It seems that everywhere I look lately, I see articles and hear people talking about “bugging out”. Is it really such a good idea?

 While there are circumstances in which you would have no choice such as fire, flooding, chemical spill, leaving your home is rarely necessary nor is it a good emergency preparedness plan.

OK. So you are one of the thoughtful ones that have planned ahead and prepared a bug out location away from the city and stocked it with sufficient supplies. Are you sure you can get there? Are you sure that someone else has not arrived there before you and taken it over?

 If you have not prepared and stocked a bug out location, where are you going to go? What will you use for supplies? What will you use for shelter? Do you really expect folks that already live in the countryside to be glad to welcome you and care for you?

 Let’s face facts. By the time most people realize something serious is going on or has already happened, it will be too late to travel. During the evacuation away from New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina, the roads were impassable. Cars were packed bumper to bumper, accidents and cars out of fuel and broken down blocked every road. Travel was on foot and refugees were turned back at bridges at gunpoint and prevented from even fleeing on foot. Hurricane Katrina is only one example. There are many more.

 Fleeing refugees were accosted by roving gangs of armed people and robbed, molested, and otherwise harassed. Can you protect yourself? Are you in good enough shape to travel far on foot, is every member of your party or family?

 I suspect the idea of “bugging out” has been pushed beyond reasonable limits by people selling bug out supplies. Bug out bags, books to tell you how to build your own bug out bag, books telling you how to sneak out of Dodge, articles and books about the best survival gun, knife, or backpack cookware and stoves abound on the internet and media. All in the name of trying to make a buck.

 I am not saying you should not have a bug out bag in case you have to grab and run, heck I have one. I am also not saying that people should not try to make an honest living. What I am saying is that someone needs to interject a little common sense into the situation.

 Once you leave your home you become an instant refugee. The only supplies you will have are what you can carry. The only shelter is what you can find along the way unless it is already occupied by someone else that just may relieve you of the burden of your supplies before they turn you away, that is if your supplies have not been taken from you by force before you got there. Even if you do manage to make it to your bug out location safely, there is no guarantee that someone else hasn’t gotten there first and moved in.

Your best chance for survival is in most cases to stay in your home if possible. Home is where your supplies are. It is where you know your surroundings, and neighbors. Home is also where you are the safest unless it has been made unlivable due to fire or other means. Is not safety what this is all about?

Bugging out should only be considered as an extreme last resort. It means abandoning everything you own and becoming a refugee. .

On Preppers, Prepping, Survivalists, and Survivalism

In the past few months I have noticed the number of Prepper, Bush Craft, and Survivalist websites and blogs has exploded. It seems as everybody is trying to get in on the action like it’s some kind of new idea that hasn’t been around for long. People that live outside the cities in the countryside have been storing supplies, practicing bush craft and survival strategies since before there even were cities. The idea is not new.

What is new is the vast number of people that are becoming interested for the first time in recent memory. Many of these folks are seeking knowledge and skills that they had no interest in a few years ago. For most of them, preparedness is a new concept.

The cause of this renewed interest appear to be the predictions concerning current economic and political situation, and the dire predictions of doom regarding the end of the Mayan calendar in December of this year This is not centered in any area or Nation but is world wide. As regards the world wide economic and political predictions, some of them are not unreasonable and it is only prudent to take precautions for the well being of one’s self and family.

More and more people are thinking about storing up a little food for possible hard times ahead and that makes good sense. Folks that live out in the countryside have always done this. You never know what might happen tomorrow that could make you glad you had a little extra food.  Something as simple as a bad snow storm or flooding conditions could keep you from getting to the grocery store for several days or longer. A natural or man made disaster could cut off your supply sources for far longer. Many of the folks in New Orleans that survived Hurricane Katrina without damage had to leave the area to find food as there were no stores in operation. This left their homes at risk of looting and break-ins.

A basic knowledge of bush craft can also come in handy. Knowing how to build a fire, cook on an open fire, basic shelter building, basic land navigation, are all skills that could be very useful after a disaster. You never know what kind of situation you will be faced with, so it’s best to have the basic skills to deal with most anything that comes up. When the need arises, it’s too late to try to learn them.

People in a disaster scenario are very unpredictable. There is no way to know before hand just how they are going to react. People could show up from miles around to help like they did on 911 in New York City or they could get crazy like they did after Katrina hit New Orleans and start looting stores and houses. An economic melt down could evoke the same kind of reactions from people. A good survival strategy could mean the difference between protecting your property and getting hurt or worse trying. A good survival strategy could mean being somewhere else when the bad guys show up or having a garden to provide food until the stores open again.

While I certainly do not want to see an economic or political melt down or the end of the world as we know it, I think this renewed interest in preparedness, and learning a few basic skills in bush craft and survival is a good thing. A people who are prepared and possess some basic skills are more confident and therefore, better able to deal with emergencies when they happen. That has to be a good thing.

Basic Emergency Preparedness