Are You Evacuation Ready?

evacrouteFor residents in the heartland and the Southeast, there’s no more dangerous time of year than storm season. From Texas to Michigan, this tornado season has proven to be one for the record books. And with the hurricane season expected to produce a heightened level of named storms, it’s absolutely critical that you review your emergency evacuation plans…

And if you don’t have any — make them.

You can’t afford to put this off. If you and your loved ones are “evacuation ready” — i.e. ready to evacuate and move to a safe zone at a moment’s notice — then you have greatly increased your chances of surviving a catastrophic weather event.

If you live in “Tornado Alley,” you may have only minutes to jump in your car and get your family out of the path of an approaching tornado. That’s why, I can’t stress it enough, you must sit down at the kitchen table and make a comprehensive emergency plan for your family immediately.

These tactics will help your family get to safety in the event of wildfire or hurricane evacuations, just as much as it will help them evade riots, civil unrest, or urban terrorism.

The important thing is that you create a solid plan and communicate that plan to everyone you will be evacuating with. Here are my Top 5 Evacuation Preparedness Tips:

1. Create an Evacuation Plan

Evacuation, or “bugging-out” in prepper-speak, is virtually the same in all emergencies. So creating an extensively thought-out evacuation plan can serve double-duty in your master plan.

Your evacuation plan should include routes, destinations, and even meet-up points along your routes in case you and your loved one are separated before, during, or after a weather emergency.  Everyone in your household should be well aware of what to do in an emergency scenario, that includes Plan A, B, C, and so on…

The only realistic way to ensure that everyone is on the same page is to run through drills. Emergency preparedness drills should be held at least once a year, before storm season to remind the members of your household of your preps.

2. Buy a Hand Crank Weather Radio

Unless you are telepathic and have anticipated the exact path of the storm, chances are you will be relying on the local media or the National Weather Service for critical up-to-the-moment updates.

You must have a backup plan if the power goes out. That’s why a battery-powered weather radio with a hand-crank option is ideal. Learn the important frequencies and program them if possible into your radio as soon as you buy it. If you radio isn’t programmable, use a permanent marker to write the frequencies on the back of your radio.

3. Keep a Vehicle Gassed and Ready

Keep at least one of your vehicles fueled at all times – at least half-full. There’s no telling what type of traffic you may have to sit through on your evacuation route.

And don’t count on a quick fuelling stop along the way. Chances are good there will be long lines at the pump and many gas stations running out of supplies completely. In an evacuation, there is no time to swing by the convenience store. Keeping a vehicle fueled at all time may save your life.

4. Bug-Out Bags

If you’re not familiar with the terminology, a “bug-out bag” is simple a bag (usually a backpack) filled with all the supplies you’ll need to survive for 72-hours. That includes water, energy bars, first aid supplies, knives, etc.

Keep a bug out bag packed for each person in your family with at least 3 days worth of food and water per person, as well as handheld communications, personal protection weapons, and warm clothing.

If there is something you can’t live without, such as a precious heirloom, then pack it before hand if it is small enough. Realize that great grandpa’s baby grand piano might not make it.

5. Communication Drills

Along with your rehearsed emergency preparedness drills, all members of your household should have a plan for communicating with each other before, during and after an emergency.

Ideally, everyone would have a battery-operated walkie-talkie or radio (such as a Motorola Talkabout) in their bug-out bag. But other analog signals are just as important, if not more so.

Signals such as lowering a flag or stacking rocks on your front porch can be used to communicate important information, such as that your family has evacuated to grandma’s house, or to your safe location, or that everyone is OK.

Disaster areas are typically littered with makeshift message boards, each filled with information left for loved ones. By creating a few important analog signals, you can avoid one of these helpless situations.


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  1. Cheryl d Meeker

    I am from Oklahoma, but married my 2nd husband and moved to California for the last 35years. He has since passed away and our oldest daughter wants me to come and live with her and the family. Back east. She is living in Arkansas but is moving to Oklahoma, the area of Enid where her father lives. He is in bad health and she is moving back to take care of him.

  2. Bradfield Hunter

    Consider the changing and severe weather patters I am interested in your information

  3. Living here in Florida (Orlando, Merritt Island) You can’t jump in your car and go! Several thousand people did this and the hurricane just went right over where they were and where they drove too. A hurricane being 350 to 450 miles wide, you are better off have a place you can goto that is back from the ocean but Orlando was flooded out so pice a place and have supplies ready. I have lived through 54 years of hurricanes and just being ready supplies/radios/plans is your best bet!

  4. What backpack do you recommend? What hand crank radio do you recommend? What walkie- talkie do you recommend?
    What do you think of a 8′ x 10′ popup tent to be used in the basement as a survival unit if planning on staying at home during a survival situation? This might be easier to keep warm if loss of home heat?

  5. I live alone and I am 83 years old .

  6. I live in Pinellas County I don’t have to leave when a hurricanes hit because i’m at hightes’t point in the county.

  7. I have a Midland Handcrank XT511 BaseCamp radio, It has weatherbands, am/fm and the GMRS twoway radio so you can talk to handhelds. Has an internal battery and a alkaline battery pack. I like this radio and has worked good for me. I can talk to my neighbors when I loan them my handheld gmrs/weatherband radios. This is great for whats going on around you when you can’t go out. Here in florida the heat is the problem and need a/c. Have generator to run small a/c unit. If you are going to use a tent I would put an insulated pad between the floor and tent to retain heat. You can make one from two large tarps with foam inbetween and sew the edges together. I have a Cobra microtalk radio and a newer cobra microtalk radio, both work well and have the weather band. I get the ones with the highest output power(external ant really helps)

  8. Well as far as packs go the best one you can afford for a bugout bag because if it fails in a bugout situation, you have a major problem. REI, NorthFace, most well known brands are fine. I prefer internal frame packs but that is personal preference. And make sure it fits you. Radios…I have a small Eton hand crank radio I like, it is small and light weight and gets good reception. I am not sure of the model but it is $30 at Walmart. Walkies…. that is complicated… it depends what distances and terrain you intend to use them in. Any thing fron 15 mile Motoral and Unidens to $500 portable ham radios, it just depends what you need. Popup tents work fine for that and the kids love it. And yes it is much easier to keep warm in.

  9. Americans who live in dangerous weather areas have got to change the way they build their homes. Erect structures invite destruction. I highly recommend building monolithic dome homes. They are very strong and just by their design, storms go right over them and the people inside are very safe. The weather, in my opinion is only going to get more severe so, if you want to live in these areas then, you’ve got to change your mindset on how to build your home. I hope this gives people who live in these areas, as well as others, another look at sound, safe possibilities

  10. Dear Wafic, Congratulations on being 83 years old. There is no reason to think you can’t do these things too! Get a box for your important papers and a garbage bag for a change of clothes and your meds. Your are ready if you need to move to a community shelter! Tornado coming? No time – go to a safe room in your home. YOU can do this and you probably have many times but doing it by yourself is courageous!! To feel more knowledgeable – ask your local fire department to come out and show you the safe room in your home and how best to handle a bad weather emergency on your own!!

  11. Depending on where you live in California this could be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. I lived in Northern California for 4 years during the drought of the mid 1980’s. No one could water their yards, wash their cars, or waste water without getting a ticket. The Haves were really complaining about loosing their expensive landscaping. We had fires along Hwy 5 driving up from San Jose where suddenly you couldn’t see anything for the smoke. Good friends living almost on the top of a hill in Moraga fought off a fire coming up the other side with a hose and fortunately saved their home at the last minute. Not counting the earthquake of 1988. (Remember the one during the World Series where the Highway pancaked and the Bay Bridge had sections that collasped down onto the next). San Francisco blocks burned. All certainly terrible events. But people survived. I lived there and scarey as it was – having grown up in Georgia – I’ll take earthquakes and drought over tornados ANY DAY. If you’ve lived in California for the last 35 years you certainly understand what I mean. Yes earthquakes are and can be bad. The fires in the last 10 years have been terrible but in comparison fewer houses burned than were destroyed by tornado and you had more time to evacuate from fire than from a tornado (if you have lost a house I do apologize) but compare that to the pictures of the wiped out towns in Oklahoma or Texas or Alabama – I’m sorry – I’ve been around tornados and they are just geting worse – for whatever reason. You cannot escape them if you do not have warning and even if you do. Visit but I wouldn’t move unless health and money issues force you to. Just being honest. If your on this site, you are concerned about survival – I don’t think this move is in your best interest.

