Get the Hell Out of Dodge

Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,

Last week, a wildfire in Collier County, Florida, incinerated over 7,000 acres and forced thousands of residents to evacuate. But some people refused to leave. One man who didn’t evacuate suffered burns over 18% of his body while trying to fight the fire to protect his property.

Because I practice what I preach, I have built up a substantial supply of food and water in my home. I’ve stored enough food and water to provide for my family for at least 30 days in the event of an emergency.

However, if there were a wildfire or tornado or some other approaching natural disaster, I would heed the advice of local officials to keep my family safe. In my opinion, leaving my home would be the least preferable option, but in the case of a raging wildfire, your only choice might be to flee.

That being said, do you have a plan in place to load your vehicle quickly and escape danger? Do you know which items are most important to take with you?

Stay Organized

As I’ve said before, when it comes to food storage and survival gear, I’m incredibly organized. I have durable bins full of food and gear, with each bin clearly labeled so I know exactly where everything is. This is extremely important in case I do ever have to leave my home in a crisis.

For example, I have all my camping gear — including tents and sleeping bags — in the same large bin. If my family and I had to leave in a hurry and didn’t know where we were going, we would still have a place to sleep.

I also have a bin in my basement labeled “survival food.” This is another critical item to bring along. When fleeing a natural disaster, it’s best to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, because you don’t know where or when you’ll get your next meal.

With that in mind, I also plan on grabbing water. This is one of the reasons I use WaterBricks. These storage containers are small enough that I can carry them to my car and easily load it up with food and water. Click here to get your own.

Perhaps the most critical aspect of your vehicle load plan is your bug-out bag, which should be ready to go at a moment’s notice. I recommend having one prepared for each member of your family. They should be the first thing you pack in your car — followed by your food and water. By having your bug-out bags packed and ready to go, you should be able to evacuate your home in 10 minutes or less.

Remember Your Priorities

When leaving their home and all their belongings, many people will try to take lots of clothes, pictures or other sentimental items. But it’s important to prioritize and keep in mind the items you truly need to survive.

If you don’t have your survival food and gear properly organized, I recommend making that your No. 1 priority. Then write down how you plan to load your vehicle, and do a test run to make sure everything fits.

And remember — your whole family should be clued in to the evacuation procedure so you can execute it as seamlessly as possible if and when the time comes.

So let’s recap. When creating your vehicle load plan, consider the following survival needs — in addition to your bug-out bags, which should be the No. 1 thing you grab:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Shelter.

Then practice, practice, practice. And of course, make sure you’ve got at least half a tank of gas in your car along with a paper map and several predetermined escape routes.

I assure you now is the time to try this out and figure out what you can and can’t take with you. When a police officer is knocking on your door telling you to evacuate immediately, the time to plan has passed, and you need to be ready to act.

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

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