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.