  12. The cinder block homes worked very well, They they atarted to build wodframe houses and it didnot stand up to the hurricanes. The cinderblock was reinforced with rebar every other hole inthe block and poured with concrete, roofs were tied down to this rebar and it worked great!

  13. We don’t have a plan written out, nor do we practice communication drills. We don’t live in “Tornado Alley”, either. No large storm will catch me by surprise as I am a Weather Channel addict. We do have Bug Out Bags, right by the door, packed and ready to go. There are a few cases of MREs and water and 2 ammo cans. I am confident that we could get out in a few minutes. Inside the BOBs, we each have one of those multi-band crank radios with the solar panel to charge your cell phone and a battery back-up. Also, I don’t allow the gas tank to go below half full in my SUV. I carry additional survival supplies and gear with me in the vehicle.

  14. Read STRATEGIC RELOCATION by Joel Skouken(sp?) Most anywhere -BUT Calif is a good place! And I am an EX- Californian! Looking to relocate to Southern Mo / Northern Arkansas- Good Luck Californians! Your biggest enemy – PEOPLE!

  15. Jeanni responds to Duane:

    My family have purchased used wet suits from ebay to keep warm in the event there is no heat. Tents will go on the beds. No need for floor insulation. Our beds are on risers so they are closer to the ceiling where heat rises. Always think out of the box and you will come up with some great ways to keep warm!! Check out They have all the emergency essentials you’ll need.
    God be with us all!

  16. Corrected spelling–Joel Skousen–Strategic Relocation—Third Edition. AND author of The Secure Home.
    Also remember that all tornados are NOT equal, but the area at the top of Texas and the Oklahoma panhandle have some of the largest tornados on record.

  17. Building a new home ? Consider building a polystyrene home as i did in SW Fl. My safe room was my walk in closet , I used an outside corner , more rebar reinforcing in this area. Inside walls were 2×4, 1/2 in plywood glued and screwed on both sides. Expanded wire on inside as will as the ceiling.Bolted to the floor,steel straps from the plate up the studs. This was stuccoed which added to its strength .The ceiling was independent of the ceiling, so it would stay intact .It had a steel door witch opened inward. [don’t want debree to block your exit. ] At the time of new construction the cost DID NOT exceed $500. I kept my emergency supplies in a sealed 5gal. witch also served as a waste bucket.

  18. What is some advice to get my elderly family members on board with prepping. They are from the “Greatest Generation” but are very comfortable with their modern routine and started chatting to strangers about my prep activities. Feeling betrayed by blood. Don’t want them to be my weak links.

  19. Patricia,
    I see that you are looking to move to Mo/Ark. We have a really nice off grid solar property that we are selling in Southern Mo 30 miles from Arkansas line. It’s only 3 1/2 years old. If interested please let me know

  20. Hello! Do you still have that piece of property for sale, if so email the info about the property and the price Please.

  21. Do you still have that piece of property for sale, if so email the info about the property and the price. I am interested, Thanks, Mark

  22. Could I, also, get the information for the house for sale? I live in AR & am very interested. Thanking You – Nancy

  23. D’anne, I would strongly recommend you tell your family members to keep their mouths shut about you prepping. In a time of crisis you will become a victim of theft or even killed for your supplies. If they can’t keep quite, I personally would break bones in their bodies. This is very serious and they are just plain idiots for not prepping themselves. They don’t have business getting in your business. And your preparation is not for public knowledge.

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