First, what does the term bugging out really mean. It is military jargon and by most accounts, the term originated from the Korean War. Units and/or personnel were directed to “bug-out” when their current position was no longer considered defensible and was likely to be overrun by hostile forces. Personnel were expected to deploy rapidly to a pre-designated defensive position.
The key phrasing is a “position no longer defensible and is likely to be overrun” and “deployment to a pre-designated defensible position”. In other words, you do not run around in circles in a panic, you need a plan, and you know what they say about the best-laid plans.
People Are in Love with the idea but If They had Ever Had to Bug-Out Well Love Can be Fleeting At Times
In non-military prepping terms, bugging out is typically associated with grabbing a bug-out-bag and hastily leaving a disaster zone. Heading presumably to a pre-designated safe haven but herein lays the crux of bugging-out. You only think you know what will happen once you leave. What the reality is you are fleeing one disaster for another, one that may turn out even more disastrous. Once you leave the four walls of your shelter, you have given yourself over to another crisis, one that you have absolutely no control over. You have heard the term “from the frying pan into the fire” it applies here.
You may have a utopia just waiting for you to show up. One of the problems however is getting there, the second problem is how many others are already there, and once you get there, then what.
As smart as you may think you are, you have not reinvented the wheel here. Everyone else will be thinking the same things and many will not be even remotely prepared. Some people will still show up at your safe haven looking for handouts just as they have been doing all their life.
People are convinced for some reason that society will make a drastic change once a major catastrophe strikes. Society will stay the same it’s just that the surroundings will be different. You will still have those people that work hard and try to do the right thing, you will have those people that want to take from others and then those that simply for whatever reason cannot make a go of anything and are dependent upon society as a whole.
You will not become a hermit living off the land the minute you reach your so-called safe haven. The minute you reach your destination is when survival really begins, and you will not be alone.
The Bug out Plan You Have Is Based On What
It All Looks Good On Paper
There is nothing better than personal experience when it comes to making a plan. If you have never grabbed your bug-out-bag and headed out for parts known or unknown because of a crisis then you are planning based on assumptions, on what others have told you, or on what you may have read on the Internet. If you do not know what can happen from personal experience, then well you simply do not know do you. You can only guess (hypothesis) based on the most reliable and current information, but those giving you the information are only guessing as well, unless they have experienced bugging-out firsthand.
Bugging Out Day 1
Normally you are awakened by blaring music but not this morning. The voice was excited and yet tried to remain calm and solemn at the same time, a newscasters’ voice. You caught bits and pieces of the news bulletin as you lay there wondering why you were not hearing music from the bedside radio.
Blurbs from the News Anchor:
Unknown toxicity, possible aerosol canisters placed on public transit, could be sprayed from the air. Some first responders have succumb to unknown contaminates; the anchor went on to state. People collapsing on the street, the bits and pieces were flung from the radio, as you lay there half-awake, and then it struck you.
Your face drained and a sense of urgency took over, you jumped out of bed and had an overpowering urge to run but where to. Finally, you got a hold of yourself and turned on the television as you begin dressing.
Chaos and people screaming even the anchor facing the camera was in a panic talking through a respirator. Cars were parked on the sidewalks and stopped in the middle of the street. Ambulances with the back doors gaping open filled the screen but no one inside, no gunnery’s or any medical technicians wheeling patients, no one rushing, and no one in sight.
The camera tilted and then crashed to the ground. Now the view was from ground level. You saw the legs and feet of someone lying just feet from the camera lens. You could not stop staring.
One Year Ago
Today was the first time you had heard of “bugging out” and “bug-out-bags”. Your friend had always been enthusiastic and seemed to latch on to new ideas with intense fervor and today he was trying to convince you to prepare for the coming apocalypse. Super Storm Sandy along the East Coast had a tremendous impact even this far inland and people seemed to be talking more about preparedness.
The Mid-Western city you lived in was land locked and had a population close to 500,000. Not a bustling metropolis compared to the cities along either coast but a large metropolitan area nonetheless. It was referred to as fly over country by many and not on any ones’ radar in your opinion, especially a terrorist organization as your friend was trying to imply.
Your friend was dragging out backpacks, clothes, tools and gadgets and laying them on the floor. He handed you a hand written list of items that he said were essential for surviving 72-hours in any situation. He said that when the SHTF he wanted to be ready and that you needed to be ready as well.
The note also had a rendezvous point, in the event of a crisis because all communications would be down, so meet up when the balloon goes up. You folded the note up and told your friend you had to get going, the blaring television was getting to be too much. Apparently, there was a marathon of the Doomsday Preppers running and your friend seemed transfixed by the show, he never looked up from the television as you closed the door behind you.
Present Day: Crisis Now Two Hours Old
You thought back to that day a year ago in your friends’ home. You have a bug-out-bag now but wondered just how prepared you really are. You had gathered some things over the last year and then stuffed them in a backpack and tossed it in a closet. Your idea of a crisis at the time was a few days without power or a blizzard that cocooned everyone in their homes for a couple of days.
