Most people that have been prepping or are starting to have heard of a WUSH (Wake Up Sh*ts Happening) bag. If you haven’t, you need to. Disasters can strike at any time, middle of the night or middle of the day. During the day you have the opportunity to be more aware; you can see the color of the sky changing, you receive alerts on your phone, news stations ping Facebook with updates. In the middle of the night however, you miss all those alerts and are usually awoken to the sound of sirens.

If you’re from the Midwest or anywhere else that frequently gets tornadoes, you know the sound of that siren. However, also being from those locations, you typically pull up radar or news to see if it’s even near you. My county may be under warning, but the storm could be 30 minutes away and not even heading my direction. So, while you’re looking up the status and location of the warning, said storm is still heading in your direction. By the time you realize that yes – you should be worried – it’s almost too late. It’s here and you need to move!

If you have children and/or pets, that means you have to mobilize quite a few living creatures, none of whom are cooperative. During our recent Derecho in Iowa (I’ll mention that a lot as it was an excellent learning experience), I was home alone. That meant that I was soley responsible for the well being of three outside cats, one dog, three indoor cats, and a guinea pig. Thankfully, it was the middle of the day so I was well aware that something was about to happen so was able to act quickly. Had it been the middle of the night, I would’ve been lucky to make it to the basement myself in the little amount of time I had before the storm hit.

While your mind is now racing trying to think of all the items you would need in that instance, wouldn’t it be wonderful if it was already packed and ready to go? That’s the idea behind the WUSH bag. Now, it doesn’t have to be a bag…it can be a tote or a box or a binder or whatever works best for you and your situation. Below I’m going to list what you may (or may not) want to include in your WUSH bag and why.

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • If you are woken in the middle of the chances are very good that it is dark, and even better that your power is out. First things first, you’re going to need to be able to see where you’re going and what you’re doing.
  • First Aid kit
    • Bare minimum, basic necessities such as band aids in case someone is injured on the way to the storm shelter / basement.
  • Cell phone and extra battery pack
    • Most of us sleep with our phones next to us, so this shouldn’t be hard to grab, and it’s invaluable when you’re trying to get updates and contact people or call for help.
  • Glasses
    • For those of us that are vision impaired, this is paramount.
  • Food/Water
    • These are always important, but you never know how long you will be in the storm shelter / basement, so make sure you have these items.
  • Battery operated radio
    • Cell towers frequently go down during storms, and oftentimes reception is diminished in a storm shelter / basement, so having a radio is important for storm updates.
  • Blankets
    • You may be wet and/or cold, so having these prevents further stress on your system.
  • Wallet/Keys/Cash
    • In the case that your home is a total loss following a disaster, you’ll be glad you have these items.
  • Documents
    • A lot of preppers stress making copies of all important documents and having copies in your WUSH bag, however I just have mine in a fire proof/water proof safe that I will be able to access after a disaster.
  • Axe/Hatchet
    • In case something falls on top of the door/hatch to your storm shelter / basement, you’ll need a way to get out.
  • Pet Supplies
    • This one can get complicated. You will need a way to care for, and possibly secure, pets while you’re in the storm shelter / basement. During the last storm we had, I was in the basement trying to keep a dog and six cats apart. We are putting a dog kennel in our basement and positioning multiple cat carriers to separate the animals. I am also keeping canned pet food and extra drinking water for them in case we’re down there an extended period of time. You should also consider keeping waste bags on hand.

Now that we’ve discussed what , let’s discuss where. Some people swear by having a bag they can quick grab and take with them. That’s ideal if you’re fleeing your location. However, what if you’re staying where you are? Personally, I have a tote in my basement housing all these items. When the sirens go off, I simply need to grab a few items, round up my people and pets and away we go to the basement. Below are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Emergency Bag
    • The bag you choose should be small and compact, quick and easy to grab, and easy to store. You will want to keep this bag either by your bed or next to a back/basement door. There are some great examples provided at BugOutBagBuilder.com.
  • Storage Tote
    • I have a tote, that I keep in my basement, in the designated “storm shelter” area. It’s a 62 gal tote and I have everything listed above in that tote. I find it extremely helpful and reassuring to know that I do not have to grab anything besides people and pets before rushing to the basement. I also have a spare set of glasses in the tote in case something happens to the ones I’m wearing. I keep a spare set of keys and some cash in there as well.

Whatever you choose to use and whatever you choose to put in it, ensure it’s something that you will find useful. Think back to any time you’ve been in an emergency situation, and think of the items that you either a) used or b) wished you’d had.

Recently, I was huddled in the basement with a cornucopia of animals and no way to restrain or separate them. I had no place to sit, so I was crouched at the base of the steps as that was the only place my phone would work. After the event, my husband and I sat down and brainstormed what worked and what did not work and how to ensure it’s better next time. We put a futon in the basement, in a corner away from the door, with an indoor/outdoor carpet and lights. We also put a dog kennel that can house our dog to separate him from the cats. We have three outdoor cats that will go down there on their own. We have three indoor cats that need to be kept separate from the rest, so we have carriers in the house that we can quick put the cats in and take downstairs with us. My daughter has a guinea pig and has her own little carrier for him. She is responsible for grabbing her phone, blanket and guinea pig. We each have assigned tasks in the event of a disaster. If any of us are gone, we have assigned a back up.

Having a clear plan – and the gear you need – in the event of a disaster will help you to be successful and safe.

Image courtesy of https://momwithaprep.com

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