Last week’s winter storm took it’s toll on the much of the country, specifically those in the south who aren’t prepared for extreme cold weather, with ice and snow. People were stranded on major highways due to the traffic jams caused by the winter storm.
Many people abandoned their cars and footed it to shelter, others slept in the aisles of local stores. When things like this happen the best way is to use them as a learning experience. You survived it, but what can you do so that it doesn’t happen again?
What happens if you were stranded on that interstate and you had children with you? Do you have a get home bag, or a plan for getting back safely?
A commenter inspired The Prepper Journal to tackle this subject, here is what he said:
How far away is home?
Everything is relative isn’t it? If you are stuck in the middle of the desert in August and home is 500 miles away, you have much bigger problems than someone who is only a few miles from home in June. Are you in a city with plenty of people/friends/cabs around for alternate transportation? What if none of those were available? Knowing your travel plans should dictate how you prepare for any potential event like this. For longer trips, I normally include a wealth of additional resources that I don’t normally pack on my daily commute but we are talking about a surprise event here, aren’t we?
The benefit of being to discuss topics like this is that we aren’t living in the moment of this crisis. Prepping in my eyes is planning for the future. Maybe these plans are based upon events in the past, or a concern about future events. For a single mother like JM, she is asking because she wants to be prepared ahead of time. To do that, you have to live like the event could happen. To be prepared, you must by definition have your preps with you when you need them.
Like almost anything with children, the ages of your kids and their abilities have to be taken into consideration. It will be hard to make concrete recommendations, but let’s take a stab at it.
The first thing I think you should take into consideration is the distance you will be traveling or could be traveling on foot. If you never know where you might be around your local area, take the farthest distance (average) and use that for a guideline. Let’s assume you live and commute to work in a modest sized town of 100,000 people and your daily commute to work, shopping, babysitters or anywhere else put you max at 18 miles away from home. This is what I would start with.
So, how would you get home 18 miles away if the SHTF? How would that change with your child or children?
The assumption is that we are all walking here because some event (weather, EMP, civil disturbance) has prevented us from using our or anyone else’s car to make it home. Not much point in reading this article if you can just call a cab is it? 18 miles is a good hump for an average, in-shape person. For that average person you figure 20 minutes a mile if you are walking at a good clip. Add inclement weather, breaks or a slower pace with children and that might go out to an hour per mile. What about a mother with 2 small children? I have personally had children under 9 so I can appreciate what JM is faced with.
If you have children this young I wouldn’t plan on them carrying a pack. Maybe, I could see them carrying a backpack with just the basics (water, food, jacket) because even a 9 year old is going to start pooping out on you before too long. Even if they have the energy, most kids that age I know will get tired, whiny and start complaining.
Depending on the age of your children, weather and terrain, you have a couple of options I think. The one that seems to make the most sense is a good jogging stroller. I am not talking about the kind you wheel around the mall, strollers now very off-road capable. The won’t do all of the work for you but they will hold your children and usually give you additional storage room for that Get Home Bag you had packed. This will make getting from point A to point B much easier assuming you aren’t trying to walk on snow and ice. It may not seem to make a lot of sense to have one of these if your kids are too big to fit in there and that’s fine. I still think you should plan on the walk taking longer and to anticipate more rest breaks being necessary.
I do think that an 18 mile walk like this is doable even with small children. With smaller kids you will have the stroller, they won’t get tired and you can walk as fast as your legs can go. So what do you need in this case?
What do you need to pack?
Mothers are the first preppers and I have even seen posts dealing with the subject of a diaper bag being just as stocked as a Bug out Bag. Usually, these bags already have enough supplies for a week out. There are diapers galore, several varieties of snack foods, extra clothing, medicine, toys etc. Mothers will generally have extra food, clothes and diapers for their children but what about these unexpected scenarios? How many times have you left the house thinking, I’ll be back before night time or we will be inside all day so no need for warm clothes? You have to start thinking to some extent like you might not make it home and pack that bag appropriately.
Water – You should always have enough water on you or in your vehicle for everyone for a day. We have a case of water that sits in the back of the car that my wife and kids call survival waters. They do end up getting used all the time, but that keeps it rotated. When we get near running out, we just throw another case in there. On long trips we also each have our own Nalgene bottles for an extra supply.
Food – In my Get Home Bag I have enough food for two days for myself even though I am never so far away that I can’t get home easily in a few hours. I would have the same two day supply of food for your children as well. Children are picky so you will have to pack their favorites. One long-lasting emergency food bar I have found is Mainstay Emergency Rations. These will keep even in a hot car and are perfect for emergencies.
Clothing – Nobody likes to be cold or wet. In the summer time you can take off layers, but you can’t add them if you don’t have them. I always leave the house wearing what I would need to be outside, not inside. I admonish my kids to do the same and this works most of the time. My middle child always says, “but I am going to be inside all day” and that is not the way to think. Pack or have supplies packed for the weather if you have to get out in it.
Shelter – A walk of 18 miles could require spending the night out in the elements. Of course we are talking extreme disaster for this to happen, or remote locations but it is very possible. Emergency space blankets are cheap, light and pack up the size of a deck of cards. Have one for each member of your family and you will stay alive in most environments.
Protection – Unless there are very special conditions, I always have a firearm on me. For those with children I would ask that you consider carrying something to protect yourself and them. This may be mace or a tazer. It could be a good old 9mm with some wicked hollow points.
Being stranded in extreme weather is never a good situation. What tips can you offer to ensure you get your kids home safely? Let us know in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page or Twitter.