Ugly Bug Out Lessons You Need To Know Now!

There’s a lot of survival info out there on bug out preparation.

Even FEMA has directives on evacuations. But that didn’t stop the recent hurricane disasters from destroying the best laid bug out plans and killing people in the process.

The problem is, everything you thought you knew about SHTF bugging out is probably WRONG! As Mike Tyson once paraphrased from an original historic quote, ‘Everybody has a plan…until they get punched in the face’.

With more potential weather disasters still threatening to thrash lives and properties by smacking down mercilessly on the South East Coast during the height of ‘hurricane season’, here’s how NOT to die during the bug out itself…

Don’t Rely on Government Orders

These recent Harvey and Irma hurricane disasters caused the end of the world as they knew it for so many unfortunate people in the aftermath, and were among the strangest storms in meteorology annals, but these were not the worst or deadliest coastal storms in history.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

In the 1900’s, the best weather forecasting usually relied upon how much your joints ached and what you noticed when you looked out your window about as far as your eyes could see. There was no real warning in Texas when a Cat 4 hurricane blasted in with a storm surge that made landfall at Galveston, and took enough people by surprise to kill upwards of 8 thousand before they could escape.

In later years, local governments began to develop evacuation plans and emergency backup procedures for public safety by relying on modern weather prediction science to eliminate the element of surprise.

However, as usual, the government eventually botched up these strategies as well. When Rita thundered down to Texas in 2005 at a brutal category five level, the governor’s office issued mandatory immediate evacuation orders when it was all but too late for the greater Houston metropolis.

Over 113 people died and numerous injured when all was said and done, but the problem was that almost 100 of them were killed in the evacuation itself! Imagine trying desperately to survive but winding up driving in your own funeral procession?

Rita was such a gruesome bug out debacle that this time, during Harvey’s recent retro two step storm stomp on Houston, the authorities -and I use that term with visceral scorn- decided to ultimately leave it up to the individual citizen’s discretion to bug out, or not.

Houston officials made excuses, but the real reason they copped out was so that they could not repeat Rita’s flawed decision making mistake and be blamed for screwing up, if anything went wrong, Which, of course, could detrimentally affect future political stature.

The fact I’m going to try to get everyone reading this to accept is that you simply cannot depend on government information or timely help, especially in a serious evacuation scenario. They can’t even get in urgent supplies and relief effort moving fast enough because of all the ‘red tape’. Private volunteer first responders are doing most of the heavy helping at this point in time.

The Government is Not Here to Help

The truth about the government being ‘here to help’ is one of the dirtiest secrets in the great American Book of Secrets. The gruesome reality is that you are worth more to the Government DEAD, than alive. Especially if the IRS doesn’t make a lot of tax dollars off of you. In fact, you’re a spreadsheet liability if you’re on welfare, food stamps, or some other socialist dole program.

The bottom line revenue math is all the Govt really cares about. So between estate taxes and getting you off social security and medicare and you no longer using what clean air and water we have left in a government polluted world after you die…well, you get the graveyard picture?

The government’s sole (certainly not to be confused with ‘soul’ because they don’t have one) purpose in any major emergency is only twofold.

First preserve the safety of their own power elite entity, and then only make decisions that prioritize the strength of their political power base. This is the only reason that FEMA exists. On the surface, it appears to be a governmental humanitarian organization to really help the people for the benefit of nanny state propaganda.

But its primary function is to protect the government power elite during emergencies by controlling the masses or incarcerating them in the camps if necessary, to prevent the formation of strong enclaves of anti-government resistance due to an epiphany in realization that the government is mostly part of the problem, and not the solution.

All totalitarian dictatorship countries around the world have similar methodology backed by military force. Government FEMA evacuations should be the LAST resort for any knowledgeable well-prepared prepper. Because virtually all government sponsored evacuations are too little too late and amount to nothing more than another catastrophe in the making.

So first and foremost, your bug out success depends only upon your own plans and self-reliance skills. Forget about shelters or counting on neighbors being a good bet in any grand scale emergency. There are many media suppressed horror stories about the way these stockyard emergency shelters wind up in almost all cases.

During Katrina, these shelters were virtual prison dormitories that got so bad that security guards fled these sites that then turned into hell camps of violence, crime, rape, and death.

There’s some anecdotal evidence, but hard documented facts are long covered up by now, that one of the reasons there was a gun confiscation orders during Katrina were so that looting wars wouldn’t cause so much carnage that unfavorable mainstream media coverage would be bad for government business.

