Bug Out or Ride it Out and Hope for the Best?
The problem with SHTF contingency planning is how difficult it is to know if/when it’s time to load up and get the hell out of Dodge. If you wait too long you may be trapped, like the people in Wuhan, China.
If you leave too early you run the risk of burning bridges with your employers, leaving your property vulnerable to looters, kids missing too much school, and maybe looking foolish to those people who already think you’re a kook. I know some of you have lifestyles that allow you to bypass the above consequences, but not most people.
Armageddon movies make the decision look easy.
Alien spaceships suddenly appear in the skies or the country is invaded or nuked. The hero is prepared, and he or she saves the day. Rarely do they make a movie or write a prepper novel that has people already in their bug-out location when SHTF. It’s half the adventure getting there!
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What makes for a great screenplay is different from what makes for a successful and safe evacuation from a danger zone. You want to reduce the number of potential obstacles to your escape, including keeping your vehicle fueled, having your equipment and supplies organized, paper maps available, and stockpiling food and water so you don’t have to deal with potential shortages.
Paralysis by analysis
So, let’s assume you are that guy…or gal. You and your family are prepared to bug out on a moment’s notice and you have everything you need to arrive at your destination. When do you pull the trigger? Have you talked about it? Are you discussing it now that the coronavirus has been unleashed on the world? Are you adding items to your inventory before the crush hits local stores?
Sorry. No data so far.
You can’t wait until your community is quarantined. Do you leave when someone in your city or county is diagnosed? If not one person, how many? How will you know when local cases are diagnosed? What is the situation where you are planning to go?
Are you feeling a little paralyzed yet?
What to do
No one has a crystal ball, and even the experts most involved in this pandemic (or whatever it is called right now) have no idea how far this virus will spread or how lethal it may become. Thailand has officially announced the virus is out of control there, and we can’t trust what China is telling the world so, it really is up to each person to take a reading and monitor the situation.
Listen to the local and national news. Obviously you don’t want to be traveling through affected areas so you may have to adjust your planned route. Did I mention paper maps?
Decide what the conditions will be that trigger your bug-out, and don’t waver, or second guess. Get everyone involved, on the same page. Stick to your plan. If you have vacation or sick days on the books, take them before you leave; you may be coming back. Use the time in front of you to complete unfinished preparations.
If you do leave, limit your contact with other people along the way. Don’t go to restaurants or convenience stores. Buy your fuel at the pump if you didn’t bring any, and use disposable plastic gloves when you handle the gas hose, tossing them before you return to the vehicle. Take a porta-potty and plenty of bags, and a shovel.
If you are taking perishables, a cooler with dry ice (don’t store inside your vehicle) will last a lot longer than bagged ice. Dehydrated foods for the trip would be more ideal. Take plenty of water (at least a gallon per day per person).
Whatever time you think it will take you to get to your destination, triple it if you waited too long and the roads are crowded; double it anyway for a margin of safety. Stay current on outbreak news. A small Ham radio would be handy for international news. Avoid cities and large communities even if it adds miles to your trip.
This may all blow over in a few weeks and never reach the point where you decide to make your move. Use this situation as a good training scenario for the future. Watch what happens to people in other parts of the world and adjust your contingency plans.
The one human weakness that leads to death in the face of adversity is the failure to act when it is time, hoping things won’t get any worse.
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