A question which often comes up is whether I would “Bug In” or “Bug Out?” It poses an interesting question because every scenario offers a multitude of possible outcomes and it’s almost impossible to answer the question with a black or white answer. There are a ton of things to consider when trying to make a choice whether to stay holed up in your location or make the move.
The first thing to think about is why are you leaving? Is it a mandatory evacuation? If so then the choice is pretty simple, you may be required by law to leave your premesis because of an impending disaster. If it is not a mandatory evacuation then what is the possibility of you being able to sustain until services are back on line. You should know what your capabilities are and how many people you are able to support. If you do make the choice to Bug Out, what will the panic factor be? How clogged will the roads be? One major factor most people don’t consider is just where are you going to Bug Out to? Do you have a location where you have adequate supplies? Is it a place where you may have family or a connection who will actually receive you with open arms? Just how far away is this location? Can you make it on one tank of gas?
If you do choose to Bug Out the timing of your departure will be an important one. If you leave too late the roadways could become jammed extending your travel time. During Hurricane Katrina people got in their cars and started to head to Texas or North to states outside the storms anticipated path. The problem was there were so many people involved in the mass exodus that the highways were jammed and a four to five hour journey turned into a bumper to bumper crawl for 12-24 hours. During events such as this the fueling stations along the way will most certainly become depleted. This amount of stress on the infrastructure requires a back up plan.
I am not one who believes society will break down and become The Road Warrior, but some experts say that even during times when governments are still functioning highway robbery can happen. If you head out too late bad guys will have had time to get a foot hold and create ambushes. If you are in the middle of no where and the authorities are busy dealing with emergencies you probably won’t be a high priority. As sad as it may be to say this you will have to be on your guard and be wary of people who look like they need help, it could be a trap.
If you choose to stay after a disaster you should asses your structure. Think about building codes and if your dwelling is able to sustain your family in a safe manner. If it can not safely house you and your family do you have a back up plan to that aspect? Have you adequately prepared a shelter which will provide the most basic comfort and warmth?
The sequence of an evacuation can be divided into the following phases:
- Detection – Recognition of an event which may cause harm to you or your family.
- Decision – The Event will indeed impact the health and safety of people in your area – Stay or Go?
- Alarm – Make sure people are aware of the dangers and know what to do.
- Reaction – Asses damage, aid people in need of help.
- Movement to an area of refuge or an assembly station
- Transportation – Have vehicles, fueled prepped and ready with necessary supplies for a multi day journey. Having your 72 Hour Bag ready to go will help in this process, it’s one less thing you have to worry about in the time of need.
Local evacuations can be a wildfire moving through an area or as simple as a water main break which causes your immediate surrounding to be dangerous or inhabitable. There is most likely not going to be clogged highways or widespread panic. A half hour drive to an area which is stable will probably be a reality. These types of evacuations are low priority and are easily managed.
Regional Evacuations are more than likely to see the types of issues written about above. A little more thought and planning should be put into the choice to go or to stay. The longer the crisis goes on, the more likely we are to see nefarious characters prey on the weak.
National Crisis will open up many other facets of bugging out or staying put, here’s where your doomsday event or Zombie apocalypse happens. When this event happens you will need to put yourself on a whole different level. You’ll have to ask yourself if you really have what it takes to step into the ring with the big boys? If you’ve never had training and lost most of your fights on the playground then you’re probably going to become sheep meat for the wolves.
If you do chose to Bug Out, you better full know what this means. It means living off the grid for a possibly extended period of time. If you are the type of person who has never been camping but think it’s a vacation, you’re sadly mistaken. You will need to prepare yourself for some tough times. You will more than likely be in a place where a creature comfort is a stick or branch for toilet paper. Planning now will definitely help, but experience is worth a million dollars when the Shit Hits the Fan. Running around in the woods will be dozens of other crazies who had the same bad idea as you did, Bugging Out for safety. Some will be armed and want what you have. You’re going to have to make your choice to Bug Out or to Bug by looking realistically at all the angles. Don’t think you’ll be Bugging Out to JellyStone Park with Yogi the Bear, there will be real bears and real villains. Are you capable of hunting and cleaning an animal? Thinking you can and having the experience of having done it are two different things. If you do it wrong you could get people sick, making the situation worse.
These are all questions you need to ask yourself and consider if your family is up to this challenge. Knowing when to Bug Out or Bug In is a choice to be made with so many variables you have to look at the situation with a very objective point of view, be honest with yourself about your own capabilities and that of your families’.