What did we learn from our flood alert readiness, viability of our gear, and our overall plan?
One of the most notable observation for us was our flood bag and basic GHB (Get Home Bag) were never going to work in a severe flood scenario outside of its usefulness as a basic survival tool.
Our possessions and home is our wealth so, come a flood that wipes out our home, even with a good fast (LOL) insurance payout. We will probably end up wrecked financially and practically. That and more than a little heartbroken as some of our stuff is irreplaceable.
So, our VERY down to earth assessment of the outcome of a flood is we would take what we need to survive, our valuables and papers, and unfortunately we would probably end up losing some irreplaceable things.
Even if we could get the irreplaceable things into the attic / loft. When a house gets well dunked in flood water, unless everything is hermetically sealed, it’s going to be ruined over time. Only sometimes even doing that isn’t bullet proof as we found out to our cost when a storage container we used had a small leak and the end result was just about everything clothing and fabric we owned had to be junked as our main method of sealing just couldn’t hack the humidity and 60 degree temperature swings in the store.
Thus whatever we put together won’t be a GHB or BUG Out Bag and will be more in line with an INCH (I’m never coming home) bag. Very comprehensive so considerably larger than we would normally entertain and bordering on the limits of being man portable.
Thinking about constructing our flood INCH BAG.
Our bag? One bag for each makes sense, but EQUIPMENT wise, there will be duplication. A wise thing anyway? If you ended up separated yes. If you aren’t, maybe not so. A bag also needs to be transportable.
However, there are weight limits for even the fittest.
Typically (ignoring military doctrine) a loaded backpack shouldn’t weigh over 20% of your body mass (various sources).
In real life, I’m 78 kg, 20%? 15.6 kg. (34 lbs). ROTFL.
The only way I’d be able to carry that weight for any distance is:-
So I would have to use a vehicle to bug out.
The argument now is why bother with weight limits as a vehicle can carry more.
Correct, as far as it goes. That’s the vehicle I’m talking about.
Fuel, breakdowns, some officious Gov jerk, or some other idiot (be they para-official or criminals) trying to stop us.
Much as I would stuff the car with everything, there will be an INCH bag within that is ‘body’ transportable.
Another consideration is what time of year is it?
Winter, winter to spring, spring into summer, summer to the fall.
They all present different requirements in clothing and what you need to survive.
Thus one build standard won’t fit all seasons.
Kinda obvious really but something you need to think about when building your bag.
To that I add the latest ‘things screwing up plans’. Climate Change.
The climate in the UK is changing, and FAST.
Wet is the new norm as is a longer, damper, windier winter.
Air temperatures last year only fell to minus 8°C (17°F) BUT, with windchill from a couple of 60 mph on shore storms last winter. That made for an unpleasant -22°C (-8°F). aka it was BLOODY FREEZING! So if we had to bug out, beach wear and flip flops for night use wouldn’t be a top priority.
First thoughts of the dangers of flooding would be:-
Fast moving material (be that debris, water, or mud slip) with the possibility of drowning and / or injury. Then there are the real dangers of electrocution, gas explosion, and structural collapse.
If you survive the first surge, hypothermia is the next danger, then poisoning and ingestion of toxins and pathogens from injury or ingestion.
After that it gets bad because all water and wet items must be considered toxic, not only to drink but to touch, and that includes clothing.
Keeping clean could be a major difficulty as to fall ill with a wrecked infrastructure and unknown medical support, may turn terminal.
The survival rules of three will assist you in prioritizing your efforts.
- 3 seconds without cover from attack or Injury from that flood surge.
- 3 minutes without a heart beat or breathing.
- 3 hours without adequate cover.
- 3 days without clean water, and the possibility of poisoning from a toxin or illness from a biological pathogen. To this you can include loss of your scripted medicines, and a safe way to keep clean and toilet.
- 3 weeks without safe food.
If we were in an isolated or remote location, and had not received aid within a week, you will need to move to a safer uncontaminated area to seek aid. As for foraging? THAT NEEDS TO START IMMEDIATELY, but everything you do must be moderated by dangers of injury, toxins, and poisons you may be exposed too.
So what’s important?
I’m not going to be boring and make lists.
There are plenty of them on the Internet so pick one.
It’ll probably work but everyone’s priorities will be different so you’ll need to tinker about with the contents.
As an example, for us, whatever happens,
- All paperwork is going to be important.
Insurances, proof of address and identity, bank and savings books.
- Plus anything of significant value. (LOL, as we haven’t got a lot!)
- Rightly (but wrong in the UK), self defense tools will be a priority.
- Foraging will be a must and those tools will be added.
- The need for clean water will come first but med’s come a VERY STRONG SECOND as we are both medicine dependent.
- Because floods cause a lot of pollution, PPE is going to be important as it the means to thoroughly cleanse ourselves.
- Short range two way communications will be important for foraging.
- Torches, plus spare batteries, and (if safe to use) a few candles.
- Not forgetting a wide range of ignition devices like matches, lighters, fine steel wool, and the preppers all time friend, a ferrocerium rod aka a steel match.
- One of the most left out things in a bag contents list, is something to sleep in.
Two hammocks are needed plus over sheets or capes. (But why?)
In a HAZMAT/HAZCHEM scenario, getting off the ground is VITAL.
As is choosing your resting place with care.
It needs to be secure, uncontaminated, but easily ventilated as fumes and other airborne toxins will build up in confined places.
So, if you choose a house, open the BOTTOM and TOP windows. Best you vent fumes and other smells anyway you can than take a chance of a build up of some sort of toxin.
Thinking about sterilization of water, keeping you clean, and cooking. You’re probably going to have to start a fire. Only choose that spot carefully due to the dangers of flammable fumes like gas leaks, or fuels.
Finally as word about self defense.
In survival you may have to do things you would normally never entertain.
Defending your life and your equipment for survival are two of them.
Most aggressors (criminals) are after what you have.
Most desperate people will be the same.
There must be no different rules for one or the other.
To survive means you need ‘stuff’.
To give anything to another will lessen your odds of survival as resupply may be impossible. So the rule is simple. DON’T GIVE ANYTHING TO ANOTHER!
Survival is a selfish game.
Look after ‘you and your own’ AND NORMALLY THAT’S it.
Unless teaming up with someone is to your advantage.
Yet there are dangers doing that.
After all you have to sleep at some time.