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Monday, April 5, 2010

Preps: Evacuation Plan

We're now half way through posting about the 12 Impacts you should plan for in your preps.  As we've stated before, in our view, Emergency Preparedness needs to focus more on limiting negative impacts to disasters than on preparing for specific events (earthquake, hurricane, etc.).  We discussed that philosophy and those Twelve Impacts in an earlier post.  You can see all of the items in the series to this point by clicking the 12 Impacts label category.

At this mid-point, we're going to take another detour, but a very closely related one.  With any kind of sudden emergency, you will have two immediate actions:  Evacuate or Shelter In Place.  These are handled by the use of very simple checklists - one for each location you might find yourself during an emergency:  Home, Work or One The Road.

Today, we'll cover developing an Evacuation Plan.
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In February, we did a post on Shelter-In-Place (SIP).  This post will explore what you should do if government officials order an evacuation, or if you decide to "bug-out" based upon your own analysis of the situation.

Because the thought process and equipment needed for an evacuation are much more extensive and critical than it is for a SIP plan - you're leaving the majority of your "stuff" behind - we'll be breaking this into two posts. [UPDATED - to three posts]

Today, we'll cover the Bug-Out-Bag (BOB) Contents and your Evacuation Checklist.  Tomorrow, we'll cover Evacuation Transportation and Determining/Mapping Evacuation Destinations. [UPDATED - third post on Voluntary Activation of you Evacuation Plan]
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As with SIP, your plan is based upon a simple, easy to use checklist.  It directs your actions during a time of high stress.  This checklist will ensure that the actions you need to take and the gear you need to grab are not overlooked.

Also, as with your SIP plan, you will want a kit that is a pre-packed repository of your food and other necessities.  The common term for this kit is a Bug Out Bag, or BOB.  It should contain, in order of importance, items to provide for your (1) Survival, (2) Post-Emergency Recovery and (3) Comfort.

BOB Contents

There is an almost religious fervor as to what should be included!  No one can tell you how much of which items you need to stock to prepare for your survival.  You have to determine that for yourself.  You also need to consider how you will transport your food and gear in the event you end up on foot.

Here is a post by my fellow California Preppers Network contributor, William Lankes, on what can be included.  Here's a very good post from the guys over at Survival Cache on the seven types of gear that should be in your BOB.  You can get a very detailed list here (PDF) from the folks at Survivalist Site.

Do a Google search for "BOB contents" if you need more ideas.

You must assume your BOB will contain all of your worldly goods.  I like to assume that my house has burned to the ground, everything was lost, and I have nothing other than what is in my BOB.

As I've discussed in the past, when the Oakland Hills Firestorm hit in 1991, that is EXACTLY what happened to my grandfather.  The only thing left in the area were the fire bricks from his neighbor's chimney.

As with most preparedness things, your BOB design and content is VERY personalized.  Some people fill one or more backpacks.  Personally, our BOB consists of multiple 60-quart lidded tubs you get at Walmart (Rubbermade, etc.).  They are individually numbered.  We grab them in order, based upon how much time and the number of vehicles we have at home when we evacuate.

Box One provides us with food, water purification, various types of equipment and self-defense items for 4 people for 11 days.  It also contains copies of our critical records, medical/first aid items and $1,000 in cash.

The food in Box One is in the form of Survival Bars and MREs.  Successive boxes contain more "normal" foods, such as canned meats, dried beans, grains, rice and pasta, spices and oils, etc.  Earlier boxes are filled with more densely-packed foods (high calorie, high protein), and later boxes contain more "comfort" items such as deserts, sweets, gravies and the like.

Equipment and tools to prepare the foods are added to the boxes as is appropriate.  Also, the first 4 boxes each contain a rudimentary ruck sack so that the contents can be carried in the event we are forced to abandon our vehicle(s). [We originally used the ruck sacks as the BOBs, but found it much easier to identify, catalog and rotate the contents when they are in a tub].

Remember:  When you're developing your own BOB, build it so that Survival, Post-Emergency Recovery, then Comfort are address, in that order.


