A couple of days ago I read this post on Frank and Fern's blog.
Then this morning Mary posted this.
Sometimes it takes being hit with a 2x4 on top of the head to get someone's attention. Apparently I am one of those people.
My smug self has been working hard to build up my food storage. I have been canning all the meat I could lay my hands on and dehydrating vegetables to fill in the gaps on my dried foods shelf. And in the process, forgetting about other things that are really important.
I have never given much thought to a bug out bag. My reasoning was that I'm not going anywhere. Even if I could physically walk a distance from my home, which is doubtful at this stage of my life and state of my health, there is little chance I could do it carrying a bag full of supplies.
After reading those two posts this morning, I remembered the fire that occurred in my building. I had found myself sitting on a bench across the street, watching the firemen working to put out the fire that gutted one of the ground floor apartments. The biggest thing I remembered was the awful feeling I had when I realized that all I had with me were the clothes on my back and my keys in my hand. I didn't even have on a proper pair of shoes, for I had slid my feet into a raggedy old pair of tennis shoes I used for excursions with the trash out to the dumpster. That's about all they were good for.
Afterwards I had all sorts of good intentions. I would put the important stuff in a bag and keep it where I could just grab it and go if anything like the fire ever happened again. That was Almost. Two. Years. Ago. And I have yet to do it. Shame on me.
So I started on this project this morning. Dug around in my closet and found a small duffel bag. I will replace this with a backpack as soon as possible, for a backpack is easier for me to carry. I also decided that, even though I rarely carry a purse, I have one with a shoulder strap. I will use that for some things and keep it handy to grab as well, on my way out the door. And I made a list. With my memory that is fading, a list is necessary.
Everybody has different needs, so each person has their own list of what needs to be included. My purse needs to include a months supply of medication plus a bottle of aspirin to help with arthritis symptoms. Paperwork, including my Social Security card and information, my photo ID and a list of phone numbers for my children. I don't have a cell phone. Perhaps I need to rethink the need for one. And cash. Sitting on that bench two years ago and realizing that I didn't have two nickles to rub together was horrifying. Also a book of blank checks and my banking information. There are other items, but those are basic.
The bag needs to include at least one change of clothes, from the knickers on out. And a decent pair of shoes. For health reasons I need to wear compression socks all the time, so a pair of those need to be added. A hooded sweatshirt for cool weather and lightweight shirts for warm days. Wintertime necessitates the addition of a knit hat, scarf and mittens. I remember how hungry I was after several hours of waiting to get back into my apartment after the fire was put out. So emergency rations of things like hard candies should my blood sugar levels drop, a couple of bags of dried fruit and things like granola-type bars and snacky things that will keep for a time are needed. Also the travel size shampoo, soap and lotion, along with a small towel and washcloth. And some bottled water. And something small that easily fits in a purse or backpack for my personal protection, which is on my "need to buy now" list.
I'm not packing for an extended stay in the woods. Heading for the hills is not practical for me, so packing like I might for a couple of nights at a motel is more what I need. I'm sure there are other additions to my list, but for now I am going with the basics, which is more than I had done.
My thanks to Frank, Fern and Mary for getting my attention. Being prepared isn't just filling the shelves with food. There is so much more to preparing than that, and I aim to make those corrections now.