I pre­vi­ous­ly wrote that the begin­ning of any prep­ping plan is goals. That is, what is it you are actu­al­ly try­ing to accom­plish? In oth­er words, you must have SMART goals. SMART stands for Spe­cif­ic, Mea­sur­able, Achiev­able, Real­is­tic and Time Bound.

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:
  1. I live in urban area — Hous­ton, Texas.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. I real­ize I can­not plan for every­thing. This is also just a start. As I com­plete these basic plans, I can expand from there.

So, I described these goals and shared them with my wife.  She may think I am crazy, but she has to know what I am spend­ing time, ener­gy and mon­ey on.

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
    • Doc­u­men­ta­tion

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
    • Doc­u­men­ta­tion
Lev­el 2 means extra food, water and sup­plies nec­es­sary to sus­tain us for five days.

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)
    • Doc­u­men­ta­tion

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.
Sta­tus: This was recent­ly com­plet­ed. I have 21+ days of food for us all. There are some weak­ness. Once again, the cat’s food and lit­ter. Of course, my dog is account­ed for because he is easy. I have a small propane back­up heater, but need to have a space heater that could plug into the gen­er­a­tor or the back­up bat­tery sys­tem.  I have water stored, but if it went on longer than 10 days, I would need either rain water (plen­ty of totes to col­lect) or a source I could col­lect, fil­ter and puri­fy with boil­ing and/or chlo­rine and/or iodine.  I have con­vinced my wife to get a rain bar­rel giv­ing me 50 gal­lons to work with and a sys­tem to col­lect more.

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
  • Cats
  • Poor check­lists
  • Cats
  • 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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email