Our family has a plan for bugging out, if it’s time to leave and things come to that. Actually, we have several plans. I am continuing to tell you my plans. Yesterday, I shared my choice of weapons for self defense and hunting. My Choice of Blackhawk Products Let me share a word on my choices here. As long time readers will realize, I’m a big fan of Blackhawk products. (Know that they do not pay me to promote their products. I just happen to think very highly of the quality of their gear, and that’s why I selected it.) …
Timing is everything, if you decide to bug out and leave! I receive no less than 150 e-mails per day. Many of these are from our readers, even though my e-mail address is no longer listed on SurvivalBlog.com. Readers kept it, even after it was removed. I honestly don’t have time to respond to every e-mail I receive each day. However, one question I get the most often is about bugging out before, during, or after a SHTF scenario, and there is no one answer to this dilemma. Plan For Many Situations I’m getting on in years. Very shortly, I’ll …
It is a perfectly fine, pleasant Tuesday evening. You are playing with your children in the park. Your son is climbing up to the slide while your daughter is whooshing in the air on the see saw. A perfect day until an Earthquake strikes! One minute, this one minute will be changing your entire world. Your evenings may never be this perfect again.
When we are in our happy moments we never realize that they may never last forever. It is always good to be prepared for the worst, to be prepared for survival in situations filled with despair. As adults, survival for you may not be this big of a challenge as opposed to your young children in the same situation. As elders, parents and guardians it is our duty to prepare our children- teach them how to survive. The question however is, how to prepare them?
Children can sense the urgency in a parent’s tone. Take survival preparation seriously but let it not scare your children. If they are scared they might not pay attention to your instructions or be involved the way you want them to be.
Make it Engaging
To gather the interest of children it is important to keep them involved. Involvement for kids comes in the form of fun. You can make prepping fun for your kids by starting a prepping story. Build a story where they get to be the characters. Put forward survival challenges and show them how to succeed.
Let them know where to head to in case things go wrong. You can also the kids for a weekend in the woods, a family trip. In this camping trip show them how to connect with their surroundings, look for food, learn to fish and learn to hunt. Kids of today are dependent on technology. On this trip show them what life without technology is. Engage them in maps and compasses!
Prepare a first aid kit and teach them how to tackle small emergencies such as cuts and falls. Moreover, find survival books for children and discuss stories such as that of Robinson Crusoe. These stories and books will inspire them. Hear them out. Talk to them. Listen to their fears and comfort them. Their opinions may give you some ideas too.
Let Them do Some Storage and Cooking
When you head out to the store to shop for your survival food storage, take them along. Let them select the food. Foods such as dried food, vegetable powders, fruit powders are survival essentials, tell them why they are important. One of the best ways to store food is to grow vegetables and fruits in your back yard.
Involve them in the gardening so that they know why that this is their essential to survive. Moreover, involve the kids in cooking too. Teach them recipes that are easy so that they can survive on their own when need comes. However, do not assign everything to them. Take it slowly. Too many responsibilities may push them away.
Let Them Master the Art of Hygiene
Germs and bacteria are harmful species that affect humans. Children are more prone to them due to their weak immune system. In survival situations getting sick can be harmful.
The best way to prevent falling sick is to take care of hygiene and sanitation. Talk to children about the importance of hygiene, the importance of washing hands, showers, why towels should not be shared, why using sanitizers is Important, wiping themselves, teach them about the skills to use a public bathroom and other such skills.
Healthy children can survive germs. However to be healthy, children must know why hygiene is emphasized on.
While preparing your children, you have to realize that you job as a parent is not over. While they prepare for survival, you have to make the necessary arrangements for them too.
Children have a different dietary requirement. Look at your children and store the food that you think will be the most important for them. For infants stock up formula milk as a mother may not be able to breast feed her child all day. For growing kids stock powder milk, dried fruits and organic food.
The stock you have may deplete thus you should know how to hunt, fish and gather so that with your assistance the children can survive.
Water is essential to survival. Staying dehydrated is very important. While preparing for survival make sure you have stored water enough to sustain you and the kids. Storage bottles are very handy for this job.
