4 Step Household Evacuation Plan

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about fleeing a natural disaster?  The answer should be, panic.  Just imagine Top Survival Blogyou turn on the news to see a wildfire barrelling down on your locale.  It could be a tornado, floods, hordes of the undead.  Even if it is a slow moving hurricane that you have been tracking for a week, would you be able to pack up and go quickly?  No one wants to think of leaving their home to the whims or fate of nature’s wrath.  Certain things can be replaced easily, appliances, furniture, vehicles.  It’s the irreplaceable things that need to be considered. Family photo’s, paperwork, family heirlooms, all of these will be the things your cry over if Mother Nature asserts herself.

Step 1 – Insurance

First, do you have insurance for your household?  Not the structure, although that would be important too, but your personal belongings. Most insurance policies have a limit set on your stuff inside the dwelling.  Talk to your provider.  What is covered and what is not.  Things that are typically not covered, unless you have a rider, is jewelry, cash, guns, antiques sometimes.  Find out!  Next step is to make sure you have proof of your ownership of your stuff. Nothing beats pictures or videos.  Lay that stuff out and click away or record.

Also Read: Are You Prepared To Help Your Neighbors?

Receipts are handy too.  Download those pics/videos to a secure site, put them on your computer, make copies to have at a family members house far from your area. It does you no good if they live next door and their house gets erased too.  Flash drives are cheap and hold lots of info.  Send a copy to your insurance company.  Redundancies.  Second, the stuff that can’t be replaced.  Photo’s, that baby book, grandma’s wedding ring that you hope to pass on to your grand child, etc.  If you have inventoried your possessions and have the evidence secured, you are ready to write down a plan.

Step 2 – Bug Out Plan

I have broken mine down into time frames (< 5 Minutes, < 1 Hour, > 1 Hour).  When you decide to bale out to save your skin, reason goes SHTF Survivalout the door, you run around freaking out wondering what to do.  Don’t think you can be calm, it isn’t worth the risk.  When the time comes, a list, posted where you can’t miss it, will be your lifeboat.

Here are some examples:

Less than 5 minutes  (< 5 minutes) – Load kids, dogs, family photo’s, valuables, cash, gold, Bug Out Bag, laptop, mobile phone, guns & ammo

Less than 1 hour (< 1 hour) – (Include the above list), food storage, clothes, camping gear, spare gas, extra ammo

1 hour or more (> 1 hour) – Pack extra clothing, Hook up camper or trailer, grab empty bins and empty the gear closet, Load up camper, Load bikes, motorcycles, ( Insert any important things here ), Turn off gas feed to the house, Post contact info on door for emergency responders, Grab external hard drive, etc, etc.

You can see where this is going. Everyone’s list will be different, the best part of this is that you can adjust it at a later time if your priorities change or you remember to add items.  My list is one page long and has been written in a fashion so that only my family can understand it.  We have this posted on the back of the front door, so you don’t want to have a list of where you have stashed your gold and ammo for all to see.  Think OPSEC, but you don’t want to have to break out the Enigma Machine to decipher it.  I have included important contact numbers on it also, this list will go in my pocket when I leave, actually as I am loading. Don’t put it down because you will forget where you put it and waste valuable time trying to find it.  Meeting places should be included too.   If you are heading North or South to flee the fire, where will you meet friends and family?

Step 3 – Communication

If fleeing a natural disaster chances are that your house may survive and/or be visited by first responders.  I have created a post for them Top Survival Blogthat lets them know that we have left with or without or pets, contact info and misc info.  If your pets have fled and you have to leave, include a description and their names.  Most family pets will return home and if a stranger knows their name, they will be more inclined to accept help from them. I included a message that says, “Please help yourself to the food & beer in the fridge.”  They are risking their lives to save your dwelling, so a kind message will be appreciated and they may stage at your house giving you a better chance of returning to an intact dwelling. 🙂

Also Read: How to Bug Out From Mother Nature

My info sheet to them also includes instruction on my back-up generator, which may be left running to feed my roof mounted sprinklers.  Now this next suggestion is a tough one for most people, leave your doors unlocked. It makes egress for firefighters easier.  We have all read stories of people coming into disaster areas to pillage empty homes.   If thieves know you are gone they will break a window to get in anyway, so pick your poison.  This is where having some stuff stored in the open, chum, is a good idea.  Let the thieves think they got your stuff, when in reality you have cached more away in hidden spots.  That is a post for another day.  I could write a 10K essay on this subject, but my hope here is to get you to write up an evacuation plan and keep improving upon it.  Keep it to one sheet of paper, anymore and you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed and making mistakes at a time when mistakes can get you killed.

Step 4 – Organization

All of the previous steps require you to organize.  If your important papers and pictures are spread around the house, your chances of a successful departure are reduced exponentially.  By staying organized your mind can work better too during a stressful time.  Now, think about having to bug out quickly because the golden horde is upon you.  You have minutes to escape or be pinned down in your home, outnumbered and desperate.  Do you really want to be thinking about what to do, or just grab and go.  A second evacuation list for different scenarios might not be a bad idea.  You will only get one chance, don’t leave it to chance.  Get organized.

