The Survival Mom » Evacuation http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Fri, 31 Jul 2015 18:58:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 10 Tips For Bugging Out to the Country http://thesurvivalmom.com/bugging-out-to-the-country/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/bugging-out-to-the-country/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2015 07:17:44 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=5962 When many urban or suburban people think about Prepping or Survivalism, they think about bugging out to a more rural location.  This has to be one of the most frequently-expressed fantasies in the Prepping world, and reams have been written about where to go and how to get there. But very little has been written […]

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bugging out to the countryWhen many urban or suburban people think about Prepping or Survivalism, they think about bugging out to a more rural location.  This has to be one of the most frequently-expressed fantasies in the Prepping world, and reams have been written about where to go and how to get there.

But very little has been written from the perspective of the rural dwellers.  How does your average farmer or homesteader feel about urban folks bugging out to the country?

We live on a twenty-acre homestead farm in rural north Idaho.  Wow, I can see your eyes sparkling from here.  You’re thinking, “What a perfect bug out location!”  Then believe me when I say the most dreaded words a homesteader can hear on the subject of Prepping is, “Well, if the bleep hits the fan we’ll just come live with you.”

Oh, bleep.

The truth about farms and homesteads

“Farm” does NOT mean remote or isolated or even self-sufficient.  Farmers live pretty much like you do, but with more elbow room.  We go to the grocery store.  We have jobs.  We have neighbors.  And we have towns nearby.

Okay, granted those towns can be pretty small by urban standards, but they’re just as full of unprepared people as anywhere else.  That means if the manure hits the rotating device, we’re going to have our hands full dealing with them.

Bear in mind that most people in the country may not be much more prepared than you are – which is to say, perhaps not at all.  Unless rural folks already have a Preparedness mindset, they’re just as susceptible to societal interruptions as your average city person.

Our only advantage is we’re farther away from the Golden Horde, that mythical group of city folks who will take to the road in times of disorder, or so some survival experts believe.

Or, are we really that far away and safe from thousands of straggling refugees? In our case, we live within a very short drive (as in, four minutes) from a town of 1000, many of whom are on welfare and are just as dependent on government checks as anyone in the inner city.  This means they will certainly go “foraging” when they get hungry.

Many people don’t realize that the Greater Depression has already impacted rural areas.  Hard.  Jobs out here are as scarce as hen’s teeth (as the saying goes) and unemployment in our county hovers around 20%.  Most of us are poor to begin with, especially by urban standards.  That means we don’t have a lot of money to pour into elaborate “prepper” projects.

So does this mean you should give up your idealized little dream about bugging out to the country?  Yes and no.  It depends on how realistic you’re being about your bug out plans.

Ten Tips if you decide to bug out to the country

To smooth the way, here are ten tips that may make your welcome a little warmer.

1. Don’t Come Unannounced

If you want to escape from the city, make your own private plans in advance and do not broadcast them to every Tom, Dick, and Harry of your acquaintance.  Nothing will dismay a rural friend or relative – much less a perfect stranger – more than having a brace of new people on their doorstep asking for food, shelter, and protection.  There’s nothing wrong with talking to rural-dwelling friends or relatives about the idea of deploying to their place if things get bad.  But if you do……

2. Prepare the Way

One of the “panic” aspects we country folk feel is that we don’t have enough supplies to provide for a hungry horde.  And we don’t.  Let’s face it, sometimes we barely have enough supplies to feed ourselves (remember, 20% unemployment in our area).  Do the math to understand our concerns.  If, through hard work, thrift, and diligence we’ve managed to squirrel away a year’s worth of food for our family of four – and then you show up with your family of four – then we’ve automatically halved our supplies to six months.  Now can you understand our fears?

Pretend you’ve bought an isolated cabin in the mountains to use as a bug out.  Would you be pleased to show up, exhausted and scared, to a cabin with no food, water, bedding, lighting, heat, or other necessities?  Of course not.  Presumably you would outfit your cabin to be ready for a bad scenario.

Your plans to bug out to a host family should be no different.  Send supplies in advance.  Send lots of supplies in advance.  Can’t afford it?  Well guess what, neither can we.  That shouldn’t stop you from sending a case of canned goods, a few sacks of rice and beans, perhaps some boxes of ammo.  If the host family has an unused corner of their barn, perhaps they’ll allow you to dedicate that area for your supplies.  Don’t forget clothing, sleeping bags, toiletries, firearms, medical supplies, etc., and make sure you make everything weather, insect, and rodent-proof.

If your finances permit, consider funding an expensive project that may be beyond a host family’s reach, such as a windmill, pond, or other pricey item. Think of it as a sort of investment.

Sending supplies in advance proves your worth.  It demonstrates you don’t plan to be a leech.

3. Clarify your Baggage

Even if you’ve made plans ahead of time and stashed adequate supplies, don’t expect a host family to welcome all your baggage.  For example, we have two large and semi-aggressive dogs.  We have large and aggressive dogs on purpose – they help protect us.  If you show up with a yappy Pomeranian and four cats, don’t expect us to be happy about it.  Our dogs would spend every waking hour trying to eat your pets for lunch.  And no, it’s not our fault that our dogs are “aggressive.”  It’s your fault for bringing animals into a situation that we’re not prepared – or willing – to handle.

4. You’re Not the Boss

This is our home.  We live and work here.  We pay the mortgage.  No matter how much we may love and welcome you, you’re still coming as a supplicant, not a part-owner of our farm.  You are in no position to make demands or request that we change our way of doing things unless you can demonstrate you’re an expert.  And even then, it’s still our house, property, equipment, and possibly food and other supplies.

Hint: diplomacy will go a long way if you think you know a better way to do something.

5. Prepare to Work

If you bug out to a rural host family, remember they’re not running a bed-and-breakfast.  Don’t expect them to wait on you or cater to your every whim.  A farm – especially post-bleep – will be a place of constant and brutal work.  Nothing will annoy a host family more than some lazy jerk who does whatever he can to weasel out of the day’s chores.  Be ready, willing, and able to help.  It’s possible that lives may depend on the willingness of everyone to pitch in and work together to do what must be done.

