Portable Personal Records for Emergency Situations Reply

Micro_SD-CardOne aspect of disaster preparation which never seems to get any attention is access to important personal records.  These may be urgently needed during a time of disaster or emergency, but without advance planning you may not have what you need.

Basic records which are critically important include basic identification such as copies of your driver’s license and passport, as well as proof of insurance, basic medical records and copies of prescriptions.  You should also have photos of each family member, as well as emergency contact information for family and friends.

Copies of essential records should be kept in three places:

1.  Secure protection in your home or place of business;

2.  Off-site in a safe deposit box of a financial institution; or, encrypted electronic ‘cloud’ storage with a company that has its servers in a different state; and

3.  An ultra small portable data-storage device which is kept in your wallet, pocket or purse.  Since most people are well aware of the needs in the first two categories where there is an abundance of information, this article focuses on the third category which is essential but often overlooked.

Photocopy IDA few pages of photocopied documents such as your driver’s license, medical cards, and passport, can (and should) be kept in a Ziploc bag stored in your emergency essentials knapsack (Go-Bag). This is a good start, but it isn’t nearly enough.  Since we live in a data-dependent world we also need a digital data storage solution which makes it possible to safely carry dozens, or even hundreds of pages, of truly essential records.  To do this, we need an ultra-small and durable mobile device.

For many people, low-cost is also important, so this article provides both our recommendation as to the best option, as well as the best low-cost solution.

Whatever data is essential to your everyday life and well-being needs to be backed-up and securely stored on a portable device which you keep with you.  (Examples of these types of documents are included at the end of this article).  Since size and weight are factors which limit practical implementation, this article explains how to responsibly meet this need with minimal inconvenience.

These same documents, and more, should be kept in a safety deposit box or uploaded to cloud storage in a different city or country, but it is still advisable to keep a copy of essential information with you at all times.  Disaster often strikes unexpectedly, so access to stored data can be terminally interrupted.  For example, if a bank is destroyed in the same storm as your home or place of business, the documents stored at those locations might be gone forever.  Similarly, cloud (Internet) storage of data can be damaged or lost, or it can be inaccessible when you need it.

Thankfully, the miniaturization and low-cost of data storage and advances in data security, now make it possible to carry this essential information with you at all times.  Even if your house or office is burned in a fire, damaged as a result of flood or storm, or otherwise inaccessible because you have fled the area to escape from turmoil, or simply because you are on vacation, important records can still be quickly accessible as long as you have access to a working computer.

This article provides ideas on how you can safely and securely store essential records in a small lightweight package, so that you can keep this important information with you at all times.  Various tools can be used to accomplish this, but this article describes what we consider to be the two most viable solutions.

The process starts by using a scanner to copy your important records, transforming them into PDF documents which can be opened with any computer.  At the end of this article you will find links to free software for making and reading PDF files, and for the products mentioned in this article.

Ultra-Small Data Storage Options

For many, they see their laptop computer or smart phone as the place to store this vital information.  That’s fine, but since these tools are prone to theft and damage, and security of the data is iffy even if you use security apps, this isn’t sufficient.  Keeping this data on an encrypted memory card or USB device is far more secure and even more portable.

Micro SD CardOption #1:  Memory Card (Approx. Cost, $10)

Memory cards such as those used in digital cameras are relatively inexpensive and ideal for data storage as well as photo storage.  Card readers for these memory cards are abundant, but adding an extra-small USB card reader to your GO-Bag is nevertheless a good idea.  In an emergency situation the data contained on your memory card can be accessed using almost any computer—as long as you have a card reader along.

At little more than ½-inch and less than the weight of two aspirin, the ultra small memory cards like the SanDisk ‘micro SD card’ (15 mm x 11 mm x 1.0 mm, 0.5 grams), is a portable data marvel. These tiny cards can store from 8 GB-32 GB of data or more, so they are ideal for this purpose.  Be sure to buy a well-known brand card like SanDisk as quality is important.

