Between work and commutes, most of us spend the majority of our time away from home. About 8% of workers in the USA have commutes of an hour or longer, and nearly 600,000 full-time workers endure “megacommutes” of at least an hour-and-a-half and 50 miles, according to new U.S. Census data on commuting. The national average, one-way daily commute is 25.5 minutes.
If an emergency occurred while you were at work, would you be equipped to handle the ordeal?
Have you considered what you would do if you had to walk back home? How many miles would it take for you to get home? If the average one-way commute is 25 miles, not many could make that in a single day. It could take on average 10-12 hours of straight walking at a fast pace – and that is only if you are in good shape and have no physical limitations. For the majority of us, it would be a multi-day journey to get home.
One of the biggest issues I see is preparedness experts loading up their get home bags and adding additional weight. To prepare for an urban disaster scenario, consider having a lightweight bag packed with the bare essential of gear to get home. This is not your fully loaded bug-out bag. The contents of a get home bag should be minimal and the items stored should be able to carry you through the duration of getting home. Keep practicality and weight of the contents in mind when putting your gear together. If you are walking long distances, you do not want to be lugging around a pack with non-essential items.
20 Must-Have Items to Add to Your Get-Home
Depending on the area you live, you may want to consider using a small messenger bag or a small hiking pack. If you live in an area where the bag wouldn’t draw too much attention, consider a duffle bag or a Maxpedition Versipak type bag. These are the perfect size for this type of get-home bag and both have adequate space to add most of these lightweight items.
- Basic first aid kit with moleskins included
- Flashlight and/or headlamp
- Bivvy sac or Mylar blanket
- Bandana or hat
- Bic lighter or matches
- Two-way radio with extra batteries
- Extra cell phone charger or charged energy pack
- Durable poncho
- Small sewing kit
- Package of hand wipes
- 6 energy bars or lightweight homemade MREs
- Water purifier container
- Small roll of duct tape
- Pre-paid credit card or cash
- Hiking boots with an extra pair of socks
A few additional considerations:
- Put thought into how you plan on getting home. If you plan to trek home, have a path mapped out that avoids highways to travel on foot. Some have gone to the extreme of keeping a folded bicycle or collapsible walking stick in their vehicles to prepare for the possibility of trekking back home.
- If you are in a densely populated area, consider the fact that thousands of commuters will be displaced and hotel rooms will quickly run out. If you are unable to shelter in the workplace, research beforehand where the shelters will be set up (Contact your local area Red Cross chapter, they usually know) or a local park. If the disaster occurs in the late afternoon, it may be worthwhile to walk to a shelter or park, sleep there for the night and start the journey to get back home first thing in the morning.
- Keeping a weapon in your vehicle (provided you have a conceal carry permit) may also be beneficial if you feel the need for additional protection.
Emergencies happen all the time – even while we are at work. It takes a few minutes to gather these items together and create a dependable get home bag. We never know when the next emergency will hit and these 20 items could save your life.
What items do you keep in your bug out bag for work?