Never mind that the regular citizens would also be disarmed and at the mercy of violent criminals who still got their hands-on guns because they stole them from homes and people before the police did.

In emergency survival preparations, no ‘one plan fits all’. There are some basics, but generally plans vary and adapt according the demographics, area climate, magnitude and types of disasters. So we have some apostasy and schisms among preppers. We can have either ‘bugging out’ or ‘bugging in’, also known as ‘surviving in place’, for the same emergency.

To me and many other experts, ‘surviving in place’ is a euphemism for soiling all your clean underwear while waiting in sheer terror to see if you die or not.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Bug Out

There’s an interesting clash of aphorisms many of us learned coming up in life that our parents and teachers would mentor. You remember, ‘the early bird always gets the worm’. And my favorite, the legendary race between the ‘Hare and the Tortoise’, both of which are nothing as they seem.

The ‘early bird’ metaphor was really designed to get everybody up early enough to put in a long, hard day’s work as in ‘make hey while the sun shines’ so the government can milk more taxes out of you.

But the rabbit and the turtle race was nothing less than the power elite brainwashing you into believing that ‘slowly but surely’ was the best way to go in life. All the while the wealthy power elite was moving as fast as they could in life to take advantage of the most beneficial, but sparse, opportunities as soon as possible…while the rest of the masses of dumb asses would ‘snooze, and ya lose’.

It’s the same thing with bugging out. First know that despite the other placating but specious notion that prepping for ‘surviving in place’ would be a good alternative to bugging out has a lot of alternative following, however, it is simply wrong and stupid in most cases, and almost suicidal in some of the serious disasters like we’ve seen.

I realize too well that not everyone can bug out easily, or even at all. The critically injured, very elderly, or mobility disabled and travel disadvantaged come to mind first.

But if they reach out and develop a serious plan, way BEFORE the bad events so that they are prepared, it is not impossible for disabled persons to safely bug out. In fact, the strategy I’m about to reveal will accommodate the solution to a minimum amount of stress and danger and a maximum level of success.

Get Out of Dodge Way Before the Gunfight Starts

Think ‘fast, but not furious’. In these recent hurricane predicaments, the government’s entire emergency early warning weather system is ‘bass ackward’. They start off with a good advanced catch of a potential storm disaster-sometimes several days in advance, which allows plenty of time for safe evacuations and preparation, but this never happens!

What does happen to most people instead is a common syndrome that in my experienced opinion is sponsored by the ignorant control freak government disaster authorities, and contributes to the problems that reduce your chances of a successful evacuation. It’s called imminent fear induced procrastination.

They keep everybody focused on the track of the storm, like a gambler at a poker game of death, intently studying the other players, waiting to bet their lives on getting the winning hand, hoping that their luck changes on the odds that a hurricane hand can change dramatically at the last minute…

This causes a feeding frenzy to clean out the local food stores so they have enough to stuff down their pie holes as they stay superglued to their TV or computer screen, waiting for the metal monster truck to splat them like a paintball, when they could already be safe and sound someplace else.

This creates a mentality that ‘well, maybe it won’t hit us directly and we don’t have to do anything but have a few beers to calm down, while we wait it out?’ Or, ‘maybe it just won’t be so bad’?

Which wastes valuable time better spent hightailing it out on the road not yet critically infested with boiling road raging bumper to bumper traffic crawling slower and slower until…it grinds to dreadful stop. And now you’re trapped. In a potentially worse situation than had you at least prepared well to survive in place and not evacuated at all.

And then panic will set in. But again, the virtual reality is that almost everyone–with the exception of highly trained professional responders or experienced military operators–always panics. It’s unnatural not to panic in such terrifying life threatening SHTF situations.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

But the simple procedures we’ll show you here will guarantee a much less stressful and safer alternative.

So the number one message here is don’t prepare for the evacuation by primarily planning to ride out the storm in place. This is only for persons whose original plan to bug out failed because for some insane reason they didn’t read this information and somehow couldn’t get out in time and/or then had no other choice.

And also, don’t just wait for the Govt holy decree telling to ‘get on your mark, get set, GO!’ and then proceed like the obedient lil’ doggies’ who then all at once get whipped along by the police cowboys, to join the vast growing herd of panic driven cattle heading for their last roundup, at the last most dangerous minute to FEMA CAMP corrals.

Instead, prepare to BEAT the storm AND the evacuation! In other words…

The only sure way to not be a disaster victim is to NOT be there when the disaster happens!”

