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What Does Bugging Out Really Mean?

First, what does the term bugging out really mean. It is military jargon and by most accounts, the term originated from the Korean War. Units and/or personnel were directed to “bug-out” when their current position was no longer considered defensible and was likely to be overrun by hostile forces. Personnel were expected to deploy rapidly to a pre-designated defensive position.

The key phrasing is a “position no longer defensible and is likely to be overrun” and “deployment to a pre-designated defensible position”. In other words, you do not run around in circles in a panic, you need a plan, and you know what they say about the best-laid plans.

People are in love with the idea but if they really had to Bug out love can be fleeting at times.

In non-military prepping terms, bugging out is typically associated with grabbing a bug-out-bag and hastily leaving a disaster zone. Heading presumably to a pre-designated safe haven but herein lays the crux of bugging-out. You only think you know what will happen once you leave. What the reality is you are fleeing one disaster for another, one that may turn out even more disastrous. Once you leave the four walls of your shelter, you have given yourself over to another crisis, one that you have absolutely no control over. You have heard the term “from the frying pan into the fire” it applies here.

You may have a utopia just waiting for you to show up. One of the problems however is getting there, the second problem is how many others are already there, and once you get there, then what.

As smart as you may think you are, you have not reinvented the wheel here. Everyone else will be thinking the same things and many will not be even remotely prepared. Some people will still show up at your safe haven looking for handouts just as they have been doing all their life.

People are convinced for some reason that society will make a drastic change once a major catastrophe strikes. Society will stay the same it’s just that the surroundings will be different. You will still have those people that work hard and try to do the right thing, you will have those people that want to take from others and then those that simply for whatever reason cannot make a go of anything and are dependent upon society as a whole.

You will not become a hermit living off the land the minute you reach your so-called safe haven. The minute you reach your destination is when survival really begins, and you will not be alone.

What is your Bug Out Plan based on?

There is nothing better than personal experience when it comes to making a plan. If you have never grabbed your bug-out-bag and headed out for parts known or unknown because of a crisis then you are planning based on assumptions, on what others have told you, or on what you may have read on the Internet. If you do not know what can happen from personal experience, then well you simply do not know do you. You can only guess (hypothesis) based on the most reliable and current information, but those giving you the information are only guessing as well, unless they have experienced bugging-out firsthand.

Scenario

Day 1

Normally you are awakened by blaring music but not this morning. The voice was excited and yet tried to remain calm and solemn at the same time, a newscasters’ voice. You caught bits and pieces of the news bulletin as you lay there wondering why you were not hearing music from the bedside radio.

Unknown toxicity, possible aerosol canisters placed on public transit, could be sprayed from the air. Some first responders have succumb to unknown contaminates; the anchor went on to state. People collapsing on the street, the bits and pieces were flung from the radio, as you lay there half-awake, and then it struck you.

Your face drained and a sense of urgency took over, you jumped out of bed and had an overpowering urge to run but where to. Finally, you got a hold of yourself and turned on the television as you begin dressing.

Chaos and people screaming even the anchor facing the camera was in a panic talking through a respirator. Cars were parked on the sidewalks and stopped in the middle of the street. Ambulances with the back doors gaping open filled the screen but no one inside, no gunnery’s or any medical technicians wheeling patients, no one rushing, and no one in sight.

The camera tilted and then crashed to the ground. Now the view was from ground level. You saw the legs and feet of someone lying just feet from the camera lens. You could not stop staring.

One Year ago

Today was the first time you had heard of “bugging out” and “bug-out-bags”. Your friend had always been enthusiastic and seemed to latch on to new ideas with intense fervor and today he was trying to convince you to prepare for the coming apocalypse. Super Storm Sandy along the East Coast had a tremendous impact even this far inland and people seemed to be talking more about preparedness.

The Mid-Western city you lived in was land locked and had a population close to 500,000. Not a bustling metropolis compared to the cities along either coast but a large metropolitan area nonetheless. It was referred to as fly over country by many and not on any ones’ radar in your opinion, especially a terrorist organization as your friend was trying to imply.

Your friend was dragging out backpacks, clothes, tools and gadgets and laying them on the floor. He handed you a hand written list of items that he said were essential for surviving 72-hours in any situation. He said that when the SHTF he wanted to be ready and that you needed to be ready as well.

The note also had a rendezvous point, in the event of a crisis because all communications would be down, so meet up when the balloon goes up. You folded the note up and told your friend you had to get going, the blaring television was getting to be too much. Apparently, there was a marathon of the Doomsday Preppers running and your friend seemed transfixed by the show, he never looked up from the television as you closed the door behind you.

Present Day

You thought back to that day a year ago in your friends’ home. You have a bug-out-bag now but wondered just how prepared you really are. You had gathered some things over the last year and then stuffed them in a backpack and tossed it in a closet. Your idea of a crisis at the time was a few days without power or a blizzard that cocooned everyone in their homes for a couple of days.

Now it seemed the very city you lived in was not safe. You also realized it had been two hours since the first emergency broadcast and you had not even grabbed your pack, and you wondered about your friend. Why no phone calls, your cell phone still had bars and there was still electrical service. The humming refrigerator seemed oblivious to what was happening. He may have just “bugged-out” and was headed for the meeting place, but another thought occurred but you tried hard to push it away.

You had no idea what to do. Fear of the known and unknown alike rooted you in place.

The news channel was a garbled mess and the governors and mayor’s statements that had been taped an hour earlier were playing continually. Stay calm, and no, we do not know if the crisis is an attack or an industrial accident; it is too early to say. The investigation is continuing, no need to panic and no mandatory evacuations have been ordered at this time and it is recommended you stay indoors and avoid traveling at this time. Keep the highways clear for emergency personnel were the pleas from the authorities.

Apparently, the local news stations were on automatic pilot. The workers were likely huddled up somewhere or fleeing the city. The local radio stations obviously did not get the governor’s memo about staying off the roads, because they were playing on a loop the routes that were to be used for evacuation from the city.

You had no idea what the toxin was that was released, and if anyone in authority knew, it was kept a secret. However, the empty ambulances with their doors flung wide told the whole story.

You were afraid to leave and afraid to stay, you simply did not have enough information. If you left on foot, you may walk into a cloud of deadly chemicals, and where would you walk to that was safe. If you tried to leave in your car, you could get hung-up in traffic and then no way to escape the clouds of gas headed your way if in fact it was a gas attack.

What if it was some communicable disease and the National Guard was already stopping people from leaving because of the fear of it spreading. Not enough information to decide on a course of action, staying put could be deadly and leaving on foot seemed to be even more deadly.

Your home was a small rental house perched somewhere between real suburbia and the city central. There were factories you could see from your front window, and no clouds of steam bellowed from their smokestacks today.

You were looking at the overpass a quarter of a mile away with a pair of binoculars and it was clogged with cars not moving. You saw people running along the sides of the highway in both directions; it was chaos wherever you looked.

You inventoried your backpack and wondered how in the world you could survive out there. What should you do? Should you shoulder the pack and make a run for it, head north away from the city and find a wooded area. Where does safety lie in this type of situation?

The people on the overpass seemed to be fine, no one appeared to be gasping for air or collapsing on the spot as far as you could tell but things could change.

The pack had some bottled water, ready to eat foods in plastic pouches, matches, a magnesium stick that you had never tried out, a change of underwear and socks, heavy coat, flashlight, some rope, a compass, first aid kit, sunglasses and maps of the city and state along with a few other miscellaneous items. You also had a multi-tool, two thermal blankets and a small survival fishing kit all rolled up in a nylon tarp that your friend had given you.

You were worried about your friend because he did not answer his cell phone. It took close to an hour to get through on the cell phone only to hear his voicemail prompt you to leave a message. The cell towers were overloaded probably.

What do you do based on what you know so far?

It would be difficult to know if there were other canisters of gas ready to explode if in fact it was a deliberate release of deadly gas. Was it some type of freak accident? Possibly a train derailment of cars containing some deadly cargo or did someone blow up a train car that they knew contained deadly chemicals. It is all speculation at this point.

Terrorists often will attack and then wait for first responders to rush in and then attack again to injure and kill the emergency personnel. These types of attacks are truly meant to provoke terror in people’s minds. Attacks are also timed to occur in various areas at different times to spread emergency resources thin.

Terrorist know the psychological impact their actions have and in some cases, just the threat of an attack or the idea of another attack is enough to send a city into panic.

Based on the almost instant reaction the toxin had on people you could probably rule out a biological attack. However, the authorities may not have ruled it out and may cordoned off certain areas to prevent anyone from leaving. Thousands however, would be able to bypass the checkpoints and individuals with little to no training could easily avoid any roadblocks in place.

It seems some action, whether it works or not, is better than no action at all, is the philosophy of many government officials.

If it was a gas attack, the canisters could be rigged to explode by cell phone or timers all over the city. The individual could head out in a panic and run into a cloud of saran gas. Another release of gas could be closer to his home this time thus killing him in his own home if he stayed in place.

For the first attack, the canisters could have been placed on public transit, buses and trains, for example, and rigged to release at certain times. This means the gas is distributed throughout the city at intervals. The individual simply does not know.

The fact that the individuals’ cell phone worked six hours into the attack might allow you to rule out canisters rigged to explode by a cell or radio signal.

Homeland Security and other agencies if they had been paying attention would have jammed all radio and cell service to the area almost immediately to prevent a cell phone or radio signal from triggering any more devices. Although only six hours in may be too early for this kind of response what do you think?

After six hours no one seems to have much information, does the individual in the story have enough information to make a decision and what should his decision be.

Time is crucial and decisions to evacuate must be made quickly in these types of situations, what would you do and how would you do it?

 

 

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BUG OUT: 60+ Preparedness Resources for Bugging Out

Bugging out can mean many things to different people; but in general, when we talk about bugging out we are talking about having to make a quick getaway during times of crisis. The reasons for having to make this getaway can be anything from manmade or natural disaster that causes you to leave your immediate area to long-term emergency situations which could make returning home dangerous or impossible.

While the reasons for bugging out are many, it’s an action that should never be taken lightly, as it could carry significant risks to your safety and security. Becuase this topic is so deadly serious, we have compiled our top bug out bag checklists and evacuation planning guides to help you formulate a plan of action.

Man with Bug Out Bag

Some Important things you need to keep in mind:

  • Bugging out without a place to go is a recipe for disaster. You need to know exactly where you’re going and exactly how you are going to get there, including alternate routes in case your plans go bad.
  • Planning to live off the land without ever having done it before is not going to work. Don’t be one of those people who thinks he’s going to be some wilderness nomad wandering the countryside.
  • Evacuating increases your risk of being attacked during an extreme crisis, such as a disaster where people may be targeting those with supplies. You need to weigh the options carefully, and always keep self-defense in mind.

Topics Covered in this Bugout Guide: The links below will jump you right to the specific section.

  • Disasters that Might Cause you to Evacuate
  • How to Develop your Bugout Plans
  • Bug Out Bags and Emergency Survival Gear
  • Bug Out Locations (BOL): Where to Head when Things Go Bad
  • Bug Out Vehicles (BOV): Your Ticket out of Dodge
  • Self-Defense Considerations when Evacuating
  • Critical Considerations and Preparedness Resources
  • Recommended Preparedness Books on Bugging Out

Disasters Scenarios that Could Call for Immediate Evacuation.

Disasters and Threats to Safety

Having a well thought out evacuation strategy is an essential part of any emergency preparedness plan; equally important is understanding what threats are out there and what types of disasters and crisis situations could cause you to put your bugout plan into place.

While everyone’s reasons for evacuating will be different, largely based on their unique needs and circumstances, the following threats are all things that you need to consider when putting together your family’s bug out plan.

