If you are in a major urban area, or even in the suburbs, bugging-out is an important skill to have and practice on a regular basis just in case a SHTF situation pops up. You’ll need to know what routes are available to get to your bug-out location in the case that the main route you would normally take is clogged with people or just simply impassable. Thinking on our feet is a requisite of bugging-out. But how about bugging-in? Why would anybody want to bug-in?
Why Should You Bug-In?
Bug-in, dig-in, hunker down — regardless what you call it, it’s all the same. You plan to stay put when SHTF. Personally, I like to call it “survival at home” (see what I did there?). No matter how much we talk about grabbing our bug-out bags and getting out of Dodge, the fact remains that we are much more comfortable in our own homes. If there is no immediate danger, the best thing we can all do is stay right where we are. Bug-in at home with everything we have intact, organized and prepared. We are familiar with our surroundings and won’t have to readjust to a new environment. You will have much more security in your own home than you will on the road or in the wilderness, and that is just a fact. So the best bet is to just use your “home field advantage” and hunker down.
How to Bug-In
If you have decided the best route for now is to bug-in, there are a few things you will need to do. Remember, we are always preparing, even in the face of adversity. You have to play a SHTF disaster like a game of chess — think three moves ahead and you’ll never get behind.
Secure the Perimeter
If you are bugging-in, you will definitely need some security. Make sure you have the doors and windows locked at all times — barricade doors and windows where needed. Emergency situations may cause neighbors that are unprepared to go to drastic lengths to get what they need to survive, even if it means taking it from you. Be prepared to turn them away and defend what you have worked so hard to build. When the sun goes down, you’ll want to make sure you don’t display many lights – lights mean people are inside, which means supplies. Use blackout curtains and candles to maintain a dark silhouette.
Maintain a Routine
It’s good to get on a routine during a SHTF bug-in situation, just as you are normally on a daily routine. Get up at a certain time every morning, eat at certain times, perform certain tasks at certain times — all of these things will help make life as normal as possible and keep morale high (especially if you have young children). If you assign tasks to everyone, it will also help to make things a little more normal for the kids. Get them involved with daily chores to keep their mind off of whatever emergency you may be facing.
Make a Plan
After the first few days, if you haven not already started to form a plan for a long-term SHTF disaster, it would be wise to do it now. Evaluate your situation — what type of situation are we dealing with? …how safe are we where we are? …how long will this scenario last? Once you have answered those basic three questions to the best of your ability, you will know what you need to do next to ensure your survival.
Prepare to Bug-Out
If things are starting to close in on you, and you have run out of other options, the only thing left that you can do is to get out of Dodge. Grab your bug-out gear and prepare to make tracks! Be sure you know the best route to take and have a bug-out plan ready to go. No matter how safe you think you are right now, the last thing you want to do is to be caught without an escape plan. In a SHTF situation, things can go from bad to worse in the blink of an eye. (On a side note, it’s good to have an exit plan ready and practiced anyway just in case!)
Major Issues with Bugging-In
As a good prepper, you probably already have mass amounts of water already stored, right? However, if it comes time to actually bug-in, you will definitely need to plan for how to collect more. It is safe to assume that if you are in this situation, city water will not last for long, if it is even safe to drink given your particular situation. If you have a well, you are likely better off. Rainwater will become your friend either way. It is best to learn to purify water, too, just in case you have to resort to less-than-reliable sources. Also, be sure to pick up a good gravity-fed water filtration system. This one will hold up to 5 gallons of water at a time.
Just as with water, you may already have a stockpile of emergency food, but it is not going to last forever. If it is safe to be outside for long periods of time, you can forage, hunt, trap, and grow a garden. If it is not safe, however, you will need to ration the food you have stored to ensure you don’t run out too fast. Remember, this is an emergency SHTF situation, not a buffet. Practice fasting and rationing your food now so you’re better prepared in a SHTF situation.
In this state of emergency, it stands to reason that the trash truck won’t be running. So what will you do with all of your smelly trash? If it sits around stagnant for too long, you can be assured it will draw flies and rats. The trash alone isn’t sanitary to keep around your family, but when you add pests to the equation, it’s an outright health hazard! You’ll need a plan for your trash. If you are in a true SHTF situation, you may be ok to burn your trash, but remember “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” — and where there’s fire, there’s usually life. This could draw attention to your position and let people know you’re there. That’s fine if you want to be noticed, but if you’re concerned about OpFor, it’s probably not the best thing to do for your security.
If you thought your problems were bad because of the trash piling up, can you imagine what would happen if the plumbing stopped functioning properly? It’s a disgusting thing to think about, but if you don’t plan ahead, it could be cause for real panic in the face of emergency. Learning to dig a latrine will be a handy little trick. Keep in mind the best practices for disposing of human waste. You could also build a makeshift outhouse with a “go bucket” inside.
Learning to effectively bug-out is talked about a lot, but it is not always necessary. With a good bug-in plan, you may outlast the SHTF problem. Moreover, using good judgement to know the difference in situations will save lives!