One thing to be said of modern life, you generally wind up living where the work is. Money can be very good, for example, when you're working as a government contractor in the Washington, DC area, so that's a plus. The bad side of this lifestyle, though, is that you're planted squarely in Megalopolis, with guaranteed chaos and congestion during any catastrophic event, severely hindering your ability to get home from work or to evacuate the area. Those who commute into cities or live in high population areas can relate, as evidenced by what normally might be a 1-hour commute quickly morphing into a 3-to-7 hour odyssey during inclement weather or traffic accidents. On 9/11/01 the DC commuters went through H*ll getting home that evening, even though no roads, services, or power infrastructure were compromised. Living or commuting within a Megalopolis will challenge your ability to be truly prepared for those unpleasant events life can throw at you from time to time.
This article focuses on preparedness in Megalopolis. Long-term survival in Megalopolis is not addressed as that is an entirely separate can of worms, and the crystal ball of the future isn’t looking good. Instead, what you can do now before something bad happens is begin preparation for you and your family.
I detest the term “Bug-Out Bag.” I really can’t explain why the term seems so creepy to me, but one thing for sure, you should always keep one handy when you live in an over-developed area like DC. Most of us have to work to pay the bills, and should something happen while you're at the office you'll need a few basics close at hand to help you both deal with it and hopefully to be able to get safely home. Keep in mind that this bag is designed to get you from work to home (that’s where you have the stuff you can’t carry on your back) and nothing more; it doesn't pack a three day supply of food, for example. To that end, each vehicle has a small day pack stashed inside, packing a pair of comfortable and broken-in walking shoes / boots, a 100 ounce water reservoir (filled), a lightweight Gore-Tex jacket, a change of socks, and a few power bars. Each car has a GPS, a head lamp set, and a good detail map of the city. Depending on the situation, I'm prepared to abandon my vehicle and then walk out of the city in order to get to home and safety. Note that caveat… depending on the situation. Some situations may dictate that I stay where I am, seeking shelter at the workplace, while others will indicate heading home. Staying abreast of the news is critical, and being able to think clearly during an emerging situation without acting rashly is going to go a long way toward putting you on a course of action that may save your life.