Building a Get-Home Bag and Action Plan by John R (AKA SickSkilz)
There have been multiple discussions on getting home during a disaster and the contents of a GHB (get home bag). In the 11/18 weekly preps, I mentioned that I decided to test out my get home plan with the assumption that I would not have my truck available and would have to travel on foot. Here is how it went and what I found:
I work downtown in a medium to large city. I drive a bit over 25 miles to work each day and part in a parking lot. In January, I developed my plans to get home from work which included stocking my truck box with the things I thought I would need and keeping other things in my office.
If traveling by vehicle is possible and realistic, I am not too concerned about getting home. I have a path mapped out that avoids highways at least until I can get to one with a grass medium and shoulder so I could not get stuck. I also made a rough path to travel on foot.
I suspected that being in really good shape, I could get home in a max of 5 hours. However, I had never really tested a plan like that. So, with a day off work that my wife was going to be busy, I decided to test it out.
The route I would take during an actual event involves going near the highway in a north-south direction. I would not want to do this as a test because the path is more dangerous (and stupid) so I mapped out an east-west path that goes through similarly mixed terrain but not near highways.
I had my wife drop me off a similar 25 miles from home at about 10 am with the things that I carried in my truck and would have on me at work. I took my phone, but intentionally did not use the GPS on it as something like a solar flare or EMP that would stop me from being able to use my truck could also take out GPS.
The experience was a real eye-opener. What I thought would be under 5 hours turned out to be 9.5 hours despite the fact that I am in my early 30s and in the best shape of my life.
- The constant changes in terrain and rarely stopping was really hard on my feet. I was on concrete and grass and went up and down hills. The old tennis shoes I had were only barely better than my work shoes.
- My work route is 25 miles by car which is 90% straight highway. My test route was a similar distance on the main roads. I didn’t track it, but I presume that my actual travel distance was a bit longer. I know how to tell which direction is which, but multiple times I either got sidetracked or got to a place where I had to turn around. Note: for the purpose of this experiment, I didn’t do a lot of trespassing and stayed near a road most of the time.
- While I did have some food and did not get excessively hungry, I got very dehydrated because I only had two 12 ounce bottles of water
- Given that it took much longer than expected, my wife now knows not to freak out if I don’t get there quickly.
I also found that there were a lot of things in my GHB that I no longer think I would EVER need in a GHB or are things I could have with me at work or in my truck and only carry with me as needed depending on the specifics of an event. I figure I could have saved at least another hour traveling lighter. Below I have listed the contents and some changes I made.