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)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Step Fourteen: Bug-In or Bug-Out? - How to Make a Preparedness Plan that Works & Not Go Broke

"No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods."
Demosthenes, Greek Orator

Step Fourteen: Bug-In or Bug-Out?

I have yet to run across someone who wants to evacuate. It just rubs us humans the wrong way to have to leave our homes and possessions behind to some unknown thing. Yet to keep our survivability quotient high we have to plan for this worst case scenario and we have to understand that planning for this will NOT cause it to come true.

At a high level there are only two things that could entice us to vacate our homes:

  • Some impending danger that we see or sense.
  • An evacuation notice from an authoritive entity.

In the case of Evacuation Notices we must understand the following:

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

In the United States there are two types of Evacuation Notices:

  • Mandatory - Mandatory does not mean you are dragged out of your home kicking and screaming. Although the President can enact an executive order that gives the local authorities the power to drag you out of your home, the few times this has been done the local authorities DID NOT do so. When asked why; they stressed that they did not have enough time or manpower to go back and force people to evacuate; they barely had enough time and manpower to be sure everyone got the evacuation order in the first place.
  • SuggestedThis means that the authorities are not more than 50% sure that this area will be affected by the pending crisis. This usually occurs in large scope events, like hurricanes and the authorities are already maxed out dealing with the mandatory evacuation area.

The After Crisis Protocols (Search, Rescue and Emergency Assistance):

Immediately following a crisis all the “helper” entities have a large complex job to perform in the stricken area. They must be able to find and rescue the greatest number of people utilizing limited; funds, manpower, equipment and time.

To facilitate saving the most people utilizing these limited resources and taking into consideration historical crisis (evacuation percentages, etc) statistics, the following protocol was created:

  • An area that was Never issued an evacuation notice of any kind, and was devastated, will be addressed First.
  • An area that received a Suggested evacuation notice will be addressed Second.
  • An area that received a Mandatory evacuation notice will be addressed Last.

This means that if you received an evacuation notice and you decided NOT to evacuate and now need help; the “helper” entities will go to the areas that were NOT ordered to evacuate BEFORE they help people in areas that were told to evacuate.

One of the first elements to assess the need to vacate or not is Awareness.

To be aware, take advantage of every possible type of news communication in your area: Newspapers, TV, Radio, HAM, CB, Scanners, internet, weather alerts and the like. Keep your eyes and ears open and be alert to what is going on around you. 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 and the more aware you are, the better you can “read the signs” around you.

Some Additional Signs to keep aware of are:

  • A rush or long lines at banks, gas stations or grocery, home improvement, sporting, camping and gun stores
  • An increase in police, fire, rescue and military personnel and or vehicles
  • An increase in barrel & barricades and trucks
  • Ambulances and medical personnel are flocking to the hospitals
  • Long term care facilities appear to be removing residents
  • There is more traffic leaving your area than approaching

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.

In order to determine if you should shelter in place or evacuate/bug-out I highly recommend that you listen to the 15-20 minute podcast by (see link at end of this discussion). At the very least you and your family need to discuss the following questions:

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?
  • Will 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 two questions in red are the most important and “What will the impact of staying or going be on your family, can they handle what you can” is a double edged question:

  • If you decide to stay behind and keep your family with you; can they handle the pending crisis as well as you?
  • If you decide to stay behind and send them on; can you and they handle the possibility of never seeing each other again?

Remember that the needs and agendas of governments are different than that of its citizens. They are not being cruel or mean, it is just the way things are.

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

Next week we will cover Family Crisis Drills …

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. …”
Where to Find Your Community's & States Emergency Management Plans & Agencies


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