In which we consider crisis preparation part two: "run like hell"

In part one, I talked about hunkering down as a strategy. 

Staying in place is a sometimes a good way to cope when things go pear-shaped, especially if where you are is safer than any of the other options.  However, it's not the only strategy.
Sometimes, bugging out is a better bet.
There's been a lot of press in recent years about evacuation.  Hurricane Katrina woke us all up to the possibility that sometimes the very best thing you can do is to leave.
I'm pleased to report that FEMA learned a few things from Hurricane Katrina.  The agency now has a very useful website for crisis planning, including a special section for pet-owners and persons with special medical needs.  They recommend that your crisis kit include things like food, water, clothing, a battery-operated radio, and maps.  

Locally, King County Emergency Management has assembled an extremely useful website  focusing on unpredictable events which will probably happen here, like flooding, earthquakes, and landslides.  They also have lists of kit essentials, and remind people to include prescription medicines, pet food, and a good book in their emergency kit.

Several agencies I consulted advocate assembling an emergency backpack for each member of the family, including pets. I consider my truck to be my personal emergency backpack.  My truck is, after all, rarely far away from me.  In my truck is a large rubbermaid box containing canned food (and a can opener), an old campstove (and fuel to run it), a change of clothing (warm weather and cold weather options) a couple of jugs of water, a few old paperbacks, and a flashlight (with extra batteries) and a towel.  I keep a backup stash of medications in my purse along with a pair of reading glasses and a small amount of cash, and my purse is pretty much always stored someplace in my truck.

If I have a dog or two with me for the day, I include the "dog suitcase" in my truck.  This duffel bag includes dog food, leashes, and a brush. 

What if you need to leave home quickly with your horse?  Is your trailer pointed towards the gate and easy to hitch?  Is there some hay and an extra halter or two inside?  Is there water in the watertank? 
Most importantly:  will your horse load quickly and without fussing even if you are freaked out 
One of the hardest parts about "bugging out" is figuring out--quickly, and in a stressful situation--what you will take with you, mentally leaving everything else behind, perhaps forever. 

Today, the sun is shining and the ground is steady under our feet...and therefore, today is a good day to look around you and decide what you want to grab when the time has come to run like hell.

Think about it.
While you're thinking about it, think about what you can do if you need to run like hell when you are away from home...if you are, for example, in ridecamp when things go wrong. 

When we set up camp for a week or more, we often take all the pieces apart--the camper is detached from the truck, the truck is unhitched from the trailer, the corral panels are erected separately from the rest of the rig. 

This means that if the forest should catch fire, we are physically and mentally prepared to leave most of that stuff behind to burn.  We can hitch the trailer in under 3 minutes; we can load both horses in under a minute.  The camper and the corrals takes a long time to load; therefore, if the world goes to hell on short notice, we are prepared to leave without them. The important stuff (like kids, horses, and dogs) can be moved out quickly.  We are prepared to drive away without looking back, with only the thought that perhaps the zombies won't totally trash the rest and we can retrieve it after the crisis has passed.
Okay, one more:  what if you need to leave in a hurry...and you're out on the trail? 

To avoid scaring the parents who read this blog, let me emphasize that I am not talking about "strangers in the woods" as a danger.  The dragon under my saddle is bigger, nastier, and fiercer than any stranger I might meet in the forest...unless we're talking about zombies, and I assure you that Fiddle is faster than almost any zombie.  So that's okay. 
But...what if something is on the trail and you need to leave in a hurry?  Can you do it? 

Can you navigate without getting lost?  If you are freaked out, will your horse freak-the-hell-out and dump your butt in the bushes for the bears or mooses or zombies or whatever?  Do you have your truck keys handy, or will you need to dig them out?  Will your horse load when you are screaming and the monsters are moving in fast?  Is your rig pointed towards the fence, or aimed at the exit?  Did you round out that funky tire before you left home, or did you shrug and figure it could easily make it to the trailhead and back?

Stuff to think about.  I'll be back in a day or two to talk about part three:  "Stand and Fight."


  1. Loving these entries. Great food for thought.

  2. This blog reminded me of the times in the woods when I came upon a solitary "man" out there. At five foot two inches, and the cardiovascular fitness of a snail...that is a very BAD feeling. The one time it happened that I was very bugged I was heading towards the person. It made me very glad that Phebes was good at leg yielding. I put her up into her power trot, applied some leg and zoomed on past on the other side of the trail. There are times out there that I wish I had a permit to carry (paranoid as that may sound), I'd feel safer.

  3. Really good stuff to think about. I saw a photo somewhere, of a horse with a phone number spray painted on it's side. That horse found it's owner. It may have been Katrina? Microchips are great, but in an ER in which you have a small amount of time, a can of contrasting spray paint might save your horse if you get separated. Can't get ripped out of the mane and won't fade. I thought it was brilliant on the owner's part.

    I like how you phrased it, that you are all *mentally* prepared and know the first thing you'll do is hitch up the one spends precious seconds trying to figure out which thing to do first. Truly valuable advice.

  4. An important thing to plan is to arrange a meeting place..and a person to contact. Know the escape routes and drive them ahead of time, weather you are fleeing canyon fires in So. Calif, floods in the midwest, tsumani in Hawaii, volcanic spew in the Pacific NW (uh, remember Mt. St. Helens??), or zombies.

    Run Like Hell on the trail for me is rehearsed for every fall ride....we all start the ride by agreeing that if any one hollers "Bees Bees Bees" we will ALL immediately start a uniform controlled immediate exit of the area, in a forward motion...not a wild gallop, but a brisk canter away from the source of the stings and resultant bucks, No one is to stop and say "what" or spin around and go the other way.


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