Transport and Packaging of Your Memory Card:  After you’ve added data to your memory card you need to protect it.  To protect the card from moisture and damage and still keep the package small, insert the card into a tiny Ziploc bag such as those used for electronic components or jewelry.  For added protection, consider adding a piece of rigid plastic to keep the memory card from flexing, and then wrap the plastic bag with a small piece of tinfoil to shield it from static, etc.  When you are finished, this little package can still be smaller than ¾-inch (20mm) in size and less than one gram in weight.  Using a piece of duct tape, secure the tiny package to the inside of your wallet for safe storage and ready access, or to the underside of your wristwatch or some other item you wear daily.

Total cost of this project (depending on the storage capacity of the memory card you select), can be as little as $10 (USD).  Note: Remember to always encrypt confidential data; see the below section on “Data Security is Essential” for suggestions.

IronKey USB DriveOption #2: ‘IronKey’ Encrypted Flash Drive (Approx. Cost, $37+)

Designed originally for the U.S. government, defense contractors, and to meet the needs of those who transport secret corporate data, an IronKey flash drive (aka/ ‘USB drive,’ or ‘thumb drive’) is the most secure portable data storage method available to the general public.  And, it’s small enough to carry on your key ring.

An ‘IronKey’ data storage device requires a password to open it, and the data stored on the drive is fully encrypted.  Even the least expensive IronKey model, the D80 (4GB $37; 32GB $116), automatically encrypts anything you add to the drive.  Since it uses the high industry standard of 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption, it is very secure.  At only 3 x 3/4 x 3/8-inch (75mm x 19mm x 9 mm) in size, and designed to ‘plug and play’, you can insert it into the USB drive of any computer to quickly access your stored information.

If you want an even higher level of protection, select the IronKey S250 or D250 USB drives (capacities range from 2GB-64GB, $109-599).  These have an even higher level of encryption, 256-bit AES Cipher-Block, chained-mode (government-grade) encryption, plus an impressive tamper-proof design of the drive itself.  For routine daily use of your personal computer, as well as during a disaster situation when you are using someone else’s computer, these models include the IronKey ‘Identity Manager’ which provides a safe and quick method to store and retrieve all of your passwords.  In regard to durability, all of the IronKey USB drives are water resistant, but the S250 and D250 drives are waterproof and extra durable.  Follow the link at the end of this article to compare the different IronKey models.

ironkey-KeyRing2Summary: When kept on your keyring, your IronKey USB device is available for daily tasks such as routine data transfer between computers, as well as for recovery of your personal records after a disaster.  Though not as compact as a Micro SD card, the IronKey USB data drive (models S250 or D250) is the option which provides the most durable and secure, portable data storage.

For Info on the D80, visit: http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/secure-portable-storage/d80.html

For Info on the S250 and D250, visit: http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/secure-portable-storage/250-personal.html

*** If convenience, ease of use, and easy-setup are important to you, a ‘IronKey’ flash drive is your best choice.  If cost or small-size are your most important consideration, then use a Micro SD Card to store your important records.

Data Security is Essential

If you are storing your data on a memory card or anything other than an IronKey USB drive, confidential data needs to be encrypted.  This is essential for keeping your data secure even if your storage device has been lost or stolen.  Identity thieves would have a field day if they got their hands on your personal records, so all confidential data needs to be password protected and encrypted before you make it portable.

Some manufacturers of USB drives have models which password protect the data.  In our experience, this is inadequate.

At the very least, use the encryption software which probably came with your computer.  With both Microsoft and Apple computer operating systems there is an encryption option built into the software.  Though far from ideal, this software can be used to encrypt the data on a memory card or portable drive.  This protection is far better than nothing, but there are better alternatives.

