Monday, August 13, 2012

Dorm Room Bug Out Bag Essentials: Ten Things Every Student Needs In Case of Emergency

Survival Cool Back-to-School Product Picks

September is National Preparedness Month so anyone with kids going off to school should encourage the whole family to join FEMA's National Preparedness Coalition.

In these crazy hazy days of freaky weather and other calamities, an emergency situation can occur anywhere, anytime.   So, you might as well help set yourself and your kids up with practical ways to be prepared and empowered.

An essential back-to-school item every student needs is a groovy Bug Out Bag that contains a few things which will come in handy if there is a natural disaster or emergency situation.

One more thing before I get to the Survival Cool product picks.  You might wonder why a "green blogger" is turning into such a prepper?   Well, as I've been saying since I met Alex Wilson, Mr. Resiliency  himself, the best and newest "green" buzz word is Resiliency.

In fact, I proclaim the Green World's fourth R after Reduce, Reuse, Recycle to be Resiliency!

Surviving by being self sufficient and preparing for the reality that the energy and food grid could fail at any moment is one of the greenest things you can do.    

Okay then, here's The Survival Cool Back-To-School Bug Out Bag product list:

1)  Bug Out Bag Power

Having a backpack with thin film solar PV already built into it is a great idea.  But, you might have a backpack already, so you can opt instead for this strap on PV panel by Voltaic Systems which can be attached to any backpack.   Don't forget to add a battery storage element for your Bug Out Bag so even when the sun is down you will have back up power.

2) Water Bottle With Water Filter

 Water Filtration Bottle

If  you and your kids are not using a reusable water bottle by now, well the time has arrived!   A simple metal water bottle like a Kleen Kanteen is a great step in the sustainable direction.  But, why not take it an extra, healthy step forward and consider using a water bottle with a built in water filter.  Unfortunately, having full confidence anymore in what comes out of our water spigots is a suspect proposition.  Why not filter your water and be certain it is safe to drink?   Even natural streams and lakes can contain pathogens so having a reusable bottle with a tested, built-in filter gives you that extra assurance.  This Clearbrook 2WF Water Filtration Bottle is an emergency water filtration device that is said to reduce up to 99.9% of common contamination including biological pathogens, VOCs, and heavy metals. It can make potable water from virtually any source and produces 100 gallons of  "great tasting, pure drinking water."

3) A Spare Cell Phone 

Hypothetical situation.   You dropped your smart phone while getting into the boat to flee the rising water.  Or, your phone got smashed somehow under the rubble.  Or, you lost it in all of the confusion.   The Spare One is an inexpensive extra phone you can keep in your Bug Out Bag, just in case.  The battery will stay good for ten years and you get ten hours talk time out of it.   These back up phones are also great to stash in your car, too, or take with you when traveling.

 4) A Bug Out Bag within your  Bug Out Bag


OK, so you really are on the run.  And, you only had time to grab the Bug Out Bag!   Well, wouldn't it be extremely useful to have another bag to fill with food and other necessary items you manage to gather while on the road to safety.  This PackBack from Trek Light Gear is only 3 ounces and reportedly carries more than 30 pounds. 

5) Emergency GPS Device 


For about $100 you can obtain a Spot Personal Tracker which when activated allows anyone to find out where you are.  You can contact 911 via Spot and transmit your location to police, paramedics and emergency assistance.   Even if you are not hiking in the remote wilderness, this is a smart tool to have in case you fall down and hurt yourself or go on a road trip and the car breaks down and there is no cell phone reception.  In the 21st century we literally never need to be out of touch and out of range.

6)  A Whistle 


There's a famous Lauren Bacall line in the classic 1944 film "To Have and Have Not": "You know how to whistle don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and... blow."

Well, maybe you do know how to whistle, but in an emergency you might not be able to whistle loud enough for people to find you or ward off potential trouble.  The Storm Whistle is a small thing you can buy for less than $10 that could be a big help.  It's super loud and won't take up much room in your Bug Out Bag.  So, there's no harm in getting one to keep you out of harm's way.

7) Self Protection

Now I am not a huge fan of pepper spray, especially when it has been used on peaceful protesters.  And, I was hesitant to put this type of product on my Survival Cool Bug Out Bag product list.  However, when you get right down to it, non-lethal self protection makes sense to have on hand and could be a life saver in certain situations.   The lipstick pepper spray I found on the Safety Girl web site is a discreet way to stay protected.   Just make sure your girlfriends (or boyfriends) don't mistake it for lip gloss.  And, for the boys (or girls) not inclined to carry cosmetics, you can get pepper sprays that look like pens to hide in your bag.  Please, be careful with pepper spray and make sure you do not use it inappropriately or incorrectly.

 8) Emergency Data Backup 

LaCie RuggedKey

So, let's say you really need to bug out of your dorm room or apartment and you can't take the lap top or computer, but you want to take essential data with you?    You might get through the disaster that caused you to physically flee, but then there is the potential for a cyber disaster from losing files, data, art, music, term papers or whatever that you might not have backed up on the cloud.  The smart eco prepper will have something like the LaCie RuggedKey.  This cool looking USB flash drive is so Jason Bourne by being resistant to water, heat and cold.  Not to mention, if you just happen to be scaling down the side of a building or cliff,  you can reportedly drop it 100 meters and it will still be fine.  The RuggedKey comes in 16GB and 32 GB sizes and features USB 3.0 and data encryption.

9)Emergency Self Powered Radio & LED Light

The Eton ARC FR360 American Red Cross Solarlink Self-Powered is a no brainer.   Never say never and instead be clever.  Have this water-resistant, multifunctional device on hand.  It picks up AM/FM frequencies and all emergency weather reports from NOAA.  This little powerhouse can be energized by four different sources: the dynamo/hand crank which charges the Ni-MH battery, 3 AAA batteries (not included), an AC/USB adapter (not included) and built in solar power which also charges the Ni-MH battery.  It also has an emergency red blinking light feature and a USB cell phone charger in case all your other smart phone back up systems are out of reach or out of power.

10) Emergency Food Bars

These 3600 calorie Datrex food bar packs are most definitely not for late night munchies.   But, if you do chow down on them late one night while working like every good eco prepper on your latest term paper about climate change and rising sea levels, make sure you replace these food bars. Keep them near your bug out stash just in case you need to have an emergency nourishment source when the hurricane hits or systems break down and food is temporarily not available.  These food bars are approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and and have a five-year shelf life. 3600 calories is enough to sustain you for three days. When things get tough and you're stuck in the dorm because of a natural calamity, fighting off flesh eating zombies, hiding from the aliens trying to steal your soul, or hungry hall monitors, just make sure you have some to share with your roommate.  (Or, maybe you'll just hide the food well and act hungry!)

Copyright Paul E. McGinniss 2012

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