Pack Emergency Kits
As parents, it is your job to pack their emergency kits that will ensure their survival. Pack their clothes, blankets, one of their favorite toy (so that they feel safe), medicines and other such important tools. Carry cards or board games so that they have something to stay entertained. Also give them communication devices and radios so that they can be aware.
Having a family is the best feeling in the world, but imagining them in tough times can tear you apart. You cannot stop something wrong from happening but you can equip your loved ones with the power to tackle such situations. This power only comes from preparation. Hence to survive, teach them to how to prepare!
The Doomsday Clock Just Struck Midnight: What’s Your First Move?
The word doomsday can be considered Prepper terminology now, because of the show “Doomsday Preppers”, because of the Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world, and because some people just love the sound of the word. Doomsday is the final reckoning, the end of the world, and where some people are called to account for their actions in life.
Mostly today, the word is used to define a catastrophe that would change the world, as we know it, change, and never be the same again, so the clock strikes midnight. Are you ready, and if you are decisions must be made, and your survival hinges on those decisions. If you are not ready, then assumedly, you will not live long enough to make any first moves.
1. Do a Medical Check and Render Aid If Needed
Is anyone in the group or family injured? Assess quickly, because injuries can influence all of your decisions from this point forward. Some injured people cannot be moved, and if you had planned to bug-out or feel the need to evacuate, then injuries change the plans. Go to plan “B”, you do have a plan B right?
2. Is Everyone Accounted For
If not, do you have the means to contact them if the grid is down, or for whatever reason the power is disrupted? Is there a staging area, and it does require prior planning. You cannot meet up if there is not a pre-designated area in which to meet. Disasters will occur while people are at work, at school and simply when they are out and about. You need to plan for this.
3. Do I Stay or Do I Go: Good Intel Is Important
The title may be misleading. Once disaster strikes, you usually do not make any moves until you have gathered some intelligence. Rushing headlong into the dark night may create a crisis in and of itself. In other words, do not panic, and then make impulsive decisions until you know what the situation is.
This is where good intelligence gathering skills come into play. There is passive gathering, which is ongoing before the crisis and then active gathering once in the midst of a crisis. The information gathered daily is used to piece together what brought the situation to a head and then you need real time Intel as the disaster unfolds. As stated earlier, communications are important, scanners, Ham radios, two-way radios and person-to-person encounters are just a few Intel gathering methods.
4. Are You Secure
First, you have to know if there is an imminent threat or if there could be. Was there a nuclear, chemical, or biological attack, or are there suicide bombers setting off their explosive vests in various locations. A nuclear, chemical, or biological attack close to your home requires an immediate response by you. You have to either evacuate or get into a protective posture, which would be a bunker or protective clothing and respirators.
You should have a plan for securing your home because now is not the time to wonder about security. You would need to know your battle space, the space where you would have to engage those wishing you and yours harm. You would need to know who walks the perimeter and who stays inside the shelter. This requires planning and practice drills, so everyone knows to go to his or her battle stations if you will, once disaster strikes.
5. Everyone Shoulders Their Bug-Out Bags
You may not have to move, but you have to be ready to move. Everyone needs their own bug-out-bag, or go-bag, action bag or call it what you will, so if someone gets separated they have the means to survive alone.
Everyone must be ready to move to a rallying point, or to evacuate to a bug-out-location, emergency shelters or to some other safe structure. You must always have shelter in mind whether it is your current one or an alternative one.
If you haven’t already, then cache some supplies on your property, so if the home is destroyed, or overrun you can resupply. Assign this task, while others stay on guard. Ideally, you would have supplies already cached, but it is better late than never. The thing about plans is that most of them do not work as intended once the action starts, so you have to adapt on the fly.
Establish contact with neighbors, and others, because they may have information you do not have, and they may have certain skill sets that you can use. Previous articles have talked about the need to network somewhat, so you know who is living next door or in the immediate area, such as doctors, carpenters, retired police or military personnel and others that may have critical skills.