To learn more about the software that is built into your computer’s operating system, use the “help” feature of your operating system to learn how to access and use the tool.  On PC’s running the various versions of Microsoft Windows operating system, the file encryption feature is referred to as ‘EFS’ (Encrypting File System).  If you are using a Mac computer, you will find the encryption software by searching for the term ‘FileVault’.  Keep in mind that if you utilize either of these methods to encrypt data on your portable drive, you will only be able to access your data by using the same type of computer (PC or Apple), and in some cases, the same version of the operating system.  This might seriously limit your ability to access your data after a disastrous event.

To achieve a much higher degree of data security, use the free encryption program, ‘TrueCrypt’ on your memory card or portable storage device.  This free software provides true 256-bit encryption, and it will also run on nearly all desktop and laptop computers.  For more information and to download TrueCrypt encryption software, visit: http://www.truecrypt.org/.

TrueCrypt encryption software provides a very high level of encryption, plus it makes it possible to hide encrypted files, so even a hacker who has accessed your memory card won’t be able to find the files.  On the TrueCrypt website, be sure to read the ‘Beginner’s Tutorial,’ which is part of the TrueCrypt User’s Guide.  In it you will find instructions on how to set-up the software in ‘portable mode’.  This method loads the TrueCrypt encryption software onto the memory card (or flash drive), and lets you partition the drive.  This makes it possible for you to run the encryption program on nearly any computer, and lets you store both encrypted and unencrypted data on the same drive.  The minimum size for a memory card used for this purpose is 8MB, but a larger memory card will be needed if you plan to store much data.

Whether you use a memory card such as the SD Micro Drive or a flash drive (aka/ ‘USB drive,’ or ‘thumb drive’), remember that you must routinely have it with you, so that your data is available to you when disaster strikes.  An encrypted drive that is left behind may not be a security risk, but the work of preparing it will have been wasted if you don’t have the drive with you when you need it.

What Records to Store and EncryptWhat Records to Store: Encrypted and Unencrypted

Even the most basic personal data such as your driver’s license should be encrypted.  However, you may want to make some information, such as photos and your address book, accessible without entering a password.  At the very least, an unencrypted text file which includes your contact information will make it possible for a lost or stolen drive to be returned to you, and emergency contact information available to authorities, so that they can notify your loved ones if you have been seriously injured.

Remember to add PDF ‘reader’ software to your memory card or USB device, too.  You may need to borrow a computer which does not have this software installed (see links at the end of this article), and the owner of the computer may not want you to download software onto their computer.  Or, the Internet may be down making a download impossible.

It’s up to you to decide what records you store, and what you encrypt, but don’t let a lengthy list delay implementation.  It is much better to have an encrypted drive with just a little information stored on it, than to have nothing at all at a time when it’s needed.

Start with preparing your memory card or USB drive’s encryption.  Then, use a scanner to make copies of your most important ID cards and documents, perhaps starting with what you carry in your wallet.

These scanned records should be stored in PDF format, so that your documents can be read, and even printed if necessary, using any computer.  The below list isn’t your list, it’s simply included to stimulate your thinking, to help you develop your own list of important documents.  If your list is long, don’t let the enormity of the task prevent you from starting right now.  Store your wallet documents now, and get started with the project today.  Continue it as soon as you can.

Consider, too, that you might want to include the same records for your spouse, children, or other close family members or trusted friends.  It’s a simple task to make two identical sets of emergency records, and two identical portable drives.  You might even use the same password on both drives so that you and your spouse can both access either drive.

When you make two identical memory cards or USB drives, your spouse will be able to carry a backup of this same essential information.  If you are separated by circumstances, each of you will have what you need.  And, if one or the other is lost, damaged or stolen, you will both have what you need on the surviving device.