The Best Way to Bug Out

1. Have a Bug Out Location (BOL) in Advance

No serious self-reliant prepper should be without one, especially if you live in a major city or other very disaster-prone area. The best option, of course, would be to be already living in a safe rural area with well-prepared survival set up at your home.

The second would be a 2nd home or cabin somewhere more secluded that’s stocked and ready. The next option would be to have a safe, relatively remote, piece of empty land to pull your BOT (Bug Out Trailer) to and set up for a long-term stay.

Next have a small BOT packed and ready to rock at a moment’s hook up at your residence, and a designated BOL like a public camp ground or something to rent or go to for an extended set up in advance.

After that, well, improvise as best as you can. If you don’t have a trailer, you can be surprised what you can fit in a truck, minivan, or even a compact car for extended camping at safer location. If you have a good friend or relative in a safe location, that could work out well.

The idea is to know where you’re going, and be ready as best you can to move out immediately after you make your own decision to ‘go’.

2. Don’t Overplan the Escape Trip Itself

I see so many Bug Out Preps that are a waste of time. Bugging out is simply going from one place to another to avoid serious catastrophe. You don’t need to hire a semi-tractor truck moving van to take everything but the kitchen sink.

The critical point is not so much ‘How’ you do it, But ‘When’. If you leave early enough and know your best route to destination, you don’t need five alternative routes which will be just as dangerously congested as a main one if you leave too late.

The idea is leave early enough so that your Bug Out resembles more of an anytime weekend getaway drive to the country! No stress, no shutdowns, plenty of gas along the way, and so on. If you leave early enough you can probably stop for dinner before you reach your BOL! You don’t need extensive prepping or a plan B, C, or D, if you have a good plan A.

3. When to Move Out!

And that’s the critical analysis. The short answer is that ideally, if there’s any chance at all that a hurricane will affect your residence, you want to be sitting and watching the weather radar on your TV at your Bug Out Location while the storm is still off far enough off the coastline.

In other words, If I lived in Florida near the ocean in the path of hurricane Maria AND it was aiming directly at my town, and just saw what it did to Puerto Rico early this morning, I’d ignore the weather reports hoping that Jose would somehow deflect Maria’s landfall.

By now I’d already be about six hours into my bug out, calmly cruising across the Northern Florida State line, blowing kisses and waving the bird at all those hungry gators and snakes, at the normal speed limit. I’d be heading further inland to a safe location where I’d be sitting in front of the TV safely and comfortably, watching all the destruction and praying for the poor souls who didn’t make it out in time.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. You can always come back if it missed your area. But if you check in to Hurricane Hotel by trying to ‘survive in place’, you might just never check out?

Post Script

It surprises me that so many don’t quite grasp the fact that major metropolitan areas will always be a death trap in apocalyptic scenarios.

They will rapidly breed everything from scarcity of every necessary life sustaining essential, to neverending disasters from criminal anarchy, to disease by unsanitary conditions, such as are now happening in Florida, to intense, systematic looting and murdering.

That’s why having a well thought out BOL is so important. Sure, you don’t need one way up in mountainous no man’s land just to escape and hole up from coastal storms, a couple hundred miles inland on elevated terrain would work for that. But it would be more prudent to put in a little more effort, and have a BOL that fits all or at least most catastrophic events. Maybe a group effort with family and friends to minimize cost?

The big cities and most of the smaller ones will be uninhabitable if the so-called long overdue massive power outage, total economic collapse, nuclear war, or out of control plague or pandemic hit us.

Bugging out, smartly, and sooner rather than later, is the ‘only way to go’!

Written by

Mahatma Muhjesbude is a former Spec-ops combat Vet, LEO, international security consultant, and private contractor. He has instructor level credentials and skills in various survival disciplines. He is a dedicated advocate of Liberty and Justice for all and a proactive defender of our Constitutional rights. He strongly believes that the best value you can give back in life is vital knowledge through experience, and that's why he's writing for Survivopedia, using a pen name to protect his real identity. You can send Mahatma a message at editor [at]

Latest comments
  • So where is a safe place to stay if they are constantly playing with the weather? Is the NE safe? It looks like anything west of the Mississippi River is suspect for survival.

    • That’s the whole point. If they keep screwing with the atmosphere eventually there will be nowhere that is safe from some kind of very bad weather. That’s why if you value your environment, it’s time to start seriously letting our so called representatives know that this has got to stop!

      • Do you believe that the deer cross the road at the deer crossing sign because the Government put the sign there?
        Also quick question, How many miles can you cover in your car if you drive for 1 hour solid oh let’s say at 60 MPH?

