Creating a Plan B Map to Increase Your Chances of Survival - ITS Tactical
 

Creating a Plan B Map to Increase Your Chances of Survival

By Tom F.

Ask yourself this question “If a major catastrophe happened tomorrow, would I be ready?” I know in all honesty my answer would have to be no, which is a very scary scenario for me.

I do my best to budget, plan and to continue to fill my supply closet with food and water, but we all know in our current economic state that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find the funds to build up our supplies for “The End of the World as We Know It,” or whatever term you’d like to use.

Plan_B_Map

I’m sure there are many people out there who are like me, doing their best to build up their supplies so their family will be safe, but feel they’re not where they need to be to survive. What can we do to remedy this? I don’t want to go into debt so that I can have a fully stocked supply closet. I’ve personally put a lot of thought into this very situation. “What would I do if things went bad tomorrow?” “How long could I last on what I have?” “What would I do if I started to run out before things got better?” These are some of the questions I have spent countless hours thinking about.

Don’t Count on Grocery Stores

Many people think that if a major catastrophe happened, they could just take a trip down to the local grocery store and stock up on everything that they’d need for the next few months. This is not only a very unlikely remedy, but also a dangerous one. Here is an example why: It was winter time a few years ago, when the city I live in was hit with a huge snow storm, almost three feet of snow fell in twenty four hours.

The city was crippled; the roads were virtually un-drivable, many homes were without power and according to the news it was only going to get worse. Within a few hours the store shelves were empty. I had to walk to the store near where I was living, because my car was stuck in its parking spot. I was amazed at the sight of a bare shelved store. What surprised me more was that it had been only a few hours since the storm had started and everyone was stocking up for the next few days of bad weather.

I nitpicked through the store trying to find your average grocery list items and was unable to. The next morning I was watching the news and was even more surprised to hear news stories being reported of the police being called to local grocery stores because of people fighting and hurting each other so they could get the last gallon of milk. It took about a week and a half for the grocery stores to recover and get new shipments to stock their shelves.

City Officials asked the local food banks to open their doors to the general public because many families were out of food. In a Colorado town where people should be accustom to large snow storms, a mild case of pandemonium broke out over three feet of snow. People literally were fighting in the grocery store over milk and bread. Imagine the chaos that would take place if something of substance were to actually happen. This experience cemented in my mind how dangerous things will become when people are desperate to feed their families.

I will share with you what I did to remedy the potential supply shortfall that many of us could face if major catastrophe happened before we were fully stocked up on supplies,  I call it the “Plan B Map.”

The Plan B Map

Start out by visiting your local Wal-Mart or similar type of store and find a road atlas for your state. Within this atlas you will be able to find some fairly detailed maps of your neighborhood. For now, mark those pages and set the atlas aside. When you have a few hours of time and are ready for a drive, get in your car with a note pad and pen. Go around and make a list of every single business, store and shop within a two mile radius of your home. Also find every single source of water; ponds, rivers, streams, swimming pools, water towers, water wells, etc.

Once you’ve finished this task, head back home and make index cards for every location you have on your list. Now comes the hard part. You will have to go through these index cards and think about each and every business. You’ll have to decide if there’s the possibility of any type of useful item that might be kept or used by that particular business.

A few examples are as follows: Dental offices often have bottled water available to their patients. I happened to have 5 dental offices within the two mile radius of my home. I also have a gym about four blocks from my house that has two industrial refrigerators full of energy drinks, bottled water and protein snacks that are available to sell to those that work out there. I also have a bicycle shop three blocks from my home that had shelves and shelves of energy bars, protein bars, energy drinks and all sorts of things geared towards the outdoorsman.

Within my two mile radius, I have nine ponds, three swimming pools and two streams. You’ll be very surprised on the amount of resources you’ll find in unsuspecting places. We’re not just talking about food and water either. The doctor’s office close by will also have very useful medical equipment. The hobby shop will have needles and thread, string, twine and craft wood that can be used for fires. There’s almost an endless list of the items you can find right around the corner.

Putting It All Together

Now combine your maps and your index cards, marking each location on your maps with a number. That number will correspond to a number on an index card. That index card will have the useful items that are available at that particular location. You’ll want to plan routes to and from all of these locations. Include places to stop or hide in these routes and even alternate routes in case you see something on the way that you don’t want to pass on your way back.

