Appendix 1 – Family Bug Out Plan

Why develop a plan? When the SHTF, your family can be faced with several situations that present different degrees of danger. If the collapse is obvious to you and occurs over time, you can assemble and travel to your BOL before it gets well underway. That presents no problem as far as family planning is concerned. You will have gotten ahead of it in time to be in place at your BOL before the world explodes. Otherwise, you need a plan for a collapse that comes on very quickly, such as would occur due to an EMP event or sudden economic collapse.

Since we cannot describe a typical family plan, you must structure your family plan from the information presented here. Update it as your family structure changes. For example, if your family has small children, plan will change as they become older. Some families are large and some are small. Some have older family members and some are couples without children. Some folks live near big cities and others in small towns. We can assume that if you live in the country, you should already be living at your bug out location. That may not be true for a everyone but it certainly places them in a much better position with less interference from the local populace if their BOL is elsewhere.

The following questions and information are designed to help you think about the issues you will face when the SHTF. Use the answers you come up with to develop your family plan as they apply to your particular circumstances.

Question 1: Who is included in your plan? Outside of your immediate family, you must consider who else will bug out with you. You may want to include other relatives, your son’s fiancé, the little old lady next door, the dog, three cats, goldfish, etc. Everyone you include adds to your coordination planning and resource needs. One of the best ways to determine who will bug out with you is to use the process of elimination, keeping in mind that you will be facing a food shortage situation. You must be able to feed every mouth. Make a list of people and begin to eliminate those you will not be able to feed. If you cannot leave someone behind, like the brother that thinks you are a nut for being a prepper, then secretly store a two-year supply of food for at the BOL. Then, make him work his butt off in the garden to replenish his food supply. He will also have to wash your dirty, skid marked underwear for the rest of his life, by hand.

Question 2: Where is everyone? All adults and older children should know where all other members are at all times. This is difficult at times, especially when the family involves teenagers that are scattered and hanging out with their friends or on dates.  What do you do if you are caught far away out of town when the SHTF? Your situation changes throughout the day as family members go to school, work, shopping, social events, etc. It may not be practicable or feasible to maintain constant contact under normal conditions. You must, however, acquire a degree of awareness of one another so that you have a general idea of the locations of all family members all the time.

Question 3: What is the assembly plan? The following questions will help you to think about what to include in your family plan:

  • Where will you assemble? It is usually at your home but that may not necessarily be the best place. For example, Dad or Mom may have a business, such as a mechanics shop, where you can more easily store your bug out bags and gear.
  • Who has a driver licenses and vehicles?
  • Who is scheduled to pick the kids up from school?
  • Does every parent and older family member have legal authorization to pick up the younger children from school?
  • If anyone is out of town, what action should they take?
  • Is there time to top off the vehicle(s) tanks?
  • Where is the alternate point in case the primary is overrun? 
  • Do older children know how to get to the rally points (meeting places)? Since even older children do not pay much attention to directions, you may want to have them give you directions on how to get to all the places around your area. Make a game of it with a reward when they direct you correctly from point A to point B.

Question 4: How will you communicate? Today, we can communicate with the touch of a few buttons. Even if the communications systems we use are in full operation, there is the potential for too many people using the same networks that they become overloaded. Your best bet is to have each capable family member obtain amateur radio operator licenses (ham license) and use the local repeaters to coordinate assembly. An alternate means is CB radio, which does not require a license but has geographical range limitations. Otherwise, you must practice automatic responses that do not require communications. Give everyone’s contact information and meeting places to all family members.

Note: Data messages (text and email) get through easier than voice calls when circuits are overloaded.

You may also need to communicate with your MAG members to coordinate enroute actions.

Question 5: What will you take enroute to the BOL and how readily available is it? There are two scenarios, with vehicles and on foot. If an EMP has wiped out your vehicles, you will be on foot and must have a plan for that potential event. Please be aware that, if you have a vehicle that is impervious to EMP and you attempt to drive it too late after the collapse, others will kill you for it. You will have to bug out very quickly before that mentality sets in and the roads are clear.

If you are on foot, things get quite a bit tougher, especially if you have not taken your family backpacking and they are not wearing the proper clothing and footgear. Your bug out plans must call for a complete backpacking set of clothes and walking boots that are appropriate for the season for each family member. That is not something easy to acquire for small children. Think of using heavy duty mountain bicycles with pull along trailers for children and supplies. It will not be easy and you will run into others that will want to take your bicycles and supplies from you.

Regardless of the means of transportation, everything has to be packed and ready to go. Mama’s jewelry can be dumped into a double Walmart bag if necessary. You do not have time to think about it when the bad guys are preparing to advance on your neighborhood or cars will soon block all roads. Use the following check list for loading the vehicle. Print it and have the hardcopy ready with a pencil or pen. Place the hardcopy in the folder with your other prepping/bugging out documents.

  • Cash (Money may lose its purchasing power shortly after a collapse but you will still be able to pay for some things. And, the price is irrelevant. The seller will soon have worthless paper in his till.
  • Important papers (birth certificates, passports, wills, etc.)
  • Mama’ jewelry (Excellent material for Dad to use to barter for more ammo. J )
  • BOB’s for each family member
  • Water
  • Water filters
  • Food
  • Ham radios
  • Battery or hand crank radios
  • Fuel
  • Pets and pet carriers
  • Road maps (Get one from the welcome center every time you cross a state line)

Question 6: What is your bug out vehicle? If you plan to take 10 people with gear in a Volkswagen bug, you are all up the well-known creek. You must have a vehicle or set of vehicles that will accommodate everyone and their stuff.

Question 7: Where will you go? You must have your bug out location identified and developed. Have a number of alternate routes to your bug out location.

Question 8: How much do you have to practice your plan? America’s military is strong because it is continually practicing the art of warfare. The more you practice anything the better you get at it and the less you have to think about the actions to take. Unless OPSEC is a problem, include every person that will be bugging out with you in practice sessions. Here is the way to prepare from the point of zero:

  1. Prepare your family plan and acquire your bug out materials, BOBs, fuel cans, food, etc. Involve the entire family in the discussion and planning.
  2. Once developed, sit around the family table and discuss the plan until everyone knows it by heart. Each member must be able to state their responsibilities. It doesn’t have to be from rote recall, just know what to do and when to do it.
  3. Acquire and prepare the materials for your plan. (gas cans, pet carriers, clothing, backpacks, etc.)
  4. Walk through the plan a few times and make changes as needed.
  5. Continue to practice your plan—daily if necessary—until it becomes second nature to you.
  6. Make scheduled and unscheduled practice sessions to occur at least monthly. Use the occasion of a child’s dental appointment to activate a practice plan.

Recommendation: For all children through about fifteen years of age, depending on maturity, make it seem like more of a game to play to keep them from becoming frightened. If you act scared, then they will be scared. Conversely, the less fear you exhibit, the less fear they will have.

Question 9: What can you do with important items you leave behind? If it truly is TEOTWAWKI, you must leave your home knowing that you will not return to it any time before others have a chance to ransack it and take everything you left behind. Not having that attitude can cause you unnecessary mental anguish. Having to leave behind that dresser that has been in the family for ten generations is something you will have to place out of your mind. Accept it and move on. Your lives are in danger and you must focus on your survival. Inanimate objects are no longer of value. However, if you have something that will be valuable to you after the die-off, such as extra ammo that you cannot take with you, cache it on the property. One of the best places is under the house, if you have a crawl space. Bury a 5-gallon bucket or 55-gallon drum with a water proof lid to put those items in.

Online Resources:

Emergency Preparedness:

Parents Communications Plan:

Kids Communications Plan: