bugout route planning

Bugout Route Planning, Comments from a Friend

My friend Ed has some experience is Bugout Route Planning and has sent in some excellent comments on the article that I posted yesterday.

“Great info. Many families who think that they are “prepared” don’t have a viable evacuation plan which they have actually road tested. A hazmat release, hurricane storm surge, flood or terrorist attack could make it unsafe for you to shelter in place at home and are cause to take your family and leave. You may not have much warning time to do so.

If you have early warning, don’t be caught on the road among the multitude of “unprepared in denial.” Military families stationed overseas make evacuation plans for various contingencies based upon known potential threats and the following advise is based upon that type of guidance.

First, plan a safe, nearby, temporary family assembly point within walking distance where everyone can meet after a house fire, count noses and account for everyone.

Then identify a farther away refuge, well away from the threat which triggered the need to evacuate in the first place.

Your Family Evacuation Plan Should Have:

Start Point
Trigger Event
Route(s) (PACE planning, Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency)
Travel Mode(s) (again PACE)

Start point is home – because that is where your “stuff” is.
Alternate starting point is probably work or school.

Discuss what your “triggers” might be and do your own threat analysis. Hazmat release, house fire, flood or imminent hurricane landfall are more likely than nuclear war or space alien invasion. Discuss with family what likely triggers could be.

If a trigger trips – GO NOW! When an emergency is evolving is NOT the time to discuss or try to GAIN CONSENSUS because your life may depend upon prompt action., so don’t hesitate – LEAVE!

Destination – is key. If you don’t know clear destination there is no “plan.” Your end destination must be viable. Simply “heading to the hills” will not work. A good location is a friend’s home which whom you have made prior arrangements. You home may be one of their destinations in the event of similar problem. Both families need to discuss this aspect and know exactly what they are prepping for, wildfire, hurricane, flood.

Your alternate destination should be in a different geographical area. In the event of a hurricane or flood, wide areas may be affected. If your nearby primary destination isn’t viable, you need somewhere else to go. Coordinate each alternate or contingency location same for the primary, and so on for your last ditch emergency destination. PACE planning

Develop trustworthy relationships. The best destinations are with people whom you know and trust, from long association. If those at the host destination are not expecting you, you have no plan, but a “wish.”

Your route is based on your start point, conditions of your Trigger, where your Start Point is, and your Destination. The primary route assumes that you will get a head start before the unprepared masses leaving the city. Start early, because your Plan is to have your nose to the wind sniffing for threats. Using interstate highways to quickly put distance between you and the threat is OK, only IF you can beat the crowds.

Alternate routes probably will use lesser traveled roads, avoiding the hordes of the unprepared in denial. Check out several alternate routes. Identify decision points along each where you may either continue, or change to an alternative route. Suppose you initially plan to travel Route A. You see cars and brake lights clumping ahead. You must decide (now) to take the next exit, off the Interstate. Have you scouted parallel routes? What if the bridge is out? Scout decision points on your route beforehand.

Spend adequate time on route selection. When you think you know your routes – drive them. Take notes. Designate the most viable as Primary, the next as Alternate etc.….. Get good map coverage of the area. Mark your routes on the map(s) using colored highlighters for the different routes, such as Green for Primary, Blue for Alternate, Yellow for Contingency and Red for Emergency, so that if you are injured, other family members carry on. Mark potential choke or decision points – and decide how to address them.

Primary mode of travel is the car you drive every day! It needs to be well maintained, fueled and viable to execute your plan. A smoking rust bucket that can’t make it across town without stopping at a junk yard for parts will not do.

Alternate travel means may be your neighbor’s borrowed truck, private plane, boat or commercial flight or train (if you left early!)

Emergency travel will be on foot or perhaps riding your mountain bike!. Have sturdy shoes, a rucksack of essentials, light enough that you can actually carry it, water, rations, map, compass, and a walking staff to steady you.

Supplies, types and amounts depend on your mode of travel and destination. If going to Grandma’s ask her what to bring. It is a good idea to pre-position clothes, blankets, cleaning supplies and food at your primary destination ahead of time. Your car can carry a lot. You can’t carry much on your back for very far. What you will do if you have to abandon your vehicle and walk or bike?

Load plans. Practice your plan then decide how much to pack and where it goes. – draw a chart – this will greatly speed up the process of getting out of Dodge. Make sure you don’t bury the jack underneath those fifty gallons of water cans…”

As you can see he has provided some useful information to help us with our bugout route planning. Depending on the area in which you live you may have to plan different routes for different disasters.  A hurricane may take an entirely different plan than a major fire.  Make your plans according to the dangers you face.




2 thoughts on “Bugout Route Planning, Comments from a Friend”

  1. If going to grandma’s or grandpa’s, ASSUME you need to take food, toilet paper, blankets and personal luxuries with you, so unless pre-positioned, go early. Should you take cots and sleeping bags? These are bulky, but grandma may not have them or your cousins may be using them when you arrive. Your comfort is more important as you get older. Entertainment for kids, and adults, should be taken if you can.

    Most older folks are on more fixed incomes (fewer reserves, statistically) and physically (mostly) just don’t eat as much as younger folks do, because of age related changes. And, Respect their Privacy and Dignity – do not take them over, but do be inclusive. Remember that you needed them and they were there.

  2. when practicing your routs, make sure to mark the places you will want to fill your tank. I always mark my map as I am driving during practice, with an eye to filling after using only 1/4 tank (about 100-125 miles) this way I know I will have extra fuel in case of a traffic back up or if I need to switch routs. I also try to keep up with any road construction on my routs and plan accordingly. Once you pic your routs you need to do three things
    #1- Practice driving your routs
    #2- Practice driving your routs
    #3- Practice driving your routs

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