Records to Consider IncludingRecords to Consider Including: 

  1. Driver’s License
  2. Company or Employee ID
  3. Concealed Handgun License (CHL) and Firearm Records
  4. Passport (The two page spread which includes your photo)
  5. Social Security Card
  6. Medical Insurance Cards
  7. Dental Insurance Cards
  8. Organ Donor Card
  9. Pharmaceutical Prescriptions or Prescription Medicine Labels
  10. Medical History & Immunization Records
  11. Copy of your Last Will and Testament
  12. Vehicle Insurance
  13. House/Office Insurance Documents
  14. Titles for Vehicles and Property
  15. Property Descriptions with Serial Numbers
  16. Professional Licenses or Certification Documents
  17. Credit Card Numbers & Contact Info for Card Companies
  18. Banking Information, Including Account Numbers and Passwords
  19. List of Other Access Codes and Passwords
  20. Important Membership or Affiliation Cards (Particularly those which give you permission to occupy facilities and property which you might want to access during an emergency)
  21. Letters of Permission to Occupy Land or Facilities
  22. Address Book (Contact information for family, friends and colleagues)
  23. Photos (Be sure to include close-up, passport-like images of yourself, family members, key friends and colleagues that you might want to find during an emergency situation.)
  24. Physical Description (Yourself, family, friends, and colleagues)
  25. Fingerprints and copies of dental x-rays
  26. Maps and Directions

To download a PDF copy of this article for printing, click here:   Portable_Personal_Records_for_Emergency_Situations.

Links to Products Mentioned in this Article: 

– Free PDF Maker Software:  Girdac  http://www.girdac.com/Products/PDF-Converters/Free-PDF-Creator/Info/Features.htm

– Free PDF Reader Software:  Adobe http://get.adobe.com/reader/

– Free Encryption Software:  TrueCrypt http://www.truecrypt.org/

– Cloud Storage:  Dropbox is one of many options https://www.dropbox.com/

– SanDisk Micro SD Cards, General Information: http://www.sandisk.com/products/memory-cards/microsd/   These cards and card readers are readily available online, as well at electronics stores, and many other retailers such as Costco, Target, and Walmart.

– IronKey D80 Datasheet: http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/resources/documents/Ironkey_D80%20Hardward%20Encrypted%20Flash%20Drive_Sellsheet_Letter.pdf

– IronKey products are not readily available from retailers, but they can sometimes be found at online stores such as Amazon.com.  The below links are to the IronKey official website:

– IronKey Purchase Info for D80: http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/secure-portable-storage/d80.html

– IronKey S250 and D250 Datasheet:  http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/secure-portable-storage/250-personal.html

– IronKey Purchase Info for S250 and D250: http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/secure-portable-storage/250-personal.html

– IronKey Products by Type: http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/resources/documents/IronKey_Product_Diagram_Apr2013.pdf

– IronKey S250 and D250 Comparison Chart:  http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/resources/documents/IronKey_S250_vs_D250_SellSheet.pdf

Go-Bags and Emergency Provision Kits for Disasters or Evacuation Reply

GO-Bag_Family

Prepare GO-Bags for each family member.

What is a GO Bag?  It’s a pre-packed provisions and gear knapsack, and it is a core element for disaster and emergency preparations.  Whether you are forced to evacuated from your home due to a storm, or you have made the choice to flee due to civil unrest or some other cause, you need a pre-packed GO-Bag (sometimes referred to as a GOOD Bag — Get-Out-Of-Dodge, or BOB — Bug-Out Bag).

A pre-packed GO-Bag makes it possible for you to instantly flee in a disaster or emergency situation   If this is the kind of situation that you encounter, at that point it is too late to pack.  It’s literally too late.  You will either throw things into a bag and leave, with only a few of the things you actually need; or you will take the time to do it right, and the window of opportunity will close and it will be too late to get to safety.  Either way, you will expose yourself to unnecessary danger.  A GO-Bag, pre-packed and ready to use, is an essential component for disaster and emergency preparedness.

Advice from the Experts:  A suitcase or duffle bag is inadequate for use as a GO-Bag.  You need to be able to carry your GO-Bag on your shoulders, comfortably, perhaps for an extended period of time and considerable distance if you end up on foot.  

You may flee from your home or work in your car, but you may end up on walking.  Anticipate this situation.  You may have more supplies in your car but you may be forced to leave almost everything behind.  If this is the situation, a pre-packed GO-Bag may literally be a life saver.

