Author Topic: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...  (Read 24401 times)

Offline JC Refuge

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Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« on: January 10, 2010, 08:21:06 AM »
I asked our Safecastle Board of Advisors this age-old question (see our store pages, www.prepared.pro, bottom of left column for Advisor bio links):

Acknowledging that circumstances must ultimately dictate our response to a pending disaster or crisis, we ask this general question. Most, if not all who are involved in preparedness have in mind a "fight or flight," bugout or hunker down, Plan A or Plan B in mind for most forseeable disasters. What is your Plan A for most disasters you see as reasonably possible where you live and work? Will you grab your bugout bag and hit the highway for the hinterlands? Or are you prepared to (and hope to) fight it out at home? Please briefly explain your reasoning for what your Plan A entails.

I will post their responses here in this thread as I receive them.

Offline JC Refuge

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2010, 08:23:28 AM »
Ron Hood:  Any plan should be based on your circumstances, your preparedness level and your location. We live in the panhandle of Idaho and bugging out in the winter is not a reasonable choice and wouldn't be for most folks here. On the other hand we are in a small, self sufficient community with a history of supporting not only itself but it's individual citizens. For us the only real choice is to "bug in" or hunker down.

Keep in mind that if you bug out you are leaving behind most of your protection, resources, and environmental knowledge in exchange for potentially very dangerous locations that might be filled with people who are competing for the same resources as you. Some of them might actually count on taking the resources of others.

This might not come as a shock but it might be a reality check. My community might be able to help a few relatives of citizens, elderly, children etc., but if we are "invaded" by refugees, the game would change and the welcome sign would disappear. That would not be good for people trying to "bug out" to our community.

Offline JC Refuge

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2010, 08:33:14 AM »
Roli Delgado:  I'm basically in a situation where I am looking at land to put a trailer on and then build a cabin on.  I am selling my house to help with the transition.  Day-to-day life often reminds me that I may like to retire a bit outside of the country.  I don't have anywhere to go in a SHTF situation at the moment and I'm not happy about it!  However I am working towards that goal at the moment.  I am also starting my first bucket garden and experimenting with canning. 

My two main concerns are, first, the decline of our country socially and economically, and any type of airborne disease or virus. For both situations we will need to be self sufficient and away from the masses. So I am currently working on my situation and "bug out" location.  However it's easy for me to purchase this land because it will offer me a lot of recreational opportunities with my son, a possible retirement location, and of course a place to go in disaster situations.

Offline JC Refuge

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2010, 08:43:42 AM »
"Bow" Beauchamp:  What would I do in a crisis? I have my A-B-C plan.
 
My  "A"  plan is "Analyzing." My first instinct is always to, wait and watch. During this analyzing  time, I like to distance myself from the crisis if I can, to allow for my family's personal safety, which of course is my first priority. The reason I like to wait and watch is to allow things to ...
  1- Slow down a bit.
  2 -Analyze what is actually happening. (As opposed to what I think is happening). I have learned from a lot of personal experiences that this can, sometimes be the case. While I analyze what is actually happening around me I like to ...       
  3- Take stock of the surrounding resources I can acquire or utilize nearest myself.
From this on-site intel process I make a decision and establish my resolve.

My " B"  plan"... my "Bow"  plan, is two-fold. It consists of:
 
1- My stay and play plans  or
2- My  load and go plans..
 **(Each of these plans are dynamic and are in-depth.)
 
My  "C"  plan stands for "Core ideas," "Common sense," and "Community"
 
I like to keep every situation "real" ... do what is needed ... and don't make it larger than it is.
Community ... this aspect of my plan involves helping people who need help ... or  rendering assistance to get them steered in the right direction.
 
I have found these 3 concepts seem to work well for me.

Offline JC Refuge

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2010, 09:00:32 AM »
Greg Hawkinson:   I think most preparedness folks will (or should) opt for staying put.  This is most indicative of the preparedness lifestyle (if they have given catastrophic events consideration and made plans). Most folks will either be located in a community, or on a location that will allow them to work either cooperatively or independently towards succeeding at surviving on-site in their home community. Having all of what you need on-site is a great benefit. 

