There are about three million prepper families in America. It is not necessary to always stay close to home and deprive your children and yourself from the common joys of life. But it is extremely important that you remain diligent and plan ahead for all possible scenarios which could impact your get me home plan.
Will your “get me home bag” see you safely back to your abode. A bugout bag may be essential to your survival, but a get me home back is equally important – even when you are just driving an hour into the city for a shopping trip. Imagine walking in a panicked state with your children in tow, all the way back from the big city mall, without a blanket, fire starter, food, or water. A get me home bag need not be as large or heavy as an INCH bag – “I’m Never Coming Home bag.
Putting together a well-equipped 72-hour bag is definitely a great first step, but do not close your trunk and breathe a sigh of relief just yet. Taking a few extra precautions could help save your life and help locate loved ones after a SHTF scenario.
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Placing a single get me home bag in your trunk and thinking you are well-prepared makes as much sense as the typical school fire drill. While working at a rural school district about a decade, we did not once conduct a fire drill from anywhere but the homeroom, which placed small groups of students together with at least one adult. Despite the pleas from staff, practicing how to evacuate the building and account for students from the crowded lunch room, during recess, or from school assembly was never done – it was considered to be too confusing and complicated of an endeavor to facilitate.
Assuming you will be in the car alone and be able to make it back with a single 72-hour bag misses the mark as well. If your teen driver is not at home or your youngster is at a friend’s house, ball practice, or school field trip, will you be able to simply wait at home and pray for their safe return? Practicing and teaching children and teens the skills necessary to know how to react if they are away from home is of course of critical importance, but there is far more you can do to make sure that everyone can make it back home or to a meeting point when the power grid goes down or a civil unrest scenario develops.
Put enough get me home bags in your car to accommodate your entire family. Sure, this will take up a lot of space and may make it difficult to fit all of your bags when going to the grocery store, but it will give you peace of mind and the supplies necessary to make it back home. Do not suppose that you will either be alone when disaster strikes, such a mistake could be deadly. You could be out Christmas shopping with several friends or carpooling the kiddos to ball practice when a solar flare takes down the power grid. Walking 30 miles with five terrified children requires quite a bit of planning. We often take our dogs with us when running errands or visiting family, so they also have a 72-hour bag of their own.
In addition to standard get me home bag preps, I also keep a bag of bartering items in my trunk. Living in a rural area it is not unusual to pass a lot of farms with horses and Amish homesteads. Trading some preparedness items for a horse or bartering for an Amish buggy ride home could also save your life. Pay attention to the surroundings on your way to work or when completing routine errands. Knowing your transportation and water supply options in advance will help you quickly devise a plan when faced with a long walk to safety.
When cell phones and land lines no longer work, you still have other options for communication. I keep two handheld radios and extra batteries in a Faraday cage in my trunk. Distance will of course be an issue, but the sooner you can let your loved ones know that you are safe and your route plans the better. Prepare to go old school when connecting with your family.
The latest addition to my get me home bag is spray paint. The cans of spray paint can be used to leave a note on the road, mark trees in the woods to make sure I am not going in circles, and to leave a symbols from a family key to let anyone looking for me know my health and safety status and location. If your husband is out looking for you, he will need to know if you are taking the direct and easy-walking road route or following your topographical map and going through the woods.
Being separated during an emergency scenario will be difficult enough emotionally, take all steps necessary to avoid wasting valuable time and energy going in opposite directions. Glow in the dark spray paint is readily available at discount stores and should also be tucked away somewhere in your trunk. Children would likely be expelled if they took a can of spray paint in their backpack on the school bus, so permanent markers, string, a hole punch, and cardboard rectangular cutouts will have to suffice.
Hiding cache buckets, cans, or bags to help you reach your bug out location or get home from work are commonplace for preppers. Purchase a few more buckets or nylon bags and get ready for a great arm workout burying them either permanently or temporarily in a variety of new places. Living in a rural area means that an hour drive to go shopping is commonplace.
Walking home from a night out for dinner or attending a special event typically involves with a drive along a highway. There are two major cities within an hour to three hour drive from our home that we visit for various activities throughout the year. By burying bags along both routes, we can enjoy a weekend away without or packing a 72-hour bag so heavy that our body gets sore and our journey slowed.
Staying off the main road is almost always advisable during a SHTF scenario. Burying caches both near the highway and on a planned emergency route home through side roads and the woods will help provide additional food and shelter options that could save your life.
If you are taking off for a weekend away or traveling to a ball tournament, outside of your usual travel area, plan extra cache burying time into your travel plans. Temporary caches placed as you travel to your destination will help you get back home if disaster strikes while you enjoying a romantic night at a hotel or cheering on the team inside a gym. If you are walking home with young children or an elderly parent in tow, the trek will take a lot longer than you may have planned when gauging your own endurance level. Threats from others once panic sets in or inclement weather will also hamper your journey, planning beyond the 72-hour bag even for driving distances of just one hour could mean the difference between life and death.
If your second grader is on a school field trip or teenager is at basketball camp, adults won’t be willing to simply let the youth strike out on their own and start walking home. Write a letter and provide a map home marked with cache spots and tuck it away in your child’s bag. Make sure your child knows to give the packet of information to their teacher or coach should a disaster occur. Teaching your older child to be self-sufficient and to know when and how to defy authority and start walking home is also extremely important if you plan on allowing your offspring to venture away from home without your supervision.