I have a cou­ple philoso­phies as I am an apart­ment dweller out­side NYC with lit­tle space for stor­age, as well as a Bug Out loca­tion 100 miles from my apart­ment. So here are sev­er­al philoso­phies of mine that I think might res­onate with you:

  1. Bug­ging Out. There is NO pre­de­ter­mined for­mu­la or time to Bug Out. Peri­od. It is sub­jec­tive in nature and you should use your instincts. In an urban envi­ron­ment like ours, Bug­ging Out should be an impor­tant step when faced with nat­ur­al or man made dis­as­ters. Bug­ging Out applies itself to you, I , and oth­ers to be more acute­ly aware of the world around us so that we can Bug Out at the appro­pri­ate time, and not be part of a refugee flood of peo­ple try­ing to get out of the city at the last minute. This would lend itself to being dis­as­trous.   My friend Mar­tin, also adds this:  “If you bug out with­out a retreat, friend or fam­i­ly as your des­ti­na­tion you become a refugee, a scav­enger or loot­er. Any which way, you can’t expect a warm wel­come. If you do plan on bug­ging out, I would rec­om­mend car­ry­ing some kind of doc­u­men­ta­tion prov­ing that you own prop­er­ty or have fam­i­ly at your intend­ed des­ti­na­tion or you may find your way blocked by locals. Many peo­ple try­ing to flee New Orleans dur­ing Kat­ri­na found the high­way out of town blocked by the local racists-r-us sher­if­f’s depart­ment. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, how you look, what col­or your skin is or who you know, may deter­mine whether or not you are allowed to pass a road­block. Kat­ri­na demon­strat­ed that fear often over­rules sound judge­ment dur­ing emer­gen­cies.” Mar­tin Jones.  Bug­ging out also lends itself to look­ing dif­fer­ent when leav­ing the city or sub­ur­ban areas, height­en­ing the aware­ness some­thing is wrong, of those around you.  When every­one is in their car or run­ning for the bridge to get to the oth­er side, with noth­ing but the clothes on their back and you stroll up in your pack with three days worth of food, cloth­ing, and sup­plies, you could draw the wrong kind of atten­tion. So all of that said, for guys like you and I, Bug­ging Out should be a well thought out plan, and we should bug out only at the SERIOUS and omi­nous sign of a real threat. These threats could be Hur­ri­cane, Earth­quake (this is most like­ly after the fact, how­ev­er), seri­ous threat of some kind of NBC attack, or any oth­er life threat­en­ing issue that can be con­ceived on a mass casu­al­ty scale. Also, Bug­ging Out does­n’t have to make you home­less. Bug­ging out can be a tem­po­rary thing. Trust me; if a threat of a mon­ster Hur­ri­cane or mon­ster trop­i­cal storm threat­ened phys­i­cal harm to the “homes” of peo­ple where I live, you bet­ter believe that I would high tail it out of here until the storm has passed. Keep in mind as well, Bug­ging Out is option­al and your deci­sion to pre­serve your life and way of life.   Also, to date, I am a lon­er, by way of Bug­ging Out. Mean­ing if I leave, it is just me.  As it stands, I do not have to wor­ry about any­one else. There will be phys­i­cal and men­tal chal­lenges you should be pre­pared for.  recent­ly I have been prepar­ing for the phys­i­cal chal­lenges.   Not to men­tion the psy­cho­log­i­cal effects of friends you may have left behind, etc.  All these thoughts will cross your mind at some point. You have to eval­u­ate what and who is impor­tant to you and how you want to han­dle that, now. If you want a team, recruit your friends into your cause. If they do not want to believe, well, then don’t wor­ry about it. But give it a shot. It has tak­en me a year and oth­er out­side influ­ences to have a cou­ple friends just start to see the light and begin prep­ping for the future.
