When talking about disaster preparedness, we talk a lot about the “Go Bag” (aka Bug Out Bag) which needs to be packed and ready in case you need to evacuate your home. However, equally as important is the Get Home Bag.
What is a Get Home Bag?
In many common disaster scenarios, it doesn’t make sense to evacuate your home. It may be a lot safer to stay on your home turf, or there may not have been adequate warning of the disaster so it is too dangerous to leave.
A Get Home Bag (GHB) is meant to help you make your way home during or in the aftermath of a disaster. Essentially, it is the “Hunker Down” version of a Bug Out Bag.
All of the contents are chosen to help you get home safely during a disaster – such as when roads are blocked and public transportation isn’t working, rioting has begun, rubble and debris is in the streets, and so forth.
What to Pack in Your Get Home Bag?
We hope you will find our Get Home Bag checklist helpful. But please remember that this checklist is only meant as some guidelines to get you thinking. In case you don’t like the image we made, here is a written list of the Get Home Bag contents:
Get Home Bag Contents
*Keep a GHB in your vehicle, at work, at school, and in your hidden cache.
- Respirator mask
- Work gloves
- Mini first aid kit
- Water + water purification tablets
- Waterproof matches, lighter
- Emergency radio
- Copies of vital documents
Everyone has different needs with their GHB. If your job is a 60 mile drive from home, for example, your Get Home Bag contents are going to look a lot different than those of someone who works around the corner. Likewise, a GHB for someone who lives in the city will probably look different from someone who lives in a rural area!
To make sure your urban survival bag is tailored to your family’s needs, ask yourself:
• Do I live in an urban area?
• Do I work out of the house?
• Do I have a spouse who works out of the house?
• Do I have children who go to school?
• How far away are these work and school locations from home base?
• How would I get home if my car and public transport weren’t working?
• Do I know how to get home without a map or GPS?
• Do I know alternative routes for getting home?
• Do I have a vehicle and where will it be?
For example, when my wife used to work in the city and would wear dress shoes to work, she made sure to have a pair of boots in her Get Home Bag which she kept at work. Another Get Home Bag was kept in her car. If you never wear dress shoes, then you probably don’t need boots in your GHB.
Get Home Bag vs. Bug Out Bag
A Get Home Bag is meant to get you home. By contrast, a Bug Out Bag is meant to help you survive for about 72 hours in an evacuation scenario.
GHBs and BOBs contents have a lot of crossover. However, don’t think that they are the same.
A Bug Out Bag is going to be a lot bigger and heavier than your Get Home Bag. If you were to try to use your BOB immediately after a disaster to get home, it could really slow you down!
Your Get Home Bag should also look like a standard backpack, messenger bag, or similar. You don’t want any backpacker-style packs or camo bags as these would draw attention to yourself.
Where to Keep the Get Home Bag?
A Get Home Bag isn’t going to do you much good at home! Keep one GHB at locations you go to frequently, such as work. If your kids go to school, have them keep one in their locker. Absolutely keep a GHB in your vehicle’s trunk along with your car emergency supplies.
While you are at it, start carrying around Everyday Carry survival items. EDC survival items are small enough to fit in your pocket, wallet or purse so you will have them even if you can’t get to your Get Home Bag. Take a look at this Altoids tin survival kit checklist!