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Disaster Preparedness: Reasons to Bug Out or Bug In

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When it comes to disaster preparedness, there are two schools of thought. Some preppers believe that bugging out and surviving in the wild is the answer, while others think that their chances of survival are greater if they stay put and bug in.

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The truth is, it really depends on the situation and you should be prepared to do either one when disaster strikes.

Keep reading to learn more about disaster preparedness, bugging in or bugging out.


Disaster Preparedness: Reasons to Bug Out or Bug In

Having been approached and asked about this topic many times I have decided to research and answer this to the best of my knowledge with a factual and intelligent reply.

There are as many reasons to stay put in a worst case scenario as there are to leave one’s comfort and home environment. This can be grouped into several categories, each having a pro and con for both bugging in and bugging out, as well as to the nature of the disaster of whether it is of a natural type or a man-made type of disaster.

Natural Disasters

Natural Disasters

First we will look at the natural types of disasters that would preclude to one leaving your home and having to go to your bug out location or to a government shelter.


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If you are living along the coast and up to five hundred to a thousand miles from the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean you could be vulnerable to hurricanes. Southern and Midwestern states get tornadoes. Flooding from severe storms and snow melts can happen all over North America. All of these can be cause for emergency measures to be implemented and evacuation orders mandated. With evacuation orders come congested highways.

The Interstate Highway System was implemented during the Eisenhower Administration and as such has not gone through a major overhaul or design period since. This being the case it is outdated, primarily because they could not foresee the increase in population due to the birth and immigration rates. This increase in the amount of traffic on these thoroughfares will make these traffic jams hundreds of miles long. Sitting in these traffic jams will not only fray your nerves but consume what fuel you have in your vehicle. The result: you will probably run out of fuel, will become victim of road rage, you will lose your belongings and possibly your life.

If you do not voluntarily evacuate when the mandate comes then the governing body will forcefully evacuate you to a central location. This central location will not have the amenities that you are so well accustomed to, with communal toilets, showers (if available), cots, a blanket, no privacy, and enclosed. Once in there will be limited if any way out. You will be stuck! Imprisoned by the government for your own good (as they will tell you.) You will have no rights, and little if any protection from your fellow man. You stand the risk of theft, rape, assault, and anything else illegal from anyone that wants to do harm of any kind against you. This happened when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and people were put up in the Super Dome. Don’t expect anything to change. The government cannot protect you, they do not have the resources to do so.

Man Made Disasters

Disaster Preparedness: Reasons to Bug Out or Bug In

Second disaster scenario is the Man Made Disaster which can be war, martial law, riots, fire, economic loss on a grand scale such as a depression and total devaluation of the dollar, etc. This would be a domino effect to all of mankind that would pit man against man, neighbor against neighbor. Each and every one of us would have to be an army of one until such time as the city, state, or federal government comes to our rescue. Without power of numbers and firepower, fortress’s, and supplies survival chances of the individual are limited and without cunning and wits almost impossible. Once the government is back in control of an area martial law will be in place. If you have been unfortunate enough to have been displaced for one reason or another and survive, then you will be relocated, and don’t fool yourself, you may not me relocated with the rest of your family, you may be separated from them.

To Bug In Or Bug Out? That is the Question

I may have convinced some of you by now that bugging out is the way to go. But, you must remember, do not do it too late. You must know exactly when to do it and it must be early. When the word comes that the natural disaster is a probable, not when it is happening. If you live in a big city, before it is a probable would be the best choice. Before the interstates become busier than rush hour traffic is normally.

For those who cannot or who do not have a bug out location, if you live in a big city, I recommend you put together a bug out bag anyway. Prepare to bug out as if you did have somewhere to go. In the meantime look at places you would want to go to in the country side that would be near, but yet far enough to be clear of the danger, and make week end drives to that area if you can. Look around those areas, and see if there are vacation rentals, abandon homes, country lanes, old roads, public lands, etc. These are possible venues of shelters for emergencies, temporary as they may be.

If because of invalid status you are unable to bug out, I would suggest you make plans with relatives to check on you and you on them. Do all you can to make you habitation more secure if possible. Window and door alarms, bolts on the doors, even removable bars over the doors from the inside to prevent them from being busted in. Boards and plywood (3/4”) to place over windows (with peep holes) painted black on the outside, placed and secured from the inside. Make one room or part of one room storage space for your Emergency Preparations. Store your food supplies in this space, water also. When things happen fill your bathtub with water and all containers you can. Zip lock bags, plastic bags, anything.

The factors that bring us to the decision to bug out or not can be many. Of those are fear, anxiety, anti-social behavioral, or mental. Fear is the strongest of all brought on by such things as an unstable government, weak or unstable economic times, wars and rumor of wars, religious persecution, racial riots, whatever pushes your buttons. You must overcome your fear because this leads to panic, and in a panic situation you will do things that can and will put yourself and others in harm’s way. It will also cause you to make judgement calls that are not correct, of ill conceived, and half baked.

Bugging In or Out, it’s the same, you have to have supplies, you have to have a plan, you have to remain calm, you have to have a good clear mind about you at all times, and you have to remain alert to the conditions at hand and be able to react at an instants notice. Things and conditions change and you must change with them. The only difference between the two is the distance traveled and the time it’s started. Either one of them you will have to leave your primary location at one point in time sooner or later, by choice or by force, by looters and gangs possibly, or the government mandate possibly, or never. It’s just a roll of the dice.

People have died when they should have evacuated when they were told to do so by the authorities during the hurricanes and flooding. It was their choice, next time the government may not give you a choice.

This is just my thinking and observations, take it how you think you need to. Good Luck!

Want to know more? Check out these related articles:

Bugging Out Without Leaving a Trail

To Bug Out or Stay In? That is the Question

16 Creature Comforts For When You Need To Bug In




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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Pingback: Reasons to Bug Out or Bug In | Patriot Powered News

  2. InklingBooks

    June 16, 2015 at 8:26 AM

    Survivalists need to keep in mind that more than 99 times out of 100, you’re better off being involved in local emergency response groups in advance and working with them in disasters. You’ll not only benefit from their vastly greater resources, instead of bugging out to the woods for no sane reason, you’ll be helping to rescue children from collapsed buildings.

    • Carol Stone King

      June 24, 2015 at 10:03 AM

      Most states have a Medical Reserve Corp. While medical personnel are needed, so are others, such as mechanics, transporters and most other skills. Training on disaster skills and management are usually offered on a regular basis. Google your state and volunteer. Skills and knowledge gained are applicable to personal as well as public needs.

    • james

      June 24, 2015 at 12:22 PM

      That’s why I am a volunteer first responder for my rescue squad , we are a specialized SAR group directly under Emergency Management.

  3. Willie R. Gillis

    June 17, 2015 at 5:21 AM

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    • DaveH

      June 23, 2015 at 1:17 PM

      How come it is your buddy’s sister and not you? 🙁

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