Disasters happen, and disaster preparedness tips help people save their own lives. Because of that, it’s vital that people take the time to review and analyze their situation. When they do, they will find themselves better able to overcome the disasters, emergencies, etc. To prepare, it’s a good idea to think about the seven points discussed below in the Disaster Preparedness Tips podcast episode.
In this episode on Disaster Preparedness Tips:
- Perform a Personal Risk Assessment
- Prepare to Bug In
- Prepare to Bug Out
- Plan Your Evacuation (Bug Out) Routes and Safe Havens
- Stay Informed
- People and Pets
Perform a Personal Risk Assessment
A personal risk assessment will help you identify the major disasters and emergencies that you should prepare for. After all, if you live in Miami, preparing for a blizzard may not be a very good use of resources. However, preparing for a hurricane is probably an excellent use of your resources. Similarly, if you live in California, you’ll probably want to focus on earthquakes and wildfires rather than tornados. It’s important to remember also to consider situations that many people don’t typically prepare for, such as a pandemic, or another often overlooked possibility.
Red Cross Disasters Page
If you’d like to check out other possible scenarios to make sure you’ve done a thorough job with your risk assessment, you can go to the Red Cross website. I’ll have a link in the show notes. When you get to the Red Cross site, you’ll find a long list of potential disaster scenarios along with tips to help you prepare for each possible scenario. It’s well worth the time to check it out.
Now, I doubt any of you Mind4Survival Survivors have this issue, but we never know. However, if you are someone who believes your area won’t be affected by disasters, you’re sadly mistaken. If you’ve listened to this podcast before or read through the blog posts, then you probably know all about normalcy bias. If you don’t, I suggest you go to Mind4Survival.com and do a search for Normalcy Bias and see if it applies to you. In a quick nutshell, if you believe you won’t ever be impacted by a disaster or other emergency, you’re probably wrong, very wrong.
Prepare to Bug In
Regardless of the situation, when disaster strikes, you only have two choices. You can bug in, or bug out. Bugging in means, you’re going to stay in your home and attempt to ride out the situation, whatever it is. The primary key to think about when making your decision is that once you choose to bug in, you may be stuck. Think of the people in Louisiana and Texas during last year’s floods. If they were slow in getting out, they often couldn’t get out.
If, as you make your disaster response plans, you decide that bugging in is an option, you’ll want to make sure you are prepared. After all, if the situation is dire enough to consider leaving your home, it’s probably so tricky that you may be stuck on your own for a while. So again, you’ll want to make sure you prepare well and make plans should bugging in become a problem down the road. Oh, and for the sake of argument, you should probably plan to both bug out and bug in.
Some reason to consider bugging in are:
If you or a loved one has a disability that makes bugging out very difficult. The fact of the matter is that not all of us can quickly pack up and leave our home. Some of us may, due to the circumstances of life, be forced to stay at home and ride out a disaster.
You have planned and prepared ahead of time for a bugging in scenario. This means you’ve stocked up on food, fuel, and water. Additionally, since you’ll possibly be on your own, you should consider alternate means of communication. Since the cell phones and hard lined phones may be down, having another means of communications to receive updates on the situation and to let people know how you’re doing will be significant. Additionally, as we saw in Hurricane Katrina and other disasters, evil people try to capitalize on the situation to do bad things. So, you’ll want to be ready to defend yourself. Fortunately, not all the people you’ll meet in a bug in scenario are definitely dangerous. Some may be stuck in a bad spot just like you. So, you may want to be prepared to help others. Yes, that’s a controversial subject within the prepping community. Ultimately, it’s a personal decision each of us needs to make with benefits and consequences that we’ll have to live with.
You don’t have a reliable means of transportation? If you don’t, bugging out could put you in a worse position than bugging in. Think about it. Would you rather be in your home during a disaster, or would you instead be stuck on the side of the road with a broken-down car? What about walking with a pack on your back during hurricane force winds? Neither of those options is good or advisable. So, remember to include your vehicle in your preparedness plans. If you do, and you maintain it as part of your preparedness plan, you stand a much better chance of getting to where you need to go through a bug out scenario.
The Viability of Your Bug Out Location:
Is the area you planned to bug out to impacted by a disaster. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same disaster. Perhaps you want to get out of the way of an oncoming hurricane, but your bug out plan was to travel to an area that was just hit by a dangerous tornado, fire, etc. Remember the old preparedness saying, one is none, two is one. That also applies to bug out locations. So, make sure you incorporate alternate plans when you are preparing your family emergency plan.
