How do you know when you should bug out?
I woke up this morning with plans of filming a video for my YouTube channel. Then the thought of this blog article came to me. Needless to say, the video will be put off until tomorrow. I'm not one to ignore blog thoughts, and if I don't write them right away, the thought or inspiration goes away quickly, lol. That's just how I work. So, here goes...
I've already talked about what it means to "bug out" in my article What does it mean to bug out? What I want to talk about today is the reality of what you can expect if you bug out; and deciding when to bug out.
What do you see in your mind when you think about bugging out? Do you see yourself and your family in the family vehicle heading to your designated bug out location? Or do you envision your family sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows and singing Kumbaya? Or, perhaps you see yourself in the compound where all of your prepping/survival buddies and families have congregated.
These are just three of the main bug out "scenarios" that most preppers/survivalists are preparing for when the need to bug out arises. Maybe you've never even thought about the fact that there may come a time when you would need to bug out and are just planning on "bugging in", or staying put in your home.
No matter what our plans are, we need to prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally (as well as spiritually) for the reality of what life will be like in a long term SHTF situation. Because things definitely will not continue on in what we consider as being normal. There will be chaos, at the least, and most likely there will be violence, murdering, and starvation. Sadly, lots of starvation.
If you are among the fortunate ones to have a bug out location or a compound (many refer to these as off grid communities) your chances of survival are higher than most. You've probably already got most of the things you will need to survive and protect yourself and your family in place. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford such luxuries. In fact, the majority of preppers cannot. I want to focus on that majority today.
Some say it is best to bug in for as long as you can. Others say that it's best to bug out right away.
What are some of the factors to consider when deciding whether bugging in or bugging out is the right thing to do? Some say it is best to bug in for as long as you can. Others say that it's best to bug out right away. I'm inclined to go with the latter. If we stay put for too long, it may become close to impossible to leave. Or, we might not survive long enough to leave.
I can't even begin to fathom what might be going on inside your head when you think about a SHTF situation. But, I do know from watching and listening that there are a lot of people out there who think things will remain relatively the same as they are now. I think it's possible that they try to believe that so that they don't panic. Some think that they will be protected by the four walls around them inside their homes. They think as long as they have enough food and perhaps even water to get them through a few months that they will be fine. The first thing that comes to my mind with this sort of thinking is, if the grid goes down nationwide, it will take a minimum of one year to get it back up. However, more realistically, it could take up to 10 years or longer. If SHTF were caused by an economic crash, it could also last up to 10 years (think The Great Depression from 1926 to 1936). Either of these scenarios could, and are likely to, happen. What will you do then? After your food and water have been depleted? We need to think outside of the box, and much further into the future.
I remember when I was a little girl, around the age of six, standing across the street with my grandmother from a house in the neighborhood that was on fire. The house was set back quite a ways from the street, so we were safe. I also remember my grandmother praying and pleading (out loud) with The Lord for the safety of the residents of that house, along with praying for the safety of my uncle (her son) who was among the firefighters trying to put out the fire and rescue the people inside. The house burned to the ground. We stood there for most of the day and watched it happen. I don't remember what became of the residents; I'm pretty sure I was never told. I also remember at around the same age hearing my uncle (the firefighter) talk about a fire that was at a gas station and trying to describe the stench of burning flesh. I'm absolutely sure that it is because of these two incidents that I have a GREAT fear of fires.
The first thing I think about when I think about bugging in our home when SHTF is that someone could easily set our house on fire to "smoke" us out, kill us, and take our food and provisions. I know, pretty gruesome thinking. But, in a long term SHTF situation, that could very well happen. People who are normally kind and generous can become quite the opposite when they see their spouse, children, brother, sister, other family members or even friends so starved that they are near death. Some will do whatever it takes to keep themselves or their loved ones from starving...even if it means killing someone to do so.
I don't mean to be the bearer of bad news, but it is a reality that we all need to face. If SHTF goes down nationwide, or close to it, and lasts longer than a few days it will become a case of survival of the fittest, and the most prepared.
Herein is where the reality of bugging out sets in.