  • Large-scale Cyber Attacks that Take Down the Entire Grid: The Coming Cyber Wars that could change the world as we know it.
  • Pandemic Outbreaks and Localized Disease Epidemics: Throughout history, millions upon millions of people have died as the result of pandemic outbreaks; based on how poorly this country’s emergency planners reacted during the 2015 Ebola scare, pandemics and disease outbreaks are on the top of the list of considerations.
  • EMPs, Terror Attacks, and Grid Failures: What was once considered something out of a science fiction novel is now a very real possibility — the complete shutdown of our entire electrical grid.
  • An attack on your local Water Supply: From terror attacks targeting the water supply, to industrial accidents like the recent release of millions of gallons of Toxic Materials into the Colorado River, threats to the water supply are a serious cause for concern.
  • Disasters that cause breakdowns in Food Distribution Systems.  Modern grocery stores have about a 3-day supply of food on hand at all times. Even small-scale disasters can bring food delivery systems to their knees.
  • A Large-Scale Economic Collapse: Economies around the world are crashing, countries are drowning in record amounts of debt, and governments continue to pile on new debt like there’s no tomorrow. At some point, the house of cards will come crashing down.
  • Social Unrest & Riots: The social unrest in this country has reached a boiling point, and it’s not going to take much for this chaos to spread to other areas of the country.
  • Declaration of Martial Law: From widespread social unrest, crime, and violence to a growing national debt that threatens to sink the country, the writing’s on the wall: Trouble is coming.
  • Earthquakes: From the initial damage which could make your home unlivable, to the chaos that will follow as people take advantage of an already bad situation, earthquakes top the list of disasters that could cause you to evacuate.
  • Wildfires: Wildfires are a growing threat, especially in drought ridden areas of the Southwestern United States.
  • Hurricanes & Storm Surge Flooding: For those who live in hurricane zones, this is probably one of the top threats that would cause you to at the very least temporarily leave your home.

Evacuation Planning: Developing your Bug Out Plans

Planning evacuation Routes

Now that you have considered the most likely threats that would cause you to evacuate, it’s time to start putting plans in place to deal with each of the identified threats. The only way to truly be able to survive a threat is to have a plan in place to deal with it; a crisis is not a time to start winging things.

  • Stay or Go? You need to plan for both: While having a bug out plan is important, you need to consider the pros and cons of leaving or sheltering in place.
  • How to plan a bug out route for emergency evacuation: You don’t want to start thinking about how you’re going to evacuate as you’re grabbing your go bag during a disaster. You need to have a documented plan in place that will help ensure you’re able to make it safely out of Dodge.
  • Conducting routine emergency drills & disaster training: When it comes to real-world preparedness, your ability to survive a crisis comes down to two things: Your Planning and your Training. If you don’t practice your plans, then your plans are useless.
  • Making time for preparedness related training: To really be prepared to deal with disasters, you need to bring training into your daily routine.
  • You need a Communication Plan: During a catastrophe, it’s very likely that most communication channels will go down. You need to have a plan in place to gather information and connect with your loved ones during times of crisis.
  • National Trail System Map: There are thousands of hiking trails throughout the United States, these trails are something that should be kept in mind during disasters where you may have to evacuate by foot.
  • U.S. Railroad Traffic Atlas: Railroad tracks are another possible evacuation route that you need to be aware of.

Bug Out Bags and Selecting the Right Emergency Gear

Bugout Gear

The type of gear you select can go a long way in determining the outcome of your situation. When picking any type of survival gear, make sure you do your research; once you have the gear, make sure you test, train with, and thoroughly understand how to use all of your supplies.

  • The Ultimate Guide to building the Perfect Bug out Bag: When it comes to packing your Bug out Bag, a number of things need to be considered.
  • Bugout Bags for Children: Giving your child their own backpack filled with familiar items, essential survival gear, and comfort foods can be a real life saver during an emergency.
  • What type of Bag Should you buy? Military, hiking or hunting backpacks; which one is going to hold up when you need it, and which pack is right for your unique situation?
  • How to Pack Your Backpack for Easy Carrying: Believe it or not, there is a correct way to load a bag; something most hikers find out the hard way while suffering from all sorts of uncomfortable backpack related pains out on the trail.
  • The Best Portable Solar Panel Chargers for Disasters: These small portable solar panels make a great addition to any bug out bag; when disaster strikes they can help keep devices like cell phones, small tablets, flashlights, emergency radios, ham radios, and GPS devices up and running.
  • How much water should you be carrying in your bug out bag? Water is one of the most critical resources you need to survive any situation, but just how much should you carry with you?
  • Top Survival Knives for your Bag: In a survival situation one of the most useful tools you can have is a good fixed-blade knife.
  • 7 Tools Designed for Urban Survival: Urban Survival & Wilderness Survival are two very different things. Make sure you know the difference before buying a bunch of wilderness survival gear that you may never use.
  • Build the Ultimate School Bug Out Kit for your Kids: If you have a child in public school, it’s important to prepare them for the possibility of disasters that hit while they’re at school.