      • If every American never polluted ever again , it would make NO DIFFERENCE . The rest of the world won’t hug trees as we do. Obama talked to the Red Chinese about global warming and pollution . Xi politely blew him a raspberry (ppplllbbbbb) . Global warming is a mith. World temperatures are within the parameters recorded in the 1920s( hottest decade ever recorded) and the 1930s (coldest decade ever recorded). 99.99% of our current weather is within those parameters. Also lo0ng before reared are heads the planet earth has had shifting weather cycles. However politically incorrect the truth/reality may be , it still is what it is.
        I’m sure you’re patting yourself on the back for your pseudo enlighten PC, personage . But actually looking up world weather records , and you’ll find out mankind has NOTHING to do with the weather. It’s bigger than we are.

    • Beowulf, You Do have some viable choices. We live in the extreme SW Corner of Idaho – Corner with Nevada/ Oregon. Anything within a 350 mile radius from us has good choices (Eastern Oregon, N Central Nevada, Extreme N Utah, Lots of Wyoming, SW Montana, and Extreme E Washington.) Just pay attention to elevation (3000 to 5000 MSL) and terrain (less granite, more soil). Shop around a bit.

      • SW corner of Idaho? You have not been to Idaho lately. Between the thousands of Islamic refugee Biden dumped in the state and the rich liberals fleeing Washington, Oregon and California Idaho is the last plan I would go.

  • live in Montana, expecting some kind od eruption of yellow stone, need to get further south, which state should I choose?

    • Texas

    • SW Idaho, where we are, is a Good Choice – Away from Boise, Nampa, Caldwell, Ontario OR.

  • This is the most information on survival that i have read in years. it actually has information that anyone can use and is right on the money. i have seen what panic does to people and it is not pretty. Keep this kind of info coming in the future as it is sorely needed. thanks!

  • Good read. I have friends, formerly of the 9th Ward in New Orleans, who did take the leisurely drive to San Antonio in 2005 with a vehicle packed with as much as it could carry. They still live here, because their house in N.O. was unsalvageable. They missed the traffic, the panic, the empty gas stations, and the fight for a place to stay. They were already here when Ray Nagan finally told people to leave.

  • At 70 and 79 with health issues and alzheimers to contend with we live in the country. 20 min to a Dr, an hour to specialists, 20 minutes to a hospital, 8 miles to good grocery shopping and a gas station, 15 miles to a 24 hour Walmart. A son and best friend with familys live on my property too.
    I can drive but husband is a problem at times and my health is just painful. I garden, can, freeze, and dehydrate for winter and whatever. I have chickens, ducks, and rabbits. It is really just a way of life.
    City life just doesn’t make me happy. Did it, left it! Baring a volcano waking up I am here and I will be burried here too. I gather wild plants for food and meds, wild flowers for my favorite bouquets. Family sees my home as their buggout spot. If I can manage a half duggout sheltered home that will be a soon to do project. I have the tractor with a front loader and backhoe. 🙂

    • We live in New Mexico high mountain desert. I use hot beds but soon will have a greenhouse. I live about 1 mile fron a PHS emergency room that the public can use in an emergency. This is the family bug out spot but if it was better I could go to either of my sons in a city an hour away.
      Hurricanes don’t hit here but wild fires can cross the mountains and snows can close the roads. I guess an old volcano could wake up. No place is totaly immune to earthquakes but they don’t give long warnings. Power can go out….ready for that. Rather be here than a shelter or a camp. Have to trust God for safety and good choices.
      Place looks nice but not rich or fancy. Cactus grows along fence lines. I have wood, pellets, and propane for heat or cooking. As a candle maker we have lights of several kinds. I have several water barrels with the ability to run water through a natural water filtering systems. I made a smoker from an old gas stove. I grow fruit trees.
      Mostly it is a matter of choosing life over a place and making choices that promote life and health where ever you are at. I live in an old doublewide trailer with a roof built over it. Adds heat in winter and cool in summer. My residence is the only one currently without summer shade. I have replacement trees growing but good shade takes time. Still always planning and adding. I do use a large Swamp cooler. A wet curtain over open windows or doors will do wonders cooling a desert home.
      Weapons are no ones business. Not buying out gun shops or hording bullets. Snares and planning are easier. I do walk occasional rounds after dark. Have solar -heat or motion sensor lights in some areas. Solar motion sensor alarm on the driveway and three easy to enter areas. It chimes in my bedroom. Sweet dogs are good alarms.
      “Bugging in” is only a good plan if it it a safe choice. In a hurricane or a fire…. you move out till it’s safe to return, if you have a place to return to.

