If You HAVE TO Bug-Out

I’ve written about this before. This time though, think about this… If for some reason you had to bug-out, and you had no choice… let me repeat, “you had no choice”,
Have you thought about it at all?


Instead of imagining a scenario where you could actually choose to stay and ‘bug-in’ and ‘ride it out’, what if you could not stay, because if you did, you would suffer horribly or even die?

While thinking through disaster scenarios, natural or man-made, there are many, if not most, where you would have a choice to stay where you are or leave. In most of these scenarios, you will weigh out things like ‘how bad is it?’ or ‘how bad might it be where I live?’ You will probably have ample opportunity to think about the pros and cons depending upon the circumstances of where you live, what you have, and what is the disaster.

What if though, there is a disaster of sufficient magnitude (where you live) such that you MUST GET OUT? A disaster of this magnitude with probable life or death consequences will probably be one where you will have little time to collect your thoughts, analyze the situation, talk to others, weigh out all the pros and cons, and make decisions that will be the right ones. You may have minutes or just hours.

Let’s make the situation even worse. What if the mega-disaster is very wide spread? A disaster so big that when you leave (because you HAVE TO LEAVE), you may travel to a place where it is just as bad? Would you become paralyzed with fear or indecision? Would you give up hope because you may think that you probably wouldn’t make it or survive anyway?

Here is an example…

You live in the West where it is dry much of the summer. A thunderstorm forms and although it produces hardly any rain, lightning strikes and ignites the trees on fire. It quickly develops into a raging firestorm and begins enveloping homes within minutes. You live nearby and are in the direct path of the rapidly advancing fire. You must leave, or you will burn with your home.

How about this example…

The Sun unleashes a solar flare that is so great and powerful, it is equivalent to that which happened in 1859, ‘The Carrington Event‘. Nearly ALL electricity is lost and power grids fail in many places all across the globe. The damages from the EMP effects are so great, and so many major power transformers have been melted all over the grid, that it will take years to replace them all. Of course most people will not realize this when it happens, and will have no idea that it could take that long to get it all back up and running again… but here’s the thing regarding this example… You live 50 miles away from a nuclear power plant. Not only will there be terrible consequences without power for so long, but the hundreds of nuclear power plants will eventually (if not nearly immediately) begin to melt down. You know that if you stay where you are, you may be radiated and die. What will you do? Where will you go? Do you know where all the other nuclear power plants are located? Do you know the prevailing wind directions?

Another example…

A mile wide asteroid plunges into the Earth (don’t dismiss this just because it seems highly unlikely). Not only does it obliterate a huge section of land mass, the resulting explosion blasts out and up into the atmosphere resulting in millions of flaming chunks of molten hot fire which begin raining down all across the land… setting most of it all on fire. Even though where you live is a thousand miles from the impact, one of the scorching boulders lands near your neighborhood instantly destroying a dozen homes and setting the entire area a blaze. There is no doubt that your home will be swallowed up by the fire. What will you do? Where will you go? Is there anywhere that may not be as badly affected as yours? Where’s your best bet?

Here’s one…

You’ve been reading on the internet, here and there, about the conspiratorial ‘false flag event’. One day while your are at work, which is about 5 miles outside of (name your nearest city) and a few miles from home, you are nearly blinded by a flash of light through the nearest window. About 20 seconds later you hear an enormous explosion as the building shakes from the shock wave which is radiating outward from a nuclear explosion. Although you were not in the blast zone, you realize the enormity of the situation as you observe the mushrooming fireball as you look out the window. You instantly know that you will not be safe at home due to radioactive fallout. You also see another mushroom cloud in the distance… What do you do? Where would you go?

These are pretty dramatic examples, but I’m only trying to make a point. The thing is, there may be situations where the disaster seems, and IS, horrific. Most people will be paralyzed with fear, and many may die because of it. You need to ‘think on your feet’, and preferably you need to have thought about this before hand. You really do need to have a plan. As remote a likelihood as it may seem, you never know, it just might happen.

Your thought-out escape plan will certainly not be wasted should such a horrific disaster NOT occur, because you will likely be able to implement your plan even under other circumstances not as severe.

It is good to think about the worst case scenario. That way, when something of lesser severity comes along, you will be more comfortable in knowing what to do. Make sense?


Appreciate topics of survival, emergency preparedness – or planning for disaster?
Read our current articles on Modern Survival Blog
twitter: MSurvivalBlog


  1. I guess the choices are to curl up in the fetal position with my thumb in my mouth or to just do the best that i can with what i have. It is a state if mind really. Even in a worst case scenario, you still have to try. Luck is a big part of survival in these kinds of crisis. Never give up!

    1. Luck in Survival? Really…your HOPING to survive? get a plan together for not only your sake but your family…Geeze Luck?

  2. Ken,………. how about this, the frieght train rumbling along through the middle of town around 2:40 am, derails. Several cars are loaded with liquid chlorine and sodium hydroxide. One of the chlorine tankers is leaking! How fast can you leave? Who is the hero that is going to wake the sleeping citizens? This is an actual incident that happened in Graniteville, South Carolina in 2005. I have children 10 minutes from there. My answer, dam fast! Grab my BOB and family, we’re out of here! Every situation has different results. The larger the incident, the less likely it will make a difference where you go. You can’t out run some problems. Just hope they never happen.

