So, at the beginning of 2011, I sat down and really thought about what I realistic could achieve via prepping activities and what I could not.
Here is my premise:
- I live in urban area — Houston, Texas.
- I have no bug out location within a reasonable distance. Even if I did, the logistical issues of reaching that location with the hoards evacuating are insurmountable. My wife and I did not know each other when Rita threatened Houston. Our separate evacuations were horrendous. I was stuck in traffic for well over 10 hours and she finally had to turn back to Houston because she was running out of gas. In a real SHTF scenario, it would be similar or worse. Granted, we successfully evacuated together for Ike, but that was very well telegraphed and controlled by local authorities. I will say they did a good job; I cannot count on that being repeated.
- Thus, the most likely scenario for my household is bugging in. That is not to say we won’t have a situation requiring evacuation (a Cat‑5 hurricane baring down on us or a nuclear detonation), but my most likely situation is shelter in place.
- We do need to plan for evacuation with a variety of lead times, <1 hour (as quick as possible), 1 hour, and 2 hours. If we have more time, the 2 hour plan will work just as well.
- Both of us spend 5 days a week away from home. Getting home might be a problem if the SHTF between 7 am and 6 pm, Monday through Friday. In this case, a Get-Home-Bag is necessary.
- I realize I cannot plan for everything. This is also just a start. As I complete these basic plans, I can expand from there.
Goal: Have a fully-formed emergency and/or evacuation plan and preparations in places such that:
- Have Level 1 “Go” bags available (always available in cars) <1 hour notice to leave.
- Always available in cars – Jim and wife
- Dog(s), Cats – assembled and in garage
- 72 Hours food, water
Status: Goal 1 is complete. The cat’s are less prepared, but we can hit the road in an hour or less, 30 minutes if we needed. I can hit the road in 5 minutes if I necessary. Of course, I think I can do better by having a back pack fully prepared with extra supplies, but the basic goal is met.
- We can load vehicles and depart the house with Level 2 supplies within 1 hour.
- People, Dog(s), Cats
- 72 hours of food, water and supplies
Status: This is mostly complete. The supplies are in plastic totes ready to rock and roll. My only concerns, again, are the cats. Since they are my wife’s cats, the best I can think of is to have a checklist of all the stuff they need to get out the door. My wife would move fast if told we have to leave in an hour.
- We can load vehicles and depart the house with Level 3 within 2 hours – (Category 4 or 5 hurricane)
- People, dogs and cats
- 72 hours of food and supplies
- Extra supplies (clothing, toiletries, etc)
Status: If we have two hours, we could easily be loaded and out the door. I would like to be faster and would have to push my wife and cats, but we could do it.
- Have ability to survive five days at home (Level 4) without external food, water, fuel, electricity, or supplies.
- Food and water
- A/C or Heat
- Sewer system
Am I happy that I accomplished these goals? Yes and no. I have a lot in place and have accomplished a lot in three months this year. However, everywhere I look, I see gaps and weaknesses such as:
- No written evacuation plan
- Poor checklists
- No practice drill
- Did I mention cats?
- Ready to go toiletry kit and extra cloths in my Level 2 preps.
- The cats really are a prepper problem!
Not only that, I am concerned that I don’t see the gaps and blind spots. In the coming weeks and months, I hope to explore those weaknesses and expose my blind spots with the help of the prepper community. That is what we are all here for.
I feel your pain; my household has 5 cats. (We also have pet reptiles, and trust me, it’s a LOT harder to prep for them, considering they ideally need to be kept warmer than room temperature.) So far, our family has decided that our cats — who live indoors-only, for their health & safety — will only be evacuated immediately along with the humans if a disaster destroys our house (earthquake or fire), and otherwise can stay alone in the house with someone checking on them every few days (if at all possible). The cats are chipped, so if they get outside & get lost but manage to stay alive, there’s a good chance we will get them back eventually, but since only 2 of them are unafraid of going outdoors (I jokingly say that the cats are scared of “The Really Big Room”) I don’t worry about it too much.
Your plans/goals sound terrific — my family needs to ramp up to that level. Thanks for sharing; it will help us!
Thanks for taking the time to share that. I have a problem getting stuff down on paper for critical evaluation. I have an idea in my head but I should take some time to work it through as you did. I’m more of a bug-in type myself because of where I am, and perhaps I feel if I’m not going anywhere, I won’t have those time constraints.
The cats. I’ve got two of them. One would be easy to crate up and bring along, the other would likely be hiding in an impossible place. I would leave enough food and water for her, but if forced to bug out, I’m not going to spend precious time and risk human lives looking for her. She’ll just have to be survival cat for awhile.