Get Home Bag and Have a Plan

I was home when the torrential rains hit. The city that I work in had experienced a flash flood that dumped 121.4mm of rain in a single day (90mm in an hour and a half) where the average rainfall for the entire month is 74mm. That was 2 years ago, and I am still seeing the effects of climate distortion all around the globe. It was time to plan a route home in the event of an emergency; emergencies that range from floods to ice storms, EMP attacks to CME blasts.

flood 2013aflood 2013b

A topography map of your area will show you the terrain which will help you map a way home. If you wish to avoid flooding, you will find that travel may not always be up-hill. Locating rivers and streams is imperative, as is finding alternative routes that keep you free from flood areas such as identifying underpasses. Naturally, one would hope that drivers will keep intersections clear from grid lock, otherwise stopped traffic can impede the progress of your using a deliberate route. Personally, I live outside of the city and I wish to find the most efficient and least congested way to get back to the countryside.

One of the first thing I considered was having a good pair of walking/hiking shoes. I placed them into my car with reliable socks stuffed into each shoe. Whether you have a 30 minute walk or a two-day walk, you need practical walking shoes. In fact, if you are not used to walking for a day, ‘hot-spots’ will develop and they turn into blisters. That leads me to my next emergency supply addition; duct tape. Every hiker knows that duct tape is an excellent blister deterrent. I bought 3M duct tape and threw it into the trunk of my car knowing that it was good for more than just blister prevention.

In that same year of 2013, we experienced such a wide-spread ice storm that I began to read more about becoming stranded in a car during ice storms and blizzards. I read a story about a woman who was saved from freezing by a single candle. Guess what the next item I included in my car was? Plus, I threw in an empty tin can, so that the candle could burn safely within it. I went so far as to add a tin of food warmer fuel gel as back up.

Ice storm 2013

food warmer fuel gel

This was the beginning of my get home bag. It grew from there and soon I was studying the benefits of wool, I recommend that everyone keep a wool blanket in their car.

  • Wool gives superior performance to man-made fibers. Wool is a naturally occurring fiber that stays warm even when wet.¬† It’s balanced thermal insulation properties mean that it is warm in winter and cool in summer.
  • It is hypoallergenic and resistant to bacteria, mold and mildew.
  • It is naturally anti-static and easily cleaned.
  • Wool is flame resistant and difficult to ignite.

I found a new quality wool blanket at amazon and it can be purchased here. Wool socks, hat and gloves are a definite bonus!

If you are stranded in a car during a severe blizzard, my advice is to not leave your car. It is too easy to lose sight of your car and become lost even when stepping out a metre away to relieve your bladder. If you must get out of your car during a blizzard, ensure that you have rope, and tie it to your waist and to your car. Use a cheap dollar store glow stick to hang on to the rear view mirror to ‘let them see you’, and to let you see.

Getting home during an emergency, especially when driving or hunkering down isn’t an option, such as road blocks or an EMP attack, consider purchasing a good backpack to carry your survival gear. Also, consider staying off major roads if you can. Walking with a loaded back pack can turn you into a target. For my own situation, I studied maps and landscapes to see how I could walk home for two days, safely.

My biggest challenge is getting out of the city. If cars are stopped in their tracks, I would want to avoid roads as best I can. Do you have short cuts through parks or a railroad? After an EMP, trains will not be running. I followed the train tracks on the map. I drove home several different ways to test various routes. Most tracks are above the roads, and have safety chain-link fences to keep people off. For my situation, this worked out to be the best, safest, quickest way out of the city.

A GO Train is stranded on flooded tracks in Toronto on Monday, July 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Winston Neutel
A GO Train is stranded on flooded tracks in Toronto on Monday, July 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Winston Neutel

Some survival ideas to place into your backpack:



  • Bottles
  • Water Purification Tablets
  • Water Purification Straw


  • Emergency blankets – wool
  • Hand and Toe warmers
  • Scarf, Hat, Gloves, Socks
  • Wool Blanket
  • Baseball Hat
  • Leather Gloves
  • Poncho
  • Toothbrush & Paste
  • Floss
  • Bandana
  • Sunglasses


  • Bic Lighter
  • Magnesium Lighter
  • Waterproof Matches
  • Jelly Cooking Fuel


  • Compass
  • Maps, Pencil, Pens, Paper
  • Solar/Crank Radio


  • First Aid Kit
  • Whistles attached to outside of backpack
  • Solar/Crank Radio & Flashlight
  • Glow Sticks
  • LED light key ring
  • Sewing Kit – mini
  • Freeze dried Apples and Energy Bar
  • Black Garbage Bags
  • Binoculars
  • Para-cord and/or Rope

Consider yourself fortunate if your ‘get home bag’ is supplemented by having your everyday essential carry with you.

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