So, can you see why I would want to bug out right away, or as soon as possible? I don't want to stick around and have myself and my family be at the risk of those who did not prepare and will become a danger to others. The only problem with bugging out is, like most people, I don't have a cabin or compound to bug out to. Heck, I don't even own a piece of land I can go to. Herein is where the reality of bugging out sets in. If I don't have the luxury of any of the above, what am I going to do? It's pretty obvious that neither case, bugging in or bugging out, guarantees safety to myself and/or my family. However, I believe if I and my family members learn the skills needed to bug out we will have a greater chance at surviving whatever caused the S to HTF. If we can get out of the city and away from the populace, we will be somewhat safer. However, the longer you wait to leave, the harder it will be to get out. Think about it. Also, the larger the city, the harder it will be to leave.
Thus, I have been learning and practicing bush craft skills. If you are unaware of what bush craft is, see my article, What exactly is bushcraft?. Why bush craft? Because it is a skill set that can be used in the wilderness, woods, or outdoors anywhere. If you are planning on bugging out with no particular place to go, you should consider looking into bush craft and learning all that you can about it. There will also be equipment you will need to have in your bug out bag (BOB) in addition to the food you carry.
There are preppers who prep with the hopes of being able to bug out with the help of their vehicles. Depending on which SHTF scenario plays out, that may be possible. However, if it is an EMP it's possible that your vehicle won't start. If it's a grid down, you will only have what gasoline is in your vehicle (or any gas filled gas cans you may have available) because gas station pumps will not work. If it is an economic collapse, gas prices may zoom too high for the average person to be able to afford much at all.
It's best to be prepared for either way. I'm prepared to leave on foot, but if my vehicle will work at all, I will use it to get as far as I can toward my destination and then traverse on foot. If we have to leave on foot, without a vehicle, we have bicycles to help us get a good start. Again, if this were the case, it would be wise to have bush craft skills to survive. You can only carry so much food with you on foot or on a bicycle or whatever mode of transportation available.
Whether you decide to bug in or bug out, there will be dangers that you will need to be prepared to face. Even if you bug out you may run into people who may be desperate. You will need to be able to discern whether or not they are trustworthy. That most likely will not be easy. So, it will be extremely important to be aware of anything and anyone. Once SHTF there will no longer be a "normal". At least not what we now consider to be normal. You will need to be on high alert at all times. Your life and the lives of your loved ones will depend on it. That will be your new normal.
What if you run out of food and/or water? You would have two choices. One: utilize the skills you learned before SHTF. Two: kill other human beings to obtain said water and food. Oh, you could scavenge for a while and perhaps find some food or water in empty houses. But, chances are at that point there won't be much left to scavenge. Of course, there is a third choice, you could allow yourself and/or family to die. But, we don't want that to happen, do we? And, that is why we need to learn how to find food or have the means to forage and to hunt wild game and cook it. Not something that a majority of people know or want to learn. But, when it comes down to it, it is a life-saving skill you will need to have if you want to survive. Also, don't depend solely upon one person in your family to have these skills...what would you do if something happened to that person, or they got lost from you and your group?
Another thing to consider in a SHTF situation, whether bugging in or bugging out is protection. How are you going to protect yourself or your family?
Not all preppers are gun enthusiasts. If you are one who is not, I want to admonish you right now to reconsider your thoughts on the matter. You must realize that if there ever was a national major catastrophe not only thugs and criminals could be breaking down your doors looking for food, but so could your own neighbors. What would you do if those trying to break in were carrying weapons? You will need a way to protect yourself and your family. There's an old saying, "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight" and the same holds true for don't bring...a baseball bat, pepper spray, cast iron skillet, etc. The only way to defend yourself (or your family) against guns is with a gun or guns. And, if you're not planning on bugging in, or have to bug out for whatever reason, you are likely to run into the same types of thugs, criminals, or desperate people while doing so. In my opinion, it makes sense (common sense) to do whatever is necessary to legally purchase a fire arm (whether that be a hand gun, long rifle, shotgun, or all three) and get trained on how to use it/them. Now. While there's time and availability. Just remember, if the grid goes down there will be no "911" to call. You will be responsible for protecting yourself and your family.
I have only touched on the surface here. My intention with this blog article is to bring awareness, get you to thinking, and hopefully, inspire you to take action. There are many sources available on the Internet to help you learn all of the above. I pray that you will take the time to search for them, read them, learn from them, and practice what you learn.
Until next time...happy prepping, and God bless!
Matthew 6:19-21, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (KJV)