6. Don’t Be Wasteful

When you arrive at your host family’s rural location, you must immediately change any wasteful habits you may have and become very parsimonious.   If you spill something, don’t lavishly use paper towels to wipe it up because you can’t buy any more.  Use a rag.  Treat everything as irreplaceable – because believe me, if you’ve bugged out in the first place, it’s probably because the bleep has hit the fan and common everyday things are irreplaceable.

7. Bring Skills

Host families in rural areas will be more likely to welcome those with useful skills. If your most useful skill is shopping or meditation or social activism, don’t expect a whole lot of sympathy.  Your master’s degree in 18th century French literature is not likely to do you a whole lot of good post-bleep.  But if you have practical skills – medicine or defense or mechanics or food preservation or animal husbandry or veterinarian skills or sewing or something similarly needed – you’re far more likely to find an open door.

And this should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Don’t lie about your skills or abilities. If you state with confidence that you’re an expert at hunting and butchering – but have never held a rifle or dispatched a steer – that will be discovered soon enough. Learn those skills first before you claim knowledge. Duh.

So learn stuff.  Don’t show up ignorant.

8. Clarify by Contract

If/when the bleep hits the fan, people (urban and rural) are likely to be a lot more hysterical than normal. Having your plans in writing ahead of time clarifies all the obligations, expectations, and limitations between the two parties. This contract can also include what the urban person can and cannot bring. Pets should be included in this list. If the rural refuge is not prepared to handle your yappy Pomeranian because he has three aggressive German Shepherds, you need to know that in advance.

This contract should include one very important part: how many people the host family is expected to take in.  If, in your compassion, you gather up every second-cousin-twice-removed and show up with a swell of fifty people, do you honestly think that’s going to work?

9. Shut Your Mouth

Okay, let’s say you’ve done everything right.  You’ve made a contractual plan in advance with a rural host family.  You’ve sent plenty of supplies ahead of you.  The welcome mat is ready to be rolled out.

Now whatever you do, shut upDon’t blab your plans to friends and coworkers, because doubtless they’ll want to know more, and before you know it, the host family’s OpSec is blown.  The host family is already going out on a limb by agreeing to take you in – don’t compromise their safety even more.  And if martial law ensues and your gossip spreads about the host family’s supplies, it may mean those supplies may be confiscated.  Congratulations, now you’re screwed – and so are the people who took you in.

10. Practice Forbearance

The dictionary defines forbearance as “patient endurance and self-control.”  Believe me, if the bleep hits the fan, we’re all going to have to practice astronomical amounts of forbearance.

It is not easy to move into someone else’s house.  It’s not easy for the hosts to have permanent guests either.  Imagine a standard-sized ranch house with five women in the kitchen.  Do you honestly think they’ll all get along swimmingly?  If that’s too sexist for you, imagine a building project with five guys or (worse) five engineers who all have their own ideas of how something should be done.  Who’s right?

Hint: Whoever owns the house gets the final say unless you can diplomatically demonstrate you’re an expert in something.  And even then, ownership trumps expertise.

Remember what it’s like at your home when friends and family arrive for the holidays?  After three days, you long for everyone to leave.  Well if it’s TEOTWAWKI, it won’t be a three-day vacation.  There will be stress, anxiety, and short tempers.  Everyone will need to walk gently, or the biggest danger for all may be much closer to home than you realize.

Living spaces are likely to be cramped and not private.  There is only so much room in the average country home.  It’s not like farmers live in mansions with multiple extra bedrooms.  Expect to be bunked down on the living room floor or even the barn, shoulder to shoulder.  (And no, the host family should NOT have to give up their bedrooms for you.)

Additionally, septic systems are easily overwhelmed by extra usage.  One of the first projects everyone is likely to be involved in is digging an outhouse.  Please don’t complain about its construction or usage.

If the circumstances with your host family become hostile and unbearable due to stress, high emotions, and general fears – then feel free to make other arrangements and leave.

I apologize if this list makes me sound hostile, but I’ll admit rural folks get tired of being treated like everyone’s personal deep larder if the bleep hits the fan, expected to uncomplainingly provide food and water and medical care and shelter and protection for anyone unprepared enough to show up on their doorstep.  Don’t get me wrong, we’re not without Christian charity and will do what we can to help; but like most of our neighbors, we are low income and our resources are NOT INEXHAUSTIBLE.   Our primary focus will be our family, neighbors, and beloved friends.

This article is not necessarily to discourage anyone from making plans to bug out to the country.  This is just an attempt to make you look realistically at the people whom you’ll be bugging – and I use that double-meaning intentionally.

Guest post by Patrice Lewis, columnist and blogger at Rural Revolution.

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 bugging out to the country

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21 Ways to Use a DeLorme Atlas to Plan Emergency Evacuations http://thesurvivalmom.com/delorme-atlas-plan-emergency-evacuations/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/delorme-atlas-plan-emergency-evacuations/#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 14:08:38 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=23101 Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s  house is not a bad evacuation plan at all as long as you have a working vehicle and enough gas to reach your destination. However, not all evacuation routes are that simple, and sometimes you need a detailed map to plan primary, secondary, and even tertiary […]

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DeLorme Atlas evacuation routesOver the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s  house is not a bad evacuation plan at all as long as you have a working vehicle and enough gas to reach your destination. However, not all evacuation routes are that simple, and sometimes you need a detailed map to plan primary, secondary, and even tertiary routes in times of trouble.

Humans are creatures of habit and many of us could probably drive to work, school, the grocery store, or our favorite restaurant with our eyes closed. But in an emergency, a natural disaster, for example, could we get home or to another safe location from those places and how many different routes could we use?

