Bug-out, to withdraw rapidly from a position that is about to be overrun by hostile forces to another more defensible position. In most cases, hostile forces could mean any catastrophe. One major point is that to bug-out, you must know that you need to bug-out, this means you will have some type of warning, so paying attention is crucial. To consider bugging-out you have to be expecting something to happen. Those caught unaware will not be able to bug-out.
The tornado sirens are going off. You look out the window, and see a funnel cloud. Do you grab your bug-out-bag and head for the front door? No, you do not unless you live in a mobile home. If you had been paying attention, you would have known hours in advance, a storm was coming and that the conditions were right for a tornado outbreak. If it caught you by surprise then bugging-out is not an option.
If things like storms, catch you by surprise, it is not likely that you prepared for a disaster anyway. You should have headed for the local storm shelter hours ago or be nestled snuggly in your own tornado shelter underground, or be prepared to shelter in an interior room of your home.
What disaster would happen so fast that you could not prepare, by packing your car and evacuating ahead of the crisis. Hurricanes are predicted with a great deal of accuracy days in advance, giving you ample warning to prepare for staying or for evacuation. Setting out on foot during a hurricane carrying a 50-pound pack on your back is not an option.
You know when there is a wildfire headed your way, you have time to weigh your options. Leaving well ahead of time in your vehicle is the only sensible course. You cannot bug-out when the flames are licking at the back door. Knowing what the crisis is you are facing will help you decide.
Do you think that you will wake up one morning to see thousands of people out in the streets overturning cars because the financial market collapsed, will civil unrest catch you off guard. It may if you have not been paying attention.
It takes time to get people worked up to the point where they take to the streets. You would be aware, if you are paying attention, of the catalyst days or weeks in advance, that would create civil unrest. You would see it in larger cities first and could reasonably expect it to happen in your community at some point. You have time to get ready. The well informed would have been gone long before the crowds got to the point they started tearing the city apart.
Do you grab your bug-out bag and try to push your way through the angry demonstrators. No, at this point, you would be safer sheltering in place, getting in the middle of a mob with supplies on your back is asking for problems.
Pandemics can happen and one is likely to happen in your lifetime according to some experts. What do you do, when should you leave, and where would you go. Diseases can be in Europe in the morning and in the United States in the afternoon.
Medical experts can predict a pandemic or give some warning of a rapidly spreading virus or some other type of disease. You would have some warning; an example is the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). It is now in the United States, in Indiana to be more precise. It is here and will be here from this point forward, because someone else will come down with the disease and spread it to someone else headed for Atlanta or Miami and points yet unknown.
Do you grab your bag, because it can develop into a pandemic? No one has stated it is a pandemic, yet, and when it is classified as such is it too late. Where do you go that there are not humans? Any human you meet could potentially be carrying MERS. The only protection, the only chance you have is to get away from heavily populated areas, the more people around the greater chance someone has a communicable disease.
Essentially, however, you cannot outrun a pandemic, so it is back to, do you stay or do you run, and frankly, there is nowhere to run to in the event of pandemic.
A nuclear war or a single occurrence of surface nuclear detonation, the country would have warning of an upcoming strike, unless it was a device smuggled in by individuals and detonated in a city somewhere. If you knew, a large metropolitan area was going to be hit because the missiles have been launched and they (the government) knows the target, do you “bug-out” if it is not your city?
In theory, because it has never been tested, the plan is to bring down the missiles before they can strike, one may get through but a counter attack would have been launched to prevent any more attacks. At this point, is there any need to bug-out, and where do you go?
A smuggled in device could be detonated without warning, but those that would have needed to bug-out, because they were close to ground zero will not be able to. Will you need to, the device would likely be small, may even be a dirty bomb, and it only affects a small radius, you do not know, so what do you do.
In any attack or SHTF scenario, you are going to be killed, injured or simply come through unscathed. In the first too cases you cannot leave and if unharmed do you need to leave.
Bugging-out during a terrorist attack would be dangerous because typically the attacks are two-fold. The first attack kills and maims scores of civilians and gets everyone’s attention and then the second one is launched to kill first responders such as law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics along with those panicked civilians fleeing the area. Staying put may be the safest option.
It is not this articles’ intent to decide one way or another about bugging-out. The information is merely presented to get you thinking and to point out the odds are stacked against you actually bugging out in many instances.
If you have a family with children, it is not as simple as grabbing your bags and hitting the front door. By the time, you decide the situation warrants evacuation then it is possible it is too late. You will always think there is “one more thing I need”. The children will not be ready at a moment’s notice and time will slip away. Most people will not realize that the time to bug-out is before the crisis reaches its peak, in other words you evacuate when you do not think you need to. Otherwise, it may be too late.
Fear is real and it may keep you from heading out on foot with children or elderly family members. The pack will be too heavy, you are not conditioned, and the children certainly are not. Your bug-out-bag is likely to look like a suitcase packed for vacation. Too many clothes, toys for the children, and the list will have grown to the point you may be wavering by the time you are ready to leave.
Be realistic, have a bag ready because it is the prudent thing to do but always stay informed. Make the decision based on relevant information, because you do not want to flee one crisis only to find yourself in a far worse situation.
The whole point is to show that because of the Internet people are convinced they need a bug-out bag for every occasion. You can have one for everyday of the week but the point is there are alternatives.
If you have ample warning, you can pack the car and leave or fortify your shelter, if you do not have any warning and the city collapses you are not going anywhere, whether it is on foot or not. Consider all alternatives, bug-out bags are merely one alternative they are not the end-all to surviving a crisis, so do not use them as a crutch.
Becoming too dependent on the bag sitting by the front door may mean you have overlooked or discarded other alternatives for surviving the situation.