10 Minute Bug-Out Drill

by David Morris on June 24, 2011

Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, sponsored by the SurviveInPlace.com Urban Survival Course and LampligherReport.com, my monthly EMP proof print newsletter.

This week, we’re going to go over another fun preparedness activity that you can do alone or with your family…bug-out drills.

A short time back, I decided to run through a solo 10 minute/60 hour evacuation drill. Basically, I gave myself 10 minutes to get what I needed for 2 nights and 3 days and get out of the house…without using any of my 72 hour kits.

I travel frequently and usually have a bag 90% packed and all I need to do is add any destination specific clothing and I’m good to go.

I also always have my camping backpack set up with 3-7 days of food.

This time, I decided to take my backpack as a backup, not use it, and simply throw (my wife will attest to the fact that there really was “throwing” going on) stuff from our pantry into our cooler.

In addition, I actually had to get work done and be productive the whole time I was gone, so I had my laptop, wireless internet cards, power considerations, and other accessories to take into account as well.

In short, trying to get out the door quickly without using my 72 hour kits was a great reminder of how important it is to have your items pre-packed and ready to go.

This is a great drill to go through as often as you can do it and it will drive home the importance and value of pre-planning. And, it’s something that you can make into a fun activity. Some people are all-stars at this. I’m pretty darn good, but I still forgot my toothbrush this time.

Why would I do this when I’m such a proponent of having a SurviveInPlace plan that takes where you spend the majority of your time into account? Great question…and the answer is Murphy, as in Murphy’s Law. Murphy loves to interject a little chaos into the best laid plans and it’s always wise to have a backup plan that you can fall back on.

The reality of a modern crazy life is that most people BARELY have time to execute a simple survival plan, let alone a full blown backup plan. I’m not talking about a full blown backup plan here…simply a plan for situations when you absolutely have to leave your home in a matter of minutes, like flooding from a dam or levee breaking, a wildfire closing in on your house, broken gas mains, hurricanes, earthquakes, chemical leaks, industrial accidents, or other “surprise” events.

Here’s one way to plan for an emergency evacuation and have some fun at the same time:

Tell your family (or decide on your own) that you’ll go somewhere special, but that there are conditions:

  1. Pick a destination. It could be something like Great Wolf Lodge, a hotel that your family likes, a campground, or a primitive camping location, depending on what your family likes and your budget. This is a serious drill, but it’s important that you make it as fun as possible if anyone in your family is reluctant about preparedness. Even if everyone has bought into preparedness, sometimes life can wear people down and you’ll get more mileage and less resistance by packaging the activity as “fun” rather than “serious.”
  2. Everyone will pack a bag or storage bin for 2 nights (or whatever time you decide) and make a list of what is in it. They also need to have a list of additional “last minute” items that they’d need to add to the bag. Let them know that at some random time at least 7 days after everyone has packed their bag and turned their lists in to you, that you’ll do a surprise trip to the special location.
  3. Every day, check on everyone’s status on their lists and focus on how much fun the adventure is going to be.
  4. Once you’ve got everyone’s list, make sure you’ve got the cargo capacity and adjust as necessary. Try to visualize where everything will go.
  5. Figure out the food requirements that you’ll have for the trip and pre-pack as much of the food as necessary. Make a list of what you pack and what you’ll need to pack in the 10 minutes you’ll have. Unless you can have a grab-and-go bag in your fridge, you really don’t want to take anything that will take time…remember, you’re the chief packer, organizer, and cheerleader.
  6. Figure out the documents that you’d want to have with you if you only had 10 minutes to get out. A good idea is to put them all in a folder ready to grab and go. A better idea is to scan everything and put it on multiple encrypted USB drives that you have stored in multiple locations.
  7. Pick other stuff that you MUST have…firearms, ammo, precious metals, cash, pets, etc. Figure out how much room they would take, but it may not make sense to take them with you.
  8. Pick your day and make your announcement. This could be difficult, depending on how many programs and activities your family is involved in. When it works and you manage to get everyone together, let them know that they’ve got 10 minutes and start your stopwatch. FYI, pick a timer that goes up, not one that starts at 10 minutes and goes down.
  9. Get out the door. You probably won’t make it in 10 minutes. If you ever want to get your family to buy into doing the drill again, make sure to stay positive and don’t get frustrated about it. (I’ve done that, and I can tell you that it doesn’t win any friends, make for a fun car ride, or help in any way at all)One thing you can say is, “Wow! I figured it would take an hour our first time, and it only took 45 minutes! What could we do to cut that down next time?” Try not to grit your teeth, sound sarcastic, or tell them that everyone would have burned to death if it would have been real and not just a drill. Remember, the ability to cheer people on, inspire them, and lead them is important now, but a skill that’s a true force multiplier in a disaster situation.