The problem with any passageway, be it a dirt road, city street, or interstate highway, is that they can easily become impassable for a variety of reasons:

  • Flooding
  • Large scale traffic jams
  • Rock or mud slide
  • Multi-vehicle accident — even an accident involving a single vehicle can easily stop traffic
  • Street damage due to an earthquake
  • Riots or violent crime
  • Wildfires
  • Blizzards
  • Roadblocks — by law enforcement or other authorities or by 2-legged predators

Evacuation routes can be planned well in advance, traversed multiple times to help with familiarity, and shared with family members. It’s vital to have multiple, planned routes, marked on a map, because the odds favor one or more of those routes becoming impassable.

Those routes should head in different directions: north, south, east, and west. If you’re at home and learn of a wildfire just a couple of miles to the east and your only planned evacuation route heads in that direction, you’re in trouble! Also, the routes should be prioritized with Route A being the preferred route for familiarity, best direct route, ease of travel, access to gas stations, banks, grocery stores, etc. Route B, Route C, and so on should be marked on the map and be included on occasional practice runs, but those routes will be less preferable for any number of reasons: rough roads, a longer route, fewer amenities along the way, etc.

Use the DeLorme Atlas for evacuation route planning

One of the best resources I’ve found for this type of planning is my DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer. These very large atlases can be found in bookstores and online and there’s one atlas per state in most cases. I bought mine on Amazon.

The DeLorme maps are extremely detailed and as I browsed through mine, I came across a multitude of helpful features. Here are some from my list, along with my notes for their potential usefulness:

1. Hundreds of back roads, marked as thin, red lines, are included in the DeLorme Atlas. These little known routes might help you get from Point A to Point B, if other routes are blocked.

2. Different types of roads are marked, which is helpful in determining the type of vehicle(s) used for bugging out. Be sure to check out each route in person to determine whether or not your vehicle will be able to handle road conditions.

3. Reservoirs are clearly marked, allowing you to plan a route that takes advantage of this water source or avoid a possible flooding area.

4. Airports of all sizes are indicated. If flying away from the danger zone is an option, you can look for multiple routes to get to the airport. At smaller airports you might be able to find a pilot for hire.

5. You can easily avoid bridges as your make your plans. Bridges can be washed out or become choke points in a mass evacuation.

6. Because this particular map is so very detailed, it allows you to plan multiple routes with a pretty good idea of what you can expect to find along the way.

7. You’ll find railroads marked on the DeLorme maps. If you’re evacuating on foot, it could be handy to follow these routes, since you know they’ll lead to populated areas, and you’ll know ahead of time which areas those are so you can either avoid them or not.

8. Military sites are indicated. In a dire emergency, you could head there for help.

9. Along highways, rest areas are marked. At the very least, you’ll find water and toilets at these, but, depending on the location and circumstances, they aren’t always a safe place to stop.

10. The DeLorme maps include charts showing what types of wildlife are in the area for fishing and hunting. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be successful in your fishing and hunting endeavors, but at least you’ll know which animals to look for.

11. A very important feature are the hiking trails that are indicated. There are certainly more trails to be found, but having these already marked is a big help if you must evacuate on foot.

12. Campgrounds are also a feature of the map. If you have absolutely nowhere else to go, you can head for those. If you have a head start on the majority of evacuating people, you might find a prime spot at a well-equipped campground. Otherwise, you can head for a lesser known campground at a state park.

13. The DeLorme atlases are huge, which is a big help for seeing all the details. You can always tear out the pages you really need, laminate them, and keep them in an emergency kit. Keep the rest of the book handy, though, because you never know when you’ll need to expand your planned evacuation route further than you originally planned.

14. Canal and dam systems are marked, making it easier to find water sources.

15. Lakes, even small ones, can be found on the DeLorme maps. If you know how to fish, be sure to include basic fishing gear in your emergency kits or just always have them packed in your vehicle. Planning on drinking lake water? Be sure to have a really good water purifier/filter, such as the Sawyer Point Zero Two Water Purifier.

16. The DeLorme maps provide topographical information, so you have an idea of the elevation of your location and route. During a rainy season or hurricane, this can help you avoid areas that are likely to flood.

17. You’ll also find information about the type of terrain in different areas. At a glance, you’ll be able to locate wetlands, sandy areas, forests, and the like. All helpful to know when planning your route and where you’ll stop overnight, if necessary. If you’re planning to walk, this information can help you plan ahead for the right type of footwear, gear, and shelter, as well as some of the basic survival skills you’ll need for a particular type of terrain.

18. There is a separate DeLorme atlas for every state. If you think your route(s) may take you into neighboring states, get those atlases as well. Since they are mapped by the same company, the map markings will be consistent from state to state.

19. Where lakes and rivers are marked, you’ll also find boat ramps marked. This could be handy if evacuating by water is part of your plan. Also, where there are boat ramps there are also small businesses that sell food, water, and boating related gear.

20. State and national land is indicated on each map. If you really want to get away from it all, you could head to those areas.

21. Detailed maps such as the DeLorme atlases are great for kids learning how to use a real, paper map. Teach them how to use a map key, compass rose (N, S, E, W), and have them help you plan different routes for evacuations, vacations, or trips to Grandma’s house. Our kids are already too reliant on electronics and map reading skills could save a life someday.

DeLorme Atlas plan evacuation routes

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Evacuation Time? Don’t Forget Your Pets! http://thesurvivalmom.com/evacuation-time-dont-forget-your-pets/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/evacuation-time-dont-forget-your-pets/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 07:00:25 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=308 What plans have you made and put into place for your animals should an emergency of some type strike your area?

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Make plans now to evacuate your pets and their supplies in an emergency. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comMy heart just about broke when I saw all of the abandoned pets in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  How could someone just leave behind a beloved pet?  Not only were the abandoned animals in jeopardy, but as days and weeks went by, they added to the already insurmountable problems faced by workers trying to clean up and restore the city.

Preparation for Pet Evacuation

What plans have you made and put into place for your animals should an emergency of some type strike your area?

First, make sure your pets are up to date with their vaccines and that you have copies of the vaccine records.  If you have no other choice but to hand your dog or cat over to a shelter, these records will become invaluable, and it will bring peace of mind to know that your beloved animal is in a safe, temporary environment.