BOB Contents
  1. Water filtration/purification
  2. Food for a minimum 1500 calories (more is better) per day, per person
  3. Self-defense weapons (at a very minimum, you should have a number of dedicated pepper spray canisters in your BOB - these are legal in all 50 states)
  4. Cash (this gives you options should events not unfold as you have planned)
  5. Shelter (tarps, ponchos, rope/paracord, tents, etc.).  This also includes clothing appropriate to the region and season.
  6. Fire-making tools (disposable lighters AND matches AND fire steels AND tinder)
  7. Important Records
  8. Sanitation items
  9. Medical/first aid items
  10. Air filtration masks
  11. Portable radio (preferably a dynamo-powered model)
  12. Travel Alternatives (you may be forced to abandon your vehicle)
You'll also notice that a number of items may require you to develop some new skills.  Do you know how to build a fire?  Erect a tent?  Build a tarp shelter?  Render first aid?  Set a broken bone?  Purify water?

Obviously, you and your entire group should learn and practice these skills now, before they're needed during a stressful emergency situation.


Evacuation Checklist

This list assumes you have some sort of vehicle with which to evacuate.  You should also assume you'll be forced to evacuate on foot, or be forced to abandon your vehicle before you reach your final destination.

Follow the checklist, IN ORDER of what you have deemed most important.  If you can complete all of the items, that is great.  But you may not have the time to do so.  Your list is prioritized to first provide you with Survival, THEN Post-Emergency Recovery, THEN Comfort.

YOUR OWN LIST MUST BE CUSTOMIZED FOR YOUR LIFESTYLE.

Evacuation Checklist (in order of completion)
  1. Load BOB into vehicle.
  2. Load emergency supplies of gasoline into vehicle. 
  3. Load Sleeping bags into vehicle.
  4. Determine evacuation destination and choose primary route
  5. Contact evacuation destination and inform them of the primary route being taken
  6. Post evacuation destination, primary route and destination contact information inside your home
  7. Load additional supplies (other than those in your BOB) as time and space allows
    1. Precious metals/additional cash
    2. Additional clothing
    3. Additional weapons
    4. Home business records, family photographs, computers, storage drives
Tomorrow:  Evacuation Transportation and Determining/Mapping Evacuation Destinations

Accept The Challenge

At some time in your life, it is very likely you'll need to evacuate your home.  It could be the result of a natural disaster, an accident or terrorist incident, or a horrible event, such as a house fire.

One of the key considerations is to have a mini-plan for evacuating from your work or while you're away from home.  Having a Get Home Bag (GHB) - which is really a smaller version of a BOB - can make your life much easier.  The biggest difference is that its focus is strictly on Survival - you're not concentrating on Post-Emergency Recovery or Comfort.

And, as with the SIP Checklist, if your place of employment does not have an Evacuation Plan, make one for yourself.  Don't become a victim simply because your company lacks foresight.

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Copyright 2010 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com

5 comments:

Lucas @SurvivalCache said...

Great List!

There are lost of resources online for packing your BOB, but the packing and evacuation portion is often left out.

I'm looking forward to the transportation and mapping part, that's another thing I think lots of preppers underestimate.

mama4x said...

One of the best articles I've read... I like the prioritizing based on time. Thanks!

PS I always click your advertisers! Love your "accept the challenge" theme.

Chief Instructor said...

Lucas, yep, having to evacuate your home is so foreign to most of us, we don't even consider where we'd go if we had to evacuate. We always assume that all routes will be clear, and all of the infrastructure wills still be intact. Not always the case!

Mama, thanks for the kind words. The prioritization is so important. When my grandfather had to evacuate, it was at a moment's notice. He grabbed his insurance papers and 5 tool chests.... full of gold and silver coins! He was a young adult during the Depression and those coins were his retirement plan.

Keep on clickin'!

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Anonymous said...

this is a good list for "natural disasters" but is pretty useless when it comes to terror attacks or other man made conflicts. can anyone say "EMP" ?