Create a list of importance, meaning which locations have the most important items. Many of us spend a few nights a week walking our dogs. Instead of just walking around the block, start trying out the routes that you’ve made. This will give you the opportunity to adjust your routes if needed to avoid certain things. Keep you map and index cards updated to new businesses, or businesses that have changed locations or closed down. You’ll also need to update your list of importance as time goes on.

As more time passes your immediate needs will change. As you continue to work on your personal stock of supplies, the things that at one point that were important, may become less important because you had the opportunity to stock up on that item. Pay extra attention to the sources of water that you find. These may be sources for more than just water. Are there fish in the streams or ponds? Do you see ducks and geese in these areas frequently? Think of all the different ways you can take advantage of these water sources because they can be food sources as well.

Transportation

In addition to making the map, you’ll also need to have a way of transporting the items you go after. You cannot rely on the idea of having a vehicle to drive. So this means you will have to come up with an alternate way of getting to your locations and a way to bring supplies back. For my situation and surroundings a bicycle is the most practical for me to utilize. Not only is it faster than walking, I also have the ability to attach duffle bags or backpacks to the frame and rack.

You’re now done with your “Plan B Map” and you’ve figured out a form of transportation other then your car that fits your situation and surroundings. Keep up with your map and your index cards. Don’t feel like you have to throw your map and cards away if you’ve reached your goal of the amount of food, water and supplies you wanted to stock up on. Even if you’re fully stocked, you never know what situations you may be faced with.

Your map and index cards could be an invaluable asset no matter what you level of preparation you’re at. If you’re diligent with this project, you’ll provide yourself with a safer way to scavenge for supplies if faced with that need. While everyone else is fighting it out at the gas stations and grocery stores for the last couple cans of food, you can safely make trips to and from the locations marked on your map.

Editor-in-Chief’s Note:  Please join us in welcoming Tom F. as a contributor on ITS Tactical. Tom works in the firearm industry and spends his downtime researching, learning and practicing self-reliance and survival skill-sets that will help his family in good times or bad.

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Discussion

  • Liam

    Informative article aside, that’s an interesting pen in the photo. What is it?

    • That is the TiBolt that Bryan picked up through Kickstarter: http://kck.st/PNAwnY

    • Michael

      Hello. I have never seen anyone address this issue. In a EMP or solar flare situation where we lose our power even for just a few months, nuclear power plants only have a two to four week supply of fuel for their backup generators. Anywhere east of the Mississippi will be in danger of a nuclear power plant meltdowns.

    • bloke_from_ohio

      That is silly. Two to four weeks is more than long enough to scram a reactor. If you catch it early enough you can shut reactors down either permanantly or for a short time pretty easily assuming the reactor itself is not heavily damaged. Furthermore even with a meltdown not much happens unless the containment building is breached. Three Mile Island was a whole lot of nothing outside the containment building for this reason.

      Chernobyl straigth up did not have a containment building, most Soviet facilities didn’t. They were also running it “dry” a very very very bad idea. Even without a proper containment building the majority of the “bad stuff” still wound up in the basement of the building and not in the enviroment.

      The Fukushima disaster happened because the reactor itself along with the backup generators you are talking about running out of fuel were damaged or destroyed by the earth quake and tsunami. In its case, the company that owned the facility failed to scram the reacor early enough with sea water for fear of permanantly destroying the reactor.

      Furthermore EMPs don’t just magicaly flip a switch and “stop the juice” from flowing in the wires like it does on TV. What happens is more complicated than that. Magnetic fields, and electromagnetic waves induce current in wire. That is how antenas work. In an EMP situation unsheilded wires (or other conductive things) act as antenas for the pulse and have extremely high current induced in them. Most electronics cannot handle the massive current and get fried. Some stuff would no doubt continue to function either because it was shielded, hardened, or roubust enough to handle the current induced by the pulse.

      Lastly the only practicle way to make an EMP is as the by product of a nuclear detonation. If people start chucking those around, problems at power plants are the least of our worries. In all likelyhood the earth will be a slag heap within hours.