  3. Hi Ken, question and advice. I’m pretty much ready for anything, but ONE thing, we have no place to bug out too. Husband is sick and can not travel much on foot (we are in our early 60). I know only the strong will make it. We have no family or friends around and will not come to aid. They pretty much don’t believe that s*#t can hit the fan. I hope that it doesn’t. But anyway, we live by Mt. Hood in Oregon and most of it will be Hi-ways and bridges to get out. We live just outside a small city. And I can protect us. We have enough food and water (for about 3 years for 4 people and a shallow well and a deep one) and ammo and guns and mead’s to keep the husband going for at least one year. But getting out has been a BIG pain. Any ideas? We don’t have a state group I can turn too and this bets all, no emergency set up in our town. Two way’s in and two way’s out.
    Thanks for your time and advice.

    1. @Christie, I have a simple question first… Why or what is it (specifically) that you feel you will need to bug out of your current geographical location rather than staying put if TSHTF?

      1. Mt. Hood is a volcano. I guess that would be one possible bug out scenario. If you don’t have a place to bug out too, maybe think about a bug out vehicle with supplies stored away from your home. Maybe in a storage locker in another city, a family member’s home, or something like that.

        1. If she is concerned regarding the volcano, the odds of that blowing its top are lower than that of other scenarios. But yes, if it does, then a bug-out will be a ‘must’, assuming she lives right nearby. Having an evacuation plan for that is always a good idea.

      2. Hello, our town would be right in the path of everyone coming out this way to get out of Portland, Gresham and other out lining towns. Everyone would be heading for Mt. Hood for the woods. As for Hood blowing it’s top I would know right away if something was going on with her going off, I have a plan for that. Even if I was to get over Hood and try to get down to
        K-Falls there is only one road ( from where I’m at)that go’s down there and one bridge and a HUG CUT ( about 2000 foot drop)if the bridge was out there is no way to get over it without going 300 miles to another road and bridge. Even if I was to try to get to Hood River in Washington I would still have to get over Hood and to a bridge.
        Our family or friends are not around and if I was to get a storage locker it would have to be in Gresham or Portland which I would be going back into a town.
        Our house is out in the open and if anyone was to try to go around our town they would drive right by our house and see it. And we have no other homes around us. Not all of our stuff is in the house I have it hidden outside on our land in many places buried.
        I feel getting out of our town if TSHTF would be the safe thing to do because everyone and I mean everyone would be heading this way to get out of Portland.
        I do thank you all for your advice, its nice to know I can maybe get some help and ideas.

        1. @Christie, I understand your concern now… You are probably 25 miles (more or less) from the outskirts of Portland, apparently on a main road that everyone would drive by during their own ‘bug out’ (IF they were to head in your direction towards the Mt. Hood area), and you stick out like a ‘sore thumb’ so to speak. Portland is a fairly populated place (enough to be highly concerned if there were to be a major collapse). Population almost 600,000.

          You have a few things going for you though…

          You are near the ‘Redoubt’ zone (named via James Rawles at Survival Blog.com) of eastern Oregon, eastern Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming… http://www.survivalblog.com/redoubt.html

          You live in a region where you can get away from population density by not driving too far. East of the Mississippi it is quite a different story.

          You apparently already live 25 miles or mo away from Portland, so IF the SHTF, only a percentage might head your way (they could also go north or south instead). You are not far enough away to feel really safe, but you are apparently not ‘close’ either. This is a good thing.

          Everyone’s risk tolerance is different, as well as their perception of the likelihood of a terrible disaster actually occurring. In addition, everyone’s financial situation is different, their capabilities and circumstances are different… meaning, only ‘they’ can truly decide for themselves.

          Personally, I prefer NOT to have people panic and do STUPID things. Instead, do your best at being real about your own situation, be practical and use common sense about your situation, and think about the ‘what if’ scenarios as they relate to you. What are the things that you can do now (within your budget and comfort level) that will help you in the event that it hits the fan later on.

          Again, it depends on your geo location and other circumstances, but I personally prefer the notion of not bugging out during disaster, but instead being ready to deal with it. Unless someone is VERY prepared with a secondary location, bugging out will probably lead to worse problems (again, with many exceptions… location location location).

    2. If you cannot leave bunker up. Board up all windows and place push locks on the bottom and top of all doors and barricade them. Don’t go outside during the day and be careful at night not to be seen. If someone IS watching your house it will seem abandoned and there will be ALOT of those. No lights at night, no smoky fires, no loud noises. Stay alert to what is going on around your home and be ready to do what is necessary for survival. A lot of people are in your shoes your not the only ones. Don’t panic and remain calm. A calm thinker is a life saver. If I HAD to stay in my home them I would want some kind of “Pill Box” in case say a full scale riot is going on in your town you could at least hide until they leave or hopefully it is over then come out.

  4. Hi Ken, thank you very much for your advice. You set my mind at ease. I don’t panic but sometimes I do, do stupid things. I will sit down and look over every thing again. In the long run I feel pretty safe, well as safe as it can be.
    Thank you again

Leave a Reply

>>USE OPEN FORUM for Off-Topic conversation

Name* use an alias