ReadyNutrition guys and gals, this article covers some things you can do to prepare when bugging out is the best option in a collapse/SHTF situation. Such a concept is quite the conundrum and not what we wish to do. Truthfully, there comes a time when you have to stand and face whatever it is that is coming against you, with no other options. The actions you take will be dependent upon the situation you are facing, and no two families (although the threat may be the same) will face a challenge exactly identical in nature. These are guidelines that you can use to help you organize if flight is the only option.
Establish Your Needs and Wants
Such a flight is best accomplished by a good estimate of what you are going to take with you, and what will need to be sacrificed. Remember, a certain amount of what you may leave behind can be offset in terms of loss by what you cache or safely store before faced with the choice of rapid departure. So how much can you transport? What percentage of your supplies are you prepared to cede in order to escape? Have you prioritized and organized what you are going to move out? Have you inventoried your items and protected them? Are you aware of the dangers you may be facing when bugging out?
Repeating that concept aforementioned that your best preparation occurs before an event happens, you can cut down on the time, emotional distress, and overall misery by prepositioning a percentage of what you will take with you and storing it accordingly. Such can be referred to as a cross-loading plan, and it can make the losses you are about to sustain more easy to bear.
As it varies per family, this is the key concept here: you must determine (estimate) the percentage, broken down by specific items and their quantities of what you will take.
Efficient Bugging Out Requires Planning and Organizing
1. Containers are a must! Durable plastic bins are the way to go, here. Every family uses different types according to their needs. Those gray bins with lids of varying sizes available in Wal-Mart or Target are fine, as long as you follow a few pointers:
*Most of these have predrilled “holes” in the handles that (even with the lid on) will enable water to enter if they are not blocked off if the water rises to the height of the bin.
*These bins do not come with gaskets to seal the outer edge of the lid where it meets the body of the bin
*You’re limited as to the weight you can stack (usually no more than 2-3 bins in height)
*Cold weather can crack them if they’re exposed to the temperatures and then struck or bumped with force
The higher the quality the higher the price; however, especially for your top 10-15% of your supplies, the extra price is worth it. For the gray bins, I have found success with the holes by using JB Weld, a binary compound that forms when you mix the contents of two separate tubes of epoxy that cures into a strong “weld” of plastic. You can find it in almost any hardware store or grocery store. Regarding the contents, pick up some 3 mil contractor trash bags at the hardware store to pack your items within, and cinch the opening closed with the drawstring, then cover it over with duct tape.
Place an extra bag in the bin: if you should need to get into the bag quickly for whatever reason, it may be that you cannot reclose it as it was before. The outer edges of the lid can be duct-taped and sealed to prevent water from entering.
Each bin should have a code letter or number and two corresponding inventory sheets: one inside of the bin and one on your person (a sheaf of master lists/copies). In this manner you don’t have to scramble to obtain something if you need it. When these bins are stored, they should be placed in an area of the house that you can back up a vehicle and load up from easily. A garage or a secure shed are ideas. These are the items you want in the containers:
•Water Purification Equipment (w/ extra filters)
•Clothing for the anticipated environment
•Shelter for the anticipated environment
•Fire starter (reliable)
•Food rations (freeze-dried goods, homemade MREs, etc. As well, keep these nutritional needs in mind) and game processing tools
•Personal Medical Kits Communications (HAM) and energy creation equipment (small solar charger packs, etc.)
•Defensive equipment (lightweight and the ability to break down to hide in the pack)
2. Practice makes perfect. Equally important, you need to get the family involved and perform drills…as a family…and also as individuals, simulating if only one or two family members are at home. Time yourselves for how long it takes to load up the vehicles, being specific for each one. You should figure what bins are going with what vehicle. Also, you want to further “triage” this by making sure your absolutely most critical supplies can be quickly offloaded from that vehicle in case an event renders it inoperable in the midst of your flight.
“Sensitive” items must be placed in the vehicle in a manner that they can be accessed immediately. Weapons, ammunition, first-aid/medical kits, radiological survey meters (Geiger counters), water purification devices, “quick” meals (beef jerky, dried fruit, etc.,) and so forth are sensitive. Other items may include (but are not limited to) radio and communications equipment, night vision devices, batteries and battery chargers, a small portable generator, etc. The key here is to know what you have and where it is at all times in order to enable you to operate effectively without headaches.
3. Planning is key. Planning is one of the 5 P’s of Preparedness. You will also need a plan of travel and a destination. Remember the military acronym “PACE,” standing for Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency. This applies to plans and routes. What if Main Street is blocked by fallen power lines? What if Elm Avenue is sitting under three feet of water? You need alternate routes with which to depart, and your family must know them. As well, you need a Plan B for bugging out if all highways and roads are blocked? Do you have bicycles, 4 wheelers or motorcycles or will you be leaving on foot?
4. You must know where you are going. Arallying point is a predetermined location agreed upon to meet for a group if they are separating in either an involuntary situation that arises suddenly or in an instance where the separation is preplanned. Communications (either by shortwave/ham radio, or Motorola) can facilitate ease of transition to and from these points. All vehicles should have maps, kept in waterproof cases and readily available to the driver and passenger riding “shotgun” during the movement.
All of these items mentioned require a lot of planning and coordination beforehand, until they’re rehearsed and remembered. When they “feel” smooth and can be done almost nonchalantly, then you’re at peak performance. Remember, preserve yourself and your family members first, as you are irreplaceable. Things come and things go in life. You can always replace them. Hopefully this will help you to minimize your losses if you have to flee, and give you the opportunity to preserve some of it – the most essential stuff – and keep it with you when you depart. Take care of one another, first and foremost in all things, work your plan, and trust in it…and each other. JJ out.
Written by Jeremiah Johnson
Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.
Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.
Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.