Ferfal over at Surviving in Argentina makes a very important point.
I was reading about this in a forum. The guy lives in South Carolina, spent a lot of his money over the years prepping his home yet when evacuating because of Irma all he actually ended up putting to use was the gas (and vehicle). He mentioned that he felt he failed at prepping because he didn’t build his house of reinforced concrete.
I don’t know all the details of this particular case, or even if it’s true at all, but I do understand what it means to put all your eggs in one basket and see it disappear right in front of you.
. . .
You need to plan for what’s likely, but you also need to think about those worst case scenarios.
There's more at the link.
Ferfal is right. We can make the best plans we can for what we think is likely to happen, and prepare for it - but what if something else happens? What if we get Disaster A (for example, a hurricane) combined with Disaster B (for example, a failed dam or levee some distance away sends floodwaters into areas that have never before known that problem)? Our preparations might be adequate for Disaster A, but completely inadequate for Disaster B - even more so if both happen at the same time.
Due to my partial permanent disability, there's not much point in my planning to "bug out". I can't walk very far without increasing pain, and my endurance is very limited. Therefore, I plan to remain in my home during a disaster, if that's possible, and I prepare accordingly. Nevertheless, it might be unwise to remain where I am, for any number of reasons. In that case, I'd better be ready to move, whether I want to or not! I have to ensure that my preparations are packaged in totes, five-gallon buckets, and other storage devices that will allow me to load them onto a pickup truck or a trailer and depart, if that becomes necessary. If I leave them scattered around higgledy-piggledy, it'll take far too long to gather them up and pack them, and I'm bound to forget something important - so my preparations need to take account of that before the need arises.
There's also the problem of being too attached to "things". I've known many people who suffer from this. For example, a friend has a large collection of firearms. He can't bear the thought of leaving them behind for "looters" in the event of disaster, so he's hardened his home as best he can and made preparations to stay there during any emergency, to defend his collection. Nevertheless, the time may come when he'll be safer leaving than staying. In that case, he'll have to "bite the bullet" (you should pardon the expression), take the guns and ammunition he needs to ensure his personal safety and that of his family, and abandon the rest. He may not like the idea, but when the devil's pounding at the door with blood in his eye, it's best not to wait until he gets inside!
(While on the subject of emergency-use arms and ammunition, be practical. Take what you need, with the understanding you may have to carry them - so don't get too heavy! Keep your emergency-use magazines loaded with ammunition. You may not have time to load mags when you need them. Full mags take as much space as empty ones to store - but you save on the space you'd need for ammo boxes. [If stress on magazine springs is a potential issue, download them.] Make sure you also have belt pouches or web gear to carry them all, too. If you have to abandon your vehicle, you need to take them with you; and you can't do that if your hands are already holding a gun, or something else, like a child!)
The same principle applies to everything else you own. Be prepared, if necessary, to take the essentials and get out of town. If you lose the rest . . . well, that's what insurance policies are for. You can replace things. You can't replace your life. Make sure that your emergency preparations reflect that reality, and give you the flexibility to either stay, or go, depending on the nature of the emergency and other factors that you may not have considered at all.
An example of the latter hit many towns and cities after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Thugs, gang members and criminals from New Orleans (which had a surfeit of them) were evacuated to many other locations. When they got there, they carried right on with their criminal activities - and the crime rate in those locations skyrocketed. I wrote about this at the time. For one city's experience of the problem, see these news reports (and don't believe later, politically-correct reports "whitewashing" the problem out of existence):
- After Welcoming Evacuees, Houston Handles Spike in Crime
- Katrina Evacuees' Welcome Wearing Thin in Houston
- Houston Examines Post-Katrina Spike in Violent Crime
That's certainly a factor I must consider in my own emergency preparations. I live in a very low crime area . . . but a major metropolitan area is only a couple of hours away by road. If it evacuates many of its residents in our direction, I can expect to see similar problems arise here, with little or no warning. I need to include that possibility in my emergency preparations, and ensure that they're flexible enough to deal with it, if need be.