Prepare to Bug Out
If you listened to episode 43 or 44 with Johnny Jacks, which you can listen to at Mind4Survival.com/43 or Mind4Survival.com/44, you'd know that bugging out is no walk in the park either. Well, it’s not a walk in a beautiful park.
What is Bugging Out?
For those who may be new to this, bugging out means getting out of dodge. In other words, the situation is so bad, that you decide to forego bugging in. Instead, you plan on packing up everything you can carry and hitting the road by whatever means possible. Hopefully, you’ve planned it out ahead of time and have a good mode of transportation set to go, so you don’t have to try to outpace the disaster.
If you’re planning to bug out, then you’ll want to prepare a bug out bag for yourself and each family member who is capable of carrying a backpack. For the sake of time, I’m not going to get into what you should carry in your bug out bag. I’ll be covering that in a later show. However, in the meantime, you can add to the over 33,000 monthly Google searches for Bug Out Bag information.
Prepare Bug Out Bags
Your bug out bags are essential, so make sure you pay attention to them. Without bug out bags, you may find yourself leaving your home with, if you’re lucky, just the clothes on your back. Think about the news reports of the fires out west. How often do we see a family who is unprepared fleeing for the lives with nothing? It happens all of the time, so don’t let it happen to you. Take the time to do your research, then put your bags together. Hopefully, you never have to use them, but if you do, you’ll be happy that you took the time to prepare.
Considerations for Bugging Out
When deciding whether to bug out, you’ll want to think about a few things. One of the main concerns and Johnny Jacks spoke to this, is that you’re leaving your home. Not only are you leaving your home, but you’re leaving everything you can’t take with you. While you may not mind leaving your soul-sucking television behind, you may have second thoughts when it comes to family heirlooms and other sentimental items. The thing to remember is, are any of those items worth you or another family members life?
Heading into the Great Unknown
Next, you should consider that when you bug out until you get to your bug out location, you’re heading out into the great unknown. When you leave, there’s a chance that you won’t know the state of the roads. Are they passable? Are there detours? How about what the temperament and attitude of other people on the road are? Are people nice and cooperative, or are they angry and rioting? You never know. So, when deciding to give up your home, make sure to think about what you may be heading into if you do.
What Are Your Chances of Making it?
You’ll also want to consider where you’re going and what you think your chances of getting there are? Perhaps you’d planned on driving your awesome 1970 EMP proof pick-up to your bug out location. Unfortunately, though, the disaster has made your street impassable to anything other than people on foot. Therefore, your plan to drive to safety just went up in a cloud of dust along with your street. Is your walk possible? If so, what are the odds you’ll make it? Will you have enough food? Do you know where to find water along the way? These are all things that need to be balanced against one another to determine what your most appropriate course of action is.
Plan Your Evacuation (Bug Out) Routes and Safe Havens
Figuring out how to get to your bug out the location when it’s time to beat feet because of a disaster, isn’t the right time to figure out your routes. The time to make your travel plans is long before disaster strikes. In all actuality, your route planning should be one of the first things you do when working on your bug out plan. After all, if you don’t have any idea about how you’re going to get somewhere, can you bug out all that well?
Primary – Secondary – Tertiary Routes
So, when you start thinking about your bug out plans, remember to think about your routes. As you all probably know, you want to plan on multiple routes. In the military and when working overseas, we called these routes our primary, secondary, and tertiary routes. Yeah, tertiary is a funky word. It means third in the order of level. Why do you need at least three routes? Well, because as mentioned earlier, one is none, and two is one. If you only plan for two routes, you may find yourself stuck should the second route have problems. While planning for at least three routes may take some time, it will be well worth it.
Practice Your Routes
Speaking of well worth it, it is well worth it to drive your routes to your bug out location. The more you drive them, the more familiar you’ll be with them. That translates into improved odds of bugging out success. That’s especially true when you find yourself bugging out in the middle of a cold, dark, nasty, disaster-filled night.
Safe Havens & Re-Supply Points
When you’re planning out your routes, make sure to identify safe havens. Safe havens are places that, by their nature, should be reasonably safe and secure. As you look for safe havens, look for places that are away from main roads and highways. You want the option to avoid people if it’s needed. So, places such as rest stops, gas stations, and other high traffic areas may be poor choices for safe havens. Instead, try finding side roads that are a decent distance away from the main route. Look for wooded, less populated spots that you can stop in.
If you know people along the way, that is even better. If you plan to go to someone’s home, you will want to discuss it with them ahead of time. The last thing you want to do is surprise someone when times are tense. You could end up having a copper jacketed personal disaster if it goes wrong. Also, when planning for your safe havens, consider which ones you may be able to stay at for several days and which may only support a brief stop.
