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Building a Bug Out Bag – Part VIII, Financial & Identity

Building a Bug Out Bag – Part VIII, Financial & Identity

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In Building a Bug Out Bag Part I we discussed why building a Bug Out Bag is important and what type of bag to select.  In Part II we discussed the Transportation Items to consider, in Part III we explored Water preparedness, in Part IV it was Food preparedness, in Part V we tackled Shelter, Clothing and Protection from the elements, in Part VI we considered Communications options and yesterday in Part VII we discussed Security Preparedness for your Bug Out Bag.  Today we’ll discuss Security preparedness and some Security elements to consider while building a Bug Out Bag.  Remember, this is your last ditch, carry on your back, walk away from trouble Bug Out Bag…not what you hope you can get to your bug out location if your car, SUV, or Daimler Ferret makes it.

Financial PreparednessFinancial & Identity Preparedness:

There’s no telling what financial challenges you’ll have during your bug out.  Don’t count on being able to refill your wallet during an event either…there may be a bank ‘holiday,’ a run on the ATM or the credit card networks may be inoperable.  You may also encounter price gouging or even a currency failure where cash is suddenly worthless.  In addition to the ‘money’ you’ll carry, there’s also a ‘currency’ to being able to prove who you are, what you own and what skills you have.  Consider the following for your Bug Out Bag…but you may want to transfer most of these items to your body at your earliest opportunity.

Currency & Financial:

  • Cash:  Carry as much as you can in varying denominations but make sure not to flash your wad or you might make yourself a target.  One way to do this is to split your currency among the responsible adults in your group.  Additionally, break the currency you carry into at least two locations even if it’s left pocket and right pocket.  Carry just the money you expect to spend at any one stop in your left pocket and replenish from your right pocket when there’s no one around to see.
  • Coins:  There are still a lot of coin-only vending machines out there and even payphones in some areas that you can use if your cellphone service is down or your battery dies.  Coins are heavy so don’t get carried away.
  • Silver Coins:  Silver coins like American Silver Eagle or pre-1965 dimes, quarters, half-dollars and dollars may still be seen as ‘currency’ even if there’s a currency crisis.  Foreign silver probably isn’t worth the weight in your Bug Out Bag as it’s not as easily recognizable for many.  Gold coins are another option if you can afford them but will be too large a ‘denomination’ for most transactions.  Remember to watch your weight…it would be easy to get carried away even with silver and gold coins.  There’s such a demand for the U.S. Mint’s Silver Eagles that the mint recently announced that they’re sold out and won’t be taking orders for the next few months.
  • Credit & Debit Cards:  You never know…keep your money options open in case the networks are up and running.  You might carry a prepaid phone card as well.  Use your credit and debit cards to conserve your cash for as long as possible during your bug out.
  • Important Financial Documents:  Record and laminate a list or banking and investment account numbers

Identity & Important Documents:

  • Government ID:  Carry one or more government issued picture ID.  State ID like driver’s and concealed carry licenses are great, but also carry any federal ID you have like a military ID, passport or access badge (a form of picture ID used by federal employees and contractors to access government facilities).  Law enforcement identification and badges or retiree badges should also be kept handy while bugging out.
  • Social Security Cards:  This is your key to access many government benefits.  Copies are O.K. but laminate them and protect them from getting lost and compromising your identity.
  • Benefit Cards/ID:  Health insurance cards, union benefit cards, and other benefit program identification to prove that you are entitled to benefits.
  • Certifications:  Being able to prove that you have specialized skills or experience can be helpful in longer term emergencies so carry laminated or waterproof copies of these types of documents including but not limited to:  DD214(s) (prove military service and experience), medical credentials, specialized tradesman status (for example:  Master Electrician) or other high demand/barterable credentials.
  • Legal Documents:  You also may want to pack copies or notarized (or raised seal) originals of important legal documents like birth certificates, wills, marriage records & divorce decrees in a couple of zip lock baggies.

We’ll continue with Building a Bug Out Bag – Part IX later this week when we’ll discuss Personal Health & Medical Preparedness for your Bug Out Bag.

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