The “Getting Home” series

Have you ever taken the time to consider all of the potential emergencies that could impact your life in any of the locations you frequent? If an emergency occurs while you are away from home do you know whether you should stay put or attempt to get home? If you are going to shelter in place are you prepared? If you are going to put your “get home” plan into play are you prepared with the equipment, knowledge and stamina to do it? Do you have a “get home” plan?
During this series we will look at all of the factors that could potentially impact your journey home. We will talk about the importance of planning, preparation and how to execute your plan. We will look at risk assessment, route selection, equipment, and how to create your plan. Throughout we will discuss “missed opportunities” that many of us fail to capitalize on.

Introduction

Many people never take the time to consider any of the events that could make their trip home more difficult. Rush hour traffic, accidents and inclement weather are common causes of travel delays and while they are annoying, they usually just amount to being an inconvenience. But do we ever take the time to consider all of the events that could either make us take a different route or use a different mode of transportation? What about those that could put us afoot for the trip home

Why have a plan?
Planning gives you the opportunity to consider everything in advance and put it in writing. It is a foundation upon which you can build. Your plan should be a “living” document that you are constantly growing and revising. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think of improvements to our plans. The key is to write it down when you think of it so you’re not like me spending a lot of time trying to remember the great ideas that came to me! If you do it correctly whenever you have to put your plan into action you should have very few shortfalls.
The importance of having a “Get Home” plan increases with the distance you must travel. The longer the distance, the longer the time you will be travelling and depending on the type of incident you are dealing with and hour trip could become days. If your plan could possibly be covering days of travel in a worst case scenario you must make sure you have other plans in place that enable those who are at home or school to function correctly until you arrive!

Getting Home” vs Sheltering in Place
It is very important for you to consider all of the incidents you may be subjected to, whether at work, school or shopping, that will require you to consider what is the correct choice. I know everyone wants to bug out and get home but the simple fact is there are times when sheltering in place is the most prudent choice. It is never a good choice to leave shelter and put yourself in harm’s way needlessly.
In order to make the correct decision you must have the ability to identify the type and location of the incident. There are a variety of incidents that would not only require you to know the what and where but you will also need to be able to accurately assess things like distance and wind direction. Clear and simple there are times when it is best to stay put and take direction from those who are trained on these incidents.

Associated plans
Previously I mentioned “associated plans”. While these have no direct bearing on getting home I do feel I would be remiss if I didn’t bring them up. If you are the leader of your group, it is imperative for you to establish a line of succession or “chain of command”. Everyone needs to know who is taking charge and providing direction in your absence. They should also have a written plan to turn to when your corporate knowledge is not available.
If you have any children in school or in day care you should have a plan for them to be cared for until you can get home. Know what actions the school will take during an emergency. Also discuss extended care with your daycare provider. If they will not provide extended care you will have to find a friend or family member who will be able to pick them up.

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