Being prepared is a challenging task. Being prepared to move your gear and supplies from Point A to Point B quickly and efficiently is even more challenging. We use a system that is not only very mobile but it helps with organization.
We recently watched a news video from one of our local stations that showed how a young family of 3 reacted when they were given 15 minutes to evacuate their home. The family was instructed to grab their essential items, load what they need into the car and be out of the driveway in 15 minutes. Needless to say, the unprepared couple struggled to decide what to take and failed the exercise. The video showed them scrambling frantically through the house trying to gather an eclectic array of mostly non-essential items. At the end of the 15 minutes, the couple was horribly unequipped to drive off to an unknown destination for an unknown amount of time.
We’ve been using a storage system in our household for well over a decade that has worked out well for us. It’s not fancy, it’s very mobile and it’s been mentioned several times in the articles posted here on this blog.
In a nutshell, instead of a single Bug-Out Bag or Kit that contains a mixture of an individual’s gear and supplies, this system is a series of duffle bags that store bulk items and other supplies that will help our household cope during an extended disaster plus help resume life and recover some normalcy after returning home.
Keep in mind that we don’t use this system as a substitute for a true Emergency Kit but it’s simply an effective way to organize the bulk of our extra, semi-essential, gear and supplies and have it all ready to go in a hurry.
Here are a few examples:
The Home Office Bag:
This bag contains all of our business, insurance and banking documents, computer programs and back-ups. It contains all of our family photo files and digital home movies. This bag is large enough to hold a padded laptop bag and stays near my office desk ready at all times. In case of a sudden evacuation, this bag and my laptop could be picked up and transported in just seconds.
The Medical/First Aid Bag:
This bag is another important bag in our house. It contains the common household medical equipment such as blood pressure cuff, thermometers etc. It also contains the bulk OTC meds and first-aid supplies that we use to refill our individual kits. All of our standard household med supply inventory is stored in this bag and nowhere else so there is no hunting around when we need an item. NOTE: This bag is not used as our Pandemic Preparedness Kit, that is a kit in itself and stored in separate tote.
Basic Emergency Comms and Battery Bag:
This bag holds and stores such things as small battery chargers, 12V charging cords and adaptors, AA and AAA batteries, Portable shortwave and AM/FM radio, scanner radio and a spare set of GMRS walky-talkies. This is a basic bag.. our other 2 way radio gear is stored in more extensive bags.
You probably get the idea of what this system is all about from these examples. We don’t worry about gadgets and gizmos that save space in these bags. Since we use the bags as the one and ONLY “warehouse” for this gear, I inventory their contents religiously and insist that I be kept informed when an piece of gear is checked-out or when we’re running low on any consumables between inventories. This really isn’t much of a problem anymore since our kids have grown and moved out of the house.
The bags are nothing special and, with the exception of one or two, they were all purchased at garage sales and thrift shops. We don’t use backpacks, they’re too cumbersome and they don’t stack well. Duffle bags and large soft-sided briefcases work the best for us.
Over the years we’ve had plenty of practice using and loading the Ready-bags. We can have these supplies loaded and ready to go in minutes with just one or two trips to the truck.
I’ve found that these bags also make it easy to assemble a special-purpose day bag for family outings or short trips and there’s never a problem knowing where things are at when they’re needed or where they belong when we’re done using them.
FOOD and Ready-Bag Storage:
We do not keep food in any prepacked bags. Instead, we keep bags ready in the pantry so the canned goods can be scooped off the shelves and into the bags in a hurry. Our long-term food storage is kept in another area in a different storage system.
All of our Ready-Bags are stored, together, in an area of our home that is least likely to be damaged by fire or tornado. If we had to leave the bags behind and our house is leveled by a tornado, this area would be easy to find so the bags could be retrieved. Any items that can be damaged by water are packed in watertight containers before being put in the bags.