20 Things You Need in Your Get Home Bag

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It may seem like Monday morning quarterbacking, but we want everyone to think about what happened recently in the SE United States to prepare.  When you prepare and plan ahead you limit the number of bad things that can happen to you and your family when a major storm or event hits your area.

By Dan C. – a contributing author of SurvivalCache.com

The Urban Survival Center sent out an email prior to the storm reminding everyone to be prepared, but we know that everyone is very busy Bug Out Bagand the email was easy to over look or not read immediately. So we thought we would cover the topic in a little more detail and provide some information you may find helpful.

There have been two major winter storms over the past few weeks that created tremendous problems in the eastern United States.  Even those living in Florida were affected by the cold, freezing rain and some snow.  In each of these storms people were trapped in their cars for hours. In some cases, it took people almost 18 hours to transverse what was a 1 hour drive under normal circumstances.  It was amazing to me how many people blamed the government for the travel problems and yet they showed no signs they were any better prepared for the winter storm.

There are many things you can so to prevent yourself from suffering when these winter storms occur. As with all prevention methods, planning is the key to success.

Thus, the first step is to have a Get Home Plan.

Listed below are five vital elements of being prepared for a natural disaster or storm. Naturally, this is an abbreviated version, but the key topics are covered.winter storm prep get home bag plan doomsday prep survival blog

1. If you feel there is an impending storm, whether a winter or summer storm. Especially, if the weather sources are warning of a potentially dangerous situation in the near future. Thus, you have several days notice of the impending event. Then do not go out .  Stay home and hunker down.  This includes weather systems like severe thunderstorms, hurricanes, winter snow storms and ice storms.

2. If you do need to go out to work, school or for any reason then you need a Get Home Plan. As mentioned, in my article on Urban Survival, you should have several safe havens .  Thus, as part of a good plan you should have access to several safe havens.

This means you and your family need to know the locations they can go to for safe haven. Whether it is your mom and dad’s house, brother or sister’s place, your office or even a friend’s home. These are locations that you have the key and permission to enter during times of emergency. This also makes it easier for family members to locate each other.

3. you need to communicate with your family. It is imperative, that you let them know where you are and your plans.  This is vital.  The extra strain of a family worrying and even taking the chances of going out and looking for you, places more people at risks.

4. If you get upset about your situation, then you will make bad decisions. It is very important in these untoward situations that you do your best to remain relaxed and think about your actions. For example, in the most recent storm in Atlanta, it took many people extended hours twinter storm prep plan survival blogo travel very short distances. That can be very frustrating and cause you to be hurried and anxious. All which can lead to distractions and cause you to make incorrect decisions.

5. Finally, you need to have a Get Home Bag in every vehicle. This is essential to your safety in a natural disaster or storm, in particular when you might be trapped in your vehicle for an extended period of time.

Your Get Home bag can be a backpack, duffel bag or an overhead luggage case. It should be a container you can easily wear or carry if you need to be mobile. These all can be placed in the truck of your vehicle.

For your convenience I have listed the twenty essential contents of you Get Home Bag.

Get Home Bag Contents

1. Season appropriate clothing including shirt, sweater, pants, socks

2. Work gloves

3. Plastic rain poncho

4. Walking shoes

5. Hat

6. Sunglasses

7. Rope 50ft

8. First Aid Kit

9. Compass/GPS/Local map

10. Flashlight with extra batteries

11. Lighter

12. Water/Gatorade/Juice x3

13. Snacks/Candy bars/Gum

14. Knife

15. Multitool

16. Prepaid credit card($100)/Cash ($50)

17. Personal Protection supplies

18. Two days of medications

19. Toilet paper

20. Wet wipes

We hope this information will be of value to you and help you avoid being caught unprepared in an incidence like this again.

The best to all of you and be safe,
Dan C.

photos by:
Jim Frazier

About Dan C: Dan has lectured in over 250 American Heart Association Advanced Cardiac Life Support Provider Courses (ACLS) and over 40 ACLS Instructor Courses, over 50 American College of Emergency Physician Basic Trauma Life Support Provider (BTLS) Courses and 20 BTLS Instructor courses and in over 30 American College of Surgeons Advanced Trauma Life Support Provider (ATLS) Courses, 5 ATLS Instructor courses, 40 American Heart Association Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) Provider and Instructor Courses and 30 American College of Emergency Physicians Advanced Pediatric Life Support (APALS) Provider and Instructor Courses.  He has also lectured nationally at several national medical meetings on Trauma verses Medical Patient Assessment, Emergency Airway Management, Pediatric Resuscitation, Emergency Trauma Patient Assessment and Management, Emergency Cardiac Care, and Critical Care Aeromedical Transport.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Randy February 26, 2014 at 10:43 am

Great article – I would add short wave radio to that list.


Professor Prepper February 26, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Excellent work Dan.

I'm always in awe of those who prepare for no more a journey then from house to car. No hat, no heavy coat, no boots, no gloves, and sometime, no long pants. The only time I have used the extra clothes in my truck was to give away to stranded motorists who had little more than a cell phone. Around here, most insightful folks carry sleeping bags in their cars, and some even pack a pair of snow shoes. You know, just in case.

I just approached a similar topic in my blog where I too considered travel survival, but with the added hoops of airport security to jump through. I outlined my TSA compliant BOB/GHB and other implications of adventures in air travel to hopefully plant similar seeds to those you sowed. Thanks again. http://professorprepper.blogspot.com


TripodXL April 10, 2014 at 10:26 pm

@Professor Prepper; Last time I flew, the TSA looked through my bag 3-4 times before they finally let me through. They went through my BOB, which I carry EVERYWHERE. What's this? It's a compass. A what? A compass. What does it do? Why do you have 4 flashlights? I'm scared of the dark. Is that what the batteries are for? Why do you have a deck of cards? Really? Are these binoculars? Yes. Where did you get them? Academy!!! What are all these bags of jerky for? Lunch!!!!!! Are all these YOUR medicines? No, I smuggle drugs for a living (no I didn't say that, but I wanted to). Do you get cold? Why? You have 2 pair of gloves. So?………Yeah, it amazes me that people will walk out into 99degree (5 degree) weather and don't have a single bottle of water, blanket, jerky……whatever. Survival of the fittest. Oh, well. Be well.


Zed March 1, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Why a lighter vs matches?? Or a firestarter?


tolik March 7, 2014 at 2:04 pm

dont plan on a response very soon , as it seems the site is not being maintained very much any longer .


Goblin24 July 4, 2014 at 9:06 pm

always carry more than one fire starter….common sense…!


BamaMan March 2, 2014 at 5:21 am

Good list. I was"stuck" in that storm but made it home.

If you can drive a 4×4 then put that towards the top of list but certainly under season change of clothes and shoes.


Critical J March 2, 2014 at 3:10 pm

no Emergency Med-Kit?!

Tell you what, we rode-out that 3-day snowtastrophe next door in B’ham, AL, and my most precious commodity “on person” we’re my boots and my walking stick, when I had to get out in it…


kscmac March 9, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Living here in Florida you must be ready to camp at home! With the hurricances . So many were not ready when we had 4 hurricanes in 5 weeks. I had good water power and 27 extra people i my place! Most were family and a few friends. It went pretty well till I had to toss out a cousin for trying to steal food and water! His wife and kids stayed as they brought food and water(he did not-he's a jerk) after 3 days he came back and earned by hardwork cleaning the outside with help from all of us. But he learned a lession he's not in charge and does not have a say in my place! We all did well, next time more solar panels and bigger battery bank!


Gene March 25, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Great list and advice!


Harleymilton March 26, 2014 at 1:13 am

How to make one out of the stuff you already have and a quick trip to the … to take you a couple of days to get home, keep your bag 'under' 15- 20 lbs. …. If you have the above base items covered in your get home bag you will ..


hathaway1066 April 8, 2014 at 10:19 am

If folks don't already know to do this–and since it's not in the list above–add a collapsing shovel and some way of getting traction (sand or gravel to throw on an icy patch, or a set of those metal grids that you lay down under the front edge of you tires). That alone may save having to use the other parts of your plan or kit.

Also, a tip from a recent news story that seems not-so-obvious and could be a lifesaver: a family stranded in the mountains out west with night temps in the very cold (-30〫!!!) range survived by heating their spare tire's rim over a campfire, then bringing it into the car to radiate heat.


TripodXL April 10, 2014 at 10:55 pm

@Professor and All; As I mentioned earlier, I always carry my BOB with me. When I am in my vehicle (or anywhere actually) I use a layered approach for survival. In my vehicle I carry a BOB…a bug out box, that has tools, a machete, 500' of 550 cord, air pump…….12'x20' tarp, duct tape, bags of jerky, a case (CASE) of water, wet weather gear, cold weather gear, a large first aid kit with QuickClot, a wad of surg towels, and paper towels, one pair of extra clothes……etc. This is in addition to my BOB. As far as the credit card, I would suggest a few hundred dollars in quarters, nickels, dimes, ones and fives. If power is out, CCs aren't going to work, but "real money" (that's a joke) will work when credit won't. I would can the toilet paper and just have more wet wipes. As far as meds, I would have a 7 day supply cuz you never know! If by "personal protection supplies" you mean a handgun with ammo, yep. I would also carry photocopies of your personal ID such as DL, Passport, credit cards etc., just in case you are separated from your wallet. No they won't be "officially good" but it might keep you out of jail or help you get help from authorities. I also keep an MRE or two or a couple of Hormel "Compleats" (that's the way they spell it) in the BOB pack. If I seem anal, I was a safety officer…soooooo. I always wear combat boots (desert) and long pants. The boots are all broken in and I can walk 10 miles or more in them. Harley is right, try and keep the bag to 20-25 #s so that it isn't too much of a burden. Hope this is constructive. Be well.


Josh April 15, 2014 at 8:02 am

Great list! One thing that I have found works great for a survival car kit to protect your gear and supplies from extreme car heat and cold is to store your car kit in a cooler! Keeps your water from getting frozen and your food from getting degraded by extreme heat. Keep a few desiccants in the cooler to protect tools and gear from moisture as well. Seal the cooler up with some tape (mostly to keep the lid from flying open) and make sure you secure the cooler with some webbing straps so it doesn't go flying through the air and hitting anyone in the case of a car accident! Thanks for the article!!


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