How Do I Know When It’s Time to Bug Out?

If you are new to emergency preparedness, the term “bug out” may seem a little odd. It certainly is not a term most of us use in everyday conversation. Simply put, “to bug out” means to evacuate a location to escape dangerous circumstances.

Why Would I Need to Bug Out?

There are a number of instances that may make evacuation necessary for survival. Some of which are not too unusual. Extreme weather events like hurricanes could cause your family to bug out. Other emergency situations could include civil unrest or a terrorist attack.

There have been other natural and man-made disasters in recent history that have led to mandatory and voluntary evacuations. The derailment of trains carrying hazardous materials is a good example. Chemicals like chlorine are commonly carried by rail and they pose a huge health risk to humans if the gases escape.

Power outages are a potential risk as well. Much of our day-to-day and emergency communications are dependent on electricity. Without power to keep security systems going, looting and riots could ensue. Without the computers to manage our 911 and emergency situations, who would you call? It would likely be preferable to leave the city in this case.

How to Prepare for a Bug Out Situation

Depending on the disaster, you may need to get out of dodge on foot. Not only will you need to make sure you have on the proper footwear, you also need to think ahead to your next meal. You will not get far without food and water.

Hopefully you will be able to vacate by vehicle. But this leaves another set of considerations to keep in the back of your mind at all times. Always keep enough gas either in your vehicle or stored in a safe place. As we saw with Super Storm Sandy, fuel goes quickly when millions of people are looking to evacuate simultaneously.

Make sure you have an escape route planned and a backup plan on top of that. Main roads may be out of the question if there is a mass exodus.

Have a bug out bag packed and ready to roll. In addition to food, water and your evacuation map, include a first aid kit, flashlight and a hand crank radio. You should also pack matches for building a fire. In addition to keeping a bug out pack at home, your car is another place to keep bug out supplies.

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