Make a Bug-Out List So Nothing Gets Forgotten

I grew up in Florida, where we were all told to prepare for hurricane season. June through September, and sometimes but rarely in May, people in the Gulf Coast and Atlantic States are at risk from hurricanes. My family were not anywhere near “preppers” and we never talked about emergency preparedness. The extent that I can recall from childhood of being prepared is that my Grandmother urged us all to have a suitcase packed that we could grab and go with if we needed to. I never packed a suitcase and I don’t think my mother ever did. And looking back, I’m pretty sure the only thing in my Grandmother’s suitcase was a nightgown and a change of clothes.

Well, now that I’m an adult, I take emergency preparedness much more seriously! Not only do we have supplies at home, each driver in the family (two adults and a 19-year-old) have their own cars with emergency gear bags in each car. We all work in different places across town and live a bit out in the country, so having a car bag is the minimum that I feel we need. I feel good about this, but I also have some random supplies that are in different places.

For instance, in my car’s glove box is a glassbreaker multitool and an LED flashlight. In a cabinet in our laundry room is a crank lantern and two Luci solar lights. These we keep accessible in the house in the event that the power goes out. My partner has medications that we don’t have backups of, that are on our dresser in the bedroom. (Emergency prep lists always tell you to take backups of medications, but insurance doesn’t pay to fill most medications more than once a month, so having extras of expensive meds is not likely for most people anymore.)

I also have sleeping bags in a closet and an envelope with a little cash. In the laundry room is a stash of candles and lighters. Does your bug out bag have a hairbrush and toothbrush and toothpaste in it? I’ve met many people over the years who focused on just the emergency supplies in their bug out bag and not little things like hygiene. If there was an evacuation call or some other emergency where I needed to leave the house quickly and take as much as I could in my car, I might not remember all of these things since they are all in different, separate places. While I could get by without them, if I had these things they would serve as backup gear or extra peace of mind.

Therefore, I recommend that you all take stock of the things you have around the house that might not be in your proper bug out bag but that you would want to have with you in the event of an emergency. Here’s a list of things that I would want to have with me that go beyond my basic bug out bag that I’d like to grab if I have time. What does your list look like? Print your list out and keep it in a handy place where whoever is at home can find it.

Extra lighters from candle closet
Magnifying glass – for fire starting (my kid likes to play with this so it’s in a drawer in the living room)
Glassbreaker multitool from car
Knife from desk
Complete change of clothes, with gloves, hat, jacket, scarf, etc depending on the season
Toothpaste, toothbrushes for everyone
Playing cards – there are some in my bug out bag but why not take another pack?
Notebook and pen/pencil
Phone and charger
Luci lights
Paracord – there is some in my bug out bag, but we also have some extra in the laundry room where the candles and other in-house emergency supplies are
Bug out bags from in the house
Water jugs
Sleeping bags and pillows
Hair comb
Lotion – I like soft hands, ok?
Sunscreen and lip balm – these are in my medicine cabinet but not in my bug out bag
Snacks – jerky, granola, cheese sticks, peanut butter, crackers, cans of soup, etc., that you may have at home that you can grab quickly.
What else?