I have seen many articles and posts about bugging out should some major disaster happen. These writers go on and on about having Bug Out Bags (BOBs) and heading to their Bug Out Location (BOL) to hide away until it is safe. I can imagine several reasons why having a bug out plan is a good idea but honestly, it should be a last resort.
If your immediate home is not threatened, staying put and “bugging in” should be the first option for several reasons. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether or not to hunker down or Bug Out, but consider the following reasons for staying in, at least at first.
Why Bug IN?
- Higher security. You know the layout of your home. Most people feel safer in familiar surroundings. Knowing the quickest way through the house gives you an advantage of being able to get to a weapon before some intruder gets to you. If you are bugging out, you are out in the open and more vulnerable. You also know escape routes out of the home and hiding places in case it is imminent that you will be overcome. Just as importantly, your kids will be familiar with all this, too. Why not start securing your home now, before the S hits the fan?
- Knowledge of the Neighborhood. Unless you just moved in last week, you know the immediate area around your home. Chances are you know what your neighbors look like, if not their names. You may even be close friends and that is very powerful. You can identify people who are new to the area. An armed stranger is more of a threat, generally speaking, than your next door neighbor. Having a group of ‘known’ people come together in a crisis raises everyone’s chance of survival. There are more eyes for security and more hands to do the work. Yes, there are more mouths to feed but also more people to acquire the food needed. To minimize the need for scavenging (very dangerous!), my food storage pantry is filled with canned goods (both home canned and store-bought), bulk foods, and some just-add-hot water meals like these.
- Knowledge of Terrain Layout in Surrounding Area. Since most people commute, they’re familiar with a rather large area out from their home. If you really stop and think about it, you can estimate the terrain – the cities, towns, and neighborhoods close to your home. All that knowledge will help you locate resources and avoid dangerous areas. Chances are pretty good that if an area had a high crime level before the disaster, it will be even higher and more desperate afterward. In fact, you can count on it. This is where a reliable form of communication will come in handy, including hand-held ham radios.
- Home Base has more supplies and resources. There is no way you could pack all the items you need to survive and be as comfortable as possible in your car or on your back. Even if you focused solely on food and water, there is still no way you can carry what you need. If you bug in at home, you have more resources to get by. An example would be stuff in the junk drawer; you open it and find 2 adapters for charging some electronic you aren’t even sure you have anymore. What can that wire be used for, even if the power was out indefinitely? How about that end roll of duct tape? The bottom line is you are more adaptable in your own home with all your ‘stuff’ in one place.
- People who love you will look there first. Unless you are some hardcore survivalist and have a plan of action for your friends and family, the ones who love you will come to your house first to try and find you. It is truly the most logical place to start looking and head out from there, retracing steps if needed. If you do not know your neighbors or have a group to rely on, holding out for your loved ones to find you may be the very best option. Many people claim they will be the lone wolf, but that is unrealistic in my opinion. Eventually, even the lone wolf needs the pack. The same is true with humans. We need each other and people we can trust to make it.