Lessons Learned: Bug-In Bag Preparation for Pandemics and Natural Disasters

Posted by on May 11th 2020

In light of the recent Covid-19 pandemic, disaster preparation has changed. Whole nations have had to bug-in and shut their doors due to the virus.

This disaster has taught us that pandemics and natural disasters--like hurricanes or earthquakes--necessitate a different style of planning.

Your clients need to ensure they have all your essentials close at hand and that everyone in the household is ready for whatever may come.

Including a bug-in bag as part of your offerings is something that is easy to do and can help increase profits.

You can market these items as something to help alleviate stress and make your customer feel more prepared in case another pandemic or a natural disaster strikes.

Lessons from Covid-19

During a pandemic, you’re most at risk of running out of essential hygiene supplies, encountering home appliance failure, or dealing with home security issues. As people feel more desperate, break-ins may become more likely. With the breakdown of ordinary, everyday life can come electrical power issues and supply chain failures.

However, these issues can also occur in conjunction with other disasters, and these disasters can strike at any time. What if a pandemic strikes in frigid mid-winter and power outages cannot be easily fixed due to worker shortages? What if a hurricane strikes and flooding destroys roads, disrupting food supply chains? What if multiple disasters occur back-to-back, taxing infrastructure even further?

A bug-in bag is a bag to purchase and have on hand in case someone gets stuck in their home for several weeks during an emergency.

While we all want to hope for the best, the worst is always possible.

Lessons Learned: Preparing for the Worst

The contents of this bag vary depending on needs. If someone has a medical condition, they can pack an extra month’s worth of medications in addition to a standard first aid kit. If they have a pet, he or she will need pet food, a pet first aid kit, and any of your pet’s medications. Infants and children require a month’s supply of diapers, wipes, and OTC medicines.

The size of the bag also varies. If they have a large family, they need more food, water, and first aid supplies. Larger families also require extra flashlights and heat sources when making bug-in bags.

Couples can share bug-in bags, but consider preparing a small, personalized bug-in bag for each family member. That way, they can ensure each family member has what they need. Depending on the customer’s budget, they may want to consider investing in multiple bags.

The first bag can be a large bug-in duffle bag, complete with food and extra water storage, along with any heavier and hard-to-carry items.

In a severe emergency, this first duffle bag can be moved to the trunk of a car. The bag (or set of bags) can be personal hiking backpacks that can also, in case of a severe emergency, be turned into bug-out bags.

Encourage your clients to make a checklist of the contents of their bug-in bag, preferably in a waterproof emergency notebook kept in the bag. On this list, include everything in the bag along with the expiration date of any perishable items. This helps someone determine when it’s time to replace food, replace batteries, or replenish first aid gear.

Your Bug-In Bag Checklist

  • Light, heat, and power

If the power goes out, your sources of light and heat will change. In the winter and especially at extreme latitudes, light and heat are crucial for survival. People may also want to consider investing in a travel generator and heater, along with reusable or disposable hand warmers in case the weather gets really cold.

Headlamps are essential for each bug-in bag. Pair headlamps with at least one tactical flashlight. Tactical flashlights, unlike normal flashlights, feature a durable finish to withstand harsh elements as well as a brighter, more powerful bulb.

Prepare for shorter power outages with a backup phone and laptop batteries. An old-fashioned, prepaid flip phone is also an excellent addition to a bug-in bag because the battery lasts longer than a smartphone battery.

  • Food and water

If the power goes down for an extended period or if stores run out of food, securing a supply of food and water is crucial. Opt for shelf-stable food that does not need to be put in the freezer or refrigerator. Excellent examples of shelf-stable foods include oats, energy bars, ramen noodles, canned soup, MREs (pre-packaged and ready-to-eat meals), cans or packets of tuna, and trail mix.

Prepare for extended grid shutdown with a water filtration kit or water purifying tablets. Aquatabs are among the best water purifying tablets and are the only tablets deemed safe for long-term use by the World Health Organization (WHO).

  • Extra home essentials

Stock up on home essentials, so they don’t have to venture out in dangerous conditions.

Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, hand soap, and backup laundry detergent are absolute must-haves.

PPE like cloth masks and gloves help them venture out in safety when necessary, and sanitizing wipes can help you keep your household safe from infection.

  • Gather tools for home maintenance and self-defense

Multi-tools, EDC (everyday carry) knives, a hatchet, and paracord bracelets can help prepare them for pandemic home repairs. Paracord can double as an emergency clothesline. Multi-tools help them tackle home maintenance projects, while EDC knives are great for self-defense. A hatchet can enable them to chop wood for the fireplace when the power goes out in a natural disaster.

The Takeaway

Pandemics and natural disasters can be frightening. Carrying bug-in bags for your customer’s convenience will help them, along with locks and other home security devices, feel more secure.

With some organization and strategic supplies, your clients can be ready to tackle any obstacle they encounter.

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