Sunday, November 4, 2012

Preparation Mentality: Get out fast!

In previous installments of Preparation Mentality, foundation of recovery and hard copies of your life, I discussed how to catalog your belongings and your life history for a digital and physical grab and go. But now you need to go. Like, you should have been out of your house five minutes ago gone. How do you do that without watching your house burn down or the world crash around you in just your boxers and a tee shirt?  Here is what you do. 

I am going to assume for the moment that you and your family have an escape plan from your residence. If not, figure it out today. Don't just think you will smash a window and jump on the roof of a car from the second story. Trust me when I say I have close family members who are essentially crippled from that  type of thought process. The plate glass window they broke using the only thing not on fire, their fists, severed nerves and tissue in the lower arms. Or the feet that are forever scarred from having to cross melting linoleum flooring to get out. You have to consider the months of recovery and the years of accommodation and lifestyle correction those choices may bring. This is real life, not Hollywood. I've also seen the aftermath of not having time to execute a plan. The smudges along stuck windows, the soot covered floor, clean only wear the body laid.  

The easiest way to be prepared to leave your house in a hurry is to be a bit messy in the bedroom. Next to or under each side of a family members bed, stash a full pile of clothes, dependent on the season, in a small backpack or other fast grab bag. Warm summer nights may only require pair of running shorts and a long sleeve top and sneakers. Winter would require a heavier jacket and clothing or study track suit, shoes and gloves, hats and a travel umbrella to match the climate. Especially for kids put a old favorite toy or stuffed animal in the bag as a clutch item for stress relief. 

These bags never leave their station next to a bed. Inside is not your favorite items you will rotate during a week of wear. You put them there and they stay there until replaced by something else dependent on climate. As a rule avoid cotton clothing as it is hard to dry and does not provide much warmth. 

Also in these kits place a few small items. Every one gets a cheap flashlight that hopefully never gets used but in an emergency provides light in a dark hallway or outside in the middle of the night with maybe no power in the area.  A bottle of water and a small food item like lollipops or granola bars will get even the most finicky child through a traumatizing few hours. Parents would do well to have a long screwdriver or small hammer in their bag, to be able to punch out windows or smash door knobs. 

If you read my previous posts, one person has a small external hard drive in their bag and can easily grab a neon colored accordion file on the way out. 

If you can get dressed before rushing out, you got lucky. If you have kids, grab your bag, grab them and their bag and get out. Everyone can get dressed when they are safe. 

In non-emergency evacuation circumstances, (no fire or earthquake or storm damage), of course do what you can with what you can. Grab purses, and wallets and favorite animals. Have a leash readily available for pets. Start thinking in terms of what is convenient but realistic in your house patterns. Yes it might be easier to charge your phone in the kitchen but if you have to leave your house in a hurry do not expect to be able to get into your kitchen to get your phone. If you no longer have a hard line home phone in your bedroom and you charge your phone overnight in a different part of your house, how do you call 911 if you hear someone in your house in the middle of the night or you are stuck or forget it or can't reach it. Preparedness is not only staging for success but having a mindset willing to make changes for events that may never occur. 

What has worked for me. 

Everyone in my family knows the evacuation plan. Our toddler knows if she wakes up to smoke or smoke alarms to scream her little heart out until mommy, daddy or big brother get her. She is not to run through the house on her own if there is a fire. 

We all have a Bug Out Bag (BOB) next to where we sleep with season clothing. Depending on who it it belongs to, there are specific items in their bag.  

I also have a personal Every Day Carry (EDC) back pack that I use every time I leave the house. Day or night it holds my wallet and keys, my external drive and several other items I consider required for my piece of mind. When my phone is not on me its in the pack. If not in the pack its being charged next to it. I can absolutely get this on the way out in a hurry. 

In this installment of preparation mentality,  I review the thought process of being ready to exit your house in more than just what you are sleeping in. A small bag of seasonal clothes and simple extra equipment depending on the circumstances. It combines previous preparations of removing documents and personal histories that can help assist you in putting your life back together without it seeming helpless. In future segments I will discuss when you should bug out from your house, (retreat) or when you should bug in (hunker down) and how to get your house ready to do both. 

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