A GO-Bag is a knapsack containing 10-15 lbs of essential supplies.  For most people, a knapsack is a better choice because a large backpack can be ungainly if you need to move quickly.  And, if it’s too heavy you might be tempted to leave it behind, and a large bag may make you more of a target for criminal assault or unwanted attention.  

Keep your emergency supplies and your GO Bag protected inside a duffle bag, and store it in your car’s trunk.  The colors of your clothing and GOOD Bag should be subdued and similar to the color of the terrain, but not camo or military-like. Don’t store batteries in flashlights or electronics.  Frequently replace water and other items susceptible to quality or safety degradation.  Check your kit regularly.  Storing your GO Bag in a plastic trash sack may keep it clean, but it may encourage mold or other problems.  Excessive heat or cold will damage some of your GO Bag provisions, so storage must be appropriate to your environment.

Young Children, Elderly, and those With Physical Limitations

Each member of the family or group that is bugging-out (fleeing), who is physically able, should carry their own GO Bag, even if it’s small.  Young children, elderly, and physically feeble individuals may not be able to carry everything they need, but they should at least carry the important items that are unique to their personal needs.  This will include essential clothing, their medicines, their spare eyeglasses and other personal-needs gear, plus at least some water and Power Bars (food).  You may shutter at the thought of becoming separated from them, but if that does somehow happen, or if you need to transfer them to the care of another, you’ll want your loved one to have those things they actually need.

Seasonal Clothing / Needs for Environment or Conditions

In addition to your GO Bag, you need to have a seasonal bag containing such items as warm/cold weather clothing, rain/sun/heat protection, boots and durable clothing to immediately change into when an emergency situation occurs.  Having multiple changes of clothing is overrated.  What you need are the right clothes for the situation.  Change into your situation-appropriate clothing early, and leave the impractical items behind.  More about clothing will be covered later.  The point we’re making here is that these items should be in a separate bag, but stored with your GO Bag.

What to Get? / Where to Buy?

Though a sporting goods store may offer a good selection of suitable clothing items, their “camping” or “backpacking” departments are often stocked with goods that are of insufficient quality.  Shopping online from a trustworthy vendor such as REI (http://www.REI.com and Brigade Quartermaster (http://www.BrigadeQM.com) are usually a more reliable resource.   REI has stores nationwide which offer training and product-comparison materials, and sales staff who are better informed than those found in most stores.

On this website, brand recommendations (italics) are made only when quality or specifications are highly important.  This doesn’t mean that these items are your only choice, it just means that you need to pay particular attention to the specifications and quality.

Specific Provisions & Gear

You can’t have all of the below items in your GO Bag as it would become too large and heavy.  But if you have a number of people in your family or Bug-Out Group, all of these items can be included.

As finances allow, you need to stockpile as much of this as possible.  Again, the below list is a place to start as you develop your own emergency preparations. This list needs to be revised according to your own needs, your financial ability, and your own geography and environment.

Remember to remove unnecessary packaging from all items, and compress clothing in Ziplock-style travel bags.  Everything should be stored together, and protected from excessive heat/cold, moisture, insects, and other things which might cause damage.

Your Emergency / Disaster Supplies List

Below is a basic list of provisions and gear to create a 2-Week Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Kit, and a GO-Bag (Evacuation Supplies).  The items selected for inclusion in your GO-Bag knapsack will be only a small portion of this list, and the contents of your GO-Bag should be selected based on your location and situation.

This list of provisions and gear is provided only as a place to start, to help you develop your own list of supplies.  We hope that you will find this generic list helpful, but it is not intended to take the place of personal planning for your own circumstances and situation.  Be sure to add, remove and make changes to this list as appropriate for the number of people being served, the special needs of children, elderly and infirm, and for health, weather and other environment conditions where you will be operating.