    • Michael Hedden

      While I don’t agree with everything Bloke said, the meltdown you are concerned with would be dangerous within several miles but the 104 reactors in the US don’t cover enough area that you couldn’t get out of zone. So assuming you had a solar flare big enough, the reactors would go down. The generators are not shielded and are prime for being affected by a flare. Big copper spools are great conductors. What happens even after a scram is that the reactor still generates heat. Approximately 7% of what it does running at full power. This takes time to dissipate, often hundreds of hours as the Xenon and Iodine byproducts of fission decay. Slowly the pressure builds and relief valves lift to avoid bad things. This is what the generators do. They power pumps to keep circulating water, cooling the waste heat in the reactor. The relief valves, this is how 13 Curies got out of TMI II. As this continues more is released until either the waste heat diminishes or the reactor forms a bubble in the core. Then it melts. But this is still a very local event. As long as the containment holds, you are still pretty ok. The spent fuel in the cooling pools has the same problem that eventually the hot pool evaporates enough water to uncover the fuel and same thing happens.
      I won’t speak to Chernobyl more than to say that while the loss of the pressure vessel did release approximately 6500 Curies, the vast remainder of really nasty stuff ended up in the basement. You can find out a lot about it as it is pretty heavily published. If you are concerned then I recommend you learn about Curies and how they relate to Rem. Measures of radiation (Curies) and how it then relates to damage of living organisms (Rem). You also need to learn about radiological transmission such as Alpha particles, Beta and Gamma radiation and neutron radiation, what blocks it and how it hurts you. Once you get all that in your head, you will probably be less concerned about the topic.

  • Another option is careful shopping for food with a long shelf life that you eat regularly. When you find such an item on deep discount, stock up on it in a large quantity–meaning walk out of the store with cases of the stuff. Then consume it down at your usual rate so none goes bad. Also, buy items that are sold in bulk such as oatmeal and rice.

    Do this for a dozen or more staples, and you’ll not only be saving money on food, whenever that disaster hits, you’ll have at least half of them in enough quantity to carry you through. And all that without having to go out in a snow storm and perhaps pay inflated prices.

    There is another plus. In this era of dismally low interest rates on savings accounts, it’s also a way to invest. Buy food at a 20% discount during a sale and, if you consume it over the next year, you’ve earned over 20% over buying that same food weekly.

  • Liam

    Thanks Mike! I like it!

  • Michael Hedden

    I like this idea. I would recommend that you take the time to annotate those areas and houses that contain “undesirables”. This isn’t an opportunity to remove them. This is a guide for others to understand why you chose another route. Examples beyond “thugs in that house” are “pitbull in that back yard” or “snakes in that pond”. Your spouse may need to make the trip because you are injured. Guests and family with you may need to forage at the same time in a different location. Updating a potential threat assessment on your map can keep your team from stumbling into something unfortunate. In the end we all want to be aware of 4 things. Strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities. This article is a good base to help assess all of those items.

  • Bergman

    My own disaster kit reflects the area I live in. Seattle is many things but dry is seldom one of them. Even during a drought, fresh water is plentiful. The main issue is cleaning what you find. So I focus on water purification rather than storing bottled water in that regard.

    Sitting tight and waiting for the national guard, I have enough food (canned and lifeboat rations) for 9 months. If I have to vamoose, my supplies drop down to those lifeboat rations, which gives me a 30 day supply of food between my EDC and go-bag. If caught with just EDC (a camelbak backpack on the theory that me 3-day kit (actually 7 day, heh) does me no good 20 miles away at home) I’m still good for 7-10 days. Since my water purification gear is in the camelbak, I would have water for 6-12 months depending on conditions.

    My other preparations include shelter (cold and wet), multiple ways to signal, multiple ways to make fire and a good backpacking first aid kit in the EDC, with a more comprehensive base camp kit as well.

    • ChrisB

      Be careful not to rely too heavily on lifeboat rations. They fill the stomach but offer the body little else. Some have some vitamins, but they tend to little fat and no protein — not something you’d want on a long hike. Lifeboat rations are intended for sitting in a boat and waiting for help.

  • Cervantes

    Make sure to be meet with your neighbors. You do not want to cut through that one guys yard that is not on the “team” so to speak and catch a rear end full of whatever he’s got to fire off at you.
    We all need to create a circle, just like them big ol elephants in Africa circle their rear ends to protect the little ones, we need to make strong bonds with our neighbors to defend whats most important.

  • Tom F.

    Great suggestions and comments from everyone. This is the advantage of discussing these issues. Everyone has a different point of view, and collectively we can solve some of the problems or concerns we face.

  • Common Sense

    Totally unrelated to the article’s text-
    What kind of pen is in the photo? Looks solid.

  • Good article Tom!
    Another good way that I used to locate water near my home is Google Earth. People might be supprised (like I was) to find hidden water sourses so close to home that can’t be seen from a road or trail. Just make sure to confirm it’s there and your route with boot on the ground.

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