Bugging out might not be as simple as going from point A to point B. You could find that the hardest part is getting everyone together and on the same page just to get to the point where you can bug out, this is why bug out planning and communication is so important.
Think of it like spending the day with the family at the amusement park, if you have the whole family at the amusement park and you are getting ready to go. You know where the car is, and you know where the exit is, but before you leave you need to round everyone up. So what do you do? Do you search around the park looking for everyone, which leads to lost time and frustration?
If you have a plan in place before hand you can tell everyone “we are meeting here at 4:00 so you better be here” you have a better shot at getting everyone together when it’s time to go. I say a better shot because very rarely does everyone show up when and where they are supposed to, teenagers get distracted pretty easily. It could be a pretty girl, they don’t know the quickest route back or their head is just in the clouds and they lost track of time.
Your plan is just like everything else that comes with prepping, it all depends on your family makeup. We need to look at all the different possibility’s we can, and know that it probably won’t work like we expected it to.
Having everyone meet at your home would be the best case scenario, everyone knows how to get there and that is where you have all of your supplies. But what do you do if your home is in the middle of a hot spot and you not only need to get out quickly, but you don’t want your family to venture into this danger zone thinking it is the correct choice.
Make sure everyone knows about an alternative rally point, and make sure that everyone knows how to assess the situation to insure everyone is on the same page. This is important because there might not be cell phones or any other way of communicating with loved ones. You will be basically be sitting there waiting with your fingers crossed that everyone gets there safely, if you have a plan in place it might ease your mind a little bit knowing that they know what to do…you just hope they do it.
Make sure that everyone understands that dangers they could face and that a straight line is not always the fastest route from point A to Point B. Some peoples first thought might be to jump on the highway and get to the rally point as quickly as possible, this would be great if everyone else was not thinking the same thing. Getting on the highway is like being in a giant hose, everything flows great until someone puts a kink in the hose. Most of us have been in a traffic jam and know that once you are in the middle of it you have no choice but to ride it out and hope for the best.
Y.O.Y.O (Your on your own)
Make sure everyone knows alternative routes from where they might be to where they need to be. We are creatures of habit and usually take the same route to work and school every day. We might have to avoid some of these areas we travel on a daily basis, and knowing a few different ways of getting to a location could help you avoid those routes that could be dangerous and even unpassable.
Make sure and travel to this location with your family so they know the area, talk about the different ways to get there, treat this like a fire drill and explain to everyone that just like in school, it might never start on fire, but we need to know what to do just in case it does.
Some of us have small children that might be at school or day care, make sure you know what the procedures are at that school. Who is allowed to pick that child up if you can’t get there? What will they do if they have to move the children to a different location?
These are things we need to think about now so that we are not franticly searching for our loved ones if something were to happen. There is a reason they do fire drills as schools, the chances might be slim that a school starts on fire, but it happens, and it could be disastrous if there wasn’t a plan in place.
This could be the tricky part because teenagers know everything and are invincible. If you have teenagers that drive they probably take one route to where ever they go, and because they have limited experience behind the wheel if they need to take a different route they could easily become lost and without the use of a cell phone to call mommy and daddy, this could be a very dangerous situation.
Getting your children to understand that sometimes everything doesn’t work out the way we expect it to and we might need to think on our feet is very important because it gives them the critical thinking skills necessary if everything were to go south.
Have them challenge themselves and take different routes to and from work and school. This will help them get a better sense of direction and a better understanding of how the neighborhood is put together. Or if you have a rally point picked out, let them drive there (using your gas) a few times taking a few different routes.
Elderly – Disabled
If there is someone elderly or disabled in the family you will need to have a plan in place to get them if they are somewhere other than your home. This could be you, or this could be someone who has a better, quicker route to get them and bring them to your rally point.
Whether this is you or someone else you or they will need to have the supplies that person needs on them at all times. Things don’t always go according to plan and if something takes longer than expected you will want to have medications or anything else that person might need.
Being away from home
Most of us spend about half of our day away from home, so if disaster strikes unexpectedly we might have to get to our home just to get what we need to bug out. Having a bug out plan in place to get from your home, to your rally point, to your bug out location is great, but you need a plan in place if you are at work, at school or just our running errands.
The odds are that if you have 5 people that are bugging out with you, they are not all going to be home (or in their home) when something happens. Everyone needs to have an individual plan to get what they need and get out as quickly as they can.
This is also the reason you should have a bug in bag, a car bug out bag or even just supplies in your trunk, you never know when disaster will strike so covering all of your bases is imperative.
Communication could be slim to none
Depending on the situation there could be no communication whatsoever to get in touch with your family, or even get updated about the situation itself. If the grid is down that would mean no cell phones, no television and no radio with the exception of backup power and batteries. This is why communicating now is so important, everyone needs to understand that they will be on an island and need to find their own way of getting back together with the group.
In the early stages of a disaster there could still be some AM radio stations working, text messages might still be an option, because even if the cell towers are still working it could be impossible to make a phone call. This is also the reason I just got my ham radio technician’s license, because there is a possibility I could communicate with others about what is going on around me.
My family knows that if something terrible were to happen I might be the best source of information, not just because of ham radio, because I will be checking every possible option I have in a disaster situation and my kids probably don’t even know what AM radio is.
When it comes to ham radio, I still need to make some more local connections and continue to learn more about ham radio. I will also continue working on getting better equipment that will allow me a further reach and a solar charging option.
Making sure that everyone knows the basics like not wasting the battery life on your phone trying to make calls because texting takes far less power and is more likely to get through, the importance of finite resources like food, water, fuel and time and knowing that they will be responsible for their own safety if the family is separated and there is no form of communication.
“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit