Do You Have A SHTF Plan?
Leaving your shelter, leaving your home during a crisis is counter to your instincts and to what many experts recommend. However, there may be situations where staying in your home or even in your community is life threatening.
Making the decision to leave your home may well be one of the most difficult decisions you make during a disaster. Situations that may force you to leave your home can include a nuclear detonation where radioactive fallout is a threat along with a chemical or biological attack. Natural threats that can force you from your home can include the threat of tsunamis, flooding from heavy rains or tidal surges and destructive winds.
Create a Bug Out Plan
Some individuals and families will convince themselves they would never leave their home under any circumstance. This means they have not planned for evacuation because they refuse to accept the fact they may have to. Once reality strikes however, and the disaster is looming, people will evacuate. Read our article on creating a family survival plan
Without the proper planning, you can flee one crisis only to be thrust into another. Start now looking at alternative locations (bug-out-locations). Use online mapping software that shows terrain and natural resources along with population density to help you find an area to evacuate too.
State and federal parks are one option as well as using property that friends or family may own. Once you leave your area because of a disaster you simply cannot drive aimlessly around you must have a destination in mind. You should be able to get to the location using only have of a tank of fuel and the other half is for getting back home or moving from the alternative location. Service stations may not be in operation, and if they are, there may be a fuel shortage, so do not assume you can refuel along the route.
Locate parks that are far enough away from large metropolitan areas to be safe from nuclear, chemical or biological fallout.
Map out various routes to your destination, and make sure you avoid bridges, tunnels and elevated highways because you can become trapped in these areas. Use back roads as much as possible because most people will use the most logical routes, which will result in traffic jams.
In some circumstances, either you may have to travel on foot the entire way or part of the way if you find the highways and roads are blocked. Have bug-out-bags at the ready even if you can make your way out of the area by vehicle because you will need a way to carry supplies if your vehicle breaks down or the roads are blocked half way to your destination.
Bug Out Bag
Your bug out bag would be in addition to any supplies you have stockpiled in your home and differs slightly from a get home bag. Individuals and families tend to focus their efforts on stockpiling supplies in their homes and then find they have a problem if they have to evacuate. They simply do not know what to do with their supplies other than to leave them behind. You may have to leave quickly so having bags at the ready is critical. You will not have the time to begin packing if the situation in your area becomes hostile or otherwise dangerous.
You cannot depend on motels and hotels because they will fill up quickly. You should have the means in your packs to survive using your vehicle as shelter as well as tents and tarps if you find yourself at a national or state park.
This points out the importance of gaining knowledge and the skill sets to live away from your home during a crisis. Once you find yourself at a national or state park you must have the supplies, materials, skills and the knowledge to survive using the natural resources available. State and federal parks typical have areas ideal for camps, and will usually have surface water sources. In some cases, the parks may have structures throughout the park that can be used.
For more information on national parks, please visit Sierra Club Website
The Bug Out Bag Checklist
Each member of the group should have their own bag if they are old enough to carry one. Avoid having one person carry the water and one the food and so on. If a member becomes separated, from the family, you do not want them to have items critical to the entire team and the person lost must have emergency essentials so they can survive on their own as well. Make the packs identical. Looking for a Bug Out Bag Checklist, Download the PDF
- Each pack needs three days’ supply of H2O, which for hydration only is 1.5 gallons (two quarts daily)
- Three days’ supply of food such as protein bars, Meals Ready to Eat ( two per day for adults), beef jerky and peanut butter and crackers, avoid canned goods or foods that require liquid for preparation such as freeze dried or dehydrated foods
- Small one person tent or two tarps for shelter
- Two thermal (Mylar) blankets
- Rain poncho
- Whistle/signal mirror
- Communication device
- Waterproof matches, lighters and alternative fire starting materials such as a magnesium stick or Ferro rods
- Lensatic compass and maps of the area, state and country
- Sleeping bag if room allows, roll tight and secure on the outside of the pack
- 50 feet of nylon rope
- Small camp axe/machete or folding wood saw
- Insect repellent and/or netting
- Person hygiene items and include hand sanitizer and bath wipes to avoid using liquid for bathing and hand cleaning
- Hat, work gloves, several bandanas, sun screen, lip balm and sunglasses
- First aid supplies and common over the counter medications for pain, stomach upset and allergies
- Water purification tablets
- Two stainless steel canteens that can be worn on a belt (can also be used to boil water for purification)
Bug Out Bag Turorial
Once again, the items in your bug-out-bag are in addition to any supplies you place in your vehicle and have stored inside your home.