I’ve found a common problem with many people’s survival plans. This has snuck in simply because we all work from our imaginations in creating our survival plans, which means we imagine ourselves at the starting line when it hits, just like horses lined up for the race. But that’s not realistic. Chances are, when the crisis happens, we will be anything but lined up and ready to go. In fact, we are much more likely to find that our family is scattered all across town, involved in our everyday activities.
With that being the case, we actually need a “pre-plan.” That is, a plan for what we will do from the time that the crisis (natural disaster or man-made) hits until we get ourselves into that starting position. A plan which is designed to get us where we need to be, so that we can put our survival plan into effect.
For pretty much everyone, that means we need a plan for getting home. You see, in any crisis situation, the number one priority is actually getting home. There are several reasons for this, but chief among them is that our survival plan starts from that point. In addition, we need to get home to get to where our survival gear is, as well as to check on our family.
Few people think of this part of survival planning. If they do, it’s simply a cursory thought of, “everyone needs to make their way home.” But what if that’s not all that easy to do? I remember pictures I’ve seen of the California earthquakes. Highway overpasses were broken down, making the roads impassable.
With situations like this, simply getting home may not be all that simple. It may require abandoning your vehicle and going on foot, finding ways to cross bodies of water or even taking huge detours that you wouldn’t normally have to take.
Develop Your Get-Home Plan
Like everything else associated with survival, you need a plan for how you are going to get home. What will you do if you can’t drive? How will you deal with a washed-out bridge? What alternate routes can you take if the regular one is blocked?
You’ll need to think through everything that can get between you and your home, for all the normal places you go. Obviously, you’ll need a plan for work, but you’ll also need to consider church, shopping trips and other places you visit regularly. Hopefully, that will be enough that anyplace you miss will be close enough to one of those, that you’ll be able to adapt.
What about the rest of your family? How will the kids get home from school and other activities? Who will pick them up if there are no busses? Who will check to make sure they got home without a problem?
Don’t Forget Your Communications Plan
Communications is an important factor in this as well. Hopefully you’ll all be able to keep in touch over your cell phones, but what will you do if the phones are out? What alternate means of communications can you use? Is there somewhere that you can leave messages for each other?
Another part of your communications plan needs to be a means of alerting your family that it’s time to get home and put your survival plan into effect. You might be hearing the news about what is happening, but there’s a good chance your kids aren’t.
It might be useful to have some code words or phrases that you can use in case you have to pass a message to family members. That way, the people passing the message won’t have any idea what you are doing; but your family will.
Have a Get-Home Bag Ready
Your plan isn’t enough if you’re not prepared to execute it. That usually means having the necessary equipment on hand, regardless of where you are. You should carry a get-home bag with you all the time. Mine is my everyday carry bag. It contains enough survival gear for me to survive in an urban environment as I make my way home.
If you use public transportation to get to work, it may be difficult to carry a get-home bag or everyday carry bag. Keeping a get-home bag in your office or locker at work is the next best thing. At least that way you’ll have something to work with if you have to get home from your work.
People who have specific obstacles to deal with, such as crossing a river, might want to consider having some sort of flotation device, along with their get-home bag. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. An inflatable pool toy could be enough. However, if you have to cross that river in the wintertime, you’ll need a way to keep dry while crossing. This can be accomplished by using a garbage bag designed to go into a 55-gallon drum.
The other important thing to keep in your get-home bag is appropriate clothing. Normal business attire isn’t appropriate for hiking across town and the footwear that goes with that business attire is even worse. A good pair of tennis shoes is much better than dress shoes or high heels.
Don’t forget about a coat, hat and gloves, either. You will want to change these, as is seasonally appropriate. Of course, if you are wearing a warm coat to work anyway, you won’t need another. But you may still need to have a hat and gloves. You might even need those in summertime, just to deal with the hardships of traveling on foot.
What elements would you add to this survival strategy? Share your suggestions in the section below: