(Continued from Part 1. This part concludes the article.)
Obviously, the best bet is to stay with your vehicle if possible. You can carry a lot of stuff in your vehicle, and the vehicle itself can always be a temporary shelter. You might have to leave your vehicle to be closer to a water supply or for a different reason. Once you are bugging out and away from your residence, you might have to be much more flexible in your thinking. Such as: Your shelter can be anything, depending on the circumstances. If it is hot, maybe all you need is some shade. Your particular situation and location make all the difference.
While staying in your home is often the best choice (especially short-term) in some cases that is just not the best choice. If you are in an apartment or a condominium they can become poor places to stay very quickly in many situations. Both are very susceptible to fire. With either, you have many other people staying in the same building, and if any of them start a fire, everyone in the building must evacuate, very quickly. Also, those buildings are often located near the center of the city or town. So that could be very close to any ‘social unrest’ or riots. Often it is quite difficult to be very secure in those buildings.
Another problem with any living quarters in most cities or towns is that if the power goes off you lose your water supply. (Very few municipal water supplies are gravity fed from end-to-end.) You can prepare for this somewhat by storing some water, but lack of power also means lack of sewage pumps. This could cause raw sewage to back up into your house or apartment. As you can imagine this could force your evacuation. Living on the second floor or higher or living on a hill will help prevent sewage backup from entering your home or apartment. Too bad for the people on the first floor because they will know every time someone above flushes.
Evacuating from a city or town could be problematic, depending on many factors. If many people are trying to leave at the same time, then the roads will likely be clogged possibly to the point of no forward movement. Earthquakes, fires, or other natural disasters can close off certain roads or even large sections of a town or city. So plan ahead: Plot several routes that you can use to leave the area and try them out to find their weak or strong points, and so you get truly familiar with the routes. If at all possible have plans to evacuate in more than one direction in case one direction becomes completely out of the question.
Plan in case you are unable to evacuate with your vehicle. A bike could be used, or you can always walk. If you own a motorcycle, they can often be ridden where cars cannot go because of tight spaces that might be encountered. To carry more stuff on a bike or motorcycle, you can install panniers (saddlebags) or attach a small trailer. Walking means a backpack or better yet some kind of a cart or even a wheeled suitcase.
Any weight that can be put on wheels instead of on your back will make it a lot easier to bug out. (The ability to carry more stuff, with less fatigue). Detailed maps can be invaluable to have, and you should have the actual paper printed form and not just depend on your GPS or smartphone. Have real paper detailed maps of your area. If you think that you might at some point try to evacuate on foot, then try it beforehand. Just leave your house or apartment and walk your planned evac route. Don’t even carry a pack the on the first try. Just try it. Then try it again with a backpack. when you get tired you can call a cab or a friend to get back home again. That will give you a good idea of your capability of on-foot evacuation.
Do you have any pets? What is your plan for your pets if you have to evacuate? Evacuating with your pets would likely be fine if you can use your vehicle but what if you have to leave on foot? A medium-sized or larger dog can be put on a leash and be taken with you without causing a lot of trouble but are you going to put leashes on each of your three cats? Can you carry all of them at once?
Are you going to carry food and water for your pets? Many people have more than one dog. Can you walk them on a leash together? What if you have a cat or two? Obviously, it would not be practical to carry a cat or try to walk it on a leash. So what is your plan? Let the cat loose to become someone else’s problem? Turn it loose to die a slow death from starvation? Leave them trapped in your dwelling with extra food and water? I do not have an answer for what you should do with your pets if you ever have to evacuate your home quickly. But I do know that the time to think of your plan for pets is well before something traumatic happens.
It is a good idea to have an alternate shelter lined up if you ever need it. Or several choices would be even better. Alternates can be a friend’s house or apartment or the home/apartment of a relative or even a motel. Maybe it is a favorite camping spot you have camped at before that is not too far away. Maybe it is your RV, and it can be driven (or pulled, in the case of a camping trailer) most anywhere. Or maybe you have a cabin or second home.
Many call this alternate place their bug out location (BOL). Your alternate should be at least some distance from your normal living quarters. A friend’s apartment in the same building might be handy but would do no good if the building is on fire. A friend a few blocks away might be fine, but across town or in the countryside nearby would probably be a better choice. That is why have a couple of possible locations would give you much more flexibility.
An alternate location within ten miles could be reached by foot in less than a day for many people. Try not to have your main BOL more than a half a tank of gas away from your regular home. So maybe we are talking within two hundred miles maximum from your home. Consider several possible routes to get there and possibly friendly stops arranged in advance along the route, such as the homes of family member or friends.
Pre-Positioning Gear at Your BOL
If possible, it would be a good idea to stash at least a few things at your bug out location just in case you show up there with nothing but the clothes on your back. Handy things to stash there might be some clothes (include shoes and boots!), maybe some cash, a spare cellular phone charger, special medications that you need, backpack/camping gear, Basically, whatever you think might make your stay there easier and safer. Or items to use to re-supply you to continue your journey to a more distant destination. Perhaps consider storing some stabilized fuel if it is more of a re-supply depot on the route to your BOL. This is possible if this spot is a friend or relative’s house. If this spot is just a camping spot then stashing supplies there would not be practical or at least they could be problematic. This spot could also be a rental storage place but that would also mean a monthly fee you would have to pay.
Thoroughly explore alternate routes to get to your planned BOL. Do this until you are familiar enough with each of these other routes, that you do not need a map. (But always have a paper map with you). In an emergency situation of just about any kind, you can expect roads to be closed off, or clogged with cars. That is why you plan ahead for these alternate routes.
You should even plan a route or two for if you are on foot, or on a bike. Do you have to cross a river or stream? What if the bridge is down or completely blocked? Earthquakes can happen almost anywhere even though you might not have heard of one happening near you in the past. That could cause many different routes to be impassable and that is why you need alternates. But many things can cause a route to be closed down. A large accident might close even a major highway for many hours. Police might close down highways due to nearby wildfires. There can be many reasons for any road or even major highways to close so you must be ready to go a different way.
In summary and conclusion: Plan ahead. It may save your life!