  • Who knows what the right plan of action is. All we can do is learn from our mistakes (Katrina). Living in Missouri I have recently been curious about an earthquake. Ever been to Kansas City? Count how many bridges you go over while here or passing through. A moderate to severe earthquake would shut this city down. How many streets would be closed untill the bridges can be inspected for structural integrity? And that’s only ONE issue concerning a natural disaster. Good luck my friends. Stay safe!

    • Randy, how often do you think they normally inspect those bridges? Maybe once ever 10 years, if that. I live in the Houston, TX, area and a couple of years ago they were talking about a high percentages of bridges and overpasses here are in need of repair. Guess what? Nothing’s happening. But they are always expanding roads and freeways and beltways.


    • I agree with the idea of “preparing in place” you are then ready all the time. get your neighbors knowledgeable of what’s happening,. if possible get out into the country where a big garden, chickens, goats, and water won’t be visible to anyone but your “community’ of preppers. Be alert of drones, these can be a problem with staying hidden..

      • T.J. There’s always a little confusion about this. IN TERMINOLOGY. As I said in the article, the best all around option is if you ALREADY LIVE in what you could call a GOOD BOL. Whiich is mostly a rural areaS WITH GOOD WATER SUPPLY AND not very prone to flooding , massive forest fires, earthquakes,, HURRICANES, etc. So yes, preparing in such a location could be called…the CORRECT AND OPTIMAL ‘SU RVIVAL IN PLACE’. FOR MOST CONTINGENCIES. aND THESE AREAS ARE OUT THERE.

        • Mahatma, your premise is still sound. I live on a rural hill that is safe from everything except fires and tornadoes. And government. I have a brother near the coast where I can bug out in case of fire. Just as he can, and has, come up here. Another brother in a town about 45 minutes away. You can’t fully prepare for everything, but you can prepare somewhat for anything.

    • Yup, Ferg, y ou go ahead and be ”reasonable’ and try to ‘survive and prepare in place’ when that Cat5 monster is aiming where you live and rips your ‘secret and secure house from it’s foundation,. It’ll be one less vehicle on the road to slow down all all the other unreasonable people leaving.

  • Brilliant well thought out and well presented. Thank-you, whoever you really are!

  • the government does lie while you are so honest with your three second test….very long seconds indeed.

  • clearly this author has never worked in the private sector, where he would be fired for leaving in advance of an official evacuation notice. And clearly this author has never had kids in a public school. Pulling kids out of public school to leave town when a hurricane is 5 days away will result in CPS taking your kids. The only people who can bug out early are retirees, feds and unionized workers.

    • Maybe that’s a good argument for NOT living in a place where hurricanes are common…

    • You’re right, Maggie. I never worked for I place that would fire anyone for endangering my life or others with that type of policy. Name that specific private sector and I’ll get my civil liberties connections to investigate them. That’s like punishing you for taking a sick leave? Same with taking kids out of school for emergencies. First of all I don’t see where I wrote ‘five days’ away. Because they can’t even accurately predict that far ahead with basic weather. But if a big one is bearing down on your area, a day or so before it makes landfall should be more than enough time to be safely away if you are set up and basically ready to go. And if any school put CPS dogs on me for the purpose of taking my kids because I felt it necessary to protect them in the face of a genuine threat, i’d own the school after my lawyers got through with them and would change that policy. I see you seem have a morbid fear of government and authority. Too bad. Our Constitution used to assure we didn’t have that problem.

  • Interesting read. A former spec ops operator and leo who hates the government more then the painful itch of a bad rash.
    I would have bought more into the ARTICLE if there was less hate mongering. The gov is made up of we the people. look in the
    mirror to see the problem. We have many means of getting info now days. Get it and use your brain. Depend on yourself and
    in most cases you will be fine. if you wait for the gov to save you then you are as much of a problem as they are.

    • Lane,, what is with all you OCD psychotic anti-hate crusaders lately? There’s absolutely no mention of hate anywhere in the article . Just because you have a justifiable dislike for an out of control government, which is actually an Constitutional obligation of a law abiding Free Citizen to remedy, and want to help wake up the sleeping sheeple so they don’t just lay their like a beached Belu ga whale blowing air head bubbles out of their frothing mouths out of just a basic sense of decency and humanity, doesn’t make you a hater. As a holy person and prophet I really don’t hate anybody.

