Having a bug out plan is one thing, but having to put it into action is another. Everything looks different when emotions are heightened and the possibility that your life could be at stake enters the picture.
It can be stressful – and when you add in the fear that young children experience during chaos, your bug out plan could end up in disaster. That’s why you need to practice various bug out scenarios so that your escape plan runs smoothly.
You want everyone to know what to do, when to do it and how to react. You want everyone to know ahead of time that everything is going to be okay. By having clear cut instructions that your family knows like the back of their hand, what can happen during chaos is that repetition can overtake the fear.
Everyone can act on autopilot because they’ve had it drilled into them what to do in this situation. It’s not enough to have everyone act out the escape plan a couple of times.
You need to hold ongoing escape drills and various scenarios that impact that escape every single month. This way, your younger children won’t be afraid when something happens.
They’ll know that everything is going to be okay. You need to have a meeting point in place and each family member should know where it is and the route to take to get there.
But everyone needs to also know a plan B in case the road leading to the meeting point is blocked or has been compromised. 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 job.
This includes knowing who gets which family member, if necessary. Trying to decide how to react in the heat of the moment always compounds the problem. 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.