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Snowstorm Lessons in Bugging Out

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by unionguy, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. unionguy

    unionguy Portland Active Member

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    Sitting yesterday for FIVE HOURS to get from Woodburn to SE Portland due to a few inches of snow yesterday, I had A LOT to time to think.

    This experience completely convinced me that Bugging Out is a very, very risky plan.

    Unless you can be 100% sure you will "get out" before everyone else tries to, there is no way to get out of a major metropolitan area.

    As I could figure it, this FIVE HOUR delay to go less than 30 miles was under the following condiitions:

    1) Far less cars on the road than would be there in the event of a major panic where people are fleeing the city;
    2) Far less accidents than would occur when people are panicked;
    3) Far MORE emergency responsiveness. Presumably, in a panic situation, the cops and fire departments will have more things to worry about than clearing the roads.
    4) I don't doubt that during a true emergency, every "back road" would get similarly jammed up due to the sheer numbers of people trying to get out of the city.

    Once you add in panicked drivers trying to swerve around each other creating more accidents than a snowstorm does, driving on the shoulders and getting stuck, stressed out and angry drivers likely leading to a few shootings thrown in...those highways will become, literally, parking lots. Then, people will start running out of gas, etc.

    Since I don't think anyone can really count on "knowing" before everyone else does that its time to "get out", it convinced me that having a contingency to stay put is very, very, smart.

    What do others think. I have to say, I was literally shocked at how quickly the whole highway system just shut down yesterday.
     
  2. willseeker

    willseeker N. Portland. Well-Known Member

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    Yes Unionguy, we are only as strong, collectively, as the weakest link...and boy howdy! there's some weak links out there!

    So if you're not out by SHTF, you're home should already be prepared for lockdown. Not that mine is...:p Sometimes I long for the life I had in Alaska where it was like a Sunday drive to be in the snow.
     
  3. kenr74

    kenr74 Oregon Active Member

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    Damn, I thought my 50 mile drive that took me 4.5 hours was bad. Good thinking though. Even the best 4x4 wouldn't have got you anywhere yesterday unless you could go up and over anything in the way.
     
  4. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Yep. We've discussed that at length but I'm not sure everyone is convinced. Don't forget that if there's electricity, the gas stations will quickly get sucked empty with long lines waiting. If there's no electricity, they can't pump.

    It's going to be a lot easier to prepare ahead to bug in where you have all of your stored survival items. If a person truly is a believer, he can harden an area(s) of his house and virtually fireproof the outside.

    If you hit the road you are a refugee among strangers who you don't trust and who don't trust you.

    You had a great lesson.
     
  5. Silver Fox

    Silver Fox Puyallup, WA Well-Known Member

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    Unionguy-

    Instead of looking at 'bugging out' last night, try and put the spin of you were trying to 'bug in' and you were just trying to get home to do so. 30 miles from your 'bug in' location and took you 5 hours? The average walking speed of a healthy human male is about 4 mph on flat even terrain with out inclement weather. I can't asses your physical condition over the net so you need to be honest with yourself, how long would it take you to walk home last night and did you have the proper gear for it?

    My $.02 spin on it.

    SF-
     
  6. oldcars

    oldcars North Central Oregon Member

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    Traffic is one of the main reasons I left Portland! My mom called me last night and said the roads were all blocked and my dad was stuck in traffic for so long he finnaly gave up, parked the car and went to a restraunt to enjoy the snow over some good food. Out here in north central Oregon, snow is just snow. No panic, no traffic, everyone just drives a little slower, and goes on with life.
     
  7. billcoe

    billcoe PDX Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    Gunner and I have been laying this down on another thread and are in harmony on this. Bug in. There may be times where staying put isn't an option, (nuclear strikes, hurricanes, massive floods or dam breaks that will make your house float away) however, most of the time, that is where all of your tools which you need to survive are, and leaving any of that to strike out into the "wilderness" with huge masses of folks who are prepared or unprepared, seems crazy to me.

