Welcome to the next step in the Zombie Apocalypse survival series!! Emergency prep is an important part of being self-sufficient, knowing that you and your family will be safe and supplied in any situation goes a long way to easing your mind. Around here we talk about emergency prep in Zombie Apocalypse terms, the other half of my family and his brothers are big nerds (or geeks depending on how you define them) so putting our emergency prep in terms of surviving the undead is a fun way of taking care of a serious matter.
If you haven’t already checked out the previous posts go back and read them!
Now we’re talking about our ancillary bags. These are bags we each have a responsibility of grabbing when/if we have to evacuate our house. This is where the evacuation plan comes in handy. Each member of the family should know their responsibilities and how they fit into the plan. And you have to trust that each person will do their part. Plan for what’s more important for your family and pack accordingly. For us that includes a pet bag, a larger first aid kit and a go-bag. If you have kids I’d recommend an additional bag for them, if you have specific health concerns plan for those!
This is important, they depend on us for their survival and in an emergency situation if you aren’t prepared for taking care of your pets things will get bad really fast! They have some of the same requirements as us. Food, Water, Shelter.
This is our furbaby Guinness.
He is a big boy, he eats a lot! In an emergency situation that won’t really change. I have a 72 hour bag made up for him just like I do for us. It’s a small sling style backpack that I can wear to the front while wearing my own 72 hour bag. I’m also going to put a large bag of dog food up at our bug out location so that way we have one on hand. Stockpiling for pets is just as important as it is for humans. In an emergency situation pets will provide invaluable support, companionship and joy. They also can be a great security deterrent (he may look quite ferocious 😉 but he is a total momma’s boy) and early warning system, he barks at EVERYTHING which in an emergency situation can alert us to danger that much sooner, or if you’re a negative nancy you can believe that he’ll alert everyone to our position.
I’ve pre-portioned out 3 days worth of food, again plastic baggies come in really handy here. A thing of treats that I got on sale and a chew toy (pets need entertainment and stress relief too). I’ve also got his important vet-related paperwork in a folder in his bag. This is great for two reasons, in an emergency it will already be in his bag and go with us to verify his shot records (which might be required at some shelters) and when we take him to the kennel or the vet for a check up we know exactly where all his vet records are! Eventually I want to get him a backpack that he can wear when we have to bug-out. This will free me up to be able to carry more, and it is larger so I’ll be able to put more in it for him. Pets are family, especially for us. This four legged creature is our baby and an important member of our family, so when I am planning for our families survival he is just as much a part of that!!
We don’t have kids, but if we did I sure as heck would be planning a bag for them as well. In addition to the regular 72-hour bag (which you can find a bag fit for them and get them really involved in prepping!) an ancillary bag for the kids would be a great place to put some extra comfort items that will make the emergency a little easier for them. Staying in a shelter, running from the undead, or sheltering in place (at home or your bug out location) will be a lot less stressful on you and the kids if you plan ahead. Have a comfort item for each kid (a blanket, stuffed animal, etc. Even if they’re a bit older during a stressful situation they will be able to cope a lot better with something familiar and snuggleable on hand) non-electronic games and toys that will provide entertainment and distractions from the stuff going on around them. Coloring books, card games, small travel board games, etc are great options for this. Get the kids involved and have them help pick out the items they would like to have. This can also double as a great go-to for long car rides!!
First Aid Kit:
When planning our 72-hour bags I had a tough time figuring out how to organize all of our first aid supplies in a way that would be easy to use, not take up a ton of space, and light enough to carry a long distance if needed. I’m lucky to have had a good amount of First Aid classes while I was in the Air Force (I was in charge of training and so I got to plan a lot of Self Aid and Buddy Care classes for my unit. I still kick butt at the sucking chest wound!) as well as through our local Red Cross.
I am a big believer in being knowledgeable and doing everything you can BEFORE an emergency situation. Practicing techniques is important, in a real life situation you’re going to rely a lot on muscle memory and instinct, finesse will go right out the window. So take the time to learn from experts (Red Cross, American Heart Association, etc) practice and stay sharp with your skills. Because of these years of information and practice and a slight bit of paranoia I’ve amassed a decent first aid kit.
This meant that half of my 72-hour bag was filled with first aid supplies and that just wasn’t working for me. Plus I was digging through it any time I burnt myself, which considering that amount of time I spend in the kitchen was quite often. I wanted something more organized and durable to hold our supplies, something that would work day to day and be useful in an emergency.
This is what I came up with!! It’s a compartmentalized toolbox, fishing boxes work great too. Anything with a sturdy handle and lots of organizational options. The large top carries our bulkier items, more peroxide, a sling, emergency blanket, scissors, liquid anti-diarrhea meds and a first aid reference book.
