Why do I dread it? Because I know that I need at least eight unique bug out locations pinpointed, that’s why!
It’s important to have so many because I need to be able to evacuate my family in any direction AND I need to have both nearby and long distance locations. Really, I do… and so should you.
Years ago, I only bothered to include two locations to bug out to: my in-laws who live nearby and my parents who live a long distance away, both in opposite directions. While this was better than nothing it was certainly not adequate. Even worse was that they were only mental expectations; there were no written instructions, routes, rendezvous points… nothing at all.
Now that I’m a bit older and wiser too I acknowledge my lack of foresight and choose to have a complete plan in place. A plan that indicates precisely where my family and I will bug out to if we had to evacuate to the north, south, east, and west. We’ve indicated locations that are both nearby (within about 30 minutes drive time or a good days’ walk) and afar (at least a few hours away but not more than several hours or a good day’s drive). To complete the plan we’ve included multiple routes to get where we need to go. Now that’s a real plan!
Please don’t overlook this mundane task. It is a very necessary aspect of preparedness planning for the simple fact that you can neither predict in which direction you may need to evacuate at any given time nor can you adequately determine the distance you must evacuate; certainly, there are some general exceptions (such as with the expected path of a hurricane, for example) but disasters are disasters and their paths of devastation are at mother nature’s whim, not your expectations.
Take a moment and contemplate just one nearby bug out location. Think about how you would normally get there. The specific route, that is. What if it is blocked by downed trees? Jammed with cars? Do you have a completely different route to get there? And, maybe even a third route? What if you had to walk there instead–either completely or partially–could you? Can children walk that distance? Do you have leashes for your pets and what if they can’t/won’t walk that far? Do you abandon the rest of your supplies in your home or cars? Must you be stealthy? Should you continue on the same path that you would have in a vehicle or do you make a bee-line for your destination?
The questions could seemingly go and on; however, these are the types of questions that need to be answered for a plan to be effective. While the famous line “the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men often go awry” from Robert Burns’ poem, To a Mouse, is surely true, that does not mean such planning is unnecessary. Planning, on the other hand, is what makes us humans truly special. More importantly, is the fact that having plans to follow actually calms us; they give us a sense of direction instead of panic. And that’s important in a time where most people would otherwise panic due to a lack of planning.
Of course, the exercise isn’t as bad as I make it out to be. After all, some of the locations we have chosen will remain the same. But, it does mean that I need to update all of my printed Google maps for our reThinkIt! Preparedness Plans Excel-file. Ughhh, the life of a prepper. :) Yes, it will take some time and contemplating. But it is worth the effort.