  2. Bug­ging In. Well, there is no oth­er way to say this than just say it. Bug­ging In is a neces­si­ty. Peri­od. You will need to whether you want to or not. I say this for var­i­ous rea­sons. First, the weath­er; The weath­er has got­ten so screwy that no one can depend on the type of weath­er that they are used to in their geo­graph­ic area. Hell, even south Flori­da hit 30 degrees this win­ter with snow flur­ries, and for them, that is almost a Bug In sit­u­a­tion. For any­where south of the Mason Dixon line, if a lit­tle snow falls they are par­a­lyzed for a cou­ple of days and most peo­ple stay home. So, that said, Bug­ging In pre­pared­ness requires just as much thought as Bug­ging out. For exam­ple, after I got over my “Oh no, we have an idiot in the White House who is going to fur­ther destroy our econ­o­my, I need to be pre­pared to get out of here, hys­te­ria,” I real­ized that I am not pre­pared for ANY sit­u­a­tion that may require me to stay inside for any length of time. I start­ed doing my home­work. The first thing was water. The sec­ond was food, and the third was home pro­tec­tion, and I am not just talk­ing weapons here. I am talk­ing about 10 mil thick plas­tic sheet­ing, duct tape etc, if I have to cov­er the win­dow and door areas of my apart­ment for fall­out, chem­i­cal, or bio­log­i­cal attack for any length of time. A few exam­ples of what I store:
    1. 35 — 50 gal­lons of water in a clos­et. I have all the water stored in five gal­lon col­lapsi­ble water con­tain­ers used for camp­ing that are stacked togeth­er in the cor­ner of the clos­et. Each is full with a ½ tsp of bleach added to keep the water potable for about a year. http://tinyurl.com/y93oxej
    2. 1 dozen MREs with­out heaters: http://tinyurl.com/ycnxgms
    3. Qty five — Main­stay Emer­gency Food — 3600 Calo­rie Bars (One in car, two in BoB, and a cou­ple in the apart­ment in stor­age): http://tinyurl.com/ya2f7q9
    4. Var­i­ous dried, freeze dried, and non dried food stores, with rough­ly 90 – 120 days of food in the event of a SHTF Bug in or Bug Out sit­u­a­tion. I am dehy­drat­ing veg­eta­bles as we speak to store as we speak as they take up less space than hydrat­ed, albeit they uti­lize more water than you would nor­mal­ly for re-hydra­tion. I also have mul­ti­ple bags of flour, both wheat and bleached for mak­ing bread, and have boned up on recipes and ways to cook if the gas and elec­tric were off. Much of the food I have can be thrown into my truck, as I have it in plas­tic buck­ets, in a Bug Out sit­u­a­tion as well.
    5. I have recent­ly pur­chased a cou­ple of kerosene lamps and lamp oil in case the pow­er goes out, and pur­chased a heat source in the event I have to stay in one room of the apart­ment for an extend­ed peri­od of time. http://tinyurl.com/ygvrqs5 I try to buy the 16 oz. propane cans every time I go to Lowes or Home Depot, just so I can have a good cache of them. I rotate them out and use them with my portable Weber grill which can be thrown in the back of my truck if I Bug Out. http://tinyurl.com/yzcfwf9
    6. Oth­er con­sid­er­a­tions I have not ful­ly explored.  Sup­ple­men­tal pow­er for appli­ances (refrig­er­a­tor and freez­er), prox­im­i­ty pro­tec­tion for my apart­ment; camera(s) or alarm sys­tem, addi­tion­al water stor­age, ven­ti­la­tion, and much, much, more.

I have found it is not inex­pen­sive to be pre­pared. It is easy to spend mon­ey on stuff. My advice is to craft a care­ful list. Get out there and price every­thing you think you will need, pri­or­i­tize the pur­chas­es (not emo­tion­al­ly) prag­mat­i­cal­ly, and start buy­ing based on your bud­get. My spend­ing has gone way down recent­ly, but I con­tin­ue to buy and be pre­pared.

Take a course or two on First Aid, any sur­vival cours­es you can get your head around, for­ag­ing, think about learn­ing to hunt (legal­ly), go fish­ing (gut and learn to fil­let a fish), cook, learn how to shoot a gun from a pro­fes­sion­al or some­one who knows, tie knots, go camp­ing, hik­ing, etc. These are all skills that you can apply to real life every day. You don’t need to be a sur­vival­ist to use them in your dai­ly life.

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