    If you follow politics at all, you’ll recognize this as “spin.” It could also be called lying if you do it wrong, and your family will see right through it. So make sure that you say things that you really believe. If you prepare yourself for it to take 60 minutes, then you can truthfully say that you thought it would take 60 minutes. If you’re at 59 minutes, you might want to readjust your expectation to 90 minutes so that you can truthfully say that you thought it would take 90 minutes. In short, don’t lie, stay positive, and don’t hold your family to a standard that they may not be able to achieve on their first try.

  10. Have fun and make a memory. Many of my wife’s and my favorite memories as kids are from family trips. Actually, many of our favorite memories as adults are from trips as well. Hopefully, mini-trips like these will fill your memories with fun times…and help you be better prepared at the same time.
  11. To the extent that you can, have everyone repack their boxes and set them aside when you get back home so that you can be ready for another drill or for real in the future.

If your family is more serious and everyone has bought into preparedness, then you may want to take a more serious approach. You could hold fast to the 10 minute time limit or even do things to up the stress level as your family is packing.

However you go about doing it, drills like this are a great way to incorporate preparedness into your lives. Have you done 24 hours without utilities at home? Have you done a 10 minute bug-out drill? If so, share your experiences. If not, share your thoughts about whether you’ve decided to do one in the near future.  Also, if you haven’t signed up for them yet, make sure to head over to www.SurviveInPlace.com and www.LamplighterReport.com.  They’ve helped thousands of people ranging from career military/LEO and lifelong preppers to retirees and newlyweds just waking up to preparedness.

Until next week, God bless and stay safe..

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Vote -1 Vote +1Stephen
June 24, 2011 at 11:49 am

Good points for all!

Many people don’t realize how important it is to be Red Alert ready at all times. This doesn’t mean to live your life on the edge; it means be ready when a Red Alert suddenly strikes.

We rehearse the physical aspects of our plan once every 3-4 weeks. However, every night before bed, we verbalize our plan and re-enact our process in our minds. Constant visualization is very important. Our bags are packed for 7 days for a 10 minute evac.

Effective range of being ill-prepared…zero meters.

Keep up the great work as always David.


Vote -1 Vote +1krys
June 24, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Hi All, To help on the packing I have put metal tubes in place of straws, dry packs to absorb moisture & water proof tape, in the bags so that items used & replaced can be in air dry air tight packages. Myself if it’s not huge I like to roll the bags to get air out of them & the larger one’s a board with body weight does nicely. Plus have made mini Tesla strips & coils for charging cell phones, mini notebooks & puters ect. {YouTube does have Tesla info on it & there is a Tesla website}Thought of this thats something like this is better than lugging around a solar panel if not feasible….but do have one & a powersource 1800 from Science for Solutions. Which if we cannot take at the time can be hidden until we can retrive it.

Since our group went to pot we are not going to depend or trust on anyone. They just wanted what they could get & then split after a few months. Shocking it was people we have known over 20+ years. The only thing that made me happy about it was they didn’t get everything they thought they would & we found out in time before being sold out to others just to save their butts They done the Talk but not the Walk. So becareful of people you know, they can flip in a heart beat. I detest being lied too, Used & Abused.

So thats my Goodnews, Badnews for the day.

Good Luck to all the Preppers. & thank You again Dave for everything You have done to help the Serious get prepaired.


Vote -1 Vote +1Betty Smith
June 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Re: Tornados

Where to find a safe spot in the house, where every room has large amounts of glass. No basement for shelter. And, no time to drive to a safe area.
Would a garage with no glass windows be a safer place to ride out a tornado?

Thank you for your suggestions…..


Vote -1 Vote +1shirley
June 25, 2011 at 12:50 am

I understand your dilemma. This is how I see it. Go for the room that has real solid walls. I have heard often that a bathroom is good as they make the walls very well because of the plumbing between the walls. It is best, however, to be in a room that has no wall to the outside. Therefore, if that describes a bathroom, whether or not it has glass there does not matter as much as the walls. I have read that if there is a window in that bathroom that will be your shelter, simply be sure everyone has their shoes on, which is good anyway, and bring a mattress and blankets and pillows in, and, finally, close the door AND the shower curtain or shower door. I would stay clear as much as possible from the glass, especially, the window. Remember to prop something up against the doors to help keep closed, or lock it, knowing that it probably will not stay closed. Small children and slender people are more vulnerable, so put them into the tub. They can have pillows, and blanket under them, and the mattress on top of the top person. Have them hold very tightly onto the mattress and close their eyes. People who do this most usually survives. The people who are outside of the bathtub can wrap themselves with pillows and blankets, or lie under a mattress also. They could be in a shower if it looks like a good place for them. I would, first, if there is enought time, put everything that is up high or on the bathtub/shower, down. You can throw things into a corner. These could still get blown into the air. If you don’t have the time, don’t deal with it just have everyone keep their heads down and eyes closed and swallow from time to time. Swallowing will help with the air pressure on the ears. Again, the type of consruction and placement of the room is more important than the glass. Glass will be everywhere. Everyone should hold onto each other or onto something fastened down really well. The garage door is not well constructed so you cannot trust it. Some people have had metal standing-room-only metal box made in their garage, and this is good. But it must be able to withstand the debris in and around the room that will be quite possibly, driven to it. Also, people have survived by being in a closet that is, somehow, in the middle of the house; therefore, there are no walls on the outside of the house. Usually, there are no windows in closets, unless they are up high and small. While there, you can all protect yourselves with all the clothes, keeping head down & eyes shut until it is over. But, look at what is on the shelves!These things could fall on people or become missles. Us women can determine now, in advance, which sturdy-walled rooms would be the best room and, maybe, have some heavy things moved off of any nearby shelves, replacing with extra pillows and blankets. It will be enough, in time of Tornado Warning, to get a mattress in there. Which one, you can choose now. I hope this helps. Anyone else have any ideas?


Vote -1 Vote +1Robert
June 26, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Think ground floor, short celing span (small room), avoid windows. A garage is not a good place. The celing span is very long, the construction is usually light (especially the door). Places to consider are as low in the room as possible in bathrooms, closets, and interior hallways. It may be helpful if you have a 2 foot pry bar and a jack with you to help in escape in case you become trapped. This should be helpful for FE0 – FE3 tornados. For a FE5 tornado this will not do much good. Fortunately that severe of tornado is quite rare. For those who want added protection in their house consider a hardened tornado shelter room. FEMA has design plans (free). These are usually made of filled and reinforced concrete blocks with a reinforced concrete roof slab. Plan on about $10K added to the cost of new construction. After an FE5 tornado these are the only things standing.


Vote -1 Vote +1salty dawg
June 24, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Now this was a fun article! Lots of things I’m going to try. I can remember a time when I walked in and flipped the main breaker off and came out and said what happened ad if I didn’t know anything was wrong and my child had a shaker flash light holding it while my wife wad lighting an oil lamp. With the solar weather radio in her hand. No panic, no drama just routine. We all ate ice cream by lamp light cause after all it was gonna melt due to the power outage.

