Sunday, June 8, 2008

15 Ways to Get Out of Dodge

Do you have an evacuation plan? If you had to quickly get away from your home, maybe out of your town, possibly even out of your state, how would you do it? Here's some of my ideas:

  1. My car would be first way I would consider evacuating. This is a good alternative because I would be able to control where I was going, there is plenty of room for everybody, I could pre-pack it with all of the supplies I would need, and the range I could travel in it would be limitless. Some of the negatives about this form of evacuation: the high price of gas which could limit our range of travel, the possibility of no gas being available, and most distressing, traffic congestion when everyone else has the same evacuation plan in mind. This goes for vans, trucks, and RVs as well.
  2. Walking is always an option. Of course the range would be limited on a daily basis, especially carrying a heavy pack. Some good points would be not having a need for gas and congestion wouldn't be an issue. A bad point is that this form of transportation exposes you to everything (the weather, other desperate people, etc).
  3. Bicycling is a consideration. Again, the need for gas and congestion wouldn't be issues and travel range would be longer, however once again this form of transportation exposes you to the weather and other people.
  4. Other motorized vehicles such as a motorcycle, ATV, or a snowmobile may be good options, only limited by a few factors such as the need for fuel and, in the case of snowmobiles, the need for snow. Motorcycles will be an optimal choice if you are looking for something more maneuverable and more gas efficient than a car but less taxing than a bicycle. The range with these, provided you have enough fuel, is also exceptional.
  5. How about leaving by horse? It sounds funny now but for millennia, this was the transportation mode of choice. You need to be able to feed the critter, and of course you will be exposed to the elements and other people, but this is not a bad option.
  6. Ride sharing. This could take many forms including hitch hiking or getting a ride from someone on Craigslist or a neighbor who is also heading out of town, etc. I haven't hitch hiked for decades and certainly wouldn't recommend it now unless it was a dire emergency. In that case I would of course be well armed. Also, during an evacuation I am guessing that people would rather fill their cars with supplies and food instead of other people.
  7. Having someone come and get you. This happened in a few recent disasters. People would phone friends and relatives from way out of town during Hurricane Katrina and the California wildfires to come and get them so they could evacuate. Depending on the type of disaster going on, this may be an option.
  8. Public transportation. Generally during a disaster, public transportation (city bus, subway, etc) will either be shut down or commandeered by the authorities. However just prior to a full-fledged disaster, you may still be able to use this form of transportation to escape.
  9. Commercial aviation. This may or may not be a good option. Of course you would need to be able to afford the ticket and then be able to get yourself to the airport and then have a destination in mind. This would also most likely need to be done pre-disaster. As we saw during the World Trade Center disaster, due to the type of attack, no one was flying for a few days afterwards.
  10. Hopping a train. I used to do this in my younger days (we are talking quite a while ago) as a quicker way to get to the next town than my own two feet could carry me. At the time I didn't realize that it was both dangerous and illegal. Also, I don't know how much security has improved since then and other than as a last resort, probably wouldn't want to find out now.
  11. Private aviation. If you have friends in high places (ie: the local sky ways), you may want to consider the option of being able to use a private plane or helicopter to get yourself out of the danger zone. While a MOU for this situation would be presumptuous and not likely to hold up in court after the fact, you may want to start having conversations now with friends who could provide this service to you in the event of an emergency. Better yet, if you have the time, money, and inclination, you may want to look into becoming a pilot and purchasing an aircraft yourself.
  12. Boat. Whether by canoe, kayak, or power yacht, if you are in certain locations where this would be feasible, this may be an option. This would probably be one of my lower rated options for evacuation due to the limited amount of gear you could bring with you (depending on the boat of course), limited range (under your own power this will be pretty short), need for fuel (on any boat with a motor), and exposure to both the elements and other people.
  13. Stowing Away. Again, another last resort. Somehow getting on an aircraft, ship, cargo truck, etc will only be your first challenge. Keeping hidden and not dying from a variety of causes (exposure to the elements, carbon monoxide poisoning, etc) will be your next.
  14. People Traffickers. Funny that no matter what kind of country you are in--even communist countries and dictatorships, the free market law of supply and demand will always produce a way to fill people's needs. If you need to be trafficked from one country to another when it would otherwise be illegal or very dangerous (ie: at this particular time from Mexico to the US and during the any war--Vietnam, WW 2--out of the danger zone) there will be people who will fill this need for a price. This is also one of these very, very last options. You basically don't have any control over the situation, the people you pay will be just as likely to rob you and leave your carcass by the side of the road, and going about finding a "good" trafficker at the last minute will be quite difficult.
  15. Anything with wheels. Some people have said "hey, I'll just use my rollerblades/skateboard/scooter to get around like I always do". Um, I say good for them and good for the orthopedist that would need to put me back together, but bad for me personally. Some people do rollerblade to work or skateboard to school, but again, this is good for a very limited range and I just can't picture this happening for the majority of the population, with or without a heavy pack on their back.
Anyway, those are some quick options to consider should the need arise to evacuate. Of course you can just wait for the government to tell you what to do, but we saw how effective that was for the people stuck in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It is ALWAYS a better option to keep the situation under your own control as much as possible.


  1. How about by paraglider - great way to skip town even when the roads and rails are jammed with hordes in panic.

  2. No idea is too extreme when it comes to saving your skin during a disaster. Good idea.

  3. A combination of all these different ways may even be required to leave if the going gets rough.