Think about this… you live either in the city or in the densely populated metroplex of suburbia immediately surrounding the city. One afternoon while you are at work, the power goes out.
You don’t think much of it at first, but after an hour or so, you discover that the power outage is not just localized to your vicinity, but instead it appears that the entire city is ‘dark’, and you’re hearing that it might be very widespread…
What do you do?
The boss tells everyone to go home, there’s nothing more that can be done that day — see you tomorrow — go home.
You head out and into a mass of snarled traffic, as the traffic lights are out and EVERYONE is heading home because of the blackout. You finally make it home in 2 hours – a drive that normally takes you just 30 minutes – and you discover that your spouse had just made it home moments earlier.
You start to talk about what has happened.
You remember that you have a portable battery powered AM/FM Shortwave Radio in your preps. You turn it on and notice that you cannot find any FM stations at all, but you do find several AM stations which are broadcasting emergency news and information, and they say they’re running on generator backup power.
They are reporting that the power outage is apparently VERY wide spread and is affecting regions well beyond your region. No one seems to know how bad, or why…
It seems that (based on emergency radio reports) a significant portion of the country is under a blackout. Reports are sketchy.
What do you do? Would you BUG OUT?
Here are a few thoughts:
If I discovered that the blackout was very widespread, this would indicate that the cause and chain reaction is very significant – potentially long lasting, leading to the possibility that the grid may be down for much more than a fairly short period of time. If the cause is suspected to be one which is potentially more catastrophic than otherwise, and if I lived in a densely populated region which could become dangerous — I would likely activate my bug-out plan.
Reason being: Any widespread blackout as hypothesized in this scenario will likely take a long time to get back online – and that is assuming that there has been relatively little damage to the infrastructure. Worse yet (possibly much worse), if it turns out that this widespread blackout is the result of an attack (EMP, major X-flare, or otherwise,) and/or a serious event which has damaged key EHV transformers on the grid, it means that our world is about to change in a very big way…
I would (under those suspected circumstances) definitely leave the area if I lived in or near the city. I would leave because IF the event turned out to be long lasting, I could become trapped in a rapidly deteriorating socially chaotic and very dangerous environment as desperate people begin to do desperate things when their food, water, gas, and supplies run out.
I have an advantage though because I know that most people will be initially paralyzed with indecision. Their normalcy bias will keep them waiting for the lights to come back on. This will be the golden opportunity time to get out. Before the SHTF. The ‘safe’ window of opportunity will be short lived however.
So here is the question, “It’s time to bug out, but where will you go?”
I ask the question with the hope that you will ask yourself that question (BEFORE the disaster). Asking yourself that question AFTER the disaster may prove to be too late to make a wise decision.
Communication systems will mostly be down and offline. If you haven’t planned for it ahead of time, you really may not have much of a clue what to do, where to go, or if you even should go.
Well, here are a few ideas…
First of all, be sure to always have a quantity of cash on hand, so that during an emergency and the time immediately following a disaster when others may be scrambling to procure items which they need (ATM’s offline and/or electronic transactions are not functioning), you will have the cash to pay for last minute items or services. Consider the scenario I just described… If you are en-route on a bug-out away from the city, and you need to stay at a motel — paying with cash will ensure that you get a room, assuming there’s room. Almost everyone uses electronic currency today – so if that system crashes (even temporarily), those with cash will have a better chance of procuring last minute items or services (for awhile).
The key to the bug-out will be to get to a location that is far enough away from the densely populated city region or metropolis such that you stand a better chance of avoiding the resulting chaos (if there is to be chaos) – better safe than sorry – you can always return back home if it’s a false alarm. Have you planned on where you would go? How you would feed yourself? If you’re considering relatives who live out in the country – will they be okay with you showing up at their door?
If you have relatives or friends that live in a potentially safer area away from densely populated regions, you may bring it up in conversation sometime and question whether they would be willing to have you show up at their door should such a circumstance or evacuation come to pass. The point is to think about an evacuation and where you would go.
Be sure that you have enough fuel for your vehicle to get wherever you plan to go. Always keep your gas tank nearly topped off. Never go below half a tank – get in the habit of keeping it full. Consider keeping extra fuel stored safely in proper gas cans at home, so that you could bring it with you should you ever need to hit the road. Keep at least a 72-hour kit in your vehicle – enough food and water for 3-days.
Have several hotel/motel choices picked out, away from the city, and have maps (and know how to get there without GPS). It will be very important to know routes that avoid major freeways as they may become clogged. Know the back-roads to your destination. Have cash to pay for your stay. If the disaster scenario is repairable and relatively short lived, you can simply return home later. If the disaster turns into a nightmare scenario SHTF, you will be safer than you otherwise would have been, as the social chaos back home will be unfolding in a very bad way as people become hungry and desperate.
The objective within this article is not about listing the things and preparations that you may need (this site is filled with suggestions in other articles), but to encourage YOU to think about it. Do you have what you need? If you had to, where would you go? Would you go? What are the criteria for bugging out?
There are lots and lots of ducks to get in a row while considering this subject of bugging out, and there are also many circumstances and scenarios whereby it will be better to stay put. This is VERY largely to do with YOU, where you live, your local environment, your preps, your neighbors, your population density, the expectation of disaster recovery, the level of SHTF, etc. – it will be a judgement call based on many things.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the notion of bugging out, your criteria for bugging out (how bad does it have to be?), and if you had to bug-out where would go – what would be your contingency plans, etc. What are the things that you would factor in order to make a decision whether to stay or go?