Whether you chose to bug out on your own terms or you are ordered by local authorities to leave your home, make sure you have everything covered. Survival for you and your loved ones may depend on the preparations you make and your chances increase greatly if you avoid these bugging out mistakes.
Bugging out requires some thorough planning and deep thinking because the road is never safe and there are too many unknowns you will have to face and overcome. Even those who prepare for a bugging in scenario must take into account that at some point they will be forced to evacuate. It’s impossible to precisely predict how a disaster will unfold. Your fortress may be well-equipped, but if you have to leave everything behind, survival will depend on the bugging out plans you’ve made.
Mistakes to avoid when bugging out:
Assume that you will be able to return home
Even though we are forced to leave our home, we never forget about our roots and we are a generation that was thought to never give up hope. We are used to rebuild our lives even during the darkest of times. This culture is well embedded in our hearts and minds, and no matter how hard something hits us, we always find the strength to recover. However, the reality of a large scale disaster can change our plans for good and hurricane Katrina was a clear example of how people can lose it all. Once a disaster has put things in motion, you should assume that you won’t be able to go back and you should have options, in case this scenario unfolds. You will have to rely on a bug out location, distant relatives or places you know well (like the city you grew up in).
Thinking you can fuel up as you go
Fuel will become a key ingredient in your bugging out plan and not understanding the capacity and range of your vehicle will leave you stranded. You should have extra fuel in your car in the event none is available en route. You should fill up spare cans in case you need to take alternative routes or chose alternative destinations based on how the situation develops. Your car should be prepped for emergency situations and it should function properly during both highway and off-road traveling. The same goes for the fuel you put in your body and you should have enough of it to last you for the trip, but also after if you don’t have a cache or bug out location.
Related article: Prepping your car for an emergency escape
Forgetting that looters travel as well
Once the looting begins all hell breaks loose and no place is 100% safe. You shouldn’t forget that looters travel as well, especially once they are done cannibalizing resources from a specific location. The most obvious thing would be to avoid the looters and stay away from routes that lead to “specific landmarks” such as malls and goods stores. When you are making your bug out plan, you should plan alternatives routes that would seem deserted for the average Joe. Most people will follow the heard and stay together, keeping their distance from routes that do not offer the minimum commodities (gas stations, dinners, etc.).
Lacking situational awareness
Some individuals are so concentrated on the main disaster event that they lose perspective of peripheral threats. While the hurricane hitting your home area is the main problem and its path is your point of focus, you shouldn’t forget about the other drivers, flood waters and any other inconveniences it brought along. People are so focused on the main problem that they underestimated road flooding on roadways and they end up trying to escape from a sinking car. Always keep an eye on your surroundings when bugging out and act when the time comes.
Procrastinating about your bugging out plans
This is fairly common among those who prepare to hunker down and it’s astonishing how many of them refuse to consider the probability of a bugging out scenario. It doesn’t matter if you prepped your home for the mother of all disasters, things will develop uncontrollably and you will have to leave everything behind. Movement is life, and you can’t survive with just the items in your pockets. Sure you will do it for a short time if you have the knowledge and skills, meaning if you’re an expert survivalist, but what about long-term survival? Make sure you have a backup plan, a bug out bag and an escape vehicle if you don’t want to go down with the ship.
Keep your insurance policies safe
Your insurances polices for all properties should be kept in a safe place and in reach. If you are forced to evacuate, you should make sure your coverage is adequate, otherwise you will only use the paper as tinder. If you are preparedness likeminded, you should review your insurance policies with an attorney to establish your baseline, going up from there. Returning home is always a possibility and you need to make sure you are prepared to bug out with these documents. Make sure you also take pictures using your mobile phone in case a natural disaster threatens your home. This will save you a lot of trouble and provide good evidence for the insurance companies.
Check your supplies on a regular basis
Everything has an expiration date and the same goes for your survival gear. If you do not rotate and store properly your emergency supplies, from food to batteries, you will just carry useless junk when bugging out. Even the clothes you carry in your bug out bug may not be suited for event that triggers a bugging out scenario. You have to store your supplies for short-term and long-term duration and you should bring with you only what you can carry and what is useful. Don’t load your generator in the car as it takes up valuable space that could be used for other lifesaving supplies.
Forgetting that other people are shooters too
While not every disaster will cause the end of the world, you should remember that humans act on impulse, especially during a stressful situation. A conflict should always be avoided and that’s a golden rule when others depend on you for survival. When bugging out becomes a reality, you should have the means to defend yourself and more than one member of the family should learn how to use the weapons you are carrying. Bad news travel fast and you should keep this in mind when bugging out. You will be seen as an outsider and a possible threat by many communities and you should avoid any conflicts since even a small debate can escalate. Be prepared to shoot back and make every shot count if it comes to that.
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Bugging out can become a necessary outcome of a crisis scenario and you should prepare for it. The flaws listed in this article are a common occurrence for many preppers and I’ve seen this in my network as well. These are things to ponder on even if you aren’t an advocate of the bugging out scenario.
Stay Safe and God Bless!
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