As you look for safe havens, you should also try to identify some potential resupply points along the way. Hopefully, you won’t need to resupply, but it’s always something worth considering. The viability of resupply points may vary. Some people like to cache supplies along more remote areas of their route ahead of time. Others try to identify friends they can leave some supplies with ahead of time.
“Locker Nine” Re-Supply Point
Then, there’s Franklin Horton’s” Locker Nine” approach. Find a storage unit, or units along the way, rent it, and store needed supplies in it. The odds are that during a disaster when people are trying to move away from the problem, they won’t be robbing storage lockers. With that though, you never know. So, because your locker is not under your direct control, you have to consider the possibility your supplies won’t be there when you stop in. Whatever method you use, it’s worth doing to know that you have options when out on your own during hard times. The supplies you store there could be worth their weight in gold if our world is turned upside down?
The more warning you can get before a disaster hits, the better off you’ll be. Because of that, it’s important to make sure that you stay informed about what is happening in the world around you. That doesn’t mean sitting in front of the television all day. It means you should have a daily routine where you check the weather reports, news highlights, and other areas of information. When you do, you’ll set yourself up to know as soon as possible that trouble is coming.
In episode 34 of the podcast, which you can find by going to Mind4Survival.com/34, we discussed ways to stay informed. In that podcast, we talked about using the Internet to stay up on things. Remember, don’t be sucked in by fake, chicken little, the sky is falling, news stories. Not that any news sources on the internet are reliable, but some are better than others. It’s up to you to decide, but I’d be cautious about what courses you put your trust in. An excellent way to verify sources is to look for the same news story from multiple outlets. When you do that, you’ll be able to make a judgment about which is providing you the best information.
Keeping people informed during a disaster is the domain of ham radio operators all around the globe. Ham radio operators do a fantastic job of spreading the news and keeping tabs on things. It’s good to learn how to operate a ham radio. Even if you don’t obtain your ham license, understanding how they work when disaster strikes may be hugely beneficial.
Now, another radio people can use is the standard, old-school radio. Well, relatively old school. Radios such as the American Red Cross Emergency Weather Radio may be just what you need to stay informed. They are worth considering when you are packing your bug out bags.
With today’s smart phone’s you can stay in touch with developing situations easier than ever. One way to do that is by emergency alerts offered through ready.gov. If you haven’t checked out ready.gov yet, you should take a look and see if it’s a tool you’d like to use. Regardless of the provider, a simple Google search will provide you with many early warning options to try out.
People and Pets
Should you find yourself bugging out, you’ll want to make sure you address and special needs. Some of the special needs you may want to think about when planning is the needs of the sick, old, young and your pets. All of these considerations have a chance of impacting your ability to bug out in a timely and issue free manner.
As you make plans to bug out possibly, you’ll want to consider the needs of any sick loved ones. For example, will you need to pack their medications? Heck, do they even have their drugs, or enough of them to get by? Maybe instead of an illness, they have an injury. Will you have to bug out with someone on crutches? If you do, how are you going to do it? What other plans will you need to make to help Hop Along out?
Old and Young
This should be reasonably straightforward. They very young and the very old are limited in the speed and distance they can travel on foot. Additionally, they are a lot less stable on their feet and due to reduced strength may not be able to assist as much as you’d like. So, it’ll be a great idea to think about how you’ll handle the young and old if you end up walking away from the disaster.
Okay, sure, we all know the deal. Well, most of us look at it this way. While pets are often members of their family, they are still, at the end of the day, a pet. As such, they usually have a lower position on the order of merit list for whose life you’ll save first. Now, if you bring your pet with you on your bugging out adventure, you’ll want to consider some things food, water, quietness, etc. After all the last thing, you need a dog that draws attention during the apocalypse.
You’ve heard me, my guests and probably every other podcast host say, practice with your gear and train. If you don’t train and practice, then you’re one easy Murphy surprise away from potential failure. That’s the last think any of us should want. However, how do you avoid Murphy? You avoid him by training and understanding the limits and capabilities of yourself, your gear, and anything you can think of. Is it easy? No, it’s not. Is it a pain in the butt? Yes, it is. But, it’s better to experience pain in training now, when you can recover from it, then having it when the whole world is on fire. So, remember, practice makes you nearly perfect, so let’s get started practicing!
Never forget, you’re just one prep away.
If you have any other thoughts or questions about disaster preparedness tips, please leave a comment below.
Stay safe, secure and prepared,
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