This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
Recent disasters worldwide such as the Chile volcano eruption and the Nepal earthquake remind us that disasters can happen at any time. You might think, those are far away places, they can’t possibly happen to me; however, emergencies such as chemical spills, wildfires and flooding have been known to cause localized evacuations. Fires are not uncommon in apartment homes or condominiums, many residents may have only minutes to evacuate. Circumstances may force you to bug out even though you don’t want to.
It’s very hard to think about, but if you had to, can you evacuate your home in 10 minutes? If this is all the time you had what would you grab?
We had this exact discussion in our household, and we think we have a plan. I can’t tell you what your plan should be as everyone is different – you may have more or less people in your household, of varying ages; you may have one or more pets, and have a different stage of readiness.
Here are some things to think about:
- Get the family together and discuss what would you do if you had to evacuate in a short amount of time. Give each able member of your household an assigned item or area to cover.
- Think about the nitty gritty details such as where would you exit your home? Are your items stored within easy reach? The old saying applies- people, pets before things. But when it comes to that, what are your most valuable possessions? For some people, it may be their computer, for others it could be their firearms, jewelry, or photos.
- Do you keep your wallet, keys, cell phone, glasses etc. in the same spot where you can easily grab them? Or will you have to run around the house searching for them?
- After you exit your home, where would you go? It depends on the circumstances. If you live in an earthquake prone area, if there are strong aftershocks you’d want to be out in an open area, away from buildings or structures that can topple on you. If you were bugging out due to an impending hurricane you would head out of town away from the hurricane path. Now would be the time to map out routes out of town, and get in touch with relatives whom you can stay with.
- You’ll need some clothes with you, otherwise you only have the clothes on your back. At least have a change of clothes, underwear, socks. If you work in an office, you should have one set of work clothes in case you have to go to work in the following days. Not all areas may be affected by the disaster, eventually, you will need to go back to work.
- If you have pets, plan ahead for them as well. At the very least, you’ll need a carrier, leash, collar, food and water for them as well. Many shelters do not allow pets – but some might. These are all things to consider well ahead of a disaster.
- Don’t forget your important documents. This is an easy project you can do in one weekend: build your grab and go binder so you have all your documents in one place. Even if you don’t have them all in a binder, keep all your documents together so you can easily take them on your way out. Also keep a hard copy of your contact list in your grab and go binder, in case you happen to leave your cell phone behind, or you somehow lose it.
- Have a plan for your irreplaceable items such as photos, recipes, etc. Now would be a good time to back them up online or in a thumb drive. Grab your computer if you have time especially if your livelihood depends on it.
- You’ll need to take cash with you in case ATMs, credit and debit cards are not working. Keep your hidden cash in your grab and go binder or bug out bag.
- Lock up your home as well as you can when you leave. You’ll hopefully be returning after the emergency has passed, and some looting goes on in the aftermath of a disaster.
- Review your homeowner’s or renter’s policy and be aware of your coverages. You do have coverage don’t you? Improve them now before a disaster happens. Some survivalists scoff at details like this, but to me, there is a good possibility you will be returning to a damaged home or apartment so you might as well be prepared.
- I had mentioned clothing above – ideally, you would have a bug out bag. You may not have everything you’d ever want in it, but at least have the beginnings of one. Each member of the family should have one. Include special needs such as personal prescriptions, infant supplies, a child’s special comfort item such as blanket or stuffed animal. This is a good book that’ll give you all you need to know: Build the Perfect Bugout Bag
Of course, don’t forget to inform your loved ones when you have safely evacuated so they don’t come searching for you. It may be stressful thinking about this now, but think how much you’ll regret not doing anything if a disaster does happen. Make your plans now. As we always say around here, better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
© Apartment Prepper 2015