By Jason Drader, LMS Defense Instructor
In the spring of 2009 I wrote a column for the blog on planning to make it home, whether it be during inclement weather or during a crisis or disaster of some kind. Since then I have continued read comments made by folks about grabbing their rifle and the bug-out bag when the SHTF and heading for the hills.
Unfortunately I don’t see a lot of value in the prevailing concept of heading for the hills as soon as the proverbial SHTF. In some extreme cases, it might be the only answer. But the concept itself leads to more problems than it answers. So let’s explore what it takes to make the decision to stay or go during a crisis.
For myself and those that I care for, departing our home is the last thing I am going to do during a crisis unless absolutely necessary. For me, we are talking about imminent or immediate threat to life such as a chemical or biological hazard, where staying home would mean our certain demise. Post disaster such as an Earthquake would be another, where the damage is so bad that staying home would be hazardous. So short of such incidents, I’m not going anywhere. My bug-out bags are in fact get home bags. They are to sustain me and those I care for until we can make it home.
There seems to be a prevailing attitude or belief with some people that anarchy, whatever it ends up being, will best be sorted out with a bug-out bag and a gun and running around the hills. Unfortunately, I believe this belief can do more harm than good.
OK, so let’s say you made a decision to GO…now where are you going and what are you going to do when you get there? IF you can even get there.
Rolling with your decision to bug out for whatever reason, let’s say you have a three day pack, rifle and the seasonal clothes. You were lucky to hit the roads before the masses and traveled 350 miles en-route to Uncle Herb’s farm in the hills…a spur of the moment decision. Uncle Herb has stuff stashed away, he will look after you right? Unfortunately, you have run out of gas about 100 miles short of your destination and yes, you are in the middle of no where and no one is interested in stopping to help you. There are no services available. You will have to walk to Uncle Herb’s.
Now, imagine this 100 mile trek by foot in the winter time in the Pacific Northwest where you are going to be rained and snowed on for a good week at stretch. Why will it take you a week or more? Because you have a wife and three kids aged 7, 9 and 11 along. Remember that 3 day pack? It now has to sustain five people. I expect you ran out of food and fresh water before you were more than a day on foot because there wasn’t any stored in the vehicle and your wife grabbed her knitting bag and not the pack you set out for her.
You have a tarp and a couple of solar blankets, but you are still soaked and freezing as is the rest of your family. You haven’t slept properly in three days now. It isn’t just the cold and wet. For the last two nights there have been shots not that far away. You though that you may have even heard screams. You are the only person that can shoot, so you have to remain awake for security reasons.
Sounds like fun right? Trouble is it isn’t necessarily that far from reality. I believe that many people rest upon unrealistic preparations, planning, equipment and ability to solve there post-crisis problems. When in reality they add to the problem by becoming a casualty themselves. In many cases this can be avoided.
Let’s say there was a crisis of some kind, but we didn’t need to go. Let’s say we decided to bug-in instead of bugging-out. There are a huge amount of advantages to bugging in. For starters, many of the things we need day to day are already there; clothing, blankets, food, water, medicine, toiletries, etc. Our home gives us shelter (hopefully) from the elements and a good amount of security if we spend a bit of time preparing.
Our preparations to bug-in, aside from the normal stocks in the household, are specific items that are set aside just for a crisis or emergency. We have a supply of water and provisions to sustain us for at least a couple of months should we be unable to leave the home. We have a box of over the counter meds to treat cough, cold and flu symptoms, pain meds and other things we might need but are unable to go out and buy. If you have prescription meds that you need to take daily or something to that affect, ask your Doctor for an extra prescription so that you can have a supply on hand.
Extra batteries, glow sticks, solar and hand crank lights are also stored for times we may be without power. I also have a fairly comprehensive medical kit set aside as well.
For securing the home, I have been laying on a stock of ½ inch and ¾ inch plywood to cover doors and windows. I don’t live in hurricane or tornado country. I have the plywood to add to security of the home during a time of crisis. If your windows and doors are covered for the most part and you have someone on the other side determined to get in despite those coverings and warnings from you on the other side, its pretty obvious their intent is less than honourable.
While there are plenty of us that can look after ourselves for an extended period in the field, at some point supplies run out. Having a family to care for can compound issues very quickly. You can only carry so much stuff. Sure I have heard people discuss using utility trailers, RV’s, etc. Again, if absolutely necessary they are fine.
Caches might be an option if you are so inclined, but they require a considerable amount of planning and effort to put in place and maintain. Not to mention you may have to bug-out the opposite direction of your caches, in which case they won’t do you any good.
A retreat or cabin might also be an option. But the majority of people don’t have the luxury of such things.
With a little planning, bugging in can sustain the majority of people through many different emergency scenarios that you could well envision, and most people would be better off for it. You are less likely to become a casualty yourself and face it, emergency services are already going to maxed out. Why not add bugging in to your preparedness plans? Stay safe.
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