Getting Home

Recently my mind (or paranoid mind, as some would say) has been rattling the thoughts of how do I get home in the event that something goes horribly wrong.

On a good day, it takes me about an hour and a half to drive 38 miles home. My commute crosses at least 6 bridges with water underneath all of them, and about as many overpasses. With a major event occurring this could compound significantly.

Events like power outages, wind storms (trees, branches, and power lines down), snow / Ice storms, flooding / tsunamis, earthquakes, or volcanic eruption are real possibilities in or around my location. There are also some of the other more remote possibilities such as solar flares, terroristic attacks, civil unrest, or invasion from foreign country that could occur.

Taking the assumption that any of the above would happen during normal daytime commute or working hours, some of these would cause a major disturbance in my ability to get home, while others would make in very difficult altogether. This has had me thinking about provisions, routes, obstacles, alternate routes to get home. So now I want to pose this to you, and get you thinking about it.

How far is your commute?

How much time does your normal commute take?

Do you commute with someone, or is there someone that you need to pick up?

Are there alternate routes to get you home? If so, what kind of constraints on the roads?

What provisions do you have in your vehicle (food, water, protection, and clothing) right now vs. what may be needed?

What provisions are in your B.O.B or Go Bag right now vs. what may be needed?

How long will you wait it out at work, or in your vehicle before you start to push forward by foot?

What time of year is it? Do you have the appropriate gear?

What is your vehicle capable of handling? On road, off-road, water fording?

While this may seem farfetched, having a plan to get you home may save you lots of headache later in the event that something does go horribly wrong.

Let’s build a scenario –

A introverted single mother of two young teenage children(1 boy at 14, and 1 girl at 12) drives 14 miles on highway to work, and along the way, has to drop off her children at two different schools that are just off the highway and a couple blocks apart. The girl is active in after school sports (volleyball, and track), and the boy has asthma, and is not usually active. She has a single overpass to go over along her normal route, and two bridges over two major rivers. She normally doesn’t have her fuel tank over ½, as she is limited on funds. She does however keep a Go Bag in the back of her vehicle. She works in a multistory building in a downtown area.

On a random Tuesday afternoon in December a freak flash flood occurs between where she is located, and where her children are in school. One of the major rivers has caused structural damage to the bridge in the flash flood and no vehicles are allowed to pass. The next nearest cross is almost 10 miles out of the way, and is in danger of washing out as well.

The traffic due to the flood is at a stand still through most of the city, any alternate routes are delayed as traffic mounts up. School is just about out for the day, and children will need to be picked up. The younger girl will be heading to her afternoon sports and doesn’t have a cell phone.

Think of the challenges this family may have to endure from this minor catastrophic event. From getting out of her building to get to her vehicle, to collecting her children and getting home. The layers of complexity in this short scenario can quickly add up to cause hours or more of challenges for this family.

Now let’s get into the challenges of what your commute may look like in event of an emergency.

Thinking about all possible scenarios and building a plan with your family to accommodate that plan will help ease the stress, tension, and frustration on everyone involved here. Working through and testing that plan again reduce the level of stress and frustration in the event of an actual emergency.

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