One of the few exceptions I see is when a prepper's job puts them in a location they would rather not be in, forcing them to make a move to bug-out early when given the opportunity.

Offline Heavy G

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2010, 10:54:45 AM »
JC:

Great thread.  Great topic.  Thanks.  +1.

Offline JC Refuge

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2010, 06:15:56 PM »
Dr. Ducey:  Except in the case of hurricane and or fire I would have to defer to hunkering down. There are many core reasons ... the least being you are familiar with your terrain and especially your home. You know what works and what does not. You know its weaknesses and its strengths. You hopefully have prepared and have stored food, water, medicine, fuel, et al.

Your home gives you, and especially your family, a sense of self. It takes away some of the unknowns that can come with uprooting.
This all comes with planning and is a family affair. People usually just think about physical aspects. No food, no water ... try to see what happens with no sleep, a family looking for security and comfort. Who can heal, if need be, in those circumstances???

Offline Slamaxe

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2010, 11:27:52 AM »
I wanted to add something to my first comment. Years ago I lived in the Los Angeles area. My rule was to always choose a home in the mountains near the city but within range of my work at the University. I had followed this rule since the late 70's. As we all know, the city is a powder keg. It also has a very fragile infrastructure and a lot of threats ranging from social disturbance to fire. We used to say, "LA has four seasons, fire, flood, earthquake and riot". My plans, activated several times, included a number of well scouted "back road" exits. Small caches and hides, each within walking distance of each other (water, food, shelter) and several very clear objectives (Sites where I would move to). Since I own a small place 70 miles from LA I made that my primary objective and my main cache. It also served as my hunting area in regular seasons.

The point I'm trying to make is that you need to plan the entire exit strategy, not simply "what will you do". If you are going to bug out, you need plans now, not when the event happens. You need maps and you need to check your planned exits. You need to learn how to pick locks and lock gates behind you and much more. You need knowledge, not gear. It is foolish to think that really cool gear is the difference between life and death in the SHTF scenarios. Good gear is great but good knowledge is indispensable. It is also fairly inexpensive and short of blowing your brains out, no one can take it from you. I'm probably preaching to the choir on this.

One last thing...

Karen and I had been skiing in Breckenridge CO in January 1994. We were on our way home and staying the night in St George Utah when the great quake hit. I wanted to get home (bug back?) as did Karen, to check the damage. As we entered California, the freeway traffic slowed to a stop. The CHP had closed it due to bridge damage and literally hundreds of thousands of cars were parked on the road. As luck would have it I was 1/4 mile from an offramp to no where but I had my maps and a good topographical understanding of the area. We drove back roads till we got to another jam... another bridge. This time I took to dirt roads and Rail Road right of ways. We finally made it to a small town just 30 miles from my home but we needed gas. All the refugees had filled up and then the power went out... but there was another small town just 20 miles away and off the direct path to/from LA. I drove there, they had plenty of gas a generator for the pumps and no waits. I bought three 5 gallon gas tanks, filled everything and took a back road home. We saw very few cars. We spent the next week watching the nightmare as we ate steaks, drank beer and enjoyed the fact that "WE" were not victims...

It happened again during the Rodney King riots, during several fires and on and on.

Ron Hood
 

Offline JC Refuge

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2010, 03:11:44 PM »
Vic:  I'm hoping for a few more expert responses here, but I will chime in myself at this point.

Lots of wise counsel already from our advisors. One point I'm not sure has been spelled out enough ... that is:  The "lone wolf" does not thrive or even survive for long. It's a Hollywood myth that makes for cool movie plots. Hit the road, live off the land with a Swiss Army knife, etc. But the fantasy of being the last guy standing and rebuilding a new reality just does not hold water.

Community ... family ... networking ... cooperative volunteer work ... resource sharing ... and yep--a robust, well-thought-out preparedness program ... all of these things are facets to the same approach that in most events will reap the most reward. When all hell breaks loose, the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts (think people, skill sets, and resources).

Even in a Mad Max world, singular heroes are doomed to become carrion.