Now it seemed the very city you lived in was not safe. You also realized it had been two hours since the first emergency broadcast and you had not even grabbed your pack, and you wondered about your friend. Why no phone calls, your cell phone still had bars and there was still electrical service. The humming refrigerator seemed oblivious to what was happening. He may have just “bugged-out” and was headed for the meeting place, but another thought occurred but you tried hard to push it away.
You had no idea what to do. Fear of the known and unknown alike rooted you in place.
Crisis Six Hours Old
The news channel was a garbled mess and the governors and mayor’s statements that had been taped an hour earlier were playing continually. Stay calm, and no, we do not know if the crisis is an attack or an industrial accident; it is too early to say. The investigation is continuing, no need to panic and no mandatory evacuations have been ordered at this time and it is recommended you stay indoors and avoid traveling at this time. Keep the highways clear for emergency personnel were the pleas from the authorities.
Apparently, the local news stations were on automatic pilot. The workers were likely huddled up somewhere or fleeing the city. The local radio stations obviously did not get the governor’s memo about staying off the roads, because they were playing on a loop the routes that were to be used for evacuation from the city.
You had no idea what the toxin was that was released, and if anyone in authority knew, it was kept a secret. However, the empty ambulances with their doors flung wide told the whole story.
You were afraid to leave and afraid to stay, you simply did not have enough information. If you left on foot, you may walk into a cloud of deadly chemicals, and where would you walk to that was safe. If you tried to leave in your car, you could get hung-up in traffic and then no way to escape the clouds of gas headed your way if in fact it was a gas attack.
What if it was some communicable disease and the National Guard was already stopping people from leaving because of the fear of it spreading. Not enough information to decide on a course of action, staying put could be deadly and leaving on foot seemed to be even more deadly.
Your home was a small rental house perched somewhere between real suburbia and the city central. There were factories you could see from your front window, and no clouds of steam bellowed from their smokestacks today.
You were looking at the overpass a quarter of a mile away with a pair of binoculars and it was clogged with cars not moving. You saw people running along the sides of the highway in both directions; it was chaos wherever you looked.
You inventoried your backpack and wondered how in the world you could survive out there. What should you do? Should you shoulder the pack and make a run for it, head north away from the city and find a wooded area. Where does safety lie in this type of situation?
The people on the overpass seemed to be fine, no one appeared to be gasping for air or collapsing on the spot as far as you could tell but things could change.
The pack had some bottled water, ready to eat foods in plastic pouches, matches, a magnesium stick that you had never tried out, a change of underwear and socks, heavy coat, flashlight, some rope, a compass, first aid kit, sunglasses and maps of the city and state along with a few other miscellaneous items. You also had a multi-tool, two thermal blankets and a small survival fishing kit all rolled up in a nylon tarp that your friend had given you.
You were worried about your friend because he did not answer his cell phone. It took close to an hour to get through on the cell phone only to hear his voicemail prompt you to leave a message. The cell towers were overloaded probably.
What Should The Individual Do Based On What Is Known So Far?
It would be difficult to know if there were other canisters of gas ready to explode if in fact it was a deliberate release of deadly gas. Was it some type of freak accident? Possibly a train derailment of cars containing some deadly cargo or did someone blow up a train car that they knew contained deadly chemicals. It is all speculation at this point.
Terrorists often will attack and then wait for first responders to rush in and then attack again to injure and kill the emergency personnel. These types of attacks are truly meant to provoke terror in people’s minds. Attacks are also timed to occur in various areas at different times to spread emergency resources thin.
Terrorist know the psychological impact their actions have and in some cases, just the threat of an attack or the idea of another attack is enough to send a city into panic.
Based on the almost instant reaction the toxin had on people you could probably rule out a biological attack. However, the authorities may not have ruled it out and may cordoned off certain areas to prevent anyone from leaving. Thousands however, would be able to bypass the checkpoints and individuals with little to no training could easily avoid any roadblocks in place.
It seems some action, whether it works or not, is better than no action at all, is the philosophy of many government officials.
If it was a gas attack, the canisters could be rigged to explode by cell phone or timers all over the city. The individual could head out in a panic and run into a cloud of saran gas. Another release of gas could be closer to his home this time thus killing him in his own home if he stayed in place.
For the first attack, the canisters could have been placed on public transit, buses and trains, for example, and rigged to release at certain times. This means the gas is distributed throughout the city at intervals. The individual simply does not know.
The fact that the individuals’ cell phone worked six hours into the attack might allow you to rule out canisters rigged to explode by a cell or radio signal.
Homeland Security and other agencies if they had been paying attention would have jammed all radio and cell service to the area almost immediately to prevent a cell phone or radio signal from triggering any more devices. Although only six hours in may be too early for this kind of response what do you think?
After six hours no one seems to have much information, does the individual in the story have enough information to make a decision and what should his decision be.
Time is crucial and decisions to evacuate must be made quickly in these types of situations, what would you do and how would you do it?