Having a bug out plan is one thing, but actually executing that plan is a different matter. Everything looks different when emotions are heightened and the possibility that your life could be at stake enters the picture.
If you end up in a situation where you’re actually needing to Bug Out you can expect it will be a stressful and chaotic event. Ideally with preparation the stress and chaos can both be mitigated.
I spent many years in Special Operations and one thing we consistently did was REHEARSE. We rehearsed for real missions, but we also rehearsed for scenarios that we could likely encounter. There is a reason elite forces are so effective. Training and rehearsals. Practice until you can’t get it wrong. The same approach can be applied to most things, and is absolutely appropriate when talking about a Bug Out Plan.
You need all players in the game to know their specific role. The What, When, How, and even Why. This will help ensure a smooth evacuation (Bug out) as well as instill confidence in the individuals, thereby reducing the fear and stress during a real event. By having clear and detailed procedures that you and the family have rehearsed numerous occasions you’re removing the entire shock factor and simply running through a drill you’ve done many times before with success.
Additionally, each time you run a drill you should critique it immediately after and identify all areas that can be improved on. Document these improvements and work them into the following drills. This will continually refine your plan and smooth out any oversights and short-comings your family may have.
You want to run these bug out drills aimed at various scenarios ideally once a month. This will allow you to have a well refined ‘Broad Evacuation Plan’ as well as fine tune scenario specific items by rotating the reason for evacuation. For example many things will be the same regardless of the evacuation purpose, however there will likely be differences between a never return (Fallout) and Return after time (Bad Storm) evacuation. With time you’ll fine tune them all.
By working this bug out plan drilling system into your families routine everyone will become comfortable with the process and know they can make it out OK regardless of the situation. This confidence will serve well during actual fearful times.
Some other key points to consider for your bug out plan and drill purposes.
You need to have a central location point that all will meet established and each family member should know where it is and the route to take to get there.
Even so, everyone also needs to have and understand a plan B in case the route to the meeting point is blocked or has been compromised in some other way. You’ll want to practice getting to this meeting point when you’re at home as well as when the family is separated.
Obviously, you’ll keep younger kids with you – but older teenagers need to know how they’re going to get to the meeting point. You need to know ahead of time what to do if everyone is at their school, job, or out on errands in general.
This includes knowing who gets which family member, if necessary. The idea is that you leave little to nothing to have to decide on the fly. Decisions made under stress are less thought out and likely to be flawed. You need to practice for the different scenarios.
This includes ones like natural disasters. Prepare flood evacuation, fire evacuation and if you live in a tornado prone area, plan how you’re going to escape the area.
You need to have an escape plan in place in the event of an EMT, an enemy air strike or biological warfare. Go over your escape plan during the morning hours, in the afternoon and in the evening because things look different at night.
Practice as if you didn’t have any power at all. Practice escaping both on foot and in a vehicle. Make sure that every member of the family has an alternative way to communicate if cell phones go down.
Have a spot chosen ahead of time where you can leave communication such as notes if you have to. Run through your complete drill from beginning to end. It might be an inconvenience now, but in the long run, it could save your life and those you care most about.