I just realized I addressed this Plan A thing a few years ago in a blog post that is too long to post here, but here is the link:
http://safecastle.blogspot.com/2006/07/plan-bug-out-or-dig-in.html

Offline Slamaxe

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2010, 10:01:11 AM »
JC,

Good point. Few of my associates even consider solo survival. The extent to which they consider it is limited to finding a way to rejoin their families (family planning issues) or with their friends. This is one of those areas where teamwork is critical. I think I can successfully argue the benefits of solo wilderness survival practice have done that many times. However the lessons I learned proved to me that one person alone works twice as hard as two with no benefit to the solo experience except the experience. In an Urban survival situation I would not want to take the chance.

Many years ago I was preparing an advanced survival course for the University and I considered a three day experience on the streets of Los Angeles (down town). To test the theory I placed myself in that environment for a week. It was a wakeup call. I learned quickly enough that the people who live the streets form shifting support groups so that seldom, if ever, is one of them alone. They act for the common defense and teach each other the rules. Since the population tends to shift geographically (travel) you can see new people coming in, hooking up, learning and leaving. It was two days before I spotted this and those were tough days. I conducted the experiment during good economic times and during a socially peaceful time. I cannot imagine how bad this would have been if SHTF and I was forced to travel on foot through that city.

Two people could do it, barely. One would be meat for the masses.

At the end of the experiment I was sleeping in a bank parking lot at around 7:30 AM when a guy in a suit came over and kicked me in the face. I was sleeping! Of course I was awake instantly and proceeded to pound him into a grease puddle. The police came. My ID, letter from the Dean, money and CC were in my socks. They pulled that out, looked it over, asked me what happened. I told them and was sent to the ER with a broken nose and black eye. He went to the ER and then jail. It would not have gone that way if I had no credible documentation. I canceled the course proposal. too dangerous.

Ron


Offline JC Refuge

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2010, 10:42:03 AM »
I had to laugh, Ron. Your story is real, but also funny in a way--at least in the way you told about your response to the banker.

MANY years ago, I had real-world, on-the-street experience that I have never spoken of online. In a nutshell, I was an alcoholic, homeless, and pretty much a nice guy who made some bad decisions to get where I was. I was young and mostly just drifting (post-ASA/NSA). It was during this period I earned my first stripe or two in the "Preparedness Corps."

Fast forward a few decades--I'm bone-dry sober (25 years), a family man, business owner, community volunteer, etc. By now, having gone through a number of prepper phases and strategies, I feel like I've earned my wings.

Bottom line here--I'm where I want to be and now I am aiming to help others get where they need to be.  I know a lot of our Advisors are in similar places.

The world is not getting better. It's up to each individual to get smart about things. Fortunately we are definitely seeing a strong awakening.


Offline JC Refuge

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2010, 10:45:31 AM »
Jack Spirko:  Initially one must do a logical assessment and ask a simple question which is, "does staying or going increase my chance of survival"?  There are many factors that people bring up such as what is the threat, where do I have to go, am I well prepped at home and do I have preps in another location?  Yet all of them are factors not the primary question which is always "does staying or going increase my chance of survival"?

To make this clear, Bob has lots of preps at home, he has no planned BOL, no remote preps and no relatives or community to take him in if he bugs out. The logical conclusion would be Bob should bug in, which may or may not be the case.  Follow the rule, "does staying or going increase my chance of survival" and it all works out.

So the threat is a pandemic and it is already going nuts.  Bob is well prepped and he and his family can easily live 6 months at home but again they have no place to go.  So they hunker down because it increases the odds of survival.  Yet turn the scenario just a bit, the threat is now a credible threat of a nuclear bomb going off via a terrorist attack in the cities center less then a mile from Bob's house.  Now he takes all he can with him and gets the hell out simply because his odds of surviving are increased by leaving and doing it fast.

Again we have factors upon factors in each scenario to consider but in the end there is only one question to ask, answer and act upon.

Being a bit specific to my situation because I have a well stocked BOL (better than my local home), it is remote, has a strong community around it, etc.  I could be in Bob's first situation and even though I could hunker down during that pandemic and do ok, when I ask the question I get a different answer.  My odds are better in a remote location (less chance of exposure) with better food and supply stocks (greater long term survivability).  I have flexibility with my income so I can move and nothing changes hence I can jump out before the masses start clogging the highways.

