Ten Things That Will Get You Killed While Bugging In, by Paul C.

“Bugging in” is the term used for staying at home while waiting for an event to pass you by. [As opposed to “bugging out”–fleeing to a lightly populated region.] Even the largest civil events of the last one hundred years haven’t set society off here in the United States of its normal course for more than two weeks. Double that for a month and you’ll survive, or out survive, any event likely to hit.
After whatever event that has set society on its end has struck the 99 out of one hundred people that haven’t prepared for survival are going to be out looking for supplies. Those people will have some sort of firearm likely and as hunger, dehydration, and panic set in they will become more and more willing to use violence as a means to secure what they want from you. I recommend keeping the lowest possible profile possible as stealth is one of the best weapons available.
1. Starvation.
You need to have enough food on your shelves for at least a month. Stock up on military MREs, canned soups, and canned meats. Foods that do not require cooking are a bonus as they can be quickly eaten without generating a fire and the issues that go along with it. Having the food in one or two central locations close to the center of your house with heavy canvas bags ready will make moving your food stash easier if a bug in situation turns into a bug out situation. Rotate your stocks into your normal meals or donate them to shelters as they approach expiration date. MREs can last ten years or longer stored indoors and kept cool. Beware of rodents and insects; check your emergency pantry often for their infestation.
2. Dehydration.
In some locations around the United States there is almost a constant supply of rain or running water. Under some conditions rain can become contaminated but normally within a week any chemical, biological, or nuclear pollution will have fallen out of the sky. Ground water supplies can become infected for much longer. Wells and pumps should have their outputs filtered. Have a method of gathering rain water if for use only in sanitation. I recommend having enough cases of bottled water for a month. Rationing food is much easier when there is extra water. Water is much cheaper to keep in quantities, a case of 24 liters of water should provide three days of drinking water and costs about $4. Like your food stores these should be rotated into your normal drinking water. Realize that some food containers will rot out fairly quickly – use clean soda bottles rather then milk containers if you’re storing water on the cheap.
3. Exposure to Extreme Weather.
The weather is something that continues even when we’re having problems. Imagine your home without the normal supply of electrical and natural gas energy during the worse spell of weather a typical winter can throw at you. Without a source of energy your home will do little more than supply shelter from the wind and rain or snow. Propane heaters can provide clean burning heat but like any source of combustion they require a supply of fresh air less they burn up all the oxygen in the room. Do not burn charcoal indoors as it not only burns up the oxygen it gives off deadly carbon monoxide. Have plenty of warm clothing available for use indoors and out. Synthetic materials that retain some warming ability even when wet are important. Keep your feet, hands, head and neck warm as they are where most heat is lost from. Mittens are far better at keeping hands warm then gloves. A tiny hole can allow the use of the trigger finger.
4. Sanitation.
Without flushing water toilets will not function. Even low flow toilets require a bit more than a gallon to flush. If the event is going to be a normal short “week or so” civil outage you can manually load the toilet tank with a bucket of water. Liquid waste can be gathered during the day and poured discretely at night into a location distant from any natural source of water you might be gathering. Solid waste can be put into plastic bags which can be sealed and placed into trash cans.
5. Light.
If the source of electricity has been cut off using a flashlight or lantern will draw people like bugs to a street light. People have a natural fear of the dark and there’s nothing like being the only source of light for blocks to draw an unwelcome crowd. If you do use lights after dark use them as little as possible. Red filters will help keep the use of light discrete. Draw your shades or blinds like normal and then nail blankets, cardboard, or better yet, pre-prepared plywood over the insides. This effort will keep in heat, hold down the noise, block light, and add some protection against looters or attackers.
6. Smoke.
Smoke can be seen for a great distance as can the smell of it or cooking food. Sit outside one summer evening with a light breeze and you’ll smell cooking going on from a hundred yards away. Burning trash can raise a great deal of smoke and doesn’t make sense initially unless your neighbors are also doing it. If you have to burn trash gather several days worth together and burn it in a trash can with ventilation holes in the bottom. This will help the fire burn hotter and emit less smoke. Extinguish the fire after use rather then letting it linger. Cigarette smoke can also be smelled from a great distance away.
7. Noise.
It is amazing how far normal conversation or household noise can travel at night in a silent city. Those who have been hunting in the early hours know how far sound travels, you can hear a noisy hunting party clear across a lake when the wind is gentle and the weather cool. During the day sound doesn’t travel as far due to the effect of the sun warming the ground. Gunfire can be heard for miles. The use of a sound suppressor on a firearm would be ideal in a survival situation. Use only enough gun to get the job done, gathering a bunny from the field requires a .22 Long Rifle round, not a .223 [Remington.] Running an electrical generator can create lots of noise, putting the generator in a garage [with proper exhaust venting] will help some. Limit their use as much as possible as things get worse. Try to use [photovoltaic] solar power as much as possible.
8. Activity.
If you’re trying to remain hidden in plain sight motion will certainly give you away. Chores that require you to leave the house should be done only after dark. Wear dark clothing or better camouflage that matches your environment. Resting during the day and patrolling or gathering after dark maintains the lowest profile. If you do have to move about during the day stay off of trails, streets, and ridge lines where you’re likely to be seen first. The use of passive night vision goggles can help greatly when moving around after dark. If the ground is covered with freshly fallen snow limit your upsetting of the blanket until more is falling or the winds pick up to cover your tracks back to your place.
9. Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Weapons.
Whether they are released intentionally or accidentally they can kill you just as dead, just as fast. Nuclear weapons kill by blast and radiation. Dirt is your friend with both forms of energy. Ideally being shielded by massive quantities of dirt is the best protection. Living on the far side of a mountain or having a basement shelter where you can keep below the initial blast of radiation. Fallout is radioactive matter in the dust and debris that follows a blast. Most fallout settles within hours, within days it is almost completely gone. Weather can help with rainfall and high winds. The longer you can stay sheltered the lower your chance of getting radiation sickness is. Filtering the air within your shelter can be done with gas masks. You should become familiar with the fit and feel of a mask prior to needing one. Protecting against some chemical agents is similar to nuclear fallout. Those chemicals that are dust like can be filtered with ease, gas-like agents will dissipate with time and wind. Oily chemicals can spread with contact with contaminated surfaces. Wearing disposable chemical resistant coveralls, gloves, and over-boots can keep contaminates outside when coming back indoors. Biological agents are greatly affected by the weather and can be rendered harmless by sun, rain, cold, and heat. Avoiding them is a matter of keeping buttoned up for a few days or possibly weeks.
10. Communications
It is only natural to desire to communicate with outside loved ones. This will normally require the use of a amateur “ham” radio, CB, or FRS radio. Realize that the ability to track the source of communications isn’t that difficult. Amateur radio clubs do “fox hunts” to practice finding hidden transmitters. If you do use radio communications keep them short and cryptic if the event becomes really serious and to the point where people are getting desperate. One time pads can be used – both parties have a look-up table to decode prearranged phrases. These are changed each patrol. Have a wideband scanner receiver so that you can listen for the authorities or even on other [survival] group’s communications. – Paul C.