Emergency Route Planning for Evacuation Part I
As you continue to build your prepper planning, an evacuation route is a crucial part of your consideration and a starting point to establish caches along the route. You must first know your destination and remember to make primary and alternate destinations. Of course, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket and call that a plan. Every strategic plan, whether it’s a military unit or corporate entity, has many options in strategic planning and your bug-out plan should be no different.
The plan goes hand in hand with your personal go-bag, vehicle go-bag, and cache points as part of your overall “Emergency Evacuation Plan.” When the time comes, especially in that SHTF moment, you don’t want to think about how you’re going to get to your final destination; you’ve probably got more pressing things to think about if you’re bugging out. Have a plan already complete with detailed route surveys and maps. It’s an exercise for the entire family and you can teach your loved ones the importance of a good route. Consider several areas as you develop the plan. As you begin to include others in the planning, you should offer an introduction to the objective. This article helps define the important factors in your route planning. Rest assured just as everything we do, combat mindset planning is part of everything we do from this point forward. Security is not an option and you must relay that sense of security and combat mindset to all in your group.
As we discussed in the cache articles, the first thing you need to know is where you’re going. Also, where are you starting from; that sounds simple but you never know where or when the SHTF moment is going to happen so maintain an active route plan at all times (on vacation, business trip, etc.). Additionally, be prepared for all seasons with a night or day evacuation plan that you or anyone in your team can follow. Remember, you may be separated from your loved ones when this moment happens, so it’s your duty to prepare them as well as you are prepared. Planning the evacuation route is nothing magical. I rely on methods used in the military and government sector, as they are tried and tested and provide a successful formula to build upon. Continue to be an asymmetrical thinker, as we are all the same but different too. Your situation and circumstance may be entirely different than mine, so keep thinking and improving upon knowledge that I and other subject matter experts provide. Remember, the articles and classes you read and attend are knowledge to be applied to your personal situation while continuing to expand. I’ll never tell you that there’s only one way to do something because that’s simply not true.
As we start to get into the route planning, remember that you can make this as thorough or simple as needed. You should keep in mind your audience as well, as it may be your 12 year-old daughter tasked with following your emergency evacuation plan, so make sure all in your group can understand. As I write this, I am thinking in the SHTF situations; however, this is equally important in a natural disaster. The only thing that would really change is the threat level and support of local, state, and federal authorities. Even in a peaceful evacuation, there will be “wolves” trying to take advantage of the “sheep” in any situation. There are several areas we need to consider when writing the concept of your emergency evacuation plan and here are some of the important factors (you may need to add to this list for your particular situation).
Five Considerations for your Emergency Evacuation Route:
1. Where are you starting from? Your emergency evacuation route needs to include all the different locations that you may be when SHTF and need to activate the plan. Where are you trying to go? If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t be able to plan on how to get there. We are all not fortunate enough to have a bug-out cabin somewhere in the woods. I am one of those people, so we need to think about other alternatives. At a minimum, you need to have a location in mind where you believe you and your loved ones can be safe. It needs to be a location that can support you and your loved ones with food, water and shelter. As we move on, ask yourself now, do you have a specific location in mind or are you just looking for an area that will provide you protection in the near and long term?
2. Who are you planning on taking with you? The more people means more logistical support and security considerations. It may add diversity to your team with multi talented people in your group but makes your planning much more detailed. You will have many moving parts and need to consider many more options when the SHTF occurs. Children are also a separate consideration that adds more detail into your planning, depending on their ages and needs. A team of two has much more off-road options than a family of 5 with a newborn. As the group grows, you’ll need to really consider having multiple caches along the way.
3. Transportation, how are you getting there? Your choices on travel are unique to your situation and many of you will have different ideas and modes of travel. Basically, you have four options: foot, vehicle of some sort (car, tractor, truck etc.), animal (horse or mule), or via flotation (boat). There’s the option of air travel but you need to have access to a plane and you need to know how to fly it; but for most of us that’s not a reasonable means of travel. A large 4-wheel drive vehicle or caravan of vehicles offers you lots of power and space to carry people and the logistical needs you need. Going by foot is much more restrictive and allows you to only carry what you can but can offer you a lower signature if trying to move covertly in an occupied area. Using an animal such as a horse or mule as transportation and packing your logistical needs can provide you with the ability to haul more supplies but can also cause issues animals bring (noise, feeding, watering etc.). Also, most of us don’t have access to large pack animals nor the skills to ride and manage these beasts. Perhaps you should take the time to learn to ride and saddle a horse as part of your training plan. GIDDYUP!
4. What to bring? Reality will kick in at this point; you need to think about survival and the mission; to get you and your loved ones from point A to point B safely. Think about the American pioneers that crossed the great wildernesses and conquered the Rocky Mountains with minimal resources…and survived! Think about your route in phases and apply this phase line rational to what you need in each one, whether that phase is distance, obstacles, weather, or any other barrier you come up with. Plan your route with not just logistical needs but also security factors. What will you need to have with you? As you go through your plan, take each route individually and think of the items you’ll need along the way. Consider what you’ll need if your plan falls apart for some reason. If your primary plan includes use of a vehicle and that vehicle is broken, stolen, or destroyed, what’s your back up plan? Maybe it’s something simple, like a blown hose, but did you plan on having the tools, training, and parts to fix it? If not, you’ll have to figure out another way. Ensure you plan for every situation and make redundant plans that overlap one another. Finally, remember to think…use your brain. Your cognitive reasoning will quickly adapt in these SHTF situations, or at least you’d better hope it does. You’ll be tasked with scenarios you may have never considered. Fall back to those mindset articles you’ve read; this is precisely where it comes into play. And that’s why thinking outside the box is what makes Special Operation Force members so good at what they do.
5. Don’t forget anything. Sounds simple, but look at your routes and identify choke points, danger areas, and possible safe areas to move. You may need to do all this without actually ever seeing or driving the routes. Google maps is your friend; use it. Get maps and learn how to use them. Security is constant and you can’t let your guard down for one second. It’s in that second that you relax that your security posture will get hit. Stay mentally focused and strong.
Stay alert, stay alive!