      I realize my writing style is often comprised of caustic invective but to accuse it of ‘hate mongering’? C’mon get a grip on reality, please?

      • are you saying you are a holy prophet?

  • You would have had to leave Florida a week before it was set to hit to avoid the refuge line, and of course the timeline changed a few times. Taking the advice in this article would be great, but it is not feasible. If you bug out every time a hurricane might hit Florida, you would miss two or three weeks of work per year, and most likely lose your job. Even if you did not lose your job, the loss of pay and the cost of the bug out would be very expensive for most families. Florida being a peninsula with two roads out makes it an especially difficult place to bug out from. Of course, that is one reason I do not live in Florida.

  • I totally agree with you. I’m on a tight income & have no where to go.

    • I feel for you, Gene. I am from Houston, but my wife is not. Over 40 tears ago Alicia came through, and scared her to death. We made plans then to leave, but it was not possible at the time. We saved what we could, and finally had enough for a down payment on some cheap land out here in the country. We weren’t able to leave, because I had a job, and there wasn’t much out here. Things later went to hell in Houston, but I lost the house before I gave up our property. So we moved, but there was never going to be an opportune time. It was a serious struggle, but we both had our health then, and we both worked two minimum wage jobs. Now we are both near invalid, but if the SHTF for very long, it won’t matter. We won’t make it without our meds. But our kids and grandkids have somewhere safe, and prepared for the long haul. If it is just for a few weeks, we’ll all be fine. It can still be a chore, getting to our caregivers, so far away. But we’ve had a great life, and done as well for our progeny, as well as we could with very little money. It’s surprising what you can learn to do, if you don’t have any money. This land won’t support anybody, but it is a place to go, and they can learn what they need. I’m leaving them plenty of books (and print-outs, for when the power is gone). We are only in our 70’s, but we won’t last long in a worst case situation, but that’s okay.

  • Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I read many of the helpful articles this site provides, yet none talk to the career professional. Are we to simply walk off the job? Not show up for the next shift?
    As a nurse, if my shift doesn’t get covered correctly, i suffer mental anguish. I am not alone. It would be unthinkable for many nurses i know (+myself) to simply Bug out 6 hours b4 govt suggests residential populations begin evacuation…

    • My daughter and son needed to stay in Jacksonville during the last two hurricanes that hit there. They stored up canned sterno, water and easy to prepare or just heat and eat things. Thank God their neighborhood is more inland and slightly higher than most of the area so they came through fine. Just had to contend with off and on phone service and no power for a few days. They were well prepared for that and available to work quickly when the storm passed.
      Still, I would rather they had left.
      Puerto Rico on an island with infastructure gone, hospitals closed, roads gone, no fuel, and delivery hard or impossible is the nightmare in its aftermath. How could you possibly prepare and store things for something like that?

    • Nobody said that bugging out applies to everyone. Your own discretion and judgement defines your own critical choices. in life. At least in as much as we still live in a free country… Compassion and humanity plays an important role in the decision making process. And I ompletely understand your feelings about it. And I admire you for it.

      In a past life I once ordered the rest of my squad to keep moving ahead of the NVA now chasing us after a particularly ugly ambush and to try to contact evac when they regrouped safely. We were all wounded but two of my men were too badly hit to move and I wasn’t going to let them die alone. I covered us up in the foliage and tried to keep them quiet as the enemy got close enough for me to smell them. And I prayed they wouldn’t smell our blood.. An eternity later we heard heavy contact and fighting in the distance and then like an ugly green angel descending from heaven, a chopper coordinated to our position picked us up..

      So, yes…sometimes you have to think about the unthinkable.

      • I may have said this before, so forgive me. I once worked with a guy who said he hated to hear the helicopters, because it meant someone got wounded. I told him I loved them, because it meant I was getting out of there.