Bug Out Locations (BOL): Where to Head when Things Go Bad

Bugout cabin

When things go bad, having a dedicated bug out location can help ensure your survival. Not only will you have a place to go, far from the chaos and dangers associated with urban survival, but you’ll also have a place to store backup supplies and equipment.

  • How to Find the Perfect Bugout Survival Property: Bugging out without a place to go is not a plan; find out what you should look for in a survival retreat or bug out location.
  • How to defend your bug out location: Preparing your battlespace: During a complete meltdown scenario, the ability to protect your property from attackers may be a skill that comes in very handy.
  • 10 Tips For Bugging Out to the Country: How the average farmer or homesteader feels about urban folks bugging out to the country.
  • Safety Considerations When Buying Rural Land for Bugouts: While most people think escaping the city is the safest thing to do, there are some safety considerations you need to keep in mind when purchasing rural land.
  • What If You Don’t Have A Bug Out Location? Bugging out without having a place to go is not a plan; it’s called being a refugee. That being said, I do believe in having contingency plans, and not everyone can afford a dedicated bug out location.

Bug Out Vehicles (BOV): Your Ticket out of Dodge

off-road vehicle bugging out

Having a plan is great, but you need to account for how you’re going to get out during times of crisis. From bugout vehicles to walking out when things really go bad, here are some tips for getting out of Dodge in one piece.

  • Tips to Prepare your Vehicle for Bugout Disasters: Not everyone can afford a dedicated Four-Wheel Drive BOV, but everyone can make sure their vehicle is setup for survival.
  • BOV Chronicles: Creek Stewart’s Bug Out Truck: I’m not a big fan of most survival T.V. shows, but I do like Creek Stewart and his show on the Weather Channel. When it comes to survival experts, he knows what he’s talking about and seems to genuinely care about helping other people. His Bug Out Chronicles are a great look at what it takes to transform an ordinary truck into a top notch vehicle for survival.
  • Consider building a Mobile Bugout Shelter: When things go bad, having a dedicated bug out location or survival shelter can help protect you from the chaos and dangers associated with urban living.
  • 8 Considerations when Choosing a Bug Out Vehicle: Some considerations you need to think about when selecting a bug out vehicle.
  • This is how you make a vehicle unstoppable Off-Road: Here are fourteen basic off-road vehicle attributes that can be the difference between getting stuck in the woods and making a successful escape.
  • Driving Tips For A Safe Bug Out: Not many people think about what it will take to evacuate during a major crisis; in order to survive the mayhem associated with significant civil unrest, you need to learn these basic driving tactics.
  • Building a Bugout Bike: Scott Williams’ advice on why you should consider building an evacuation bike.

Self Defense Considerations when Evacuating

Self-Defense Training

There is one thing you can almost count on during times of crisis: There are going to be people looking to take advantage of the situation. Self-defense is something that you need to take seriously, and it needs to be part of any good survival plan.

  • Should you buy a firearm? The Pros & Cons of Gun Ownership: Firearms in the hands of a law-abiding citizen can save lives, and the numbers show it. During a collapse type scenario, the ability to defend yourself is going to be a top concern.
  • Bugout Guns: When disaster strikes, you may have all the supplies you need, but without proper firearms in your bugout bag, some thug could easily take all your gear.
  • Preparing for Riots: When disaster strikes, there is a pretty good chance you may see widespread looting and rioting; make sure you know how to deal with these types of events.
  • 5 Handguns for Bugging Out: If you have room for only one handgun and some ammo. What do you take?
  • Defending yourself from multiple attackers: I hate to break it to you; carrying a firearm does not guarantee your safety, and carrying a firearm without training is a recipe for disaster. You need to study the art of self-defense thoroughly and know how to defend yourself without a firearm.