When a pandemic hits people will lie to themselves for a long time (say 1-3 weeks) before reality sets in.  With my situation I can leave as soon as I think the problem is real, if I am wrong I just come back.  Change the scenario though and I may hunker down.  Again it all hinges on one question "does staying or going increase my chance of survival"?  The issue is there will never be one answer because that answer changes as the factors around it change and all those factors are very specific to the individual.

Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2010, 12:40:46 PM »
Vic,

I just want to thank you for doing this and using the forum here for it.  In time this will become an amazing reference.  Your support as a sponsor is appreciated the additional support is REALLY appreciated.  Thanks for being such a positive member of the community.

Offline TrashCanMan

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2010, 02:17:30 PM »
This is a great thread - really interesting read :)

+1 and a request for more things like this!

Offline Slamaxe

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2010, 08:42:50 PM »
I do want to add one point to this excellent thread. Jack's comments were (as usual) right on the money and fall into the class of "I wish I'd said that". There is one part that I don't think we've addressed. In our Urban Survival videos (Urban master 1 I think) we talk about prepping and a specific urgent issue. We call it the "Big mistake". What it amounts to is discussing your preps with your neighbors, friends and relatives who might live near you. Don't do it unless you want trouble.

We have worked hard to build our supplies to the level where we feel confident that we can meet most emergencies however there is no room in our planning to feed neighbors and friends who did not have the foresight to prepare themselves. To be sure we have a little extra but it is for barter. Barter for work, help or backup but we don't intend to provide a dole. That just brings more blood suckers onto the vein and eventually the entire business of planning becomes an empty exercise. Once the wrong sort find out there is food or supplies, there can be uncomfortable issues.

I know I mentioned that our community is safe but the fact is that planning needs to take into account the values of where YOU live. If your neighbors have an entitlement attitude, you could have problems. One of our neighbors loves to show off his families supplies. I guess it makes him feel good. It also makes he and his family into a target for others with whom he might share his pride.

In a Bug in situation we have adequate trash storage facilities to accept our empty food tins, MRE wrappings and cooking waste. Filling up our trash cans would just be evidence that we have food. Our trash cans will fill with packaged human waste, not tins.

ALong those lines our supplies are broken into several on and off site storage locations. IF someone took our goods by force of arms or other means, no matter. Let them have it. We have another place to get more goodies and next time if they come back... well, as I understand it long pig and monkey tastes about the same and I like monkey.

In our new magazine "Survival Quarterly", we plan to get into some of the nitty gritty of storage and with SafeCastle as a supplier and Jack and "Survival Quarterly" as advisers you can make some informed decisions about how, where and why to prepare for an uncertain future. I should mention that Jack has provided one of the key articles in the first issue due out next month.

JC and I share an unusual history. Not very many ASA/NSA guys out there. We got our skills the hard way and with the best trainers to ever grace the planet.

Ron

Offline JC Refuge

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2010, 07:59:24 AM »
Serenity Anne Enriquez:  If it's unsafe to be hunkering down at home, it is most likely very unsafe to travel. Where would you travel to? Do you have dependents? Firearms? Food? Fuel?

While it is a nice fantasy to think of yourself in a cabin away from all the trials and chaos, to achieve this involves a lot of foresight. I'm all for getting out of dodge, but you have to assess the situation. And there is no way that you will know all of the big picture. But chances are, food could be scarce. And if you have the foresight to pack away food for you and your family, have you kept your mouth shut about it? Can you defend it? Many in the urban centers will probably be fleeing, in search of food and safety. Who wants to travel in such a wave? If you are fleeing too, get out and get there before they do. But what a difficult choice to make, leaving before an actual crisis hits. Wait, and it might be too late. Stay and face the masses, the bandits, the Man, whatever. Leave and lose your home and nothing happened. It's all situational.