Photos By:

Written by Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of SurvivalCache.com. After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here. Read more of Joel's articles.

8 thoughts on “4 Step Household Evacuation Plan”

  1. good information well thought out lots of information. BUT
    I am not bugging out,
    the mass of humanity would only produce complete gridlock. I remember Katrina & Rita the only reason it did not get deadly is that it was voluntary and a natural disaster.
    gasoline would be gone in hours in all stations along the main hiways leading out of any major city, panic would set in and you would be a sitting duck.
    The initial few days will be a lot of violence and mayhem anyone caught in it will be a statistic IMO
    Fourth :
    If this area was toast I would still stay as it is better to die in the comfort of my place than in some ditch somewhere.
    Should I survive I would be in my element and have my preps and in my mind still better than being stuck in a traffic jam of dead or empty vehicles or worse on foot having to go through indian territory as everywhere would be dangerous.

    Bugging out is not always bad just for myself in my situation and area it would be.
    if I had a few days that would be another thing in that time all hell would have broken loose or else why would anyone want to leave their residence and possessions it would have to be horrible or people would handle it.

    Tornadoes, Hurricanes drought and economic forces I have managed to hang on I hope to keep doing so.

  2. Good stuff to think about. I like your idea of breaking it down by how long you have to GTFO. Knowing what to grab if you just had five more minutes could make life a whole lot easier down the road. I'm thinking about tweaking this a little with a priority list. As time allows, go down the list of stuff to throw in the car before you have to run for it.
    Personally, I would prefer to remain in place if something bad happened but I like being prepared to bug out if it came down to that. For most things I think we would just hunker down, lock, and load but if my neighborhood was burning down it would be kinda hard to bug in with my house on fire.

  3. Very good article. A little more on the 'fast track' than my current plan. But, I have instituted a few things to 'help get things going' at this homestead:
    1. There are two plastic 'totes', a .50 cal. ammo can, two cases of water, a generic 30 day supply of freeze dried 'food' in a bucket, two heavy plastic/waterproof tool boxes with extra tools/tarps/surviving stuff, and a couple of shotgun/rifle cases with cleaning kits, specialized tools for the long guns. All this on shelves in garage.
    2. Upon the decision to bail quickly, totes are placed on garage floor and that's where photos, documents, 'gotta haves', funds, anything that is to be taken from inside the house goes. Ammo can gets small solar panel, regulator/s, chargers, lap top, tablet, external drives, thumb drives (All external drives are as miniature as could be found and fit in a fairly small plastic container.), extra ammo, other funds, medications, and whatever will fit after the listed items are inside the can. .30/06 cal, .22 cal., and 12 ga. into cases. .30 cal into vehicle. Ammo into vehicle.
    3. If there is extra time: No. 2 is done first. Next is to make decision of whether to take cargo trailer or travel trailer. Travel trailer if BOL or alternate is good, cargo trailer if they are compromised. Load selected trailer. Food first, planned clothes, fuel (LP and gasoline), at least 30 gallons of water, then everything on the 'save my ass bookshelf'. (Cookbooks, Edible Wild Plants, etc.) Time and space will dictate what else is taken.
    4. After everything is ready, mark front door that home has been vacated, and arm defensive systems.

    As an estimate, the 'quick' part should take us under 10 minutes. The trailer part under an hour, if the 'Oh, I forgot…..' is kept to a minimum. If things head down the toilet quicker than we can get out, the two trailers may end up being road blocks.

  4. Yea Snake my first thought is to stay put, but if Big Momma is giving me no choice, feet don't fail me now!

    This post, for the most part, deals with running from wildfire, maybe flooding. If being surrounded by a superior aggressive mob, that's a different post and list. One of my best friends thinks bugging out is stupid. I agree unless the alternative is certain death. He who learns to run away, lives to fight another day. Every situation is different. My default setting is aggression, but I want to be around to protect my family and friends too.

    I forgot to add this to the post, practice your evac plan. Nothing exposes the flaws in your plan better. Will your gun collection fit in your VW bug? Be safe and be prepared.

  5. Yea Snake my first thought is to stay put, but if Big Momma is giving me no choice, feet don't fail me now! This post deals with fire and flooding mostly. It could apply to other scenario's.

    Bill, that rifle in the pic is a Keltec RFB 308 Bullpup from a review we did last year, it had to go back and will not be accompanying me 🙁 Don't fret, there are replacements.

    Keep the comments coming on your plan, that is how we learn.

  6. Pineslayer first sorry for your loss {RFB 308} LOL

    I don't think there is any right or wrong in either bugging in or out, as you say it all has it's limits

    Great how all the writers do a good breakdown of all the subjects Job well done SC writers and staff.


Leave a Comment