I previously mentioned how the tsunami bug out started. It was basically a practice bug out to see how everything would work during a real bug out. This post starts after I grabbed my BOB.
I planned on getting to the Pali Look Out. It's one of the highest on the island that you can get to in a car. If there weren't places at the Pali than I had two back up places to pull off the highway. All those places have access to my favorite trail network, all were above the tsunami zone. I was lucky to bug out earlier than most, and made it to the Look Out before it ran out of parking spaces.
Honestly, I figured the Pali would be full. It was one of the highest places and I thought that most people leaving Honolulu would go there. Luckily, that wasn't the case in this situation. For me, the Pali was good for a multitude of reasons. It was high, to get me away from tsunami waves, it had a clear view of the affected area, and it had direct access to the trail system that I planned on bugging out to. The area is close to the mountains, good sources of water, and you can get away from more dense population areas.
These are a few things that I took note of during my "bug out":
- How few people bugged out to high ground. I almost didn't, after all the false warnings we've had. That Pali lookout is right above Honolulu, THE major population center, and yet it wasn't nearly as full as I thought it would be. The actual parking lot was filled but there were still plenty of places along the road.
- How many people did not bring any supplies with them. Out of all the people that made it to the Pali Look Out, I didn't see any that seemed remotely prepared for a large scale natural disaster. There were families in their minivans, but few even thought to bring a sweat shirt or jacket (the Pali look out is one of the windiest places on the island and there were intermittent rains that night, lots of shivering people). They would have survived the initial Tsunami, but few seemed prepared for anything more than an immediate emergency. No extra food, water, or other supplies that I saw.
- How many people were drinking. There were at least four groups I saw that were actively drinking in public during the emergency. Having lived in Florida, through several hurricanes, I recognize this as something I call "The Jimmy Buffet Disaster Plan". Drink as much as you can so that no matter what happens you're having a good time. I hosted several "hurricane parties", so I am familiar with the concept (that was all before I started prepping).
- Patience was a problem for most people. The tsunami was predicted to hit at 22:38. When nothing had happened by 23:00, a lot of people had already left the high ground. It would have taken very little for the original prediction to be off, yet these people were already headed back into the danger zone. I stayed at high ground for over an hour, which was still well within the "warning zone" of three hours, and yet when I left 2/3 of the people had already gone. Our modern civilization has not prepared people for the patience necessary to survive a natural disaster. These people waited an extremely short period of time and they could easily have been driving into a deadly tsunami wave.
- I realized I did not have any form of personal defense. This being a short term natural disaster I didn't think it would be necessary, but after seeing that no one brought any supplies (and how many were drinking) I'm rethinking that. (I bought some pepper spray and added that to my BOB, I think it's a better option than a gun for a short term bug out like a tsunami)
We were lucky that we had a three hour warning of this potential natural disaster, yet very few people responded to the threat. I wouldn't have even known of the hazard if they hadn't used the air raid siren. How good is prepping if you don't notice a warning or react when one is given? A surprisingly few number of people left their homes for higher ground.
I'm glad I decided to do this practice bug out, it gave me a lot of things to think about.