Step 4 Plan all routes

First thing’s first – download Google Maps
This will allow you to get satellite images of any area on Earth. In my opinion, it’s essential in planning. You can also download different layers (topographical, etc.) to install and enhance your view.

Rule of 3

There are lots of clever rules and sayings out there to prepare or remind you about anything. This rule just reminds me about having plans and it’s not survivalism centered. It could work well with a football team – having 3 offensive game plans to be ready for a game, etc.  Follow along with me:
1 plan is really 0 plans – If your plan has just 1 flaw, then it could be broken and get you in trouble. That’s not a ‘plan’ at all.
2 plans are really 1 plan – If you have 2 plans, great – but that’s really just 1 backup plan, and you’re still putting eggs in 1 basket when you go to a backup plan.
3 option plans mean you have a good backup – I’m not talking about just 3 plans here. I’m talking about having 3 options at every decision point. You’ll see what I mean later – but basically there are significantly more than 3 plans at work here and this gives you about as much chance as you can get when dealing with unknown variables on the fly.

Work to Home

You probably work 8 or more hours a week. Let’s say you sleep 6 hours a day, so you have 18 hours of waking time every day. This means you’ll spend 44% of your time at work – and probably more if you have a 1/2 hour to an hour commute. A significant portion of your evacuation route planning needs to be spent on getting from your place of work to your home, safely.

In town to Home/Church or school to Home
Exactly like the process you just went over, identify other area’s you’re frequently at when not at home and make sure you plan the same way to get home safely.

Home to bugout location

You’ve got a critical part of your evacuation plan done – you’ve reached home. Now you can pack what you need and head to a bugout location if that’s your plan. (Bugging-in is a good idea) When coming home – make sure you identify routes and get a good feel for what traffic patterns look like. You can plan for every single route in the world but it won’t do you any good if you drive up to an escape route that is now turned into a parking lot of angry motorists. You’re going to have to make educated guesses on what planned evacuation routes to take if you were unable to eyeball parts of your plan on the way home. If the way home wasn’t all that eventful, then go ahead and look at optimistic/quick routes and be ready to adjust. If the way home was a nightmare, eliminate routes that include trouble spots.

Speaking of trouble spots…

Things to avoid along your routes
-Bridges (of any kind)
-Gas stations*
-Grocery stores*
-Police departments*

Things to look for
-Family home locations
-Friend’s home locations

*not because they are bad places, just because they will be the first place everyone rushes to. We want options! We don’t want to get into any situations where our options are limited because of others.

Evacuation route planning

We want to successfully navigate from point A (work, church, school, etc.) to point B (home, place where your family is, supplies, etc.) as safely as possible. Notice I didn’t necessarily say as fast as possible? I’m going to assume that you travel that route right now. Travelling out of your way to avoid trouble is necessary at times. There will be many other locations and spots to look for as you begin planning and looking at your area. Take a look at your surrounding area, find things you want to avoid and start plotting out multiple evacuation routes!

Make a path!

In Google Earth, start a new path overlay where you think you might start (work, school, church, etc.) and assign a color to it. Try using green for the safest route, yellow for a medium risk route, and red for the highest risk. Now you can display parts of your evacuation route and see the overall plan!


Step 3 Identify safe havens

A safe haven is a spot where you can get shelter, food, water, and be protected from the elements and other people.  This isn’t necessarily your home, although it could be.  For our purposes it’s going to be a place where you either have permission to be, or a place you own.  Squatting can get you in trouble – or worse shot at.  This is not an effective survival technique.

Ideally your home is the best possible safe haven.  You stay there all the time, you know every square inch.  You know the surrounding area, neighbors, and routes near your home.  Even if you know of a great safe place a few towns over, unless you live there or have lived there recently – you lose many of the advantages of your home.  There are tons of great reasons to leave your home for a safe place (or ‘bug-out’) – but there seems to be a push in different survival/preparedness communities in favor of ‘bugging out’.  You have to sit down and decide where your best chance at survival is for various different emergencies.

Things to consider when looking at safe havens

The cheapest (free) way to get a great view of potential safe havens is Google Earth software.  It’s free satellite imagery of anywhere on the planet.  It can be printed out and stored.  Identify the following in the surrounding areas:

-Interstates/Highways/State roads
-Police departments
-Grocery Stores
-Wal-marts and other big box retail stores
-Distribution centers

Pro’s to Bugging-in at home

You know how to walk in the dark and not stub your toes.  You live there!  You know by touch or feel how to get around everywhere in your house.  You know the roads, the routes to and from your house.  You know your neighbors, who to avoid, who to take care of.  You know where things are safe, and where they aren’t.  This is your home.  You own it, or have lived there.  You have a right to be there.

General Con’s to Bug-in

All the positives can lead to negatives.  Confidence – or thinking your position is secure when it’s not.  If you have an enemy or someone knows you have supplies and resources then you’re marked as a target of opportunity.  If you live in a city or near a huge interstate artery – your hope of staying out of the flow is wishful thinking.  Also – if you don’t have a good deal of storage, your position isn’t long-term.

General Pro’s to Bug out

It’s a good idea to bug out when you’re in the situation above – right in the middle of people or traffic.  Also, if your place is near the emergency or riot or whatever- get out.  If you’re near a prison for obvious reasons bugging out might be a good idea.  If you’re near grocery stores/big box stores, etc. – believe it or not bugging OUT is a smart move.  Everyone and their brother is going to gravitate to these stores in hope of scoring free stuff during an emergency.  When they find that it’s all gone – they could bleed into the surrounding area looking for other targets to loot.  It’s something to take into consideration.  Don’t forget to do this type of evaluation to wherever your location is that you’re heading to.

General Con’s to Bug out

Bugging out means travelling.  This is the root of the problem.  Travelling during an emergency is going to be extremely difficult at best – at worst flat-out impossible.  This isn’t a guess, read back through accounts of hurricanes, etc. through the southern states.  You have no control over your situation when travelling.  There are too many variables.

Look at your area, mark off zones that are potentially bad spots.  This is going to help you decide about safe zones – every situation and circumstance is different.  Gather intelligence (sound familiar?) and make a good decision.