation (paper copies) stashed alongside Tao’s and Mijo’s papers.

 

We carry an EpiPen and rescue inhaler set; we have life-threatening allergies. There are copies of our medical and personal information (living wills, list of support phone numbers, copies of important legal documents), Beanie Babies, puppets, fidget toys (rocks, magnets, small plastic puzzles), crayons, writing implements, blank paper, and small books to keep us occupied if we are somehow without our usual smartphone and/or Kindle Fire. Speaking of electronics, we packed an extra charger, compatible with both devices, keeping our batteries reasonably charged, either by 12-volt car outlet or by 110-volt regular electrical outlet. We make sure we have packed earbuds to ensure listening privacy for games, music apps, or audiobooks.

 

We have many random “survival” items in little pockets, pouches, and those lovely ziploc bags, including, but not limited to: Leatherman-style multitool, iced tea individual drink sticks, tampons, ibuprofen, flossers, breath mints, flashlight, sometimes the mp3 player, extra batteries, mini sewing kit, snacks and meds if we know we will be out when those become necessary, small cash, and then, if we are taking this particular bag on a planned outing, we adjust what we might want for that particular outing. For instance, if we know we will experience a long wait at our intended destination, we might throw in a few more toys or small art supplies.

 

Vehicle (green LL Bean backpack, in vehicle)

This BOB is packed similarly to the blue and black Adidas backpack in the house. For Tao and Mijo, we include a few chew toys, some cookies and small treats, a small fleece blanket, poo bags, wipes, bowl, and a water bottle, plus all copies of local, state, and federal service laws, ADA/CDC provisions in special circumstances, and finally their applicable vet documentation (rabies, last shots, et. al.).

 

We carry an EpiPen and rescue inhaler set; we have life-threatening allergies. There are copies of our medical and personal information (living wills, list of support phone numbers, copies of important legal documents), Beanie Babies, puppets, fidget toys (rocks, magnets, small plastic puzzles), crayons, writing implements, blank paper, and small books to keep us occupied if we are somehow without our usual smartphone and/or Kindle Fire. Speaking of electronics again, we packed an extra charger, compatible with both devices, keeping our batteries reasonably charged, either by 12 volt car outlet or by 110 volt regular electrical outlet. We make sure we have packed earbuds to ensure listening privacy for games, music apps, or audiobooks.

 

We have many random “survival” items in little pockets, pouches, and those lovely ziploc bags, including, but not limited to: leatherman style multitool, iced tea individual drink sticks, tampons, ibuprofen, flossers, breath mints, flashlight, sometimes the mp3 player, extra batteries, mini sewing kit, snacks and meds if we know we will be out when those become necessary, small cash, and then, if we are taking this particular bag on a planned outing, we adjust what we might want for that particular outing. This BOB is more geared toward outside play, so it includes a whistle, spare vehicle key, hand warmers, trash bags, duct tape, rope, signal mirror, matches, small alcohol stove/hobo stove, and the like. Those outside items are stored within easy reach in our vehicle.

 

The newest addition to Team Blue, Mijo!

The newest addition to Team Blue, Mijo!

 

Service dog (grey messenger bag, in residence)

This bag is an absolute must for EMS or our workers to place with us when we are not ambulatory. We also would take that with us in case of residential emergencies (fire/evacuation). Tao and Mijo have three days worth of everything they usually need, plus several chew toys, softer toys they can chase or with which they may engage someone in play, cookies, individually bagged meals, all treats on their regimen except fresh produce, a small fleece blanket, poo bags, wipes, bowl, and a water bottle, plus all copies of local, state, and federal service laws, ADA/CDC provisions in special circumstances, and finally their applicable vet documentation (rabies, last shots, et. al.).

 

We do keep paper copies of our pertinent medical and personal information (living wills, list of support phone numbers, copies of important legal documents) inside Tao’s and Mijo’s information binder. Their daily schedule and command list reside there as well. We packed some Beanie Babies and art supplies in with their belongings, on the off chance that we can only grab their bag in case of SHTF (“sh*t hits the fan”).

 

Service dog (outing Outward Hound doggie backpack, in vehicle)

This BOB presents as a smaller version of their grey residential BOB, containing copies of our medical and personal information (living wills, list of support phone numbers, copies of important legal documents), a few chew toys, a ball, some cookies and small treats, a couple of individually bagged meals, a small fleece blanket, poo bags, wipes, bowl, and a water bottle, plus all copies of local, state, and federal service laws, ADA/CDC provisions in special circumstances, and finally their applicable vet documentation (rabies, last shots, et. al.). Mostly we have Tao and Mijo use this BOB for outings and appointments.

 

Other forms of BOB helpers in our case:

We seasonally pack a pink Adidas duffle bag full of clothes, shoes, winter gear, and toiletries. This bag stays at all times under Tao’s bed in our Volkswagen Eurovan, affectionately known as our “bus.” We learned that if we want to attend any sort of outdoor recreation, we need changes of clothing at times. We have dry socks and shoes if we lose our balance and wind up in a deep puddle, for instance. We have a complete seasonally appropriate outfit in case of a toileting or sickness accident (hey, it happens to the best of us at times!). Staff or friends can easily locate this bag and help us retrieve the proper items.

 

Tao and Mijo have a grey bin located behind the driver’s seat, where they stash (hee hee) at least one set of everything they ever use in their BOBs or in their house: toys of all kinds, food, snacks, paperwork, water, bowls, leashes, tie out, stake, and collars. They are never unprepared, no matter what situation erupts in their world. We can reload any of their BOB items from this bin if we accidentally forgot to pack something for them, or our workers can again easily find and retrieve the desired item.

 

Extra Stuff

We, as most smart drivers do, ensure our safety caused by a vehicle breakdown by keeping tools, nonperishable food, fire/heat sources, flashlights, batteries, water, improvisational toilet facility, tent, and blankets at easily reached locations inside the bus. We became stranded in New Jersey in 2001 during a freak snowstorm that forced highway closure. Our preparedness saved us, our partner, and our child at the time, through eight hours of below freezing temperatures. We carried enough survival items that we shared with neighboring cars, along with the “pay it forward” instruction to the recipients!

These are the most basic necessities we have found for any BOB. Please feel free to inquire for more ideas on sheltering in place. We have weathered almost every crisis imaginable, and are more than happy to share more resources and experiences with all of the independent livers, creating custom plans with them to suit their situation.

 

This is Part 3 in a 3-part emergency preparedness series. Read Part 1 here. And read Part 2 here. We hope you enjoyed this series and learned a lot from them, like we at ChronicBabe headquarters have!