Cats and dogs should be microchipped. A tag on their collars from the microchip company will facilitate their return to you, and be sure that your contact information with that company is up to date. You can usually do that on the company’s website.

Next, consider how you will contain your pet, if necessary.  Our two aggressive turtles can’t be in the same enclosure, unless we want to rename one of them, “Ole Two-Toes,” so we’ve looked at small, portable enclosures for each.  If you will be using a dog or cat kennel, place small food and water dishes inside them now, along with a leash, muzzle, maybe a harness.  With these already pre-positioned, you’ll only need to grab your pets and be on your way!

Transportation and Feeding

Transporting a cat? Unless your cat goes into a carrier willingly, believe me, it’s worth the time, trouble, and scratches to help her get accustomed to being contained before it becomes a matter of life and death.  Portable litter boxes can make travel easier, but, really, a collapsed cardboard box and a small bag of litter will help your feline feel almost at home. We used disposable litter boxes for the 2 weeks we spent in a hotel with our four cats. They worked out beautifully.

Small bags of dog and cat food can easily be tucked into a back corner in the trunk of your vehicle. Protect the food from moisture and pests by storing it in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. It will be a good idea to feed your pet a little less than they are used to.  In an evacuation situation, they will probably not be getting as much exercise, and less food means less poop.

Many reptiles eat fresh vegetables and fruit.  You could keep them fed and happy for weeks just by feeding them veggies from your Big Mac or fast food salad.

Transporting fish?  Not quite so easy because you’ll need a container that is spill-proof.  I’ve seen suggestions of large Tupperware containers to coolers with air holes drilled in the lids.  Fish don’t need to eat as much or as often as your dogs and cats, so that’s a bonus.

Advance Planning is Critical to Success

If you have livestock and other large animals, probably the best solution is to make prior arrangements with the owner of a nearby farm or other rural property for emergency boarding.   Plan on transporting large animals out of harm’s way long before the situation becomes perilous.  I found some great tips for evacuating horses here, and many of the tips are relevant to other large animals.

You know your pets and their temperaments better than anyone.  Take steps now to get them accustomed to car travel, spending time in a kennel, or whatever might be foreign to them in an emergency situation.

Remember, that often terrified animals will run away.  More than anything, they will need you to be calm.  (Our animals are such sensitive babies!)  With just a little pre-planning and preparation, evacuating your animals will be the least of your worries.

This post was updated from the original posting on June 16, 2009.

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Make an Evacuation Checklist http://thesurvivalmom.com/checklist-for-evacuations/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/checklist-for-evacuations/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 17:41:56 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=23075 You wake with a start in the middle of the night. Someone is banging on your front door. A gas main has broken one block over. You have 10 minutes to get out of your house. What do you do? An up-to-date checklist for evacuations is the key. How you respond to a scary scenario depends on […]

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checklist for evacuationsYou wake with a start in the middle of the night. Someone is banging on your front door. A gas main has broken one block over. You have 10 minutes to get out of your house. What do you do? An up-to-date checklist for evacuations is the key.

How you respond to a scary scenario depends on a wide variety of things, but comes down to one key factor: How prepared are you to leave your house?

During a wildfire event several years ago out west, our friends had to evacuate their home. They initially believed their home would be safe but an unexpected shift in the wind required them to leave very quickly. They were not at all prepared but loaded up their minivan, drove out of harm’s way, and to a community shelter. Fortunately, their home was spared and they were able to return two days later. When they unpacked their car, they realized that what they took out last was what was packed first.

What was it that they, in their panic, decided to put into the car first to save it from wildfire?

Their bowling balls.

You know what never made it into their car?

Their important paperwork that was in a filing cabinet, which wasn’t fireproof.

They simply weren’t prepared to evacuate and when suddenly told to get out, they weren’t in a proper mental state to make the best decisions.

With some events, like a hurricane, you may have hours or days to plan how to leave your home and to get packed up. Other incidents like a broken gas main, nuclear power plant incident, or a chemical spill require you to leave quickly and usually come with no advanced warning. Being told suddenly you must leave your home is no time to be making important decisions regarding what to put in your car.

Know how to plan for 2 types of evacuations: urgent and planned.

Make an evacuation checklist

Below is our list (made more basic and a little less personal for this article) that we’ll use upon deciding to evacuate our home. Since we have teenagers, all items on the list can be performed by anyone. If you have younger kids, you may want to have a separate list of things they can do.

Our plan is that one person controls the list and assigns the tasks. When a job is complete, the person gets the next task. Each action is placed in order of importance in case the entire list can’t be completed. If time has run out, we drop to the “Final Actions” portion and go.

Evacuation To Do List
Shoes on
Animals in crates
Bug out bags in car
Pet supplies in car
Emergency binder in car
Purses/wallets/cell phones/chargers in car
Fireproof safes in car — (In a house fire, leave the safes where they are and just get out!)
Supply bins in car
Water bottles in car
Pack additional personal items and put in car
Pack additional clothing items and put in car
Pack additional food items and put in car



Optional Actions Based on Situation
Water off
Gas off

Final Actions
Animals in car
Lock all doors (pins in sliding doors)
Set security alarm
All people in car

Each family member has a list of three or four “personal items” that they want to have during the evacuation. This not only helps packing go more quickly (again, because the decisions have already been made), but also ensures that if someone isn’t home, the others can grab the correct items. For my family, these items include specific photo albums, laptop computers and external drives, stuffed animals, and prized possessions.

Use this Last Minute Checklist for items that can’t be pre-packed, such as medications.

Be sure the list is somewhere accessible to all. We keep ours laminated and attached via carabiner to a bug out bag.

“Evacuation Drill!”

As with any preparedness activity, running through a practice drill is the only way to know if your plan will work. Set aside some time when your family doesn’t expect it, and announce, “EVACUATION DRILL!” Go through the entire process of actually loading these things into the car just as if you are actually leaving your home.

Set a timer and see how long it takes to get through the whole list. You may discover that moving a supply bin is a two person job, or that items must be placed in your car in a particular way in order to fit everything in the trunk. You don’t want an emergency to be the first time you test your list and your family.

