Bugging out represents a major disaster scenario, especially for me. I’d much rather bug in and “ride the disaster out” at home if at all possible. But I also understand not having plans for bugging out is a recipe for disaster. So I have created plans in the unfortunate event that I have to leave my home.
I have written several articles on the importance of having plans for bugging out. (There are links to those articles at the bottom of this page.) In the event of a disaster scenario, having bug out plans in place will help you to remain calm, and will make the whole process much more manageable. Let’s face it, if you are bugging out, it mean you are in a potential dangerous situation.
Part of my bug out plans involve where I am bugging out to, my intended bug out route, bug out communication plans, etc. I also have the items, equipment, gear, etc that I intend to take with me when bugging out. In a perfect world, all of that would go with me.
But we don’t live in a perfect world. And emergencies will NOT happen the way we plan.
I realize that an emergency situation could happen in which I would not be able to take all of the things with me that I wanted or planned. So I prioritized what I was grabbing, and what I was going to have to leave behind in the event that I have to bug out. I did this by breaking down my bug out items into 3 categories. I called this my Categories of 3s.
The first category, as the name implies, is what I could take with me when I have to leave IMMEDIATELY! What can I grab in 3 seconds as I’m running out the door. I would not have time to grab my preps and gear. Instead I have to grab myself and my family and go! But I don’t want to leave empty-handed. So I include items from my EDC in this category.
Situations like a house fire, earthquake, etc come to mind. In this situation, I am running out the door with the clothing on my back and my EDC. (Click the link for more info on my EDC.) This could also include situations where I would have to bug out from work or some other location, and not be able to go home.
When developing my 3 Second plan, I first looked at what I would most likely be doing if I were at home and had to bug out. Let’s face it, we spend a majority of our time at home in bed asleep. (Americans average around 7 hours of sleep a night. That comes out to 2555 hours a year, or over 106 days a year in bed asleep!) So the probability of me being in bed and/or asleep if things go south while at home is high.
Editor’s note: Please welcome Will M. to Planandprepared.com. William enjoys learning how health affects our bodies during tough conditions. This subject has been an interest of his since he was a little boy. In his free time, you will find him camping and reading non-fiction books.
The work of a prepper is never done. You always have to be focused on the idea that the world as we know it might end in a split second. You always have to make sure the BOB (Bug Out Bag) is properly stocked, the survival bunker has everything you may need in an emergency, and that, in the case of an apocalyptic event, you and your family will be able to get out-of-town safe and unharmed.
This takes constant effort, but it’s not just about the tools and items you may need. It’s also about the skills you have and the ones you should have so the learning process must be well-defined in your life. Not to mention that you have to carry on with your regular life as well!
With such a busy schedule, do you find time to get some shut-eye? Most people I know in this niche are a bit indifferent when it comes to sleep. The old saying ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ comes to mind many times. Still, according to specialists, sleep-deprived people expose themselves to a bunch of health and hazard risks that are not worth the extra hours of work you get in return.
During a SFTH situation, your health (for both the mind and the body) will be very important because medical service and needed medical supplies and medicine may not be accessible. Of course, you should have a very well-stocked first aid kit in your survival kit. It’s better to prevent illness and injury than to treat it.
Now, if we imagine a hypothetical scenario where the world is struggling to function without any of the known structures, without civilization, divided into factions and fighting for survival, it’s easy to understand the level of stress that dominates everyone. So, if you can’t sleep now because you’re too busy, how will you sleep then? Especially when it will seem almost impossible to get some shut-eye?
To get some pertinent information, I did some research among the people who had to accommodate to the war-zone lifestyle (soldiers, Marines, and other veterans). They all described a scenario similar to a survival situation. They passed on several useful tricks that will keep you healthy and rested even through an SHTF situation.
One of the things less talked about in bug out scenarios is the things you will take with you. For some reason, many don’t put a lot of thought into this, even though leaving one’s valuables behind is hard to understand.
Sure, when you need to evacuate, you’ll have plenty of other things to worry about… but the things you pack with you should also be a priority.
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about your bug out vehicle’s supplies that are there every day. I’m referring to the things you can throw into the extra space left in your trunk (or on the backseat), at the moment of evacuation (if there’s time, of course).
So, right now you may have items such as water, a flashlight and jumper cables, but, as you’re about to see, the things in the list below are well worth packing when the big one hits. Again, if there’s time, as speed is of the essence when bugging out.
#1. Documents (in Original)
Ok, so you probably have copies of your birth certificate and other documents stored on your phone and printed and laminated in your BOB, but what about the originals? These will still be more important than the copies you have, so taking them with you is important. You can’t keep them inside your car at all times, of course, which is why they have to be one of the first things you grab and throw in your BOV as you’re about to leave.
For more information on what type of documents you need, click the link here!
#2. Your Portable Garden
What’s a portable garden, you may ask? It sounds fancy but it’s nothing more than a collection of pots where you grow veggies such as potatoes and tomatoes. These are great because you can move them around in an emergency so, if you have to bug in, you can bring them inside.
