Bags all packed up? Photo by whiteafrican.
What is a Get Home Bag?
Simply put: it’s a bag that you keep at your workplace, filled with all the gear you need to get you home safely to your family.
Get Home Bag versus Bug Out Bag / Bail Out Bag
A Get Home Bag is not meant to be a Bug Out Bag (or Bail Out Bag). You won’t be required to live off what’s in your back for a few days (unless walking back home really is a 3 day journey).
Deuter Cross City Backpack. Lots of room.
With our minimalist approach, you don’t need a huge bag. Your Get Home Bag needs to be sturdy yet lightweight – you might have to carry it a long way. We highly recommend getting a backpack, which will distribute the weight evenly on your back. A backpack will also free both your hands.
While tactical bags with camouflage patterns may look cool, they will only attract attention. Any backpack will do, including a laptop bag. You probably have a spare backpack or two – just use one of those to start with.
What’s In The Bag?
As mentioned before, we should aim to have the minimum gear needed to get you home safely. The more gear you add, the heavier your load – and the more likely you will abandon your bag. Here’s the (annotated) list:
- Bottle of Water. Hydration is very important, the extra weight will be worth it.
- Snacks (trail mix is good), candy, sweets. For the extra boost in energy and to provide some comfort.
- Spare socks & underwear.
- Pry bar or other prying tool. If you’re in a hurry, prybars can help open doors and gates. You won’t have time to pick locks.
An 8-inch prybar can fit in your bag.
- Whistle. For signalling.
- Permanent ink marker e.g. Sharpies. Write notes, leave clues, mark routes.
- Duct tape. Quick repairs to clothing, equipment, and even wounds.
- Portable radio. Listen to for emergency broadcasts.
- Spare batteries for your radio and flashlight. It’s best to standardize your electronic equipment to use one type of battery, e.g. the common AA battery.
Lithium batteries have a higher capacity than normal batteries, and they have very long shelf lives (up to 10 years).
- Spare battery / emergency battery for your phone.
Some emergency cellphone chargers use AA batteries as their power source.
- First aid kit. You can buy a ready made kit or assemble your own.
A ready-made first aid kit.
- A map that shows you how to get home. Learn how to print your your personalized evacuation map.
- Compass, to use with your map. If you don’t know how, read this free ebook on how to use a map and compass.
- Spare house keys
- Cash. Small bills are best.
If you have space:
- Spare change of clothes
- A backup set of your Every Day Carry : Bandana, Multitool, Flashlight. A headlight is a great option for a flashlight, since it will also leave both hands free.
- Wet wipes / toilet paper. For hygiene purposes.
- Rope or cord, like paracord.
Other Get Home Gear
Don’t forget your Every Day Carry.
You can’t walk very far in those heels (both men & women here). Comfortable shoes – broken in, not brand new.
Hat, or any other ways to cover your head.
Jacket, raincoat or poncho.
Where to put your Get Home Bag?
You should have your Get Home Bag in an easily accessible location. If you work on the ground floor and your car is a short walk away, you can keep it in the car. Otherwise, keep it handy near where you work the most – in a locker or beneath your desk. If the bag is in your locker, make sure you always keep the key near you.
The Shopping List
These are Amazon links – every purchase helps us run the Urban Evac site.
1. Etón American Red Cross Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger
2. Deuter Cross City BackPack
3. Adventure First Aid Kit by Adventure Medical Kits
4. Shark Corp Moulding Prybar
5. Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA (12 pack of batteries)