Bugging Out, Part Two

crowded evacuation route

When planning for a bug-out situation, make sure you put together a bug-out bag (also known as a Get Out Of Dodge bag). You have already started preparing your home with water, food, and shelter items. Still, you need to also tailor the same supplies to fit in a backpack or container you can carry or roll.

People often tell me that if they faced an emergency situation, they will just put their household supplies in their car and drive to their local evacuation location. There are problems with this statement, such as what if the roads are impossible to use and you can’t use your vehicle, or an EMP (electromagnetic pulse: a burst of electromagnetic energy produced by a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere, considered capable of widespread damage to power lines, telecommunications, and electronic equipment) has happened. An EMP will make your car unusable.

Your bug-out bag should have a few more items in it that your home might not have. Tarps and extra cordage should be added just in case you have to make a shelter while on the move. I also would add portable water filtration items like water purification tablets and water filters like those available from Sawyer or Katadyn. I would also put in food collection supplies like fishing gear or even trapping wire. This is all determined by how far your evacuation site is located and what disaster caused you to leave your home.

Suppose you had to leave your home during a typical emergency situation like severe weather, wildfires, or flooding. In that case, basic emergency supplies will help you get to the assigned government emergency shelter. However, if it’s a worst-case situation, it would be great to have these extra supplies.

When preparing for a worst-case situation, you might need to pick a separate emergency evacuation location. Government agencies might not even show up to help; you and your family will be on your own. I would look at all your options for a safe evacuation site. If you live in a very populated area you may need to get out of the area as soon as possible.

I recommend you determine three separate ways to get to your location. I believe that when a major episode happens, people will not understand what’s really going on and they will mistakenly believe help is on its way. When you realize help isn’t going to arrive it may be too late, and that’s when panic happens. People will do awful things to strangers to help their own families.

You will have three days traveling on main roads to get out of harm’s way. If you’re not at your site within that time you will have to get yourself to back roads where there are few or no people. You can travel this way for about two weeks. People who are not prepared will try to stay in their homes but the looting and civil unrest will drive them out of the cities for their own safety.

Tough times ahead sign

If you’re still not at your designated evacuation site, then it’s time to go up and over the land. You will have to blaze your own trails or find hiking trails to help you get to your destination. I have prepped for this situation by adding the water filtration equipment, extra shelter supplies, and fishing and trapping supplies.

The worst-case scenario that I have prepared for is an EMP. I found family members out in the country that will allow us to stay with them. To help you get to your locations I suggest getting topographical maps. These maps show you water sources, back roads, trails, structures, and the lay of the land from steep hills to low-lying valleys. I would get these maps and mark my way to your location. Watching out for tall mountains, wide rivers, and people. I would also go on Google Earth and look at your landscape and see if you have anything you might want to avoid or use to help you out.

I got my son involved with my evacuation plan because he would be helping me carry the heavier stuff during our evacuation. So I taught him how to read the map and what everything meant and also told him we have his mother and sister to consider when traveling to our location. So I let him decide how long he thought it would take for us to get there. I was surprised he said two weeks and I agreed. So my bug-out bags are set up to last us for two weeks of travel. If you want to know where to go get these types of maps you can go online and download then print them out. I like bigger maps, so I went to my local Land Management Office they had a binder of the state separated by numbers, so I bought the maps that I needed to get to my location. It only cost me $8.00 per map but I did buy my maps years ago so the cost could have gone up.

While doing all of this planning and preparing, get the people you’re going to involved so they can get their homes in order. If you’re going to a location like a cabin in the woods or a vacation home that is out of the way, I recommend you furnish this location with some supplies. I would bury these supplies in watertight containers so if people find your cabin before you get there, your supplies will still be untouched.