Many of us, myself included, have been guilty of fantasizing about what we would do during a scenario where we would want to “bug out”. It is easy to say things like, “My plan is to grab my go bag, my family, and run for the the hills.” For others, it is easy to imagine ourselves traversing chaotic streets with a group of our most trusted friends, loaded to the teeth with weaponry, battling our way to our off the grid location. While no doubt these daydreams can be interesting to entertain, it is important we take a holistic and realistic approach to “bugging out”.
There are plenty of fantastic articles on why you should or shouldn’t bug out and even more on how to set up and prepare your area of refuge that you and your group will bug out to. For the purposes of this article, we will be simply focusing on the skills involved with planning, training, and exercising your bug out plan after the decision to leave has been made.
The Planning, Training, and Exercising Process
These three skills– planning, training, and exercising– are based on tried and true emergency management principles and are currently being used by both public and private institutions all across the nation. The benefit of this plan, train, exercise process is that it allows you and your group to take an all-hazards approach to preparing for a plethora of disasters and emergencies. It is important to understand that your bug out plan standardizes the way you and your group handle this process. This plan helps ensure that everyone has a common understanding of what they are expected to do during your bug out.
It is important to have all group members involved in the planning process so that everyone’s voice can be heard. Once the plan is formalized, then you can train everyone on the plan so that they know what actions to take. Only once everyone has been trained should you exercise everyone’s ability to follow the plan under simulated conditions. If your group members have trouble achieving the objectives in your plan, it is important determine if the objectives were not met due to lack of training, equipment issues, or planning issues.
Developing Your Plan
Let’s face it we can’t plan for every specific emergency or disaster scenario that could unfold in our modern society, but we can take an all-hazards approach to our bug out planning process. Simply put, we should focus our planning efforts around the things we know that we will need to keep us alive if we are ever forced to leave our homes for a safer, more sustainable area. For bug out specific purposes, we will focus our planning, training, and exercising lessons around the supplies/equipment, communications, and our egress routes to the area of refuge.
Planning Considerations For Supplies/Equipment
When making plans for supplies and equipment, ask the following questions:
- Does every member in your group have access to enough food, water, clothing, medical supplies, and defensive equipment with them on a daily basis (i.e. in the trunk of their car or go bag)?
- Is that enough to sustain them for the journey to your final destination?
- On any given day, do you and your group keep enough fuel in your vehicles to reach your bug out location?
- If you were to get a flat tire or dead battery in your vehicle, do you have the equipment to repair it on the road?
- How quickly can you gather together the supplies you need to bug out on a weekend?
- Does that amount of time change during the work week once group members are spread out?
- If you had to leave in a hurry, what items are the priority (i.e. important documents, cash, food, firearms)? How will you quickly take those items with you?
- Have you considered placing caches of supplies along your egress routes? You may not able to take everything you originally intended to.
- What is your procedure if you meet peaceful individuals in need of supplies and equipment while bugging out?
- How does that procedure change if those individuals are hostile or become that way later?
- How long do your equipment batteries last under normal conditions? Can you extend that time if you needed to?
- Do you have a way to recharge the batteries for your bug out equipment without plugging it into the grid?
Planning Considerations For Redundant Communications
Redundant communications in emergencies are the key to success. Whether it be communicating that the road up ahead is blocked or coordinating your group rally point, being able to effectively communicate should be a high priority. During regular emergencies in our society, cell phones are the first to become inundated. Sometimes we can get a text through when phone lines are busy, but we can’t rely on cell phones alone. Ham radios , simple two-way handheld radios , and CB radios  are relatively inexpensive and easy to use.
Although radios do rely on batteries, which may be in short supply after the event, they can still prove to be useful for the hours or days of travel required to reach your destination. Satellite phones  are pricey and are also limited by batteries but can serve as another alternative to radios. Your communications plan for bug out will ideally have multiple methods of communicating to your group.
Egress Routes Planning Considerations
It doesn’t matter if your bug out location is 10 miles away or 1,000. Your routes of escape should be well mapped and understood by all members of your group. Much like communications, your egress plan should have multiple options in case one way is blocked or compromised. Consider which routes will be the least traveled. Saying away from the other travelers is usually the safer bet when resources are scarce.
Other considerations you may want to factor in, is the time it takes to get to your destination by vehicle, by foot, and any other methods of transportation you might intend to use. Mapping out your resource caches, water availability, and potential shelter locations along the intended routes can give you insight on which route may be best, given the specific circumstances that cause you to bug out. As stated before, you can’t prep for every possible scenario. By planning out your routes in advance you will save precious time when you need it most.
Training Everyone On The Plan
Training Everyone To Use Your Bug Out Supplies/Equipment
It is one thing to buy the best equipment, but it is another thing entirely to be able to use it effectively. So, as preppers, we must ask ourselves, have we trained everyone on all of the equipment we carry? This can be as simple as showing your group how to use your propane camp stove. It can be as complex as training your members to use life saving medical equipment while under hostile fire. For every piece of equipment that your group uses, there should be a training lesson that goes along with it. Ensure that all members, old and young, can use what you carry effectively. You may have some members in your group that are experts with one piece of equipment. By having them cross-train the group, it ensures that equipment can still be used if the expert isn’t available.
Today, we covered the planning portion and just began the training of the plan. There is much more to this section that we will cover tomorrow as well as the practice portion. So, come back tomorrow for more on planning, training, and practicing for bugging out.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been part one of a two part entry for Round 74 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest . The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator  from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course  (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses , excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper . These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees  in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product  from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses .
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4  Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of  Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners , donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections , a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord  (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 74 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail  us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.