“If the generals don’t panic, the troops won’t panic.”

Not only does an evacuation list provide you with a pre-determined plan that will ensure you have what you need when you leave your home, but it will also help alleviate panic in the process. As you lead your family to safety, you’ll be doing so in a more calm manner, which will help everyone around you remain calm as well. Evacuating your home will be a stressful time, but with a bit of preparedness, it doesn’t have to be a time of chaos.

Want a checklist as seen in this article? Click here!

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2 Types of Emergency Evacuations: Urgent & Planned http://thesurvivalmom.com/2-types-of-emergency-evacuation-plans/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/2-types-of-emergency-evacuation-plans/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 07:00:04 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=23068 Reasons to evacuate generally fall into 2 camps: Urgent Evacuations and Planned Evacuations. You should be ready for these 2 types of emergency evacuations. Before you begin packing that emergency kit, you need to first consider why you might need to evacuate. If you have specific scenarios in mind, and then one of them suddenly becomes […]

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emergency evacuation plansReasons to evacuate generally fall into 2 camps: Urgent Evacuations and Planned Evacuations. You should be ready for these 2 types of emergency evacuations.

Before you begin packing that emergency kit, you need to first consider why you might need to evacuate. If you have specific scenarios in mind, and then one of them suddenly becomes a reality, there’s a good chance that your brain won’t lapse into normalcy bias, causing you to waste precious minutes or hours.

Planning for the Urgent Evacuation

An Urgent Evacuation is one in which you have zero time to think; you can only react. If you’ve considered this scenario, have planned for it, and have a routine that you’ve rehearsed, your brain will most likely revert to those memories and your actions will become automatic.

The smell of smoke and realization that your home is on fire is not the time to inform the kids how to get out of the house, run around scooping up family heirlooms, cash, and vital documents, and then yell at everyone to meet you in the front yard! Fire spreads too quickly to allow for any of that.

Instead, planning for this particular Urgent Evacuation is simple. Take time to stash valuables in a fireproof safe, train the kids and other family members to get out of the house ASAP, and have a pre-planned meeting place. Make sure that each room has an exit point that can be accessed by everyone, even if that means keeping a step stool or a sturdy chair in the room. My daughter’s bedroom has one window whose bottom ledge is a good 4 1/2 feet from the floor. In her case, she’ll need to stand on something to get out.

What other Urgent Evacuations might you need to plan for? Tornado warning? Natural gas leak? Wildfires or a chemical spill? All of these events will require you to get out of the house as quickly as you can. A few others are:

  • Avalanche
  • Earthquake
  • Explosion nearby
  • Landslide
  • Floods
  • Nuclear event
  • Riots
  • Terrorist attack
  • Tornadoes
  • Tsunami

Here are a few tips to help you plan and prepare for Urgent Evacuations:

1. Have a packed supply bag for your pets, complete with food, bedding, and food/water bowls. If your pet will be transported in a crate, place all supplies in the crate. Everything will be in one place when you need it.

2. Create a “Last Minute Bag” with things like prescription medications, cash, small valuables. Here’s a complete list to help you with this task.

3. Store emergency kits in an easy to access location, such as by the backdoor. They can also be stored in the trunk of your car, along with a case or water.

4. Be in the habit of having your vehicle ready with at least half tank of gas and emergency supplies.

5. Have some sort of signal for the family members, so they know it’s “Get serious!’ time. Kids, in particular, have a way of tuning out their parents, so establish a code that sends the message of, “Urgent! This is not a drill!”

6. Practice this evacuation drill and keep track of how much time it takes to get everyone out of the house. Emphasize that getting people out is far more important than any belonging, or even a pet.

7. Have written lists of what must be grabbed. Prioritize so that no one is searching for something that isn’t strictly necessary.

With Urgent Evacuations, the longer you wait, the more likely you are to endanger yourself and your loved ones. It also increase the chance that you’ll run into major traffic issues as panicked people also try to get away from harm.

The Planned Evacuation

Not every emergency is one that requires great haste. In many cases, you have several hours or day in which to make your plans and put final pieces in place. A Planned Evacuation requires a different mindset — one that emphasizes checking and double-checking and keeping a constant eye on developing news.

The Planned Evacuation is one of prepare and wait-and-see.

For example, a hurricane is a scary natural disaster that can bring with it an enormous amount of damage, but thanks to modern meteorology, we can track these storms. We know, with a fair degree or accuracy, when and where they will make landfall.

These scenarios allow us to time think, review our plans, and get to safety, beating the crowds as well as the expected disaster. Examples of these are:

  • Earthquake — If your home isn’t too damaged, you may want to plan to evacuate, just in case.
  • Epidemic or pandemic
  • Rising floodwaters
  • “Storm of the Century” — Blizzard or otherwise, you may want to get out to avoid the worst.
  • Volcanic eruption — Usually these give some warning before erupting.
  • Wildfires in the area

Along with the tips for Urgent Evacuations, here are a few to help you plan for a more leisurely escape:

1. Make a date on your calendar to review and refresh all emergency kits every 6 months.

2. Have at least 2 different ways to get information, in case of a power outage or if telephone/cell phone lines aren’t working. A shortwave radio and ham radio are both good choices.

3. If you have a smartphone, install phone apps that provide alerts for inclement weather, tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Red Cross makes several, and they are all excellent.

4. If you have larger animals, contact at least 2 locations that could provide temporary shelter as part of your emergency evacuation plans.

5. Give careful consideration how your home can best be protected while you’re gone. You have time to board up windows, drain pipes, etc.

6. Get phone numbers from neighbors, so you can keep in touch and update each other with news. This will be especially important if you do evacuate and want to know how your home and neighborhood are faring.

7. During the school year, contact your child’s teacher and ask for a list of their assignments for the coming week or two.

8. Make sure your vehicle is filled with gas and is ready to go. Pack it with any supplies or gear that you won’t be needing, just in case you decide to leave.

