What about a bug out vehicle (B.O.V.)?
Hurricanes. Forest fires. Volcanoes. Civil unrest. There are a variety of reasons that we may have to leave our home. All of them very unpleasant. Fortunately it’s rare we have to do it.
Our homes have our stuff. Our homes are familiar surroundings, and that is always comforting. Our homes bring emotional stability. Our friends and neighbors are there for mutual support and comfort.
Leaving home for any upheaval is the last thing anyone should want to do. But there are times when it needs to be done for the safety of the family. Hopefully, if fleeing our home needs to be done, it’s only temporary and we have a place to go back to.
In my area wild fires are a seasonal hazard. Preparing to leave our home is a sobering reality. Somethings are irreplaceable, and yet we can’t take everything if we own.
For most, my experience has been, it’s very difficult to get a grip on the possibility that anything traumatic and deadly can happen. It’s not the normal for such disruptions to occur, but every year they occur to someone. We need to know our area, what is happening around us, and what disaster may take place. Chances are nothing out of the ordinary will happen, but if something does, being unprepared may be deadly.
Remember the seven “Ps”: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Pitiful Poor Performance. Having no plan or preparation in place will only make a bad situation that much worse. Someone once said, “Failure to plan is planning to fail!” So true, especially when the calvary isn’t coming to save you.
If leaving must be done, the most likely escape will be done via personal vehicle. Only your family can decide what personal heirlooms you may want to take, but there are some considerations for a general load out.
The first thing is to consider the vehicle. Does it run properly? Is maintenance done regularly? Do you have a tool kit for it? Do you have jumper cables and a power pack to jumpstart your battery? Do you have extra oil and other fluids? You’ll definitely need a tire repair kit and know how to use it. Consider an extra fuel container. For the winter you may need chains for your tires and a shovel. The idea is not to be broken and stranded during an emergency. Help may be slow in coming if they’re able to come at all.
Hopefully you have friends or relative you can go to or at the very least a motel to stay at. If there’s a mass exodus, you may have to travel quite a distance to find a place to stay, and those friends and relatives you thought of staying with may be leaving also.
I suggest the basics always be taken. Showing up at someone’s door empty handed can put a lot of strain on their resources. It may also put a lot of strain on your relationship. If you end up in a motel, it’s going to get expensive.
Here are some things to consider in your bug out vehicle kit:
- The aforementioned vehicle specific gear.
- Food: Food is always wise to have. If you get stranded, you still can eat. Also, showing up a someone’s door empty handed can put a strain on their resources, which can cause eventual hard feelings. Furthermore, I’ve seen grocery store shelves go empty with the threat of a hurricane. Why put yourself in a tight position if resupplying may be slow or difficult.
- Don’t forget your camp stove, fuel, dishes, pots and pans, silverware, and cleaning supplies.
- Sleeping gear: Blankets, sleeping bags, tent, pillows, air mattresses or cots can be a plus when showing up at someone’s door. If you’re stuck on the road for a night or in a campground, you have the ability to get a good nights sleep and something to eat.
- Clothing: You’ll probably not be able to take everything, so choosewisely. Bring clothes to cover all seasons, especially winter. One doesn’t actually need a lot of clothes to get by, so don’t take up precious space with things you may never use. Clothes are our first line of defense against the elements, be prepared for what may come.
- Water: Always have water with you. The area you live in will determine how much: if you’re in the desert, you can’t have too much. If water is abundant where you’re at, there’s not much to worry about but always have some available. Have a water filter that can sustain your size family just in case you have to get water from a questionable source.
- Fire: You’ll need a way to make a fire in any weather condition and to light your camp stove. BIC lighters are great and inexpensive. Always carry some type of tinder to get a campfire going. Know how to start a fire. A fire kit won’t take up much room but can be a lifesaver if needed.
- You may consider carrying area specific tools. For instance, if you live in a wooded area, you may want a chainsaw in case a downed tree is blocking the road. Folding saw, small axe, and shovel may be handy. What may be needed for your area only you know.
- Personal items: laptops, pads, phones, games, etc., with cords.
- Personal hygiene items
- First aid kit, trauma kit, and medications
- Paper maps: Electronics are great supplements, but paper maps don’t need power or internet and offer a bird’s eye view of what’s ahead.
- The list can go on according to your specific needs, wants, and available room.
Most of us haven’t had to, and probably won’t have to, leave our home because of a catastrophe, but each year it happens to some. Having a plan and some things prepared can save us a lot of time, pain, and forgotten valuables if ever we have an emergency bug out.