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Here’s What to Put in Your Office Bug-Out Bag

Topics: Work Culture
emergency plan

You might have an emergency kit in your car or home, but do you have one for work? Think about what you’d need to pull together if you had to clear out in a hurry. Here’s how to plan for an emergency at work that sends you home in a hurry, with a GHB or “Get-Home Bag.”

Think About the Weather

Once when I worked in a Chicago suburb, we spent a half an hour watching some crazy clouds build up and zoom towards us in the heat of the afternoon. Our noses pressed against the floor-to-ceiling windows, we were mesmerized by the huge dark clouds, wind and lightning coming with the rain outside. Turns out we totally missed the company-wide emergency email that came through to our desks, asking everyone to head to the stairwells and basement garage, since the storm was spawning tornados as it came our way.

If the power had failed (or a window had blown out) and I’d needed to head for the train or bus in a hurry, I would have had to make several stops before I could have braved the elements of a severe storm and I can’t even remember if I’d brought a coat that day. Simple fact: It’s always good to have whatever weather protection you need for the season. During the year, try rotating your emergency weather gear at work:

  • Spring or fall: umbrella or raincoat
  • Winter: snow boots, gloves, and hat
  • Summer: sun protection and lightweight clothes
  • Year-round: comfortable shoes to walk long distances in case public transit fails or you have to leave your car

Think About Power

If the power’s out, your 3 percent cell phone battery won’t be a good thing. In addition to keeping a portable charger handy, you should also think about alternative power sources for your must-haves.

Big portable batteries are compact (most aren’t bigger than a deck of cards) and can charge your phone or tablet easily. You can keep one in your bag or purse so that if you’re ever on-the-go you won’t be hovering over a bathroom electrical plug with what remains of humanity.

Think About Money

Are you the person who always has about $4 in their wallet? Think about your GHB as a place where you can put a bit of “emergency cash” only to be spent in case the worst happens.

What if there’s a glitch and your card won’t work? Getting through tolls, trains or even a cab ride home might be a nightmare without a couple of $20s in your pack. Money can always be exchanged for goods or services, remember. Just don’t go diving in after this cash when you want to get a mid-afternoon donut. Emergencies only.

Think About Zombies

Just how “extreme” you make your GHB is up to you, and your potential commute through the ruins of society as we know it. If you want to get all The Road out there, you could add in some survival gear, blankets, a compass and a paper map. Water isn’t a bad idea, and neither are some shelf-stable snacks or energy bars. First aid items or basic sanitary products (soap and antiseptic wipes, maybe some tampons) are lightweight and could make life more comfortable when our new insect overlords take control.

This basic list from emergency professionals or another from a DIY-er might be a few other places to start when planning a GHB. Above all, consider your office rules if they tell you not to bring things like survival knives or road flares into the office. Safety and common sense, always.

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Do you have an office bug-out bag? What do you pack in it? We want to hear from you! Comment below or join the discussion on Twitter.

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Rivka Audrey Strom Recent comment authors
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Rivka Audrey Strom
Rivka Audrey Strom

Nice idea. Where do you keep all this stuff? With the open concepts that offices are going to and the small size lockers (if there are any) this means that bugging out means bugging in every day. My advice is to do what used to be done in the old days. Listen to the weather report. If there is a possibility of rain take an umbrella, snow either take or wear snow boots and the appropriate outerwear. Most of us… Read more »

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