It seem like everyone is throwing around the term “bugging out” lately. Most of us who consider ourselves to be preppers have planned out our bug out strategy in case of some future catastrophe. There are some, however, who may have heard this term, but don’t understand exactly what it means or when they should do so. This article is simply the discussion of the “ifs” and “whens” of “bugging out”.
The definition of “bug out” is simply to leave ones place of residence for a different location when an emergency necessitates it. The move might be temporary or long term (possibly permanent) depending on the situation. The decision of whether or not to move is based on several different factors, but they all add up to a simple question, “Can I (and my family) survive at our present location?” Here are a few of the factors to consider when answering this question.
- “Can we survive for an indefinite amount of time with NO traditional forms of resupply of food or water?”
In a true emergency, stores will have their ability to conduct business interrupted, either because they are unable to replenish their shelves or because a collapse of the energy infrastructure will keep them from operating. In a truly epic SHTF situation both of these will most likely be the case. Either way, you will be on your own when it comes to feeding your family. Unless you have the ability to produce your own food, and/or a significant stockpile of supplies (at least enough for three months), you will need to seriously consider bugging out to a location where food sources are more abundant. These areas will need to include fertile lands for crops and large/isolated wooded areas where game is plentiful. You must also keep in mind is your supply of fresh water. In almost any wide scale emergency, one of the firsts things that get effected are raditional sources of potable water such as municipal water companies. You MUST have a reliable source of water providing each member of your group with a MINIMUM of 2-3 gallons per day. When you figure that one person will require at least 20-25 gallons of water a week, having a reliable water source becomes more realistic than stockpiling water for an entire family (i.e. fast flowing stream, lake, etc.)
- “Will we have the energy resources available to cook, heat, and communicate?”
Consider how much of your daily life depends on electricity. Stoves, cell phones, radios, heating, air-conditioning, televisions, computers, medical devices, etc. Almost everything that we have come to depend on relies on electricity for power. How will you be able to function if there is no electrical service for a day? A week? A month? Of course, many of the luxury items can simply be done without. Others are vital to survival. Do you have an alternative energy source to power these items? Something to consider is the fact that if an emergency occurs in the winter, heating your residence will be a serious issue. If you live in a condo or single family residence building a fire on the living room floor isn’t exactly practical.
- “Will we be able to defend my resources from anyone who would take what I have?”
Let’s face it, some people would rather steal than work, and when faced with a “life or death” situation, most folks would rather steal than die. Many will have no qualms about the possibility of having to kill others to get what they need. As the situation gets worse, immoral people will tend to band together to form groups of marauders giving them the strength and numbers necessary to overpower those who would oppose them. Are you prepared to defend the lives and resources of you and your family? Are you in a position that CAN be defended? If you live in an urban area, the answer is almost certainly no. There is no way to sugar coat this. Desperate people will do desperate things and violence will become common place. The answer for many of those who live in populated areas is to be in a stronger and more isolated position than those that you must defend against.
- These three questions and how prepared you are to handle living in a world where you must ask yourself those questions, will greatly determine your ability to survive a future emergency. In the case of a temporary emergency such as a natural disaster, a prudent amount of preparation should ensure the health and safety of you and your loved ones. Although it may not be easy, it is possible to survive even the harshest of conditions for a short time. Long term survival, however, calls for much more planning. In a real SHTF scenario, there may be a total collapse of society and its infrastructure. Staying alive in this situation will probably mean learning to live without technology, resupply, or the rule of law. Could you do it where you presently live? If you have answered no to any of the questions posed in this article you will seriously need to prepare your bug out strategy.