New Mexico Urban Homesteader

Hello, I am A 50 Something, Prepper ;-}; former 60's Flower Child, don't believe in taxpayer subsidized special interest groups (political parties), DO believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (1st 10). Long time Independent & Informed Voter. Lover of the outdoors and firm believer that History Teaches - if only we will listen!

(No longer Urban or in NM. Now Rural in the mountains of Maine.)

This blog was started at the request of some dear friends that wish to become Preppers.

“No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.”

Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

When Do You Bug-Out or stay Put?

In order to determine if you should shelter in place or evacuate/bug-out you will need to answer a series of questions – kinda like a decision tree. To effectively ask those questions, you will need to be aware of what is happening around you – local, state, national and international; you will need to have a plan to account for each possible scenario that may occur in your area – already in place.

Also keep in mind that if a government entity suggests or orders an evacuation, then they have most likely waited until the last possible moment to issue the order – so don’t tally! You, the evacuees, are solely responsible to pack and go, not your employer (even if they tell you to stay), not the government and not your neighbor or in-laws – You Alone Are Responsible for You and Yours.

In fact studies have shown that in times of crisis about 30-45% of the police, fire, rescue and military personnel will go home and take care of their own families first, especially if they are nearby.

If you decide to NOT evacuate and you then need help these same police, fire, rescue and military personnel will go to the areas that were NOT ordered to evacuate BEFORE they go to help people in areas that were told to evacuate.

You CANNOT count on any government or emergency agency to come to your rescue in a timely fashion. The only things you can count on are yourself (physical, emotional & spiritual), your knowledge, skills and the supplies and tools you have on hand – at that moment!

Have regular practice exercises where you have only 30 minutes to an hour to pack and go. Time yourselves and make the drill fun with rewards and the like.

The advantage that we Preppers have is that we have a set of well thought out plans. We have our gear and supplies in easy reach from 72-hour bags to caches and shelters. We have at least one bug-out retreat if not three, besides our primary residence. All are stocked for at least 30-60 days. If we must bug-out we have at least 3 different routes and rendezvous/meet locations along each possible route we may take. We have put alternative communication and transportation plans into effect. We will not be a statistic - Which will put us in a position where we might be the only ones able to assist the authorities.

Be Aware

Knowledge is essential in any type of disaster or evacuation scenario. The sooner you can determine the answers to the questions below, the less the people around you will be running around like chickens with their heads cut off getting in your way and the less traffic on the roads if evacuation is ordered.

To be aware take advantage of every possible type of communication type in your area. Newspapers, TV, Radio, HAM, CB, Scanners, internet, weather alerts and the like. The more sources of information, the faster you will be able to determine if you can stay put or must bug-out.

The more information you have, the better you can “read the signs” around you. Some signs are:

  • A rush or long lines at banks, gas stations or grocery and home improvement stores
  • An increase in police, fire, rescue and military personnel
  • Lines at sporting, camping and gun stores
  • There is more traffic leaving your area than approaching
  • An increase in barrel & barricade trucks and or military, fire and law enforcement vehicles
  • Ambulances and medical personnel are flocking to the hospitals

If you have been monitoring your communication and news sources then you will know if this is a city Preparedness Drill, a massive toxic spill, hurricane or whatever.

The 12 Key Questions to Ask & Plan for are: (Thank You

  • Which choice gives you the best chance of survival for the scenario at hand? (this is not always clear)
  • How well prepared are you to shelter in place?
  • What exactly are you prepared for? (a forest fire is far different from local rioting)
  • Have evacuation orders been given or suggested?
  • What is the nature and probable duration of the threat?
  • Well staying put change anything as far as “saving your home”?
  • Where will you go and how will you get there?
  • Do you own a bug out location or have double up plans or no place to go at all?
  • Will you be able to help your community if you stay?
  • What will the impact of staying or going be on your family, can they handle what you can?
  • What can you take with you and what must you leave behind?
  • If you leave what exactly is waiting for you at your destination?

The Government

According to the Disaster Evacuation and Displacement Policy the government has the right to force someone out of their home:

“Dependent upon state and local law, [the local executive] has extraordinary powers to suspend local laws and ordinances, such as to establish curfew, direct evacuations, and, in coordination with the local health authority, to order quarantine.”

For details see: Disaster Evacuation and Displacement Policy for Congress at:

When you plan for these questions, remember that depending on the crisis the following could play a role in your answer to stay or go.

  • Civil Upheaval/Crime
  • Lasting Health Issues
  • Lasting Supply Issues

Remember Katrina – it’s not If – it’s When

There are also some Pro’s and Con’s to your decision.


  • The food in your refrigerator and pantry can supplement your survival stash
  • If you lose power, you can quickly cook much of your food and monitor the temperature of your freezer (frozen food will usually keep at least 24 hours)
  • You'll have more time to improve your home's chances of survival (move items to high ground, put plywood over windows, etc.)
  • It offers shelter against most elements
  • You'll have access to all your clothing, bedding and other comforts
  • You won't suffer from boredom as much as you might in a shelter (unless your retreat is well stocked)
  • You possibly can protect your stuff from looters
  • You have more room to store emergency supplies


  • If you decide to evacuate later, it may be too late. Traffic, clogged roads, roadblocks, etc will be a hindrance
  • Without heat, electricity, hot water or other services, home just isn't the same, unless you have backup energy
  • There is no sense of community, unless other neighbors or members of your local survival group stay home, too. You may feel cut off and alone
  • If a mandatory evacuation has been ordered, you may be prosecuted by local authorities (although this rarely happens); at the very least your area will be the last place getting aid or search& rescue
  • You and yours may become a liability to S&R.

Recommended Reading and Listening

There an excellent podcast about this called: Bug In or Bug Out - 12 Questions to Ask - Episode-289 found at: It is about 30 minutes long and well worth your time.

A great article called When to Bug Out: Knowing the Signs can be found at:

Another good one is Heed the Disaster, Know the Dangers at: “…The Effects and Damage Could Be More Than One Envisioned …”

Bug Out or Batten Down? Should you Stay or Go? by Captain Dave at: is fantastic “…We all have a strong desire to protect what's ours. Regardless of whether you own the largest house in the neighborhood or rent a ramshackle shack, home is where the heart is, not to mention all the rest of your stuff! And Captain Dave knows you've worked long and hard to accumulate that stuff, so abandoning it and running for safety may stick in your craw. …”

Bottom line: The needs and agendas of governments are different than that of the citizens.

It’s your choice and yours alone. Only you can determine the ultimate consequences of staying or going, for you and yours.

“It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.”
Whitney M Young Jr

From a 50 Something, soon to be homesteading Prepper ;-}

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