Tom Shafer.

by Tom Shafer

(GunNews) – Any well-rounded emergency plan should include emergency evacuation contingencies.  As the old saying goes, proper prior planning prevents poor performance.

Obviously, your home is your castle and probably fairly well-stocked with supplies if you are preparedness-minded, but certain contingencies will require you to flee, fire and floods are two examples.  In other situations, the decision to stay or go  will not be so obvious.

The recent natural gas explosion in San Francisco is a perfect example where some folks fled with just the clothes on their backs – in some cases, flaming clothes on their backs.  Many times you will have at least some warning time before a choice has to be made.  Authorities can offer days of advanced warning for hurricanes, whereas in the midwest, we can expect little more than minutes of warning in the case of an impending tornado.

Other situations will not be so clear cut.  In some cases, the authorities might issue a mandatory evacuation order.  As a rule, these can be ignored.  But if you have five or ten big, ugly, mad, law enforcement people on your front porch ordering you to evacuate now, you might have a quandary.   If you leave with them, they will not let you return without their permission.

So, barring the obvious worst case, “go now” scenario, my advice is to stay in your home if at all humanly possible.

Let’s assume you’ve made the decision to leave.  What now?  If you leave with just the clothes on your back, you will face very hard times.  A well packed bag or two will make all the difference in the world.  It may even save your life.

A bag full of money is ideal, but most people don’t have such luxury.  Besides, even money is not everything.  Sometimes clean water and warm clothes are worth more than money.

Photo courtesy Red Cross.

Also, don’t think you’ll drive out at the last second, either.  You and a lots of others will be trying to do the same thing and roads will turn into parking lots as idiots have accidents and break down.  So instead of being stuck in your house, you’ll be stuck on some road or highway.  Not fun.  So before you flee, you have to do some reconnaissance.

You have to make sure you are going to someplace better than your current location.  Time spent on recon is rarely wasted.  You want to end up in a safe, viable spot that is easily reached and secure.  You don’t want to rush headlong into a rat’s nest of mad, panicked, unprepared people.  That is the worst possible outcome and must be avoided at all costs.

You have to flee far enough, fast enough to reach an area of normalcy.  This means to travel early, smart and light.

A well stocked car is ideal.  However, a car is no good without clear, passable road to drive on.  Put some thought into your routes ahead of time.  Carry maps of secondary or tertiary roads and avoid Interstates like the plague.

Once you reach a place of order, you can start contacting your people and planning your next step.  If your house is still standing, this means planning your return.  If your house is destroyed, it means planning an extended stay away from home. Sounds bad, but remember, at least you’re alive to plan your next move.

It is a good time now to remember your mental health and reaction to stress.  You will be under extreme pressure and you must use all your skills and power to cope with what has occurred.

If a car evacuation is not possible for whatever reason you are going to have to walk out of your own.  This will entail carrying all your most basic supplies on your back.  To be brutally honest, this is the most extreme form of survival and only the youngest, fittest and well- prepared will be successful.  Your odds of escaping in this manner are very slim.  Wear your warmest, most rugged clothes. best hiking shoes/boots, and carry only a most carefully selected pack of supplies.  The amount of work required to bug out in this manner is incredibly great and I suggest you try it once to see if you are really up to it.  Believe me, most of you will not be.  This is the reason I cautioned to stay in your home if at all humanly possible.

In any event, carry a hidden handgun for protection, don’t trust strangers no matter how nice they look, carry lots of water, and for heaven’s sake don’t take any extra risks beyond those you already face.  You would be wise to stay low-key and keep moving.

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home!


Packing for an emergency evacuation

1.  Critical medications.
2.  Spare glasses, etc.
3.  Photographic inventory of your home’s contents.  These can be stored on a tiny USB flash drive.
4.  Scans or copies of documents (diplomas, certifications, financial documents, identification documents, insurance policies.  These can also be stored on a tiny USB flash drive.
5.  Spare cash, credit cards and checkbooks.
6.  Means of communication.
7.  Personal defense tool(s).
8.  Some shelf-stable foods and water.
9.  Flashlight.
10.  Work gloves.
11.  Sturdy boots.
12.  Warm hat, gloves.
13.  Rain gear.

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