Bug In or Bug Out?

December 15, 2019

To Bug In or to Bug Out, that, is the question. Let's explore the benefits of each and then weigh the outcomes.

Bugging In

Bugging in is the act of staying in the location of your primary preparation supplies. Your home, apartment, or other living situation is the most likely location.

Example: The area floods but your home is safe

Benefits and Advantages
  • Familiar surroundings, people, and terrain reduce the amount of Observation required (OODA Loop)
  • Reduced activity means reduced nutrition requirements
  • Risk of injury is lower
  • Medical treatment and sanitation are easier
  • Larger storage area for supplies
  • Family and friends know where to find you
  • Community of neighbors for support
  • You may still be in the danger zone of any disasters
  • If the entire region is affected by the disaster, access to new supplies is limited
  • Professional medical treatment may be unavailable
  • If sewer/waste is non-functional, hygiene will become dangerous

Bugging Out

Bugging out is the act of leaving your primary shelter that contains your supplies. Modes of transportation may vary between vehicles, bicycles, or foot.

Example: Evacuating before a hurricane arrives

Benefits and Advantages
  • Mobility can mean safety during unpredictable circumstances
  • You may avoid the situation altogether (see: hurricanes)
  • Possibly easier to avoid other people. Important if disease is an issue
  • Limited supply load
  • Activity levels require additional nutrition and rest
  • Unfamiliar terrain may increase risk of injury
  • Additional cost of food/lodging if available
  • Family, friends, and other community not available unless you have family you can bug out to
  • Travel by foot or road can be dangerous during disasters as people are unpredictable
  • Traffic may prevent expedient travel, leaving you more exposed than if you were at home

Should I Bug In, or Bug Out?

As with many other things in life, the answer is: it depends. You must use your preparedness mindset pre-event to determine which situations warrant staying, and which warrant leaving. There are not absolutes. Wildfires may spread and block your bug out route, but may destroy your home, floods may block travel, earthquakes may cause fires or broken roads. Ultimately, you must use your OODA loop wisely, and do the best you can. Given the advantages and disadvantages of each listed above, it is clear that bugging in is the most ideal option.

Previous: Chapter 2, Disaster Preparedness Mindset

Up Next: Chapter 4, Bugging In

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