If you haven’t figured it out already planning is important and the above are just a few of the things that have to be done before anything else and Intel gathering, for example, must be ongoing so you have the information at hand to make decisions as to your next move.
According to the US Dept. of Transportation, there were over 253,000 cars registered in the US in 2012. Chances are, you probably own at least one of those vehicles. And if you are like many Americans, you probably commute to and from work, use your vehicle to run errands, and take road trips and vacations with it. This means you spend a lot of time in your car.
But what happens if disaster strikes when you are in your vehicle? What if you need your vehicle to get home DURING a disaster, or OUT of a disaster area? Is it prepared and able to help you? If you aren’t sure, then read on to learn how you can prepare your vehicle for a crisis situation!
Start with a Plan
If you have been following this blog, you know that I advocate beginning anything with a plan. All the gear in the world won’t be of much value without a plan or the knowledge of how it works and in what situations to use it.I would first sit down and determine not the worst case scenario, but the most likely scenarios. The chances of you having a flat tire or being caught in a massive traffic jam are MUCH more probable than an EMP attack.
My friend Graywolf wrote a great article on the dangers of prepping for only worst case scenarios. If you have not read it, I would encourage you to do so.
Once you have your bases covered on the most likely events, then start looking at worse case possibilities.
Do you live in an area that experiences hurricanes? Tornado’s? Is there a chance that you might need to “bug out” to get out of harm’s way? If so, you need to have an evacuation route (and at least one backup route) planned. I’d also have some possible contingency plans in place as well for unforeseen events.
To help you draw up some evacuation plans, I thought I’d give you some pointers and things to consider when drawing up your plans:
- Have a final destination already planned out. Simply bugging out into the unknown should be the LAST thing you want to do
- If you have multiple members of your group/family, the chances of you all being together at the time disaster strikes is slim and none. Make sure everyone in your group knows the plans and the final location.
- I would have pre-determined rally point along the way to meet at if your final location is a long way off. You might also devise a means of communicating with them should the rally point become unsafe
- Know the routes AND the area in general ahead of time. Where are the gas stations? Is there a grocery store nearby? A hospital? What other points of interest are along your intended route?
- How many different ways do you have of getting to your destination? Your primary route may suddenly no longer be accessible.
- Have contingency plans in place for different routes to take or even different means of getting to your final location
- Do you have not only the gear you need, but a way of safely and securely transporting it?
- Identify areas that you could potentially cache supplies. Are there friendly areas (a friend’s house for example) that you could make a pit stop if needed?
- Identify areas that could potentially be choke points or trouble spots, and ways to avoid them
The better you know your routes and surrounding area, the easier it will be to plan for the unexpected. It will also prevent you from becoming lost or disoriented. Landmarks can be a wonderful thing. But what happens if you are bugging out at night? Or if the landmarks are suddenly gone? That old blue water tower where you turn right has been there for decades, but now it has vanished!
I would make a dry run several times in different conditions. Do it noon, then again later during rush hour traffic. Try again later on at night, and in conditions such as rain. Make your run via your backup area as well.
I would also make the run from time to time to see if things have changed. It would really suck to have a gas station or bridge you had counted on in your plans to be closed down when it really counted.
For extended routes, I would certainly document your route. This will help you to develop your bug out plans.
Bug Out Vehicles
“Bug Out Vehicles” (BOV) are a popular topic and great to have in a pinch. To be honest, I personally don’t really have a big need for one based upon my situation. The vehicles I do have should be suitable for most emergencies, although I have contingency plans in place if I have to go via other means.
But if you have the need and/or the means to acquire a BOV, there are a few things I would look for in a Bug out vehicle:
- 4 wheel drive or all wheel drive. (I would avoid rear wheel drive as those vehicles do not do well off road)
- A good set of all terrain tires
- A good size gas tank or the fuel range to get you to your destination
- I would probably look at an SUV over a truck if you can. SUVs typically have more passenger room, and internally stored gear is not as susceptible to the elements/theft like it would be in the bed of a truck
- Ability to add a safari style cargo rack to the roof
- A vehicle that blends in. No reason to draw unnecessary attention to yourself. See below
If you are trying to maintain OPSEC and simply slip out of a SHTF area unnoticed, which one of these vehicles is likely to not draw a second glance? Which one screams “I’m a Prepper and most likely have a crap ton of stuff you DON’T have but now want really badly?” I’m here to tell you from personal experience, OPSEC can save you A LOT of time and heartache!
Yep….a solar storm will NOT take out your vehicles. And as for a nuclear E1 pulse, we do not have enough data to know one way or the other what the effect on vehicles would be. This includes older vehicles! So in reality, it seems somewhat silly to me to spend a huge amount of money on a vehicle for only one specific event that may or may not even adversely affect the vehicle!! But hey, it’s your money. If it gives you peace of mind, more power to you.
What happens if you don’t have vast sums of money to allocate to a vehicle whose sole purpose is a BOV? Sure, a 4 wheel, all-terrain, “tacticool” SUV or truck with oversized tires, a lift kit, and EMP proof wiring might be nice. But for many people, it isn’t realistic or affordable. This means that whatever you currently drive will have to your means of getting you and your family out of harm’s way.
That does NOT have to be a set back. If you plan ahead, and prep your vehicle correctly, you will find that you can most likely not only survive, but THRIVE with what you have. And really, isn’t that the whole point of this?
Have the right gear
I have a Get Home Bag (GHB) that I keep in my vehicle at all times. I also have an EDC/work (Every Day Carry) bag I usually carry. The EDC bag contains a lot of work related equipment. So I don’t always carry that when I am off duty. Between the two bags, I have a majority of what I need for a disaster if I am in my vehicle.
If you are brand new to prepping, or have not really put any sort of bag together, here are just some items I would consider keeping on you/in your vehicle and could come in handy in a disaster:
- Small durable knife or other cutting tool
- Small Flashlight
- Extra clothing to help protect from the elements, i.e. a hat, gloves, and comfortable walking shoes. Click the link to read my article on clothing preparedness
- Extra food/water
- Means of communication and a way to keep it powered
- Emergency Preparedness
- Fire source – a butane lighter or matches
- Map of the area
- First Aid Kit
- Extra cash
- Warm blanket or sleeping bag
At one time or another, I have used most of the above items in various emergency situations. But this list is by no means complete. You should feel free to change-up and add items you feel are necessary depending upon your circumstances.
To give you some ideas on creating your own bag, here is an article I wrote on making a “Go Bag” for a non-prepper. I explain in detail the items I added, and the reasoning behind them. (The bag has already been used in an emergency situation.)
Now I am not a huge fan of having multiple “emergency” bags. I fully believe in redundancy, but there is no need to go overboard. If you prep correctly, one or two overall bags should usually be more than adequate to see you through an emergency. My GHB serves that purpose.
But I realized there were some items that I would need specifically for my vehicles and only need for the vehicles. There would be no reason to carry them around if I wasn’t in my vehicle. So I decided to make an emergency VEHICLE bag that I could keep in the vehicle. If the situation dictated, I could simply leave the bag with the vehicle should I have to abandon my vehicle for any reason.
I used an old duffel bag that was just sitting in my closet. (You could use a vehicle storage bag. They are less than $20.) I decided that would be my “Vehicle kit” bag. In it, I placed the following items:
- Jumper cables
- Reflective cones
- Extra quart of oil – (find out which type of oil your car or truck needs)
- Some antifreeze/engine coolant
- Tow chain or Rope
- Small bag of kitty litter in the winter time (tire traction if I get stuck)
- Small tool kit to include screw drivers and socket set and/or wrenches
- Small box of various fuses
- Small towel
- Ice scraper in winter
Feel free to add/delete items to this list. For example, you might also want to include extra belts and hoses, or maybe even an extra air filter or two. Or, if you live in a place like south Texas or Arizona, you might not need a ice scraper. Let your location and your situation help determine what you need.
