When just starting out with disaster preparedness it is important to prepare for the “likely” disasters first. One very common disaster that is easy to prepare for is a scenario in which you find yourself away from home and you are faced with having to abandon your vehicle and possibly return home on foot.
Now I’ll admit, this may not sound like a very “sexy” disaster scenario, but it is one that, if you haven’t prepared for, may cost you your life. Consider the following very realistic scenarios:
- Your mobile phone is either out of charge or you have no signal strength and therefore are unable to make a call for help.
- The weather is extremely hot (or cold) and you are more than a couple of miles from the nearest town or gas station.
- You are on an unfamiliar road and may have been lost before your car was disabled.
- You are in a “bad” part of town, you are alone and its getting dark.
- You are on a highway “in the middle of nowhere” and its getting dark.
- You are at a rest stop and someone steals your vehicle.
With just some basic prep’ing none of these scenarios need to be life-threatening.
I like to think of “Get-Home” prep’ing in three parts. The first part is what you should carry literally on your person at all times. This is typically referred to as “Every Day Carry” or EDC. During an abandon vehicle scenario, imagine that you need to make a break for it and didn’t have any time to grab anything else from your vehicle or that getting to your vehicle isn’t an option and all you had to get you home was what was in your pockets, purse etc.
A person’s EDC is a very personal choice and will vary from person to person and even day to day. Personally I tend to be very consistent with my EDC. I always carry:
- A good folding pocket knife
- A glock 19
- Small Flashlight
- Small Multi-tool
- Carabiner as my keychain
- Enough cash for 1 full tank of gas
- My credit, ATM, and insurance cards
- My driver’s license and CC permit
- iPhone 4G
- Keys for Car, Home, and POBox
Vehicle “Get-Home Bag” (GHB)
The second critical part of any “Get-Home” plan is a “Get-Home Bag” or GHB. Because your EDC is limited to what you can comfortably carry, you lack some of the items that would greatly assist you in more advanced “abandon vehicle” scenarios. For instance, in your GHB you could carry water, food, and possibly some kind of emergency shelter.
The list of preps for your GHB can be very basic to extreme. Personally, I think of my GHB as needing to get me to the next town or filling station safely. I don’t expect my GHB to keep me alive in a TEOTWAWKI scenario, nor to I expect it to support me in a serious gun battle.
Because I live in Florida, I am more concerned about being exposed to extreme heat rather than cold, tropical storms, insects, low-lying water and dense vegetation. From a defense perspective I don’t see myself in a situation that can’t be handled with my Glock and keeping my wits about me. All that said, here are the items that I think are critical for my GHB:
- Water (3 liter internal bladder plus 2 small bottles of water)
- 4 x Powerbars
- 1 x Poncho
- 1 x Rain Gear (jacket & pants)
- 2 x Heavy Duty Contractor Trash Bags
- First-Aid Kit
- 2 x Loaded Glock 17 mags
- Florida Road Map
- 2 x Quick-Dry Travel Towels
- 100 ft of Paracord
- Ka-Bar Kukuri
- 2 x Pair of Socks in ziplock bag (one in my size and on in my wife’s size)
- 1 x Pack of Sanitary Napkins (primarily for my wife, but also useful as a compress on a wound)
- Zippo lighter
- Full-size Leatherman Multi-Tool
- Flashlight & Extra Batteries
- iPhone Charger, Cable, and 12Volt Adapter
- About $500 in cash
- Bug Spray
- 2 x Booney Hats
In addition to having a proper EDC and GHB, the final aspect of prep is to make sure you have some basic tools and supplies specifically for your vehicle. If your car just has a flat, needs some fluids, or a jump; it would be a shame to have to abandon it when having the right tools would get you back on the road easily. Here are the additional tools I always have in my vehicles.
- Black & Decker Jump Starter and Air Compressor
- Jumper Cables
- Engine Oil
- 2.5 Gallon Fuel Can w/Fuel
- 5 Gallon water (tap water)
- Bolt Cutters
- Spare Tire
- Tow Chain