Important Bugout Considerations and Preparedness Resources:

Images of Natural Disasters

The key to survival is knowledge; without it, you don’t stand a chance. Here are some other important factors that you should keep in mind when considering your evacuation plans.

  • You must plan for breakdowns in Infrastructure: Our nation’s highways have become so congested that from a preparedness perspective, they have left us completely vulnerable to both natural and man-made disasters.
  • Stay Away from Large Cities: No matter what disaster hits, facing it in a large city is going to be a whole lot harder than facing it in a rural area.
  • List of Emergency Communication Frequencies, Channels, and Networks: A detailed list of communication devices and emergency frequencies to monitor during a disaster.
  • Always carry an EDC with you at all times: Since most accidents happen when you least expect them, carrying an everyday carry kit is a good way to make sure you always have basic supplies on hand should disaster strike when your away from your primary gear.
  • How Much Money Do You Have in Your Bugout Bag? Having cash on hand is an important part of being able to Bugout. From paying for last minute supplies to being able to bribe your way out of sticky situations, there are a number of reasons to consider carrying cash in your emergency bags.
  • How Far can You Walk in a Day When Bugging Out? This is an issue that you must take into account, especially if you’re out of shape.
  • 7 Tips for Long-Term Survival After You Bug: You’ve bugged out; now what? Any good plan should account for long-term disasters and what you would do when the dust starts to settle.
  • 32 Resources & Preparedness Skills that Everyone Should Know: Skills that were once part of our everyday lives, ones that helped our ancestors thrive, have been largely forgotten; these skills can help you survive during a long-term crisis.
  • 27 Essential Preparedness Tips, Skills and Resources: The knowledge you need to survive in the face of danger.

Beyond the Bugout

When some people talk about bugging out, they’re speaking of much more than just planning for disasters. Some are looking for a way to drop off the grid and leave the trappings of modern-day society.

  • How to Disappear Completely and Start a New Life: Somewhere along the line, you may find yourself looking for a way to escape. In today’s modern world, the ability to completely drop off the grid is something that is getting harder and harder by the day; but there are some things you can do if you want to disappear and live off the radar.
  • Getting Out of Babylon: A lot of people believe a major collapse is coming; if that’s the case, one way to protect yourself may be completely dropping out of the system that’s responsible for this mess.
  • The Partial Bugout; Going Off the Grid: A real-life example of how one family successfully made the transition into off-grid living.

Recommended Books on Bugging Out:

Survival Books

  • The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide: Self-Reliance Strategies for a Dangerous World: Robert Richardson, founder of offgridsurvival.com, gives you real-world advice on how to survive the very real dangers present in today’s society. The book covers everything from natural disasters, man-made disasters and disease outbreaks, to essential tactics and step-by-step instructions for surviving urban disasters, crime, social unrest, and criminal/terrorist attacks.
  • Strategic Relocation: North American Guide to Safe Places: Author Joel M. Skousen gives you great advice on selecting bugout locations and long-term survival properties. The book examines in detail, various regions in the United States where you may be thinking of buying a home or bugging out to when things go bad.
  • Build the Perfect Bug Out Vehicle: The Disaster Survival Vehicle Guide: Creek Stewart, Survival Expert and Host of the T.V. Show Fat Guys in the Woods, details from start to finish everything you need to equip an everyday vehicle for a drive through and away from disaster-stricken areas—from survival supplies and storage solutions to off-road travel, communication, navigation, and security considerations.
  • Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late: Author Scott B. Williams’ book is an excellent resource for Bugout planning. The book looks at evacuation strategies and details the best escape locations in the U.S.
  • Peterson’s Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Knowing what you can and can’t eat during a long-term survival situation is something a lot of people overlook; Peterson’s Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants gives you details on what plants you can eat, and which ones you should avoid during an emergency.