GO-Bag:  Use either a medium-size internal frame backpack or a stout knapsack as your bag.  It should be equipped with a 100-fl. oz. water bladder, stored empty until needed; and your bag needs to be constructed of waterproof materials and designed to be carried on your back using padded shoulder straps.  If finances are tight, go to a Good Will store and buy an old school-bag knapsack.

The decision to use a medium-size backpack vs. knapsack should be based on the fitness of the individual who will be carrying it, environmental conditions, and terrain.  For most reasonably-fit and healthy people the weight of the fully-packed GO-Bag (weight of bag and contents) should not exceed 20% of their body weight.

In an emergency situation, always keep core essentials with you in your pockets, or in the pockets of a vest or fanny pack which is worn constantly, even while sleeping.  The GO Bag is for essentials, but the critically important “core” essentials such as a small flashlight, lighter or fire-starter, water purification tablets, a collapsible water container, face-covering scarf, self-defense pepper spray, and a pocketknife, should always be kept on your person. 

A change of clothing for an emergency situation can be stored in a separate bag and kept with your GO Bag, but be sure to change into these clothes as soon as practicable when an emergency strikes.  Hand carried items reduce mobility and increase fatigue.

Again, the following list is only a place to start.  It is provided to help you develop your own a GO Bag, and your 14-Day Emergency Provision Kit (for home use, office use, or transport in a vehicle).  Personal needs, environmental conditions, health, children, pets, and the need to assist others must also be considered when developing your personal supply lists.  

If you are new to this, and just getting into preparedness, this list will be daunting.  So start by purchasing the most important items first, and add to your emergency provisions as finances allow.

Assembling your GO-Bag, a sufficient quantity of drinking water, food, emergency medical supplies, and preparations for shelter (protection from cold, rain, sun, etc.) are your first priorities.  Concentrate on these supplies first.

BASIC CLOTHING:

–  Hiking Boots; made from waterproof but breathable material, and tops which extend above the ankle for lateral support and protection (wear these).

–  Water shoes or lightweight tennis shoes.

–  Moisture-wicking liner socks, 3-pair (wear 1-pr).

–  Backpacking socks , 3-pair (wear 1-pair).

–  Underpants (3-pr); and for women add a sports bra.

–  Gloves (work gloves AND surgical/latex gloves).

–  Wool watch cap.

–  Boonie or full-brimmed hat with retention strap.

–  Bandana, cotton or water- wicking synthetic.

–  Ripstop BDU pants, 2 pair (wear 1-pair).

–  Polyester long underwear (1 pair).

–  Long underwear shirt (1).

–  2 Polyester T-shirts, one w/ long-sleeves (wear 1).

–  Gore-Tex rain pants or snake-proof gaiters.

–  Heavy-duty belt with strong buckle.

–  Polar fleece long-sleeve pullover (1).

–  Shirt (long sleeve, roll-up sleeve style (wear).

–  Gore-Tex shell or parka.

–  Camouflage GI poncho or Gore-Tex poncho (can also be used as shelter, or to hide unattended gear).

 

EMERGENCY SHELTER and FIRE

–  Disposable butane lighters (3+).

–   FireSteel or Ultimate Survival fire-starter tool (2).

–  Fire NuggetsTinder Dust, or combustible tinder.

–  Strike-Anywhere or Storm-Proof matches in a watertight plastic container.

–  Magnifying glass (small size, for starting fires, etc.)

–  Space All-Weather Blanket or SOL Thermal Bivy.

–  Tarp (6 x 8’ fiber-reinforced plastic tarp).

–  550 7-strand braided GI paracord (100-feet).

–  Sleeping bag, foam pad and nylon bivy sacks are valuable, but may be too large or heavy if using a H.A.W.G. or other knapsack-size GOOD Bag.


WATER & FOOD

Of the two, pure water is more important than food.  You can live as long as 3-4 weeks on almost no food, but your body and brain will start to suffer greatly after just one day without pure water.

Water and food supplies should be sufficient for 14-days, but you will probably not carry more than 200-oz in your GO-Bag, so water purification tablets or a purification filter is essential.  Prepare for extra people, too.  (Some equipment can be shared, but water supplies and food, shelter, and related supplies must be on a per-person basis.

A 14-day supply of canned food per-person may be difficult to store, but it may be impossible to transport in an average car.  Even a 7-day supply of military meals (MRE – Meals-Ready-to-Eat) would be unreasonable to carry in a GO-Bag knapsack.  So for your transportable supplies, be sure to include quantities of dry goods such as pasta and instant rice to create a more lightweight and compact food supply.

Practice loading your supplies into your vehicle, to make sure everything fits.

For your GO-Bag, pack food such as MRE Entrees (just the meal, not the entire package) or dehydrated meals made for backpacking.  Freeze-dried prepared food, such as those made by “ Mountain House,” are the lightest weight and most easily packed.  And since you only need to add hot water to prepare these freeze-dried meals, it’s an easy and practical way to eat when you’re on the go.  However, keep in mind that when the product label indicates “Serves 2,” it is generally only adequate for one active person.  Power Bars, and lifeboat survival rations (available at a marine-supplies store), can augment these MRE or freeze-dried GO-Bag meals.

Low Cost, Easy to store long-term, and sufficiently lightweight to pack in a GO-Bag, are such things as:

–  Peanuts or trail mix (dried fruits, nuts and seeds), ideal in foil packaging.

–  Power Bars (8+), and Beef Jerky (4+ packages).

–  Gatoraid or similar powder to add to water, to provide carbs and electrolytes.

–  1 -gal Ziplock bag of oatmeal, and a 1-gal bag of rice.

–  Raw honey, cinnamon, salt & pepper, plus a small  bottle of Tabasco sauce or other strong seasoning to help make any food more palatable.

–  1-quart Nalgene bottle, filled with some of above.

–  Drinking water (minimum of 100-oz) of pure drinking water should be in your GO-Bag, plus the capability of purifying water.  Water filtration is not enough.  You need to purify other sources of water.  This can be accomplished by boiling it for at least 5-7 minutes, or by using using purification tablets, or using a water purification system that filters to at least 1-micron.

–  “MSR” water filter (1-micron filtration) or similar is fairly expensive, but can be a life saver.

–  Potable Aqua Iodine water purification tablets (2 bottles, even if you have a water filtration system).

Cooking  at home: Propane camp stove with at least 7-propane bottles, or a one full 5-gallon propane tank.  (Keep in mind that you may be without electricity or natural gas, so your kitchen stove and conventional cooking methods may not work).

Cooking equipment for an extended-duration GO-Bag:

–  “MSR DragonFly” multi-fuel stove, full fuel bottle.

–  Pot w/ lid and heat exchanger (store stove inside).

–  MSR windscreen and heat reflector for cooking.

–  Insulated mug with lid and handle (Size: 16+ oz).

–  Stainless steel spoon, plus sturdy plastic or aluminum spork (fork/spoon combination).

–  Dish/pot scraper and brush.

* Use Hefty OneZip Click plastic bags to organize by category and to protect items as appropriate.

  

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS:

–  Small, strong plastic backpacking spade (small shovel).

–  Backpacking saw (blades for wood and metal).

–  Pry bar, 15”+.

–  Leatherman Wave multi-tool knife/pliers.

–  Knife sharpener or stone (pocket-size).

–  Topographic map GPS receiver (expensive), or
–  NSGS map of bug-out location and route alternatives, laminated or sealed in slide-lock plastic bag.

–   Heavy duty Dacron sail-maker’s thread and needles, or upholstery needles and thread.

–   Insect repellent – 98% DEET (in slide-lock bag).

–  SPF 50 sun-block and Chapstick.

–  Polarized sunglasses, rated also as eye protection, with protective case and floating retainer strap.

–  Molefoam Padding, tape and blister relief items.

–  Cortisone cream (sm. size; poison ivy & bug bites).

–  Benadryll (travel size, for insect stings).

–  Epipen (for severe allergic reactions to stings).

