How to Pack Storage Totes For Evacuation, by C.Y.

One way to pack emergency supplies is in plastic storage totes, which are available inexpensively at department stores. Many stores have 18 liter volume totes, between five and ten dollars per tote. They also have smaller sizes, which may be more convenient. The smaller sizes may be easier to pack in the car.) [JWR Adds: For strength, the opaque Rubbermaid brand totes are preferred over the more brittle transparent totes. I also recommend taking some detailed measurements and doing some test fitting of bins in your vehicle(s), for the most efficient packing arrangement.]

There are two general categories of action you can take in a disaster situation, assuming you are not a direct victim (and going to the hospital). You either stay at home, or you can evacuate. (Also called bugging out.)  Either way, it is wise to have emergency supplies in one handy place. If you’re lucky, you may have 10 minutes to pack your family and get out. You can grab your Rubbermaid  bins  and know you’ve got the  essentials you need. 

What to pack in your emergency kit? I think there are several essentials to survival during an evacuation. Air, water, food, shelter, medical, transport, fire, light, defense, communications, future income, and entertainment.

Military gas masks and N95 respirators can filter dust. They were in high demand after the World Trade Center collapse — dust hung in the air for days. 

Bring plenty of clean water along, for drinking, washing, etc. Also good to have a camping type water filter. You may wish to pack some water in half liter bottles (cheap enough in cases of 24 at the stores) in case you want to hand out water bottles to others. 

Bring your own food, as the restaurants and supermarkets may be closed, or out of food. Pack food that requires no cooking, and is familiar to you, and which you enjoy eating. Your food needs and desires will probably be different than other people, so choose wisely, and pack the foods you can use. 

A camping tent is a good idea. In case you need to spend a night out. Clothing and shoes and boots are also considered shelter. 

Pack a large bottle of aspirin or ibuprofen, and lots of antacids. Ask your doctor for an undated “Emergency Use Only” antibiotics prescription. You need at least three days’ supply of necessary medications.  plan to wear your glasses, as contacts can be a real hassle.  Sanitation can become iffy at best, so plenty of toilet paper. Diaper wipes can be used as adult toilet paper, as well as for bathing “spot baths”. Alcohol based “hand sanitizer” may help you to avoid disease. Latex gloves are very useful, too. Sunscreen, and bug spray. You may be outdoors. 

Ideally, you get in your car, and drive where you want to be. Less ideally, you may need to walk due to traffic jam, or out of gas. You will want sturdy and comfortable boots. Plan B would be something with wheels such as a garden cart to haul supplies. 

Fire provides comfort, light, and helps keep the animals away. Plenty of matches and lighters. 

Pocket size flashlight and a battery-powered camp lantern. A big MagLite for seeing things at a distance.

Again, you can use that big MagLite for burglar whacking. Other weapons where legal, and if trained. 

Cell phone, and both car and home chargers. List of family and important phone numbers. Important family documents you may need to prove identity, contact people, etc. Battery radio to hear the government approved propaganda which some call “news”. 

Future income.
Ideally, bring your work tools, resume, and working papers, so you can get started in your new location. 

You may have a bit of time to pass, especially if your family is in a public shelter. Books, playing cards, and board games are all logical choices. If your group has kids, you might need some extra batteries, for the hand held game toys.