The pull-out cases are great for organizing meds, bandages, and other small items. To stock up on things I keep an eye out for sales, coupons, etc and buy things to add to it when I can. A couple weeks ago there was a great BOGO sale on anti-diarrhea and antacids. I stocked up! Another time I was able to get peroxide for less than .50 each. We now have a cupboard full of it! It doesn’t have to be expensive and just like the 72 hour kit anything is better than nothing. So go through you’re cupboards and find what you already have and put it all in a central location. This will make life easier for an emergency but also for when someone gets hurt in the day to day of life.
Some other great items to have in your first aid kit
- Medical scissors
- Face masks (N95 preferably but even regular medical ones)
- OTC medications (we have our sorted by type in one of the compartments it’s great)
- Extra prescribed medications
- Baking soda (we use this for SO many purposes and buy it in bulk but keep some in our cars and our first aid kit)
- Neosporin, burn cream, chapstick
- Extra epi-pen if you have allergies in the family!
This one is still a work in progress for us, we’re both believers in guns for personal protection and have taken our CPL class. We try to go to the range every couple months to practice and stay comfortable with our personal guns (and it’s a fun date for us), dry fire practice is also important for getting comfortable with your handgun and staying sharp. Again, being the deal queen I was able to find a GREAT deal on ammo boxes. This will allow us to sort and store our ammo in a safe and dry location. One ammo box goes in the go-bag with an assortment of ammo (enough for a couple magazines worth for each of our guns). Sadly that’s all we have right now, we have a date planned to go check out the local surplus store (I know, I know we have weird date nights) and find some more goodies for our go-bag.
What I need to add or more accurately want to add are two tactical flashlights (on/off switch on the back for using with handguns), knives, face paint for camouflage and whatever else Mr. Bossman Security Guy can think of! Seriously, this is his forte. The history in personal security has given him a dislike of crowds and bars, but it has certainly given him the knowledge to keep our family safe and I am forever grateful for that, so I trust his judgment implicitly!
As with anything you use/need for an emergency it’s important to not wait for an emergency to begin practicing/using these items. Get comfortable with any weapons you have, learn how to use them safely and accurately. Don’t be afraid to get training or take classes. Again, I can’t recommend Tactical Advantage Firearms Training enough for gun-related classes. If guns aren’t your thing learn about non-lethal defensive items like pepper spay. A gun you can’t/wont shoot doesn’t do you any good. If you do have kids get them in a hunters safety class or something similar. The sooner they learn that weapons are NOT toys the better. Keep your guns and ammo stored safely, we have a safe for our guns and we are all adults in our house. Safety can never be stressed enough.
As Building A Frog put it, emergencies don’t always happen when you are at home. We spend a good portion of our day at work (sad I know) and it’s important to have a plan for how you’re going to get from work to home in an emergency to get your supplies. Having a couple of routes off the main roads to you’re home (especially important if you have a long commute out of a big city), and to your bug out location are important. Our bug our plan has us both taking our cars when we evacuate. Dustin drives a big SUV and I have a small fuel efficient car, for our plan we want both cars so we have options in case something bad happens and to maximize the amount of supplies we can take.
So each car has a small tote in it, we’ve got an extra pair of running shoes (especially important for me since dress shoes aren’t the best option if I have to hoof it out of town), duct tape, some snacks, water (I don’t like the idea of keeping bottled water in the car because we live Michigan where the temperature changes so much. 90 degree weather is not great for plastic and freezing can cause the bottles to expand and break causing a mess. So for us the most practical plan is to keep one gallon of water in the car and then stock up in the garage to throw into the car when we grab our supplies. This is in addition to our car maintenance kit with jumper cables, flash light, flares, and again since this is Michigan and it gets cold we have a blanket. For a great resource check out this article from New Life on a Homestead!
We’re lucky to have a weird little room off our pantry. Someday it will be a half bath but for now its just where the main floor laundry chute is and some shelves. That’s where we keep our 72-hour bags and our ancillary bags! All in one location near the back door where we can grab it and go. Keeping your bags in an out of the way location may be nice from a storage standpoint, but for an emergency standpoint not so much! Make a game of it, time yourselves, see how quickly you can get your shoes on, grab your bags and get in the car. Are you fast enough to get away from the zombies? And always have a plan, know who is responsible for each bag, each item you really feel are important. In the garage we have a few cases of water, our camping box that has our tent, tarp, sleeping bags and fire cooking tools. Knowing what goes where and who has to grab it will keep you from tripping over yourselves when you’re in a stressful situation.
What items am I missing? Prepping is never finished, you can always get better, always plan more. So let me know, what do you guys do? What’s in your ancillary bags? Hope you’ve got something! If not, get started now….it’s only too late if you’ve got zombies knocking on your door.