Pinal County woman teaches others how to create 'bug-out bags' in case of emergency

Posted at 10:23 PM, Jun 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-16 01:26:00-04

It's called a "bug-out bag" or BOB and it's basically full of what you'd need to survive for a few days.

As Pinal County resident Lina Austin puts it, it's a bag you hope you never have to use but thankful that you have.

Austin is the Executive Director of the Future Forward Foundation, a non-profit serving the community. Part of that is teaching people about to build their own bug-out bag.

She first got the idea through a reoccurring dream years ago.

"It was almost like a voice spoke to me and said 'put together a bug-out bag,'" she said. "I must have had it at least six times."

She spent the next year filling a three-foot long, light-weight backpack with everything one needs to survive.

Inside, she has a flashlight, medical kit, radio, kitchen utensils, soap, hat, rope, mirror, blanket, water and food — just to name a few of the items.

"Can you imagine three days in Phoenix with no power? That could almost be chaos, I hate to say it," she said.

Austin knows some people may find her bag silly, but she said those who laugh at her have not lived through a crisis.

"The only reason I am talking about this is to get families to wake up. I am not a doomsday preparer, I am not a conspiracy theorist, I just truly want your family to have a plan."

Pinal County is on board with Austin, encouraging residents to have a bag and plan.

"Arizona is one of those unique states where we aren't as prone to disasters, knock on wood, but it is a level of complacency," said Chuck Kmet, the emergency manager for Pinal County.

With record heat in the forecast, monsoon season already underway, and the constant threat of fire, Austin hopes her simple survival bag will start to sound like a good idea.

"If you have done your best and you're prepared and you've got your bug-out bag ready in a crisis you can be happy," Austin explained. "That's my purpose."