You hear the truck driving down the street in front of your home, “Evacuate now, _______(fill in the disaster most likely to affect your area) in imminent. There will be no first responders and no emergency services available for the next few days. If you wish to keep your family safe evacuate now.” It’s time to collect your 72 hour Kits and Grab and Go Kit and get out!.

We have talked about 72 hour kits but have never addressed a Grab and Go Kit, also called a Bug Out Bag. First, what is the difference? A 72 hour kit, and you know I recommend 120 hours which is the realistic length of time before you will actually get help from emergency agencies, is meant to be grabbed and taken with you to a shelter or a friend’s home. A Grab and Go Kit is meant to be taken with you when you need to care for your needs and don’t have a shelter to go to. These are also useful when you need to camp out in your own yard because your house has been condemned but you need to stay to protect your property. Also, if you are able to stay in your home but are experiencing an extended power outage you may call upon your bug out supplies.

A Grab and Go Kit should be easily transportable, and consolidated into one or two packs easy to grab and go in a hurry. Consider a second Grab and Go Kit to keep in your car just in case you are forced to bug out or shelter in place at work or while on vacation. The actual container for your kit could be as simple as an extra frameless backpack or duffel bag or a couple of 5 gallon buckets, or as elaborate as a framed backpack. The best container is one that you can pack the most into and still carry comfortably. Remember, you will also be carrying your 120 hour kit.

During an emergency you will grab both your Grab and Go Kit and your 120 hour Kit. You will need both. Begin today to build your Grab and Go Kit.

  1. Emergency food should include non-perishable items, such as canned, dehydrated, or freeze-dried foods. Be sure your foods are lightweight in case of evacuation. Also, be aware that if you store dehydrated or freeze dried you will need extra water. If you eat these foods without reconstituting they can cause dehydration. I would limit them or not include at all. If you include canned foods, don’t forget to add a can opener to your emergency kit.

  2. 3 gallons of water – 1 gallon per person, per day is what is needed for survival needs so plan to store as much as possible in containers that can be easily moved.

  3. 1 emergency stove with fuel. If you cannot afford to purchase a stove right now make a stove using a #10 can and a tuna can as a heat source (see the May Totally Ready Newsletter or search on

  4. Matches – Long matchsticks or wooden matches are best.

  5. Fire starters – You can make these easily from items around the house or you can purchase fire starters at a camping supplies store.

  6. Cooking pot- Choose pot that can be used to cook directly over a fire as well as on a stove.

  7. First aid kit. This will include more comprehensive supplies than the ones in your 120 hour kit.

  8. Basic tool kit- You should already have a multipurpose tool in your 120 hour kit. Add an ax, a folding shovel and a hammer to your Grab and Go Kit.

  9. Battery or solar powered flashlight with extra batteries. You should have a flashlight and/or glow sticks in your 120 hour kit so make the one in your Grab and Go kit larger and more capable of providing enough light to eat, play and read by. Never store your batteries in your flashlight. They can leak and then you will be left without the use of the flashlight.

  10. Battery or solar powdered radio with extra batteries. Of course, the very best option here is a HAM radio. HAM operators are used during an emergency to convey information to first responders so they provide much more reliable information . Never store your batteries in your radio. They can leak and then you will be left without the use of the radio.

  11. Tent. If you cannot afford a tent right now place tarps and ropes in your kits to construct a shelter. Save and purchase a tent as soon as possible. If you need several items to complete your kit a tent should be your priority purchase. If you can’t survive the night and bad weather conditions the other items in your kit will be of no use. Cooking and light have other inexpensive, make due, options but shelter is not as easy to provide.

  12. Sleeping bags. A tent will protect your from the sun, rain and wind, but cannot keep you warm during a cold night.

  13. Water purification system.

  14. Vitamins.

  15. Map and compass. GPS may not be working and a map will help you evaluate several options for leaving the area.

  16. Fishing line, hooks and lures.

  17. Rope. All rope should be in a minimum of 70 foot lengths.

  18. Survival information from your totally Ready binder. We have discussed Building Shelters, Building Fires, Finding Water, Purifying Water, Ground to Air Signaling, First Aid: Seizures, Cooking Off the Grid, Signs of Dehydration, and Signs of Hypothermia and so much more. You can find these in the Totally Ready Newsletters and many of them right here in the Meridian archives. Copy these and place them in your grab and Go Kit.

You may be thinking, there are things missing from this list. Remember you will also be taking your 72 hour (120 hour) kits with you. They should contain items for hygiene, medications, sun screen insect repellant, whistle, basic first aid kit, etc. Review the list of items in a good 72 hour kit and be sure your kit is complete.

We would all like to believe this could never happen to us but as we have seen in recent disasters, it can, and in all likelihood, it will. Next time your family goes camping snatch that Grab and Go Kit and you will be amazed how easily you can survive and even thrive, using the contents of your kit.

First Aid Supplies For a Grab and Go Kit

Remember you already have a first aid kit in your 72-hour kits, this is meant to supplement those supplies.

2 Triangular Bandage 
1 Box assorted Band-Aids 
8 Gauze Pads 
1 Tweezers 
1 Magnifying glass

1 Scissors
10 Safety pins 
1 Moleskin Roll 
1 Bottle Acetaminophen

1 Bottle Ibuprofen

1 Bottle Probiotic
1 Thermometer 
2 Ace Bandages 
2 Rolls Surgical Tape
4 Sutures, General Purpose
1 Tube, Antibiotic cream 
1 SAM Splint 
1 Lip Balm 
10 pr Latex Gloves

6 N95 face masks or one per family member 
2 Finger splints-different sizes
10 Butterfly closures
5 Ammonia Inhalants 
Sudafed (or equivalent)
Cough Suppressant (tablet form)
Maalox (or equivalent) (tablet form)
Ex-Lax (or equivalent) (tablet form)

Pepto-Bismol (or equivalent) (tablet form)

Zinc lozenges

First aid book


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Carolyn can be reached at Ca*****@To**********.com