  • Survivors, train, plan ahead, practice, and leave to go to safety if necessary. I don’t really plan to leave my rural home BUT if it seemed wise…. I do have food, medical supplies, camping supplies, clothing/important papers and wilderness tools in easy to grab backpacks in a handy spot. Not a trailer or my tent et but basic easy to transport necessities. I do have a pistol and a few rounds of amo with my clothing. If there more time but I was leaving I, would take a dependable vehicle and a trailer with my fishing weekend camping gear and be more comfortable anywhere.
    Some of the best prep is wisdom and knowledge, strength and agility exercise, planning for the what ifs, and learning from others. Articles like this contain wisdom. It might not fit everyone or every circumstance but it is still sound wisdom. My daughter and her husband needed to stay in Jacksonville, Florida through the last two hurricanes. They had easy prep food, sterno, water, flashlights with new batteries, radio, et. Not great being there but well prepared for no power, roads closed for days et. Able to help others which is why they needed to stay.
    Our rural church is getting ready to certify everyone who cares to attend the free firstaid classes. That is a good prep for life, not just for disasters. Faith communities, like minded friends, and family can all be there for you and with you in calamity yet we need personal preperation too.
    The latest mass shooting was an amazing testiment to the good in many. People helped strangers, rendered firstaid, helped others escape, took pickup and carloads of people out of harms way or to hospitals. We saw that in New Orleans, Huston, and more …. where people helped strangers; people survived deadly situations.
    Then in the morning, in the aftermath of fear and death, they gathered for memorials, prayer, singing and the comfort, encouragement and strength of group worship. Then they rolled up their sleves in far flung places to donate life saving blood.
    It is that heroic spirit that gives, sacrifices, and yes even dies for others , that makes America truly great.

  • Hi Mahatma, great article! You’re right about not waiting for orders from the government during times of emergencies. It’s always best to follow our own judgement based on current situation. Thanks for posting this.

  • If the government were private industry they would be accused of conflict of interest for the medicare, SS and other benefits since it is in their best interests for anyone not supplying tax income to die. Anyone retired is a liability and Uncle Sam makes out big when you die.

  • You give us a lot to think about, Mahatma. I like how you write. Other than telling us you’re some kind of self-styled prophet. Seriously? As others have mentioned before me, some of us don’t have the choice to bug out for whatever reason and we have to make our stand where we are now. They may eventually take me down but in the meantime I’ll take as many of the bastards with me as I can. Let the chips fall where they may.

    • Armin, Sorry to offend you, my son, but i’m just as valid as any other ‘prophet’, perhaps more so– if you factor in empirical knowledge and actual real time experience as a foundation for future pathway integrations with nearly a perfect record of accuracy– who experiences ‘voices’ in dreams and other typical ‘visions or signs as qualifications? That’s old stuff to me. I’m way passed that in terms of advanced prediction algorithms. Plus i have a Doctorate from ‘Holy Prophet U.’The only problem I seem to have is accurately prophesizing the winning powerball numbers. But i’m working on it.

      As far as your ‘pre-determined destiny’ of ‘bugging in’ due to whatever choices you seem to be limiting yourself to that I can’t understand, I wish you luck because you certainly will need it if you are in the wrong areas. I have to cut this comment short but Watch for a comment later here on my ‘prophetic’ journey to North Carolina in November in the Aftermath of the Hurricane to help those who couldn’t , bug out temporarily or weren’t motivated to even try, because they thought they didn’t have any choices..

      • No offense taken, Mahatma. And you’re absolutely right. You’re just as valid as any other self-styled prophet. It seems to me that most of your post is tongue-in-cheek. Holy Prophet U? Seriously. I had to laugh at that one. It’s no wonder that you don’t understand my choice of bugging in. You don’t know me. I’m choosing to bug in because that’s the only choice for me. I’m 70 and have some very serious medical issues so I have no choice but to bug in. All I can hope is that where I am now IS the right place. Unless the 8 million urban dwellers south of me decide to invade our little corner of paradise.

  • Were you once in India? What a learning experience we had those 4 years. No one I know ever burned a buffalo chip to cook food. No pure water out of the faucet, mud huts that dissolve in the rain.The speciality in food is spicy hot – served hot no e -coli bacteria.. Floods are miserable but they cope with it and go on with the help and family. Family is a word for survival . I have kept a journal the first year (no one would believe it) Too bad Our citizens have not had the experience of survival there. It was amazing how long one could make supplies last in our household. We were grateful for the fresh vege and fruits in the market.. Pollution of the air was amazing . In the evening the air was so thick with smoke from burning the (cow s..t and straw mixture ) that you wold wonder if there was a breath of fresh air out there. We learned many lessons from those days. They did not give up. We have tried to teach our friends a few things learned??? Medical problems do exist (Malaria) and the bad ones from unsanitary conditions. It was my $25,000, education

  • Let’s cut through all the BS about “bugging-out” versus “bugging-in.” The simple fact is that no one solution fits every scenario and anyone who says that they have the absolute, fail safe solution is either a liar or a fool or both.

    If you live in a low-lying area where hurricanes are common and a Force Five is heading for you, bug out. It’s a no-brainer. Same goes for those living out in the forests (where they don’t belong, anyway) if a wildfire is headed their way. Bug out. But, what about some other scenarios?