    Furthermore, I don't feel my neighbors are competition to be shot in some unscheduled emergency, but resources to be nurtured, supported (and supporters of me) and treasured.

    But that's me. Yeah.
     
  8. JAFO

    JAFO OR, USA Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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    No internet preparedness professor is going to have all of the answers for all situations. I definitely wouldn't concentrate on getting one bug-in place set up and ignore the rest.

    While you were sitting in traffic did you have your BoB with you in your vehicle? Did you have water and snacks? A blanket? Flashlight? McDonald's gift certificates?

    Any emergency isn't going to schedule itself around your schedule.

    I have most of what I listed in my Jeep. Yesterday I drove my truck to work.
     
  9. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    If you'll recall during Katrina and then the later hurricane in Texas...the Networks showed all major roadways completely snagged to a complete stop...people sitting on the side of the road in lawn chairs listening to the radio and running out of gas.

    No one plans to fail...they just fail to plan. Agreed no one individual or "Internet Professor" is going to have the solutions to all our problems, situations and scenarios. There are some whom I'm privileged to train with who have actually had to live thru and survive in hostile emergency situations and we're trained to work in small teams without any support mechanism to back their play. They were dumped alone as a small group and expected to solve all their own problems. After spending many hours training with these individuals I'm learning there are things we can do, many things, to mitigate the circumstances finding solutions for ourselves and to provide us with more than one obvious option of hopping in the car with the kids and dog and leave.

    We need to have a primary, secondary and tertiary strategy with multiple contingencies in place ready to launch at a moments notice. Bugging in is one option obviously and a really good one - if feasible. But if it isn't then what is one's plan B? If the roads are snarled up then what is plan c? These are all things that need to be planned for and practiced in simulated situations in order to work out the bugs.

    This snow storm is a good indicator of what to expect if there is a catastrophic emergency - only times 2, 3 or more! Use these events as a test of one's strategy of prepareness.

    For myself, I'm all squared away once I get my starter of sourdough :bluelaugh:
     
  10. huntpotter

    huntpotter SW WA Negotiator Bronze Supporter

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    I thought about that too, while I was sitting on 205. I was stopped and turned off the car, due to so many people packed on the freeway, and 2" of snow, was making people drive stupidly, stop and go, instead of keeping up momentum.
    If there was a real major disaster, or bug out situation, I would think twice before comitting to the freeway. In lots of places, there is miles of raised freeway, and big dividers. Once you are on there, you are stuck, until the next exit, miles ahead. There has to be a safer place to go, in the metro area, then out there on the concrete.
     
  11. unionguy

    unionguy Portland Active Member

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    Great replies. Like a lot of folks, I'm building up my preparations, as funds allow. I have my bug out bag at home ready, the vehicle-ready ones are next (even more so now!).

    My preps so far have been focused on bugging-in, as I don't have a 'bug out' option anyway. But, the snowstorm just convinced me that even if I end up with the means to get a bug-out place, not sure I'd do so at this point.

    Yes, I agree, neighbors are key and I also see them as a resource in a time of crisis. It's a lot tougher to do this in a city, beyond my immediate neighbors. I'm keeping my eyes on out-of-Portland homesteads, but employment is a key consideration.
     
  12. coctailer

    coctailer Portland, OR/Hastings, MI/Vancouver,WA I run with scissors.

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    You need a get-home-bag in your car.

    Imagine if you had run out of gas on a deserted road.

    You should have 4 different ways to start a fire. Food, water, knife, poncho & liner, water purification, blah, blah, blah
     
  13. billcoe

    billcoe PDX Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    OMG, that is an awesome idea! I even have a small cubby hole I can stuff this crap, right next to the road flares. Dohhh! (Homer Simson noise right there)

    Thanks for that Coctailer!
     
