When tragedy strikes next door

Do we need more than one type of bug out bag?

Two firemen putting out a fire

Recently, it has come to my attention that I and my family members may need more than one type of bug out bag (BOB). What we now have would be considered INCH (I'm Never Coming Home) bags, at least by most. (See What is an INCH bag?) Because if we ever do have to "bug out" during a catastrophic event we would be doing so knowing that in all likelihood we would not be returning; at least not for a very long time. I have felt confident that was all we really needed. That is, until last night.

There are so many types of bug out bags out there that I just really never felt the need to have them all. Just to give you an idea, here's a list of the ones I'm aware of:

EDC (Every Day Carry)

BOB (commonly referred to as the 72 hour emergency Bug Out Bag)

GHB (Get Home Bag)

INCH (I'm Never Coming Home)

VBOB (Vehicle Bug Out Bag)

GOOD (Get Out of Dodge)

IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit-which we do have, by the way)

I truly thought I had it narrowed down to which type of bag(s) my family would need most. That is, until last night, when the police, firetrucks, and ambulances were parked out on the street in front of our house. My daughter noticed something going on first. When she saw police cars out front, she went to the door to see what was happening and started opening the door and a policeman yelled, "No, don't come out of the house!" to her. She quickly shut the door, locked it, alerted her husband and son; then came downstairs to let me know something was going on. I then went upstairs with her so we could try and figure out what was happening. We weren't sure what was happening at first because all we saw were police cars everywhere.

My daughter went to look out her bedroom window, because the police cars were also parked in the neighbor's driveway. All of a sudden, she yelled, "the house next door is on fire!". We all rushed in to look. Sure enough, we could see flames through a bedroom window of the house. The four of us were then in a calm panicky mode. In other words, we were panicked, but tried to remain calm. My son-in-law suggested we should get dressed in warm clothing, put our shoes on and be ready to leave if we needed to. You see, it was about 11:00 p.m. and most of us were already in our pajamas. Why would we need to leave? Because of the possibility of the fire jumping over to our house if it got out of control. That's how close our neighbor's house is to ours.

So, I went back downstairs, changed into street clothes, and put my shoes and hoodie on. I grabbed my phone and my purse and went back upstairs. We huddled together and kept an eye out on the house next door for the next four hours.

At one point, about an hour after the firetrucks had finally arrived, a fireman came to our door and informed us that they had things "pretty much" under control and that there was no need for us to evacuate at the current time, but to be ready in case we would need to do so "at a moment's notice".

At some point during our waiting and watching time, I thought maybe we should grab our BOBs and put them by the door. Then, I realized, for the situation we were in, they wouldn't really do us much good! If we would have had to evacuate our house, we could have gone to my son's house, or even to a hotel. So, you can see how we wouldn't really need those INCH bags. However, my daughter was quick thinking and threw some extra clothes, toiletries, etc. into a garbage bag for her and her family. I decided it was only going to be overnight if we did have to leave and I would just make do. I did grab a cellphone charger and threw it in my purse when I had changed my clothes. After all, that's the most important thing to take, right? LOL.

All of this did get me thinking though. In an emergency situation we don't always think as clearly as we should. If I had a bag specifically for something like the situation we experienced, it would be so much easier just to grab it and go. I wonder if that's what some preppers refer to as a "go bag". That's the label/title I'm going to be giving mine. Anyway, I do have an extra backpack, a smaller one, that I could put some extra toiletries, an extra change of clothes, makeup, shampoo, cell phone charger, battery bank, etc. in. It is something that I will immediately begin to put together.

I guess in my mind, I've been prepping for any long term emergency and figured it would also fit any short term emergency needs we may have. Even though I don't like admitting it, I will admit (at least this one time) that I was wrong. We never know when something might happen that we may need to leave our house, either over night or for a few days. It could be something that a whole city or community experiences, such as a flood or hurricane. Or, it could be something that only those living in your own home or your closest neighbors experience (that might affect you). We don't know when or if anything will ever happen to warrant the need, but why not be ready "just in case"?

So, do we need more than one type of bug out bag? In my opinion, and experience, yes. Yes we do. Unfortunately sometimes we don't realize this until we actually experience an emergency. In our case, we were fortunate that we did not have to evacuate. Unfortunately, our neighbors did have to. Thankfully, none of them were seriously injured, but their home was totally destroyed. If you're reading this and you believe in the power of prayer please say a prayer for my neighbors. God knows who they are, so it's okay if you don't know specifically who they are. I will be forever grateful to the awesome firefighters that were able to contain the fire next door and keep our house and our family safe.

It is my prayer that you will see the need that I have presented here and that you will prepare your own "go bag" for you and your family. It could be a small backpack, dufflebag, or a simple drawstring bag. Heck, it could even be a garbage bag. The important thing is that you have something you can just grab and run out the door if needed when your bigger bug out bag wouldn't suit the situation.

Until next time...happy prepping, and God bless!