In 2004, September was deemed National Preparedness month. It was created to help encourage people to become informed, take action, and get prepared for emergencies in their life. One of the reasons I started SMT is to help you (and myself) be prepared and to bring you information and awareness on some of the things you can do. At a minimum, you can begin to provoke your own thoughts about this subject and different ways you can become more self-reliant. And even though it’s the last day of September, any day of the year is a good day to start getting prepared.
Being prepared doesn’t always have to be at the extreme level of stock-piling canned food, water, and weapons because the world is ending. You can start small and simple with something like my ‘purse kit’ or you can dive right into full prepper mode. And while I don’t think you shouldn’t consider worst case scenario, starting small (like being prepared for any weather related situation) is a great way to get the plan moving. Evaluating what your immediate needs might be, where your comfort level resides with prepping and begin to build on it.
So what is a Get Home Plan (GHP)? It's exactly what it states, a plan for how you get home. As I mentioned earlier, a GHP isn't just for when disaster strikes but it’s for any type of potential threat, hazard or weather related issue where you need to get back home. For the most of us, we spend 75% of our day away from our home & most of that time is spent at work. Having a plan ready to execute should something occur will not only ease any additional stress that ensues come time to get home but will also leave you with a clearer mindset to make any on-the-fly changes instead of frantically wondering what to do.
There are four main areas to focus on when developing a get home plan:
1) Identify home base. For most people including myself this is where I live/my home. This is where all my other emergency situation supplies & kits are kept. So this is the first place I need to go before I need to get a move on aka bug out. Your home base could potentially be a relative’s house or a friend’s apartment that is closer than your own house but still has the necessary supplies you need should you need them. Also consider having a secondary location should your home location be compromised.
2) Plan your route. How will you get from A to B. You might be thinking, “Easy, the normal way I get home.” However, it may not be that simple. For instance, my main mode of transportation is the Metro. So if for some reason the Metro is shut down then I need to have an alternative route planned. For me, that alternate route is walking. I have a slight advantage on most people since my work and home are not far from each other. So think of all possible methods of getting home & the possible routes you can take. Realize that this is not going to be your typical commute home. Test out each route and assess what works, see what changes need to be made, and determine if there are any potential choke points. From there, reassess and finalize a plan. Another area to take into consideration when determining your alternative routes is your fitness level. If your GHP plan involves a 10 mile walk or bike, will you be able to physically do this? If not, then you might want to think about beginning an exercise routine or mapping out a different route.
3) Create a Get Home Bag. A Get Home Bag (GHB) is a pack that has all the necessities you require to get you home. Ask yourself, what do I need to make it home? Water, knife, flashlight, comfortable shoes, weather appropriate clothing, etc. You’ll want a bag that is easy to carry and mobile such as a backpack. Keep in mind that a get home bag is very different from a bug out bag. It’s typically less substantial and it only contains the supplies needed to get home. I’ll definitely be diving into Get Home Bags & Bug Out Bags in a future posts so stayed tuned for that.
4) Create a Communication Plan. If and when a situation occurs, how will you get in touch with family members? This doesn’t need to be overly complicated and can be as simple as a quick text, email, or call letting family members knows that you are putting the GHP in action. It also helps to give them peace of mind. The last thing you want are family members coming out to look for you or thinking something terrible has happened. By communicating with the others involved with your GHP they should either shelter in place or also be putting into action the GHP.
I hope that this has given you a good starting point and has got you thinking about creating a GHP of your own. I'm in the process of getting mine established & finalized. There is so much information out on the internet regarding GHPs that can help you whether your beginner or advanced. A few organizations that have some additional information are Ready.Gov and American Red Cross. Check them out and see how their information can help you.
Now that you've got some information, I hope you start working on a GHP. Remember to write it down, revise it, and perform a trial run. Ensure that what you have discussed or have on paper can logistically be executed.
Happy prepping :)