  14. speelyei

    speelyei Willamette Valley Active Member

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    billcoe, are you a climbing guy? name sounds familiar...

    I had these same thoughts exactly when we lived in Portland. Just a regular old Thursday afternoon, I-5 at 4pm, perfect sunny weather... total standstill. I remember watching informational films in school that described the interstate highways as being a necessity in times of disaster. Yeah, right.

    So now we live out here in Waldport... there's crabs and elk and salmon and lots of water and mussels and clams and all that good stuff, but...
    it's hard to get by. I've got a pretty good job compratively, but my prospects for making more money are slim. I have a salaried position and I'm a contractor on the side, but there's only so much time in a day. My wife has a degree and a backgound in risk management with several years corporate experience, but the best job she could get out here is as a bank teller. I'm not whining, just explaining.... see, I was all worried about the coming disaster, and as a result, I have traded all the benefits that come from living near a major population center. Instead of "the big one", it's a death by attrition. Socially, financially, educationally, it's very limiting. It's not all bad, of course... but we debate moving back more all the time.
     
  15. speelyei

    speelyei Willamette Valley Active Member

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    I think that's smart. I bought some of those large mouth nalgene bottles, and put lighters, matches, a compass, a knife, a whistle, a mini-mag light, etc. into each one. In addition, my wife and I both run... it's nice to know you could basically run 5 miles in less than an hour at pretty much any given time.
     
  16. billcoe

    billcoe PDX Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    Yup, that's me. Haven't been out for a couple of weeks though.... :(

    Thats a good idea with the Nalagenes, thanks for the tip. You climb?
     
  17. speelyei

    speelyei Willamette Valley Active Member

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    I used to. Haven't at all since we moved out here to the coast six years ago. Now I just climb trees. I was always a duffer anyway... climbed several Nick Dodge death tours, alpenjager chimney, off the beaten path junk, barely ever anything over 5.10. I put up a few new routes here and there, and of course wandered around Smith Rock, beacon, all the regulars. I can't imagine what Smith must look like now... y'know, I found an original summit register at the base of the Poplar out at Smith? Kept that as a souvenier and put a new one on top... In PDX I mostly climbed with Matt Canham, Don Gonthier, Danny Wright, a handful of guys that haved moved on or moved away.
    I sold the rack and bought a surboard... I'd go climbing again if we moved east for sure.
     
  18. billcoe

    billcoe PDX Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    Way cool!

    You know, I just hung up the phone, literally, 10 seconds ago, with Jeff Thomas. He's the historian for the Mazamas now.

    He would LOVE to put that summit register in the club Museum. He could put your name on it. That kind of thing should be preserved, good on you for taking care of it.

    BTW, Danny Wright died @ 15-20 years ago. Didn't know if you knew.....there is a nice bench you can sit on next to the trail at Smith below the dihedrals area that has his name on it.

    Interesting that Jeff just retired as an Arborist too. Small world eh? my email is billcoe@gmail.com if you are thinking of putting the box in the museum, I'll send you Jeff Thomas's email address.
     
  19. speelyei

    speelyei Willamette Valley Active Member

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    Sure. I was gonna build a shadow box for it, but no one in my family would appreciate it. That'd be a better place for it... it's got the Ramsey's names on the outside of it, too.
    yeah, that was too bad about Danny. I had just attended his wedding a couple months before, and then went to a "rememberance" shortly therafter. The first time I ever tried any ice-climbing was with his sister... we borrowed stuff from her step-dad and told him were gonna practice fall arrest on the gentle slopes above the lodge.
    If you knew Don gonthier, unfortunately he passed away last year.

    I'll send you an e-mail this afternoon. You know, most of the Nalgene bottles I've ever had were ones I picked up around Smith... people leave those things laying around like condoms after the prom!
     
  20. powersbj

    powersbj Seattle Area Active Member

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    I think Seattle has it even worse we have a very restricted road system just due to the geography. There will be alot of walkin going on after an event...