Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, sponsored by the SurviveInPlace.com Urban Survival Course and LampligherReport.com, my monthly EMP proof print newsletter.
This week, we’re going to go over another fun preparedness activity that you can do alone or with your family…bug-out drills.
A short time back, I decided to run through a solo 10 minute/60 hour evacuation drill. Basically, I gave myself 10 minutes to get what I needed for 2 nights and 3 days and get out of the house…without using any of my 72 hour kits.
I travel frequently and usually have a bag 90% packed and all I need to do is add any destination specific clothing and I’m good to go.
I also always have my camping backpack set up with 3-7 days of food.
This time, I decided to take my backpack as a backup, not use it, and simply throw (my wife will attest to the fact that there really was “throwing” going on) stuff from our pantry into our cooler.
In addition, I actually had to get work done and be productive the whole time I was gone, so I had my laptop, wireless internet cards, power considerations, and other accessories to take into account as well.
In short, trying to get out the door quickly without using my 72 hour kits was a great reminder of how important it is to have your items pre-packed and ready to go.
This is a great drill to go through as often as you can do it and it will drive home the importance and value of pre-planning. And, it’s something that you can make into a fun activity. Some people are all-stars at this. I’m pretty darn good, but I still forgot my toothbrush this time.
Why would I do this when I’m such a proponent of having a SurviveInPlace plan that takes where you spend the majority of your time into account? Great question…and the answer is Murphy, as in Murphy’s Law. Murphy loves to interject a little chaos into the best laid plans and it’s always wise to have a backup plan that you can fall back on.
The reality of a modern crazy life is that most people BARELY have time to execute a simple survival plan, let alone a full blown backup plan. I’m not talking about a full blown backup plan here…simply a plan for situations when you absolutely have to leave your home in a matter of minutes, like flooding from a dam or levee breaking, a wildfire closing in on your house, broken gas mains, hurricanes, earthquakes, chemical leaks, industrial accidents, or other “surprise” events.
Here’s one way to plan for an emergency evacuation and have some fun at the same time:
Tell your family (or decide on your own) that you’ll go somewhere special, but that there are conditions:
- Pick a destination. It could be something like Great Wolf Lodge, a hotel that your family likes, a campground, or a primitive camping location, depending on what your family likes and your budget. This is a serious drill, but it’s important that you make it as fun as possible if anyone in your family is reluctant about preparedness. Even if everyone has bought into preparedness, sometimes life can wear people down and you’ll get more mileage and less resistance by packaging the activity as “fun” rather than “serious.”
- Everyone will pack a bag or storage bin for 2 nights (or whatever time you decide) and make a list of what is in it. They also need to have a list of additional “last minute” items that they’d need to add to the bag. Let them know that at some random time at least 7 days after everyone has packed their bag and turned their lists in to you, that you’ll do a surprise trip to the special location.
- Every day, check on everyone’s status on their lists and focus on how much fun the adventure is going to be.
- Once you’ve got everyone’s list, make sure you’ve got the cargo capacity and adjust as necessary. Try to visualize where everything will go.
- Figure out the food requirements that you’ll have for the trip and pre-pack as much of the food as necessary. Make a list of what you pack and what you’ll need to pack in the 10 minutes you’ll have. Unless you can have a grab-and-go bag in your fridge, you really don’t want to take anything that will take time…remember, you’re the chief packer, organizer, and cheerleader.
- Figure out the documents that you’d want to have with you if you only had 10 minutes to get out. A good idea is to put them all in a folder ready to grab and go. A better idea is to scan everything and put it on multiple encrypted USB drives that you have stored in multiple locations.
- Pick other stuff that you MUST have…firearms, ammo, precious metals, cash, pets, etc. Figure out how much room they would take, but it may not make sense to take them with you.
- Pick your day and make your announcement. This could be difficult, depending on how many programs and activities your family is involved in. When it works and you manage to get everyone together, let them know that they’ve got 10 minutes and start your stopwatch. FYI, pick a timer that goes up, not one that starts at 10 minutes and goes down.
- Get out the door. You probably won’t make it in 10 minutes. If you ever want to get your family to buy into doing the drill again, make sure to stay positive and don’t get frustrated about it. (I’ve done that, and I can tell you that it doesn’t win any friends, make for a fun car ride, or help in any way at all)One thing you can say is, “Wow! I figured it would take an hour our first time, and it only took 45 minutes! What could we do to cut that down next time?” Try not to grit your teeth, sound sarcastic, or tell them that everyone would have burned to death if it would have been real and not just a drill. Remember, the ability to cheer people on, inspire them, and lead them is important now, but a skill that’s a true force multiplier in a disaster situation.
If you follow politics at all, you’ll recognize this as “spin.” It could also be called lying if you do it wrong, and your family will see right through it. So make sure that you say things that you really believe. If you prepare yourself for it to take 60 minutes, then you can truthfully say that you thought it would take 60 minutes. If you’re at 59 minutes, you might want to readjust your expectation to 90 minutes so that you can truthfully say that you thought it would take 90 minutes. In short, don’t lie, stay positive, and don’t hold your family to a standard that they may not be able to achieve on their first try.
- Have fun and make a memory. Many of my wife’s and my favorite memories as kids are from family trips. Actually, many of our favorite memories as adults are from trips as well. Hopefully, mini-trips like these will fill your memories with fun times…and help you be better prepared at the same time.
- To the extent that you can, have everyone repack their boxes and set them aside when you get back home so that you can be ready for another drill or for real in the future.
If your family is more serious and everyone has bought into preparedness, then you may want to take a more serious approach. You could hold fast to the 10 minute time limit or even do things to up the stress level as your family is packing.
However you go about doing it, drills like this are a great way to incorporate preparedness into your lives. Have you done 24 hours without utilities at home? Have you done a 10 minute bug-out drill? If so, share your experiences. If not, share your thoughts about whether you’ve decided to do one in the near future. Also, if you haven’t signed up for them yet, make sure to head over to www.SurviveInPlace.com and www.LamplighterReport.com. They’ve helped thousands of people ranging from career military/LEO and lifelong preppers to retirees and newlyweds just waking up to preparedness.
Until next week, God bless and stay safe..