Emergency Preparedness: Evacuate or Shelter In?
In the event of an emergency there are 2 things that you must decide upon, either to shelter-in-place or evacuate. The nature of the emergency is the main factor in the decision making process. However, the term emergency is super vague. An emergency could be anything from a natural disaster (flood, fire, etc) to an attack on your city or a long term power outage.
When in doubt, stay at home. When you are on your home turf you are familiar with the landscape and probably have a network of friends and family to rely on. Hopefully you have an ideal set up where your home is stocked with a years worth of food, water and other supplies.
Let’s consider a possible emergency preparedness scenario: the power goes out and does not turn back on. At face value this may not seem immediately life threatening. “No Problem,” you say to yourself, “I have a stockpile of essentials, I’ll ride this out.” Think twice brother.
So the power is out. What does this mean? Let me quickly explain for those who have not thought about this.
Everything stops without power. Generators at hospitals run out of gas and stop. Fuel runs out at gas stations and food runs out at the stores because the trucks have stopped bringing in the goods. At first, law enforcement and city services like fire stations will continue to operate. But as time passes, more and more men will turn to essential priorities like being at home to protect their families. We are left to fend for ourselves.
When the shelves at grocery stores go bare, then we have a real problem. It only takes a short period of starvation before people become desperate, and devolve into dangerous savages. You may have quietly been storing food for years but I guarantee that your neighbors have not. Starvation will turn a gentleman into a killer in short order.
If you live on a farm, or in the hills far off from a major road, you should be okay if you are prepared. Most people do not have that luxury and live in urban stack-em and pack-em housing. Dense urban locations are the last place you want to be during this kind of scenario. Simply put, even if your apartment has an extra lining of cinder blocks along the walls, windows and doors, it is only a matter of time before a marauding gang of jacked up thugs comes a knocking. Maybe bullets cannot penetrate your comfy abode but anything can burn. You don’t want to be in a situation where you are being smoked out by bandits.
If, and only if, you can keep a low profile do I suggest sheltering in place. Your odds are better in the countryside where the population density is much lower. In the case where power stops, some small agricultural communities can indeed ban together and thrive, but this would never happen in the city.
Let’s say that you are a single male living in Denver, Colorado, right smack in the urban jungle when the power goes out. Things have gone sour and it is clear that order will not be established for a long time – if ever. This is when you probably want to grab your bug-out-bag and get out of town fast.
Speed is a factor because the highways that leave the city will quickly become congested and most likely end in a standstill where the cars will be abandoned. So unless you have a beefed up truck that can jump curbs and ram fences you might be stuck. Obviously public transportation will not be available – it’s pretty much a joke when things are normal.
The goal is to get out of town to a predetermined location. In a perfect world it would be a fortified holdout loaded with provisions in the mountains. This is not really possible unless you have lot’s of money. More realistically, you will have a location picked out that has a nearby source of fresh water and enough resources to survive on. Consider burying a cache in that location now so if the time ever comes, you already have things in place.
Getting there is the biggest issue. So the roads are basically shut down and impassable by car, how do you travel that 100 miles to your bug-out location? The simple answer is either by foot or by bicycle. You should consider a bug out vehicle. If you have a motorcycle, that might work as a bug out vehicle, but they run out of gas. On that note, always keep your tank at least half full.
Electric Bikes? A Good Bug Out Vehicle?
I am going to suggest what will at first sound ridiculous as a bug out vehicle, an electric bike. Yes, an electric bike. If you need to get from the city to the mountains as fast as possible, a traditional bike is doable. Bikes can go places that a car cannot. A bike can cruise between the stalled out cars on the highway. But what happens when you are chugging along with a big pack on your back and you are exhausted and look up ahead to see a malicious group of people running straight at you with wild eyes? If you are in shape you may be able to crank your pedals and avoid the problem. But what if you are totally winded and your legs feel like jelly? You are then in a predicament where you might end up robbed or worse.
An electric bike is the best of both worlds, and thus, a suitable candidate for your bug out vehicle. Yes, it needs to be charged up, and once it is out of juice, it cannot be charged up again without a power source. But you don’t necessarily need that extra power except for that initial escape from the city. Generally speaking, the further you get away from the city, the safer the surroundings will be.
So that is the main reason why an electric bike is better than a normal mountain bike. It has the power to get you out of dodgy situations much faster. The battery charge is only meant to assist you in getting away from dangerous situations quickly. The further you get away from the city, the less juice your battery will have but the safer you will be.
Understand that not all electric bikes are created equal. Some not only look weak but also have weak motors. I recommend the Stromer, they have a sweet mountain bike and with the power on, you can cruise at 30 MPH. This electric bike is meant for off-road so it’s motor does not need to comply with regulations placed on e-bikes intended for the road. These regulations basically require a governor to keep the bike from going too fast – but this is only for electric bikes meant for the road. Get an off-road electric bike that does not need to comply with limits placed on its power. If you are unfamiliar with electric bikes, I suggest you go to your nearest electric bike store and go for a test ride.
So yes, a motorcycle is faster than a bike, and an electric bike runs out of electricity just like a motorcycle runs out of gas, but you cannot pedal a motorcycle after it stops like you can with an electric bike.
By all accounts, no matter what you choose to do. I’d recommend that you have a plan in place for all scenarios, and buy supplies to fulfill that plan. Prep your home, select and prep your bug-out location. Maintain reliable transportation and map at least 2 alternate routes to that bug-out location.
In the famous words of the British Ministry of Information Keep Calm and Carry On.