Prep for one, prep for both

The good news about both these types of emergency evacuation plans is that preparation for one is preparation for both. The major difference between the two, other than the actual event, is your mindset. You must be the one to make the call to get out now or wait to see how things unfold. Ultimately, it will be your call. It’s better to err on the side of a quick evacuation if there’s a chance the event could escalate. By then, you might be trapped and unable to get out.

Know which events are most likely in your area and begin planning and preparing.

emergency evacuation plans

 

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May Skill of the Month: Refine Your Evacuation Plans http://thesurvivalmom.com/how-to-make-evacuation-plans/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/how-to-make-evacuation-plans/#respond Fri, 01 May 2015 15:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22761 I’ll never forget the night we had to evacuate our home in mere moments. Some very strong chemicals had been used in a home renovation project and threatened to overwhelm us. My husband became dangerously lightheaded, our kids were quite young, and we knew we had to get out of the house ASAP. At that […]

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Make evacuation plans

I’ll never forget the night we had to evacuate our home in mere moments. Some very strong chemicals had been used in a home renovation project and threatened to overwhelm us. My husband became dangerously lightheaded, our kids were quite young, and we knew we had to get out of the house ASAP.

At that time, I didn’t have any type of emergency kits packed and it hadn’t occurred to me to make evacuation plans.

On a second occasion, I had literally 5 minutes to get out. At that time, and I’ll never forget it, I was wearing old, faded yoga pants, a black t-shirt covered with cat hair, and was barefoot. My kids were as ill-prepared as I to leave our house and we all laughed at our appearances, but this time, I had a pair of shoes in the car, along with a well-stocked vehicle emergency kit, a very detailed road atlas, and cash in my purse. We were prepared to evacuate quickly and, just as importantly, ready to be away from home for hours or even days.

Make evacuation plans today!

A good evacuation plan consists of 6 parts:

1. Tracking up to date, accurate information

2. Pre-packed emergency kits

3. Multiple, planned routes

4. Transportation, equipped with emergency supplies

5. Rehearsals

6. A mindset quick to adapt to new information, accept it, and react appropriately

The problem with evacuations is that most of them happen suddenly and without any warning. In a moment, your house is on fire or the ground is shaking or tornado sirens are blaring. You have, literally, moments to respond and your response, whatever it is, could make the difference between life and death for you and your family.

That’s how important it is to have your evacuation ducks in a row.

To get you started, here are a few articles from this blog as well as others I’ve found online that are particularly helpful. Be watching later this month to learn the difference between Urgent and Planned evacuations, the best map resource you can buy, and checklists for your emergency kits.

Use these checklists to help make evacuation plans

My book, Survival Mom, contains an entire chapter to help you get ready for evacuations. Click here to learn more.

make evacuation plans

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Is a Storage Unit a Viable Survival Cache? http://thesurvivalmom.com/storage-unit-survival-cache/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/storage-unit-survival-cache/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 07:10:15 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21925 For quite some time now, caches have been rather popular amongst the prepper/survivalist crowd. Most commonly, this involves filling a large diameter PVC tube with gear and supplies, sealing it up, then burying it. Often, these caches are hidden somewhere along a bug out route, thus allowing for resupply during the journey. One major problem, […]

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Is a storage unit a viable survival cache?For quite some time now, caches have been rather popular amongst the prepper/survivalist crowd. Most commonly, this involves filling a large diameter PVC tube with gear and supplies, sealing it up, then burying it. Often, these caches are hidden somewhere along a bug out route, thus allowing for resupply during the journey.

One major problem, though, is finding an appropriate location for the cache. To avoid any legal issues, it should always be placed on land you own or that is publicly owned. Several times I’ve heard a recommendation of using cemeteries for cache locations. This is an extremely bad idea. Think about it. Just as you get the hole dug, along comes Officer Friendly, who is very curious to hear your reasoning for being in the cemetery in the middle of the night with a shovel.

Another issue with this type of DIY cache is inaccessibility for rotation and inspection. Remember, these PVC tubes are generally meant to be buried. The idea is to fill them with supplies that will last quite a long time. You’re not going to be digging these up every six months to rotate out canned goods and such. Once buried, it is there to stay until you truly need it. That’s usually how caches work. Because of this, most people don’t store their “good” stuff in a cache.

Might a storage unit survival cache be a viable option?

One option worth considering is to utilize a storage unit as a cache location. Once, these self-storage facilities were most often found in the seedier parts of the city but today they are everywhere. Here in the upper Midwest, I find them out in the sticks as well as in urban areas. There are usually different size units available, from the size of a closet to as big as a two-car garage. For our survival cache purposes, the smallest will usually suffice.

Quite often you’ll find these facilities are climate controlled, so you don’t have to worry about your stuff freezing or going bad in the heat of summer. While there is a cost involved, these units could serve a dual purpose. Not only could you stash some emergency gear there, you could clean out some of the clutter in your home and store it here as well. You know, the stuff you don’t really need on hand but you don’t want to throw away – kids memorabilia, household goods you’re saving for your child’s first apartment, old clothes that you keep promising to yourself you’re going to fit into again.

I’d be willing to bet that if you examined your bug out routes, you’ll find at least one or two of these storage unit businesses along the way. Look for one that is at the outskirts of town or, even better, out in the country. If you can find one that is family owned and operated, you might have a bit of room to haggle on the price, especially if you’re willing and able to pay for several months in advance.

The bonus with one of these storage units is you might be able to use it as an impromptu shelter as you’re bugging out. Not just a resupply point but a place where you can hunker down for a day to catch your breath and plan your next move.

While I would fully expect these places to get looted eventually, should the disaster go on long enough, I think it would take weeks before that starts to happen. There are just too many more appealing targets, such as supermarkets, drug stores, big box retailers, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants. My guess is that people will flock to those before making it to the storage businesses.

As with anything else related to survival and disaster planning, you need to take into account your own individual circumstances and determine whether this option would work for you. If it does, great! If not, just keep researching the different options available until you find the perfect fit.

Helpful resources

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16 Non-Traditional Containers For Your Bug Out Bag/Emergency Kit http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-non-traditional-containers-for-your-bug-out-bagemergency-kit/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-non-traditional-containers-for-your-bug-out-bagemergency-kit/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 15:37:28 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10665 When it comes to selecting a bag for an emergency kit, many of us veer in the direction of tactical looking backpacks, or any type of backpack at all. And, it’s no wonder. A good backpack will have multiple pockets and pouches to help organize your gear and supplies, they can be carried on your […]

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A backpack might not be the best choice for an emergency kit. Check out this list of non-traditional containers! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.com

When it comes to selecting a bag for an emergency kit, many of us veer in the direction of tactical looking backpacks, or any type of backpack at all. And, it’s no wonder. A good backpack will have multiple pockets and pouches to help organize your gear and supplies, they can be carried on your back, leaving hands free, but they aren’t always the right solution for every scenario.

Here are a few non-traditional containers for your bug out bag or emergency kit that maybe you haven’t considered.

A rolling suitcase on wheels

Look for sturdy wheels because if one breaks off, you’ll be carrying that suitcase. Not fun! Some of these suitcases also have backpack straps.

A Rubbermaid container with lid

You select whichever size suits your needs and space. These are a good choice because the bin itself can be used to hold water, kindling, and a lot more.

Under the bed storage container

Mine fits perfectly in the back of my Tahoe and the transparent plastic lets me see the contents.

Trash can on wheels

These hold a lot, are very sturdy, and have an attached lid. They will also be heavy and difficult to load into a truck. However, if a trailer is part of your bug out/evacuation plans, you could store a trash can, fully packed, in the trailer. Include a box of heavy-duty black trash bags to keep the interior of the trash can clean if you ever have to use it for actual trash!

Space Bags 

Great for use with softer items, such as blankets, coats, jackets, and pillows.

5-gallon buckets with lid

Again, these buckets have multiple uses besides holding your emergency kit contents. A product like the Bucket Backpack would provide an alternative way to carry the bucket longer distances.

Multiple milk crates

My husband swears by these! They are extremely durable, stack easily, but do not have lids. They’re also free if you can find a grocery store that will give you one or more.

Military duffel bag

Soft-sided means you’ll be able to shove this bag behind and between things, and they come in several sizes. Their muted colors are also a plus.

Ziploc Flexible Tote 

Inexpensive, can easily see inside the tote, and lightweight. Not heavy duty, though, if your evacuation includes trekking through the wilderness.

Diaper bag

The waterproof lining could be very helpful, especially if you have small kids and/or a baby.

Tool box

Not lightweight but could be very useful for protecting fragile items.

Metal bucket with lid

I have this one and it’s definitely a multi-purpose container.

A storage locker, preferably one with wheels

Heavy-duty black trash bags

Be sure to the buy “contractor” bags. These are amazingly resilient, stretch a bit as you stuff more into them, and are very cheap. They would be useful for packing soft things like bedding, clothing, and sleeping bags.

A messenger bag with shoulder strap 

Anything with a shoulder strap will leave both hands free and might be easier to carry than a backpack for someone with back problems.

A fisherman or photo vest 

Obviously this won’t carry as much as these other containers, but with all the multiple pockets, you could keep the most essential items close at hand.

When planning for an emergency evacuation, I recommend dividing the contents of your emergency kit into 2 or more different types of containers. For example, a 5-gallon bucket can hold food and cooking supplies and will provide an emergency toilet, a large water container, and a handy tote for firewood. Then use a Space Bag to hold sleeping bags and cold weather clothing and finally a large backpack for everything else. You’ll have 2 multi-purpose containers and a backpack large enough to hold all the essentials in case you have no choice but to continue your evacuation on foot and have to leave the bucket and Space Bag behind.

When choosing your containers, keep in mind that they might be in for a pretty rugged future. Look for:

  • Extremely durable fabrics
  • Sturdy construction
  • Heavy-duty zippers, snaps, or other closures
  • Colors that blend in
  • Non-tactical appearance. This may cause you to look too prepared and a potential target.
  • Tight fitting lids

Also keep in mind the different ages and physical capabilities of your family members. Even young kids can carry small backpacks, easing the load for parents and teens.

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Enjoy road trips with kids? I do … now http://thesurvivalmom.com/enjoy-road-trips-with-kids-now/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/enjoy-road-trips-with-kids-now/#comments Sun, 07 Dec 2014 08:24:37 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19606 Did you know that there is a dinosaur museum in Hays, Kansas? There’s also a huge duck pinwheel at an exit near the Missouri/Nebraska border. A bridge dedicated to the old wagon trail spans over I-80 in Kearney, Nebraska. Also, if you can spare an hour, a detour to Wamego, Kansas, takes you to the […]

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road trips with kidsDid you know that there is a dinosaur museum in Hays, Kansas? There’s also a huge duck pinwheel at an exit near the Missouri/Nebraska border. A bridge dedicated to the old wagon trail spans over I-80 in Kearney, Nebraska. Also, if you can spare an hour, a detour to Wamego, Kansas, takes you to the Wizard of Oz Museum.

I found these all on road trips taken over the past few years – with my children in tow. I actually look forward to our adventures across the country, but it wasn’t always like that.

When we lived in Alaska, I had air travel down pat. I flew out of there with three children and a cat and all went well. Flying was a necessity, though, since driving more than a week just to get back to the U.S. wasn’t appealing to a mother of young children.

Living down in the continental U.S., airfare has to be combined with a minivan rental and it’s just cheaper to drive us wherever we want to go.

I dreaded car trips with the children at that point. We were in the midst of potty training. I’ve learned that is one of the two child stages where road trips aren’t so fun. The other one is the first year when they are nursing or drinking bottles every few hours – it makes for many, many stops along the way.

Getting to FUN Family Road Trips

Then we started to have some enjoyable road trips with kids: New Mexico to Colorado, Colorado to Nebraska, Nebraska to Missouri and back and back and back, Missouri to Virginia, Missouri to Colorado, Missouri to Ohio, Ohio to Colorado.