–  Medication for both diarrhea and constipation, as well as for upset stomach.

–  Ibuprofen and aspirin (20 of each).

–  Field guide to edible plants (region-specific).

–  Photocopy of ID (driver’s license / passport / medication prescriptions).

–  Cash, plus items to barter.

–  P-51 military (pocket) can opener.

–  Swiss Army  Explorer-model pocket knife.

–  Sheath Knife 4+ inch stainless steel blade.

–  550 Paracord (braided, 7-strand nylon, military).

–  Nylon fishing net (9 x 3’ min, 1” mesh).

–  Toothbrush and baking soda.

–  Wilderness concentrated soap (1-3 oz plastic bottle).

–  Safety razor, comb, backpacking toilet tissue.

–  Signal mirror (metal, lightweight; protect surface).

–   Greatland Laser Rescue Flare (or a laser pointer).

–   Flashlight: Mini Maglight w/ extra batteries.

–  Petzl or Black Diamond LED headlamp.

–  Rechargeable batteries and solar battery charger.

–  Heavy-duty duct tape (20’ minimum).

–  Gun Oil: Royal Purple or Militech-1  (1-oz  size).

–  Super Glue (6-small tubes, store in Ziplock bag).

–  Sharpie and Fisher Space pens (black ink).

–  “Rite in the Rain Outdoor Journal”-  5 x 3” notepad.

–  Portable radio with hand-crank and cell phone charger / adapters  (operates on AM-FM-NOAA weather bands).  Or, an ultra-small radio such as Kaito KA1121, plus a hand-crank battery charger.

–  Suunto (or similar) backpacking compass.

–  Plastic whistle, with lanyard.

–  Trash Bags (2) 3-mil, 42-55 gal. construction-grade plastic garbage bags for: shelter, raincoat, to bury gear, for water collection and many other uses.

–  Lightweight mesh bag (food foraging and carry).

–   Bible, New Testament w/ Psalms & Proverbs small-size.  (Even non-religious people will find this a source of comfort and wisdom during difficult times).

HUNTING, FISHING, and FORAGING:
For information on firearms and ammunition, see article: “Firearms & Tools for Defense and Hunting.”  For training on hunting, and hunting education for children, contact Trinity Oaks: www.TrinityOaks.org.

Supplies for Hunting, Fishing, and Foraging:

–  Selection of fishhooks, lures, flies, bobbers, line-weights, and a spool of mono-filament leader.

–  Wire snares or traps suitable for small game.

–  Wrist-Rocket slingshot (or, 5’ surgical tubing to make a slingshot, and for siphoning fuel, water, etc).

–  Binoculars (small & lightweight, 8 x 25 or greater).

 

As you develop your list of supplies, remember that there are at least 4-levels of equipment and food/water preparations that are required:

a) Home and Work Preparations (for yourself and co-workers);

b) Vehicle transported supplies, and/or

c) Mountain Bike or Motorcycle Carried Supplies (Optional). These extra items will be in addition to your GO-Bag;

d) On Foot Bug-Out  (Go-Bag for each individual, required in addition to the above).  Note:  GO-Bags, also referred to as GOOD Bags (Get-Out-O-Dodge) or BOBs (Bug-Out Bags), can be either a pack as used for backpacking, or a knapsack which is more convenient to handle, run with, as well as lighter in weight if you find yourself in the situation of having to walk for a long distance;

e) Pocket-Kits. (Items carried in your pocket, purse, briefcase, everyday/always— just in case).

 

Recommended Retailers for These Products:

REI:  www.REI.com  REI specializes in quality backpacking and camping gear, and these compact and transportable items can form the basis for emergency and disaster preparations.

Brigade Quartermaster:  www.BrigadeQM.com  Brigade Quartermaster is a prime supplier of goods to the military and soldiers serving overseas.  Many of these items are also useful for emergency and disaster preparedness.

Note:  36ReadyBlog does not have a relationship with these retailers, nor do we receive any compensation from them as a result of our making these recommendations.