Monday, January 30, 2012

Meditations on bugging out....

Where to?

Where from?



'Bugging out' is the concept of running away from a bad situation. Getting out of Dodge, vacating the area, strategic withdrawal, Vamoosing, Fading out.... call it what you will; The idea is the same. It simply means the place you are is not a good place to be anymore, and going someplace else would be a good idea. Thus the term..... 'Bugging out'.

Quite a lot of people give this some thought, and have 'Bug Out Bags' already made up. These can be as simple or as complicated as the builder wishes, but the idea is usually to give someone enough gear/stuff to make the next 72 hours a little more comfortable, while being easy to grab and go with. A Bug Out Bag (BOB) is such a good idea, our own government has spent quite a lot of our tax dollars telling us why we should put one together.

So.... my thoughts..... for what they are worth.......

Do I have a BOB? In a fashion, yes I do. It lives in my car, and is nothing more fancy than an old fat bottomed and mostly worn out laptop bag with a shoulder strap. Few people would give it a second glance, if even a first one, and that's the point.

In this bag, a change of clothing suitable for a day at work, some basic toiletries, a few first aid items, ID, a couple handy tools, and enough cash to bail me out of a minor situation. Not a lot, but enough to buy a few tires in a hurry if I had to, or fill the tank a few times and get a room for the night most places. The bag contains no weapons, for it lives in my car 24/7, and I am a teacher. One of the things teacher's give up to have their career is the right of self defense while at work, so weapons are verboten career killers.

The thing is.... the car itself is a BOB in a way. I try to keep it filled with fuel, and it's got a few other 'handy' things distributed inside it. A GPS, a compass, fire making implements, cash money, blankets, chop sticks, flashlights, cell charger, a spare jacket and hat, bottled water..... things chosen to be handy, based on my life experiences. Also... things chosen to be 'tuckable' into the cars nooks and crannies, thus fading from view. If I should be stuck someplace, unable to move on, I'd be okay for a while. Certainly better off than if I had nothing at all.

All that just mentioned serves two goals; To be comfortable in place, should I have no choice, or help me to get home. Why home? Perhaps better to ask... where else but home? (at least in my case).

The concept of 'Bugging Out presupposes two things; Where we are at has suddenly become a bad place to be, and there is someplace better we should go right now. Okay.... that gives us a framework for some thoughts.

First, what could happen to make a place suddenly unhealthy.... and (since these are my meditations) how would they affect my home?
  • Fire: My biggest fear, since it would wipe out the home and everything in it. Preparing for it is difficult, but what can be done has been. Fire precautions are in place, insurance purchased, and important papers/stuff live in a fire resistant safe. Fire elsewhere? As long as I can get home..... not a problem.
  • Tornado: Sure, everyplace has them, but we get very few here. As for prepping for one... we have a solid stone basement that's 300 years old.... and what else can you do with a tornado but hide someplace solid and pray?
  • Hurricane: Not an issue here. Wrong part of the world. When such heads our way, it shows up as a bad storm, and the house is at least as solid as anyplace we'd end up at... likely far more so.
  • Heavy snow/ice storm: We are set here. We don't need power to be warm and comfortable, and we have two alternate sources of water besides the well pump. Heat is covered, and food as well. Three feet of snow is not a disaster if we are at home when it happens.... it's an adventure, and opportunity for the neighbor kids to make money shoveling our cars out.
  • Nuclear accident: The house is outside the 'run-away' zone for any reactors in this part of the country. A problem big enough to strike here would be big enough to wipe out half a state.... and where are you going to run from that?
  • Civil unrest: Um.... not likely here. Around here's country folk, and they don't take well to people being uncivil near their homes. In fact, they get downright cranky about it.... and everyone is armed.... even the Amish. It's the safest, most civil place one could live. Should something so bad happen that it even spreads to this area (and that would entail a total societal breakdown) our home is about the best place we could be. It's well stocked and defensible, and bordered by neighbors who would not hesitate to band together.
  • Earthquake: Unlikely where we live. There are faults in the area, but it's historically a quiet zone in plate tectonics. On rare occasions we get a temblor that gets mentioned in the paper, but it seldom so much as breaks a plate.
  • Economic hardship: Well, that would be a problem anyplace... and there's very little running away from it. Should I lose my income tomorrow, we'd be okay for a bit. Could I bring on another income stream? I suspect I could... and living here would make it easier in many ways. Living costs are already held relatively low here, and 'making-do' is almost a religion in these parts. People understand it.
  • Flood: Well, if it floods enough to make my home unlivable.... I think the next dry spot may be the other side of the state. There would be no running from here to someplace else.

All of the above have been thought about, and considered in terms of bugging out, or staying put. Where there were lackings, the staying put option was re-enforced, because that just makes the most sense.

The way I see it.... if one is serious enough about personal survival to take precautions such as Bug Out Bags and scenario consideration, then preparedness should start with the most basic thoughts of all. Where would I run away from? Where would I run to? Why would I be running?

Mitigating the 'Why' as much as possible, while making the 'Where To' as ready as possible seems like common sense. Making the 'Where To' be the place you call home anyway.... that makes stellar good sense.


D.W. Drang said...

Well thought out and explained. I've started running into people who explain their prepping in terms of "The Zombie Apocalypse"; I guess making a joke about it makes stockpiling supplies and learning skills okay. Not sure why they think they need the justification, but, hey, it's their life...
Posted a link on Bill Quick's "Survival Preps" forum.

Bill Quick said...

Solid post. I've asked myself those questions over and over, and I keep coming back to the fact that my primary strategy, at least for a while, must be to bug in, since I really don't have any bugout options at all.

I know, that is merely preparing for the emergencies you can surivive, but that's all I can do right now, and it surely is better than doing nothing at all.

Carteach0 said...

Where I live helps the considerations, but this place was chosen with forethought. It also helps that I work about ten minutes drive from home, and I could walk it if I had to... and didn't mind an hours trudging.

Wuulf said...

That second to last paragraph needs to be plastered all over the TEOTWAWKI forums and blogs. As always, an impressive and well thought out article.

P Henry Saddleburr said...

Nicely said. I'm with you on this. There are fleeting natural events like earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornados where services like electricity and food supply could be interrupted for a period of time and it's good to be prepared to weather these for a couple of weeks.

As for a complete bug out? I'm with you. Bug out to where? I live in the country and a true catastrophe wouldn't be conducive to massive relocation since you'll be battling everyone else on the road for gas, lodging and food. Then there is the total chaos factor combined with the 10% of society that are complete dirtbags who will be trolling the chaos for opportunity and victims.

Bottom line?

Living on a few acres with a well and a small supply of food and plenty of ammo is probably as much as I'll ever need.

Working from home in the country? Priceless.

Loved your reminder to rethink contigency planning, though.

Carteach0 said...

Thank you!

Old NFO said...

Well said Sir, and your advantage is a home of your own, whereas I live in an apartment, so I'd have to go 'somewhere' to get that level of safety...