My suggestion? Move out and away from urban cores, stock up on food, hard assets, firepower, and whatever plan(s) you have. Buy land a day's walk from a foreign country and put supplies on it. Read Howard Ruff's "How To Prosper In The Coming Hard Times." Teach your children survival skills. Teach your spouse how to shoot. Keep an eye on the world news, and don't spend too much time worrying about it. It's real, but how much can you control? Shalom!

Offline JC Refuge

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2010, 08:48:53 PM »
Scott Bach:  My personal emergency plan involves hunkering down due to the unique geography where my home is located, but flexibility to change if necessary is an even more important part of my plan.  I grew up in a big city where hunkering down would never have been an option.  Now I live in a rural setting on the side of a small mountain and my home is bordered on 3 sides by undeveloped watershed land, with few homes nearby.  It’s hard to get to, somewhat isolated, and very secure.  But, as we all know, all plans can fail, so I have other options to which I can revert.  So should everyone, in my opinion.  Why not hedge your bets and be prepared for BOTH?  Cover ALL bases and always leave yourself another option.

Offline JC Refuge

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2010, 07:41:29 AM »
So all of our Advisors have weighed in. Feel free to chime in, TSPers.

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2010, 09:01:14 AM »
Gas, Food, water and supplies become the top of everyones list; prepare by buying small amounts at a time and try to figure how you would store it and or move it safely.
  I also agree with staying put; at least until you are forced to leave.  Having a point "B" is a must but you also should have three separate simple plans to get there.
 

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2010, 05:39:21 PM »
I vote for hunkering down.

I've always been somewhat skeptical of the "bugout" theory....because if it's unsafe to be where you are, you shouldn't be there NOW! In a SHTF situation, if you are relying on "bugging out" you'd better make the decision quickly....because if you are in a very populated area it won't take very long for a total breakdown of order. As an example: In the nearest big city to me (Indianapolis) there are 1700 police officers.....and the population of Indianapolis is 800,000!! So do the math! If only 2 percent of the population goes nutty that's 16,000 bad guys! Bare in mind that many of those 1700 policemen may be more involved in protecting THEIR homes and families. And do you really think only 2 percent will go nutty?? In this "I deserve everything I want" age??

I believe that if you live in an area you think you may NEED to bug out from.....then go ahead and do it NOW....while people aren't shooting at you! Do it in a planned and orderly way. Arrange a job somewhere else. See if you can start over somewhere else. Do your prepping AT the place you intend to stay.

Just my opinion......Fred

Offline welshman

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #20 on: June 17, 2011, 06:35:30 AM »
Hello everybody, I have been waiting and watching this thing unfold for a while and have given it alot of thought, I live in a 36ft fifth wheel toy hauler  i have installed a 5.5 kw generator and have 260 watts of solar panels  with a 4 bank 6vdc deep cell battery system Have a 110 gal fresh water tank  and 2 52 gallon plastic drums inside right now I have about 3 months of food stored . I will hunker down and watch more untill it comes time to leave then I will hook up and go to a place picked out in the Colorado Mountains
 The truck has a 60 gallon aux tank and I have been storing diesil fuel for the trip. I can also grow my plants in side the trailer until time to plant outside . Got  heirloon seeds for the plants and stored top soil for the plants. I am able to run 5hrs every day on my battery packs. Charge them with either generator or solar the genrator has a 30 gal tank built in to the trailor. Still don't know if I have done enough

Offline Heavy G

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2011, 06:46:42 PM »
Welcome to the forum, welshman.  Sounds like a pretty good set up. 

Offline welshman

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #22 on: June 19, 2011, 08:02:18 AM »
Thanks for the welcome I hate to say it but maybe we need  something like shtf to straighten out this world  thinning out the people in control . Anyway I have more food to store and alot more stuff to think about. Maybe this site can bring us together in one spot to ride this out.Water,water,water ,water and more water

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Re: Bugout or Hunker Down? Our Experts Respond ...
« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2011, 12:54:26 PM »
I just have to respond with my answer to this question: It depends upon the disaster.

Sometimes, you won't have the opportunity to stay at home and bunker down. 

Sometimes, you won't have the need to relocate. 

Do whatever you determine provides you with the greatest chance of surviving the scenario you face at the time.

The Professor