By keeping these items all in a bag, I can easily move the items between my different personal vehicles and my work vehicles. And all of these items would be handy regardless of what vehicle I am in.
Most of the items should be self-explanatory. But there might be a few items you are wondering if you really need. For example, if you are driving a small or compact car and think to yourself, “I don’t need a tow rope. My car is too small to tow anything” I would urge you to consider what would happen if YOUR car was the one needing to be pulled out or towed? “Good Samaritans” are much more likely to help you if you already have the needed equipment and gear to use.
Handy to have in an emergency at night!
The reflective cones come in handy if you are stranded at night and your car has absolutely no power. Your hazard lights may not always work. And even if they do, the more early warning other drivers have about your vehicle being stranded, the less likely they are to not see your vehicle and hit it! They also make good signaling devices if you become stranded and need to be rescued.
And if you have ever been stuck in the ice and snow, you will understand the value of a bag of kitty litter!
The beauty of these items are that none are terribly expensive, all of them could help me in a vehicle emergency, and yet all could simply be left behind in a true SHTF disaster if I were forced abandon my vehicle.
I guess you could take your vehicle kit with you if you had to leave your vehicle. But if you want to carry a 5 lb. bag of kitty litter and a quart of oil with you while escaping the Zombie Apocalypse, well then…more power to you!
What about the car itself
Vehicle preparedness should start with the vehicle itself! It won’t do you much good to have your vehicle stocked with gear and then the car/truck not run. So simple vehicle maintenance is an absolute must!
But what about your other fluids?
I check my oil every month. (Do you know how to check your oil?) I usually check it at the first gas fill up of the month. And at 5000 miles, I change the oil.
Typically I pay to have it done because of time constraints. But doing it yourself is not a bad idea. Here is a video showing you how it is done if you do not know.
And I also check the other fluids regularly. Brake fluid, transmission fluid, fluids in my radiator, etc. Even window wash fluid. All of these help to keep your vehicle running and in good shape.
How often do you check your tire pressure? Keeping your tires inflated at the proper levels ensures better gas mileage and longer tread life for your tires. A flat tire when trying to get home to your family in a disaster is NO BUENOS!
Having a spare tire, jack, etc. would be a huge life saver down the road. But don’t wait until the unfortunate happens to try and figure out where your car jack is and how it works. These are things you should know ahead of time.
I would also learn now how to make simple repairs to your vehicle. In a true SHTF disaster, you might not have AAA to come out and change your tire. Things such as tire changes, replacing spark plugs, etc can be learned. Some of it by simply watching YouTube videos and then trying it yourself. The more you learn now, the less headache you will have later on.
Your vehicle in a SHTF disaster
If things go REALLY bad, there may be a time that you have to use your vehicle as a means to survive. You might have to strip some car parts to use in an extreme survival situation. And while you might not like the idea of tearing your car apart to help you live, just remember that your car is replaceable. You are NOT!
For example, your rearview mirror is most likely held to your windshield with an epoxy glue or screw, and will come off when you apply some force to it. This makes a great signal mirror, and can be used to start a fire. If you break the mirror (or the side mirrors) you now have a cutting edge.
Don’t forget about your head lights and tail lights. The covers can be used as a cutting edge as well. Or remove them whole if you can to use as a container for food, water, etc. I’d try to keep all the windows intact if possible, as the car itself can act as a barrier to the outside elements.
Does your car battery still work? Using wires attached to the positive and negative posts and then touching them together can create a spark. A spark can start a fire. And a fire that is burning a car tire creates smoke that can be seen for miles!
A word of caution….I would NOT try to use gas from the tank to help with a fire. Puncturing the gas tank could also cause a spark, possibly causing the tank to explode. That too can be seen for miles, but you won’t be around to be rescued!
Fan belts, wiring, and/or seat belts make a decent substitute for rope in a pinch.
Many car seats have foam upholstery in them, which you could use to help insulate your clothing in the cold. Maybe use the floor mats as well.
If you find yourself having to use your car parts to survive, you should smack yourself in the head for not following this advice and having a Go bag!
Stay safe out there!