When planning for disasters, one of the most overlooked areas is often what happens in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Even more problematic – especially if you’re not ready to deal with it – is what happens when you find yourself away from home when disaster strikes.
Since a majority of us spend so much time away from our homes, having a get home plan is an extremely important part of the preparedness puzzle.
Route Planning: Having multiple ways to get home during a disaster.
Having multiple routes home is one of the first things you need to look at. For instance, if you work away from home, you need to have multiple routes mapped out and ready to go at all times.
Your emergency routes should include indirect routes, back roads, and even walking trails – as major highways will probably be blocked or highly congested during any emergency situation. Jump on Google Maps and select the Satellite View. This will help you find up-to-date alternative routes that might not be listed on normal maps.
Get Home Bags: Having what it takes to make it home.
Having a get home bag is a crucial part of any well-rounded get home plan. Unlike a Bug Out Bag – which is meant to help you survive an immediate evacuation – a get home bag is meant to help you get home.
Your bag should be filled with emergency gear and supplies that will help you survive, should you be stranded away from home for longer than you expected. It should be made up of items that will help you make it home, and should be crafted to fit your unique needs. There’s no such thing as a one-size fits all bag, so I’m not going to waste a bunch of time putting together some over bloated list of items, but there are a few things you might want to think about adding to your bag.
- Water – This also includes a canteen and some way to purify water.
- Emergency Food – Preferably high protein, high energy foods.
- Walking shoes, sunglasses, a hat and emergency clothing (specific to the season).
- Protection – Firearm and or Knife.
- Communication Gear – Emergency Cell phone & handheld ham radio.
- Extra Cash – This could come in very handy in certain situations.
Your Get Home Bags should be checked at least once every three months, and should be restocked with seasonally appropriate gear.
Communications: Getting in contact with your loved ones during a disaster.
If at all possible, one of the first things you should do during an emergency is communicating your plan to your loved ones. A short call, text, or email letting them know your putting your plan into action will help give them peace of mind, and ensure they don’t needlessly put themselves in danger looking for you.
If you don’t have an emergency communication plan, I suggest reading our article on making contact during an emergency, and then putting your own plan into place. Once you have your plan in place, you need to practice and make sure everyone in your group or family is onboard.
Get Home Plan: Put it in writing.
When it comes to emergency planning, I am a big proponent of putting everything in writing. Not only will it help you remember your procedures during a time of crisis, but it will also help you find any weaknesses or overlooked dangers you may need to plan for.
During a disaster, your plan can help put your mind at ease and can help you avoid making bad decisions when your mind may be clouded from stress.