Upon occasion, I have received questions asking about body armor for a SHTF scenario. That got me to thinking that the topic of body armor might make an interesting article for the site. So I decided that I would break down the different types of body armor (bullet resistant) and their ratings. I also thought I’d give a little insight into my thoughts on having some as a prepper.
Body Armor Rating
Body armor is rated based upon its effectiveness against different types of ammo. These ratings are compiled by the NIJ (National Institute of Justice.) The NIJ frequently tests armor against the type of rounds listed below. These standards are the only nationally accepted standards for body armor worn by law enforcement. For this reason, I am most familiar with them and will be using them in this article.
There are a few things that you should be aware of when it comes to the NIJ standard. I will go into this in more detail in just a moment.
Bullet resistant armor breaks down into 5 categories according to the NIJ:
- Level IIA – Designed to stop 9mm (124 grn FMJ) at a velocity up to 1225 fps and 40 S&W (180 grn FMJ) at a velocity up to 1155 fps
- Level II – Designed to stop 9mm (up to and including from a sub gun) and .357 mag (158 grn JSP) at a velocity up to 1340 fps
- Level IIIA- Designed to stop .357 Sig (125 FMJ) at a velocity up to 1410 fps and .44 mag (240 grn) at a velocity up to 1340 fps
- Level III – Designed to stop 7.62mm FMJ lead core rifle ammunition – hard armor
- Level IV – Designed to stop .30cal steel core armor-piercing rifle ammunition – hard armor
This armor is rated to not only stop the type of rounds listed with it, but also keep the back-face deformation of those rounds to a minimum. This means that the blunt force trauma from being hit by a bullet will not cause serious injury. This isn’t to say that it would not hurt or even break a few ribs should you be shot wearing one. Rather, it would help prevent internal bleeding from organs due to the force of the impact.
Just about every prepper has stored some food and water in case of a major disaster. That’s one of the first things you began to stockpile right? But did you ever stop to consider ways and means of cooking your food in a serious SHTF scenario? Unless you have a month’s (or more) worth of MREs, food preparation is going to become a very important part of your survival.
In a long-term, grid down situation, your ability to cook will be restricted. No more microwaves or electric stoves. Even with something like a gas grill, your fuel source won’t be infinite. And as such, you might need to consider what you would do in that type of situation.
So when making your contingency cooking plans, here are some things you might want to consider:
Be careful what you burn as a heat source
I think that if we experience a long-term, grid down situation there are going to be A LOT of people who are going to have all kinds of problems because they do not know what they can and cannot burn for fuel. There is a long list of things you absolutely should NOT burn. (This is even more important if you are using something like a fireplace or wood stove inside your home.)
Treated wood should not be burned. Doing so will release chemicals like chromium and arsenic into the air that you breath and into the food you are cooking. Treated wood is typically green, though as it ages it turns grey. But wooden structures such as decks, exterior trim, siding, railings, etc are almost always treated. So don’t use them!
Things like particle board and plywood are also no good. The chemicals used to make these produces can be very toxic when burned. Other things in it like glues can cause the fire to burn a lot hotter…which might exceed the temperature setting of your wood stove or fireplace.
Don’t burn wood that has been painted or stained. Until the late 1970s, paint contained lead. And until 1990, most paints contained mercury. ‘Nuff said! Even with paint or stain from today, burning this wood will release toxic chemicals into the air. This is of course NO BUENO!
Burning things like colored paper can also be dangerous. The same goes for items that have colored ink on them. Things like magazines, empty pizza boxes, styrofoam cups etc can release harmful carcinogens.
A majority of wood pallets today have been treated with a flame retardant chemical. Burning this will release these chemicals, and could cause problems. So I’d skip wooden pallets as well.
Plenty of articles talk about how to make large supplies and other preparations for various emergencies. In what follows, I want to take a different approach: I’m going to give you nothing but quick, down-to-earth tips of what to do and what not to do when these 4 disasters strike.
Keep in mind that, although the advice itself sounds simple, taking action on it when everyone around you is panicking will be a huge challenge.
Surviving a Riot
We’ve all seen numerous riots spark in the United States as well as in Europe. Here’s some quick tips on what to do should you get trapped in social unrest:
- Never move in the opposite direction of the rioters. You will stand out and they might pick you as a target, possibly dragging you along.
- If you see tear gas, run as fast as possible. Everyone else will. Tear gas will make you throw up and impair your vision, maybe even get you arrested once after the cops handcuff you and put you to the ground.
- Avoid wearing camo clothes, black hoodies and bandanas. Law enforcement might think you’re one of the rioters.
- If you can’t find a way out, try to find a building to take cover in until everything calms down.
- Walk instead of run.
Editor’s note: If you can avoid the area altogether, that might be your wisest course of action. Peaceful protesting is your right. But too many times in recent history we have seen protests and demonstrations turn violent. I would urge you to think long and hard before heading off to what could become a potential riot or chaotic situation.