We all are constantly making improvements to our BOVs, bags and plans. We think about which routes to take, contingencies, repairs and all sorts of other needed info and equipment.
What I will attempt to cover in this short article is to break down a Bug-Out into some very basic steps that each of us need to think and plan for. Forgive me if I leave anything too important out :)
1. Something has happened in our AO and we need to get out and get out fast.
You've just received word in one way or another about some possible danger and you think it will be best to leave. Before you just jump in and Haul A** spend 2 or 3 minutes thinking the situation over. In today's world it could be just about anything that will make us need to get out. Do a quick inventory of your T&E to see if there might not be anything else you need. Only have 1 Radiation Meter and it's in your saferoom? Better get it if you are going to be exposed to radiation. Our BOV can be loaded to the gills, but depending upon what has happened, there might just be that once piece of equipment that we don't have loaded that would sure come in handy or possibly even be a life-saver. Only takes a moment to throw it in. Don't take all day about this-just give it a good once-over in your head.
2. Do we have everyone that will be going with us present and accounted for?
Hopefully we have made plans to get everyone to our departure/rally point, quickly and safely. Both you and your spouse know how you are getting home, what to do if one isn't there in a certain amount of time, communication procedures en route (don't count on your cell phones to work in times like this). The kids know what to do; you know what the Schools plans are for safeguarding your kids and where they will be if the school moves them to another area (they do one of ours-a Church about 3 blocks away). How you might have to deal with School Authorities when you say you are taking your kids, etc.
3. Final Preparations.
If you have planned and thought about bugging-out, you already know what, if anything needs to be done. You have a specific destination in mind/pre-prepared and have plans to get there at all costs because you and your families survival depend upon it. You have been gathering information about the current situation and have decided on the safest and quickest route to reach that destination. Your BOV is serviced and full of gas; your Bags are packed; you have checked your maps and you are ready to hit the road.
4. Off we go!
Now comes the fun part of your Journey; actually making it to your destination. If all goes well, you will be there shortly. But being the eternal Pessimist, let's just examine a few things that may go wrong . . .
-If driving, our vehicle may break down.
Do we have the knowledge, skills, tools and parts to fix it? Even if we do, will repairs take too long or be too dangerous to perform at this time? We may have to hoof it. Can we easily and conveniently carry our bug-out-bags to where we are going? Can we easily and conveniently carry our weaponry? Are our clothes and shoes suitable for extended walking and weather conditions? Are we and others in our party in sufficient physical shape to walk very far carrying equipment? Do we have the equipment necessary to spend one or more nights out under the elements?
-Our route may be blocked.
Obstacles of any and all sorts may prevent us from continuing on our present course. There may be too much traffic. There may be roadblocks of either people or things. There may be rioting and dangerous happenings along our way.
Do we have a way to stay up with future developments of the current situation in our BOV? In times like this, things can change awfully fast-Normal forms of Communications may be uncertain.
Do we have a Navigator who can actually read a map and direct the driver along a proper route and alternate routes? Is your wife your Navigator? Can she read a map? Do you have all the maps you might need? Have you actually driven the route and possible alternates before?
Can we spot blockages and dangers ahead of time so we can avoid them? It sure is a lot easier to not go a particular direction than to get out of that area once you are stuck in traffic. Have you thought about particular traffic patterns in your area? Which route will most people take in an evacuation? Is there a way to avoid going with the herd? Which parts of your route would make an attractive area for looters? Where might the authorities put up roadblocks to control the population? Are there dangerous neighborhoods, where the roads might be blocked with vehicles? Are there particular roads that are narrow and can be easily blocked along your route? Are there certain roads that become nasty during adverse weather? Do you have 4-Wheel Drive? Tools and equipment to remove blockages? Papers, barter or camouflage to get by authorities?
Do you have a Shooter in you vehicle who can remove targets as you are traveling, or will you have to stop to do it yourself? What and where will be the best way to stop your vehicle so you can shoot? Will it pin you down? Cause danger to your party? What will be the psychological effect upon your party if you have to take someone out? Have you talked about this type of thing before? How skilled are you in shooting? How skilled are you in defensive driving tactics?
And all of the above is just a small part of what may deter you.
What if someone gets sick and can't travel???
What if you run out of gas and can't get any more???
Optimally, especially if you are traveling with your wife and kids, it will be best to avoid any nasty situations at all. Thinking, pre-planning and pre-preparing are critical in any type of Bug-Out.
And then a whole lot of luck.
We may not be able to plan for every situation, but the more you think about it and practice it, the better prepared you will be.
Please don't take it for granted, especially if you are in a large city and hope to make it to your well-stocked retreat in the country. If you think you are prepared because you have some bags in your vehicle, a tool kit/spare parts, some maps and a gun and have looked at your map and picked two or three routes to travel, please read some of the above info again and think about your plans in more specific terms.
Actually take the time and sit down with your family and discuss some of these scenarios. Get out and actually drive some of these alternate routes you have in mind. Go out on some country road and practice driving fast (but safely ;) getting that gun out quickly and maybe even shooting at something. Have your wife direct you on your alternate routes. Stop your vehicle, grab your bags and start walking. Camp for the night.
How's it going so far???
Just as an aside, I do kind of hate sharing my thoughts, ideas, skills and plans in these articles in one way. I really don't want anyone to think of me as a know-it-all or an egotistical little $$^**SD. It may just be my style of writing or that I do have a little bit of experience in situations such as this, but believe me, I have made more than my fair share of mistakes in this life. Mainly I write these articles because I have made a commitment to this group and every perspective we get can probably help us in one way or another.
In our particular case, we are bugged-out to our retreat already. It is going to take a whole lot to get us to move from where we are at. But we do like to travel and who knows what is going to happen, so I have thought, prepared and actually practiced for this type of thing. When we do go on extended trips, I always try and be prepared. I stay reasonably fit and up on my marksmanship skills. I can drive pretty well and am a halfway decent mechanic. We have different caches around our AO and different places to bug-out to in absolute emergencies.
But . . .
I smoke and am sure not get any younger and I do notice a definite effect in my walking abilities and eyesight because of it. I had better be able to have my gallon of coffee in the morning or look out. My temper can still get out of hand at times and I can sure be impulsive. My wife can't read a map worth a darn. One of my girls can barely walk 5 miles, let alone 20. If I ever had to shoot someone in a situation like this the other girl would totally freak.
So as you can see, we have a ways to go too.
But with a little planning, preparing and practice, we just might stand a chance.