Since then we practice more and different scenarios to stay ready. When teaching preparedness in our community I also have people play the “what if ” game to help with there mental preparedness as well. When doing some given task just throw a scenario out there so people can just talk it through. As coach Murray used to say ” you play like you practise”.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Gloria Jacobsen
June 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm

This is a great idea. Thank you. I will be doing this. I can’t get the others to do this, however they sometimes get interested when I am doing things. heh heh heh So I’m off to make some lists and fine tune the grab and go bags.


Vote -1 Vote +1Deborah
June 24, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Hi David!

I haven’t been able to get the survival program yet, but still have it on my list. I want to let you know how much I appreciate your help and insite on preparedness. I know you hear this all the time, but I needed to say it again.

On another topic, we haven’t been able to get out of town to our property because my daughter is about to have a baby, so we need to be near the hospital. I just don’t want to think about the “what-iffs” to being in the middle of a national forest off grid with no cell tower! Call me a wimp and I will probably agree, but don’t want to take any chances. Thanks again David.


Vote -1 Vote +1David H
June 25, 2011 at 3:35 am

The last two years during September, the Food Storage Made Simple website has conducted a 7-Day challenge (see http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/7day/ for info on the previous challenges). One day might be a Natural Disaster challenge, the next an Economic Crisis. There could be a Terrorist Attack challenge. You get the idea. Participants are notified by email when the challenge begins. Participants are given the opportunity to report on their successes and/or failures. It is a great way to practice what David has been preaching. My wife and I took the challenge last year and learned that we did well in some areas, but needed work with others. The challenges from 2009 and 2010 are posted on their site along with a sign-up for the 2011 challenge.


Vote -1 Vote +1jackie
June 25, 2011 at 7:43 am

This was really important to me a few weeks ago when a fire was really close to our home I was ready and packed in 15 minutes but I had oxygen tanks to load. Thanks for making us aware of how quickly things change


Vote -1 Vote +1Jim
June 26, 2011 at 1:42 am

I ran a small drill myself last Friday (June 24, 2011). In the past, I have timed how long it will take to load all my O’shit Kits and supplies into the truck and depart for safer areas. This time, I only loaded my cooking equipment up and left for a relatives home to cook for them on a minutes notice. When the call came, I sat down for the estimated time to load the supplies and waited. After the estimated loading time expired, I loaded up the Rocket Stove, fuel (kindling and tree branches) and departed out in a hurry, not traveling on the roads that will most likely be jammed with vehicles or blocked in an emergency. I was quite pleased with the results (could have been better, but in my estimation the results got a passing grade!)

Meeting up with the others would have garnered help in unloading all the supplies. My nine-year old nephew and I unloaded the Rocket Stove, fuel, and some other supplies and had a fire started within 15 minutes of my arrival! As I started the fire my wife and her sister prepared the foods that needed cooking while my nephew cut up some kindling and tree branches to fit the stove!

It was a great run-through of what to expect when TSHTF and how my family will react to getting set-up to live


Vote -1 Vote +1Tricia
June 26, 2011 at 10:07 am

This has been some great info. I have been preparing, bug out bag and all, for several years, I haven’t had to use it as of yet. Then last month we had a tornado warning and I was getting everything ready to go if needed, it took me longer than I thought to get everything together, even with grabbing my bugout bag. I did remember my tooth brush!! It was a wake up call for me that I needed to get better organized. I like the timing idea, I will add that to my future training.

Thanks Dave every little bit helps more people to survive, better and longer.


Vote -1 Vote +1David
July 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm

We have worked out a plan with our children, city dwellers, where they preposition supplies at our home. In event of an emergency evacuation they can litteraly walk to our house with whatever they are wearing and do fine.


Vote -1 Vote +1Mar
December 30, 2011 at 10:08 am

I just found out that we live within 500 feet of a major gas pipeline. We would have to evacuate in seven minutes, day or night. I can’t believe the lack of regulations in this regard.
I think it is really important to have a back packed and to have cat carriers in a place where you can grab them right and not try to hold a cat in a chaotic environment. Our local government has no preparations for this and we could not shelter in place. How many people have this situation and do you all have any suggestions for evacuating in this environment? Thanks.


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