I'd wager most people don't know what a panic bag (or a go bag) is. Basically it is a pre packed bag of essentials that you grab and run with in a bad situation. For example, your house is burning down, there is a natural disaster in the area and you need to evacuate, the mafia is after you, or the planet is being invaded by aliens. (Ok a panic bag probably wouldn't help with alien invasion, but not much would soooooooooooo . . . we'll leave that out of the planning process.)
Panic bags are highly individual, but basically they should help to sustain you until help can arrive, or you can get out of the area. Make sure you keep it in an accessible place, preferable near the exit that you are most likely to take, mine is in my front closet. I'll take you through my process of putting together my bag with the whys of the items so that you can decide what would best fit into your bag.
1) The bag. I use an old book bag that I had in the house. It's worn but still functional. Make sure the bag is big enough to carry everything you'll need but don't get carried away. If you end up having to carry it a distance you won't want it to be too large or awkward to carry.
2) Under clothes. One change. Do I really have to explain this? I didn't think so.
3) Pants and shirt. I've packed stuff that I don't wear and won't miss. Here you have options. You can either repack with the seasons or pack something that should be acceptable in a variety of climates. I choose the second. That way I don't have to remember and will be prepared for unseasonably warm/cold weather.
4) Shoes. I chose old runners that I had laying around. They are still serviceable but were retired after a couple seasons of cross country.
5) Outer wear. I struggled a bit with this choice. I didn't have an old coat hanging around and didn't want to buy a new one just to see it sitting around in my panic bag. I went with a sweater that I don't wear and my old military wind breaker. I can layer them in most cold weather to be adequately warm. Since I keep the bag in my front hall closet with my winter coat I should be able to grab my heavy duty coat (without losing time) if the weather is sever. (Technically I'm not to suppose to wear my old military wind breaker with civilian clothes, but if my house just burnt down I pity the poor soul who comments on it.)
6) Touque and mits. Optional in some countries, but not if you live in the true north strong and free and cold and wet and icy. . .
Every thing is wrapped in plastic milk bags to help keep them dry, any one who's camped knows this trick.
That wraps up clothes for the panic bag, tune in tomorrow for part 2!