We get to stop wherever we want along the way and see the tourist stops. We get to visit family and friends without breaking the bank.

The fun part also comes from being prepared. I always a case of water and basic emergency supplies in the car (for more on that, watch this video). I also always try to stop for gas when the tank gets half empty in case we end up on a long stretch with no gas stops. If you have a concealed carry license and plan to carry on your trip, make sure to check if you have reciprocity in the states you will travel through.

Here are a few of my tips:

  • The children wear tennis shoes on travel days so their feet are covered in case we encounter weather, a playground or a great place to walk around.
  • I bring a whole bag of snacks and food in case the next restaurant is farther away than we planned.
  • Water bottles (including mine) are brought in at every stop and topped off.
  • The children each have a bag of toys and books.
  • I have a list of road trip games we can play (like the license plate game).
  • If you put papers (like a homemade bingo board) in plastic sleeve protectors,  you can use dry erase markers on them for reusable, personalized game boards.
  • I check out books on CD and some new movies from the library before we leave to use on the trip.
  • I pack a medicine bag, including essential oils, so we’re prepared for any kind of sickness.
  • Each child also has a pillow, blanket and stuffed animal for comfort.
  • Every seat has a grocery bag nearby in case someone feels sick (a bag with towels, wipes and deodorizing spray is tucked in the bag, just in case, too).

One of our latest tricks was to buy a headphone splitter for our portable DVD player and headphones for each girl. When we did put on a movie, the adults could then listen to the radio, which made everyone happy.

What do you look forward to on road trips? What makes them enjoyable for your family?

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5 Uses for an Indoor Tent http://thesurvivalmom.com/5-uses-indoor-tent/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/5-uses-indoor-tent/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:21:44 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19515 PEST FREE During a family vacation and faced with an unexpected storm, we decided to rent a small unfurnished cabin at a state park. As soon as we had our sleeping bags spread on the floor, our pillows fluffed, and the room dark, a million feet started crawling over our faces and legs. Oh, the […]

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DOMETENTHelenCates

PEST FREE

During a family vacation and faced with an unexpected storm, we decided to rent a small unfurnished cabin at a state park. As soon as we had our sleeping bags spread on the floor, our pillows fluffed, and the room dark, a million feet started crawling over our faces and legs. Oh, the horror when we switched on the lights.

Every conceivable, imaginable creature had crawled out of the woodwork. I had never seen so many bugs in one place. On top of that, we had several raccoons circling around the cabin.

Then I remembered our tent. Not wanting to sleep indoors or outdoors for that matter, we decided to set the tent up inside. Thankfully, it was one of those easy pop up dome tents that didn’t require stakes.

After zipping ourselves inside the tent, we were finally comfortable.

We quickly learned the value of owning an indoor dome tent, and I’ve since added a smaller one to our preps for this type of emergency. During a crisis and without power, an indoor tent would also be helpful when dealing with mosquitoes or even bedbugs while on travel.

QUARANTINE

What to do in limited living conditions when a family member is sick? An Indoor tent enables you to set up a sick bay on a porch, or somewhere off to the side where they won’t be disturbed.

An indoor sick bay is especially helpful when you have children sharing a room with siblings. Having the sick child “camp” to the side of the room would not only separate them from being contagious, but they could turn it into a fun camping experience.

Worst case scenario, dealing with something highly contagious or a pandemic, having a means to separate family members in their own living space is critical.

EVACUATION

Having an indoor dome tent stashed in your bug out bag or vehicle is essential. Whether you plan to bug in or you have another destination in mind during an evacuation, a dome tent can provide you with some privacy whether you are camping inside a public emergency shelter or staying with friends and relatives.

A tent would help you to claim your space and make your temporary living conditions more bearable, especially when forced to sleep in a brightly lit, high traffic area. Being able to keep your belongings enclosed will also add just a tiny bit of security against thieves. (I’m not saying a lot, but at least they can’t just reach out and grab something off the cot behind you.) Indoor tents use little space, are usually cheap, and set up quickly, making them ideal for use as a temporary emergency shelter.

SLEEPOVERS

Just like evacuations, an indoor tent could provide a sleeping spot for visiting relatives. Many times when we’ve had family over, there would be children and adults using the couch or floor to make their beds. A tent would easily keep them sheltered off to the side of the room. An added benefit is that they would be less disturbed when family members are staying up late, or early risers. The tent would also come in handy for those surprise visitors who end up at your house during an emergency.

Are your kids looking for  an adventure? Let them “camp” in the house. An indoor tent with a mattress pad (or sofa cushions) and sleeping bags can be a source of tremendous joy for kids.

HEAT

Indoor tents have been flying off the shelves in South Korea. Millions have sold to families trying to stay warm. With surging blackouts and rising utility costs, many Koreans claimed they’ve saved over half on their utility bills.

During a blackout and severe winter storm, an indoor tent could be a life saver.

When shopping for an indoor tent, keep the house size in mind. For inside, I purchased a 4X5 dome tent. Anything larger would have taken up too much space. I wasn’t concerned about it being waterproof for reasons I hope are obvious. This type of tent is relatively cheap and can usually be found for $25 or less., especially during seasonal sales. The Monodome Tent for 2 Persons is an inexpensive option from Amazon and even comes with its own carry bag.

For outside, I purchased a 7X10 dome tent with excellent reviews about how rainproof it was. Although much larger, it could also be used indoors if needed.

A true canopy bed with heavy curtains all the way around and across the top can serve the same purpose in trapping heat in the winter. (The princessy ones with something akin to tulle floating across the top with “panels” on each corner that wouldn’t reach more than about a foot in any direction won’t do anything to keep you warm.) That is why people originally had canopy beds with big heavy curtains on them – to stay warm in bed when the house was cold. But I still find value in the dome tent as it allows us to be more mobile, and there just aren’t that many real canopy beds around anymore.

Do you have any other ideas on the uses of an indoor tent? We would love to hear your experiences or ideas.

 

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