relocation, disaster, evacuation, safe haven
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A safe haven must be planned and constructed with longevity in mind.

Your home has become uninhabitable due to an emergency and you must initiate your contingency plan. This isn’t the plan you imagine in your mind on a whim, but one that you have carefully thought out, written down and placed in a readily accessible location.

Imagine that you need a full tank of gas in order to get to your safe haven or retreat location that is 125 miles away. Unfortunately, the event has also left the gas stations within a 100-mile radius of your home out of service.

Enter Plan B. While you had enough fuel storage at your house to get you to your retreat, once again that blasted event has relieved you of most of it. Now you only have a portion of a 5-gallon container to put in your vehicle to get out of the immediate area and to a nearby friend, who also happens to be part of a mutual assistance group that you have formed for incidents such as this. After the short detour, a little bit of creative packing of supplies and people, along with fueling up the vehicles with the extra stores from your friend, you make your way without incident to your contingency outpost.

Safe Haven

By planning and investing with a group-based approach, an emergency retreat can be a true home away from home with many of the creature comforts that you enjoy on a daily basis. More than just a pot and a window, a safe haven that is worthy of weathering an extended relocation must be planned and constructed with longevity in mind.

Having a nationwide, regional or statewide network of contacts with extra room in their homes is an ideal and cost-effective solution for scenarios such as this. Such networks can be established by networking at conferences and conventions, online forums or through other types of organizations. Make sure to take operational security measures and properly vet any potential associates if this type of arrangement is an option for you and your family. If possible, friends and family are a safer and more secure option for scenarios such as this.

On the shelter aspect of the equation, something with a hard shell is the most prudent type to obtain. This can be in the form of an RV-style camper, a converted cargo trailer or a site-built cabin, tiny-house or home as opposed to a tent. Most tents won’t withstand day-to-day living during an extended amount of time.

If those options don’t fit into your budget, then having the proper tools to enable you to harvest wood, such as chainsaws, axes and ancillary items, along with a stockpile of surplus materials, such as tin for roofing and pipe for plumbing, are a good alternative. Tents, tarps or ponchos are good for shelter in the short term (a couple of weeks to a month) and they are very portable until you either get to your alternate location or can construct a more secure and permanent structure.

Plan To Prevail

Depending on the extent of the emergency you’re facing and your projected length of stay away from your home, having pre-staged items in multiple locations is a good idea, as it may take longer than expected to get to your support group and/or retreat location. Room for shelter, food, water and related supplies will be limited based on the size of your vehicle.

Food and shelter are of equal importance, and they can be planned for accordingly and similarly depending on which alternate location strategy you implement. Having food and water caches along with the aforementioned tools and equipment for constructing shelter are good ideas. Arranging to store some of your gear or supplies in a secure and enclosed area, such as a garage or a detached shed, at the stops you’ve scheduled on the way to your contingency locations is another viable option. The key to food storage is to stockpile food that you can easily incorporate into your daily diet in order to prevent appetite fatigue.

Training is key when you’re implementing a contingency location plan. Whether it is with friends, family or an outside group, the worst time to find out that you and your family members are incompatible with your co-habitants is during a catastrophic event. Prepare now to prevail later. 

This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE™ Spring 2016 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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