    If we’re hit by an EMP (resulting from a low-yield nuke detonated at a sub-orbital altitude) I’d like to see ANYONE bug out. Unless your bug-out vehicle was made before they started putting computer chips in cars (pre-1980, or so) your ass ain’t going nowhere unless you can hike to your bug-out location or you’re gonna’ ride a bike with a backpack on your back. In that scenario, you’re better off to bug-in, secure your home as best you can, lock and load and be ready to shoot if the need arises.

    The same applies to a pandemic/plague situation. Bugging out is just going to expose you to more people with the result that you’ll be more likely to get infected and die.. You’re going to have to stop for gas, most likely. Chance of exposure. Stop to use the restroom? Chance of exposure. Caught in a traffic jam? Chance of exposure. Again, you’re better off bugging in and staying put. If you eliminate your exposure to other people, your chances of contracting the disease that’s killing everyone drop to zero unless the contagious agent is airborne. Even then, doing a good job of sealing up your house can greatly reduce the chance of infection.

    I could go on and on. The point is, no one answer and no one plan is going to fit every scenario. A true survivalist is flexible and has the ability to think on his/her feet. You have to be able to react to changing conditions and adapt accordingly. A bug-out bag and a bug-out location are NOT the Holy Grail. “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Wise words. Learn to live by them.

  • A couple of scenarios that I forgot to mention in my comment, above . . .

    What happens if you get to your well-prepared bug-out location and find someone has already appropriated it? Now, you’re faced with a choice: Either you get in a firefight with them in an attempt to reclaim what is yours, or you tuck tail and run and hope you can survive with nothing but the bug-out bag on your back or the supplies you brought with you in your vehicle. In that eventuality, you probably should have bugged-in and stayed in your home . . . if possible.

    The best plan of all is to abandon the big city and move to a rural area where there’s no need to bug-out to a bug-out location, because you’re already there. But, what if something happens to your idyllic little hideaway? A pandemic can still reach you. A wildfire may get you. Could be a tornado. Maybe even a severe earthquake. No one is ever really safe, anywhere.

    As I said, be flexible, be adaptable, and be able to think on your feet so that you can adjust to changing conditions.



  • 1-Try to live in a location with few problems. 2-Beamong the first out of town if at all possible. By the time Hurricane Irma hit, hotels and motels were full all the way to Gatlinburg. Plenty of people “bugged in” in Jacksonville and properties were flooded which had never seen water damage. Only second floor and up were safe from ground flooding and they will be coping with toxic mold forever. FEMA was slow to nonexistent in help. Blue tarpaulin roofs and entire families living in cars were still common in South Florida a year after Irma.

    East Tennessee is a common location for bugouts, but remember that a good chunk of Gatlinburg burned to the ground and that earthquakes, though low Richter, are increasing in Appalachia.

  • I am 55, don’t drive,I am overweight and unfit and I have no money to move, what choices do I have?

    • 1. Work on what you can starting now. For example, unless there’s health reasons making it difficult or impossible for you to get more fit( note I’m acknowledging that there’s a possibility that you might be under orders for a medical team not to do much physically. I use a wheelchair and have a hip out of place so I am under such orders myself. Swimming is still an option for me though… might be for you as well). If it’s just a matter of not liking to work out remember that for kids exercise is just a fancy word for playing. My point is, you don’t have to go to the gym! Find something that you enjoy doing. I have a children’s play swing in a closet door way and before I moved, I had a bounce house to play around in.

      Start saving money. Even if you just set aside your ones at first. Reward points are good for either saving money or buying prepping supplies especially if you can get rewards for stuff you already buy. CVS has their extra care bucks. They are a block from my house, so I shop there frequently ( like you I don’t drive). Just 2 days ago I bought 3 gallons of water with my reward points from cvs and 80 cents out of pocket.

      2. Work on forming deep meaningful relationships with people around you. Easier said than done but the more of those you have the more of a mutual help group you can create for your disaster plan. When I was in undergrad college I became friends with a girl whose family had a farm outside of town by about an hour, after we had known each other for a while we worked out a bug out plan that entailed my coming with her to the farm or with her family if the need arose to bug out farther than that. In exchange I would bring supplies to share.

      3. Most disasters are confined to an area. So in most cases you can use the PACE acronym for a BOL. PACE stands for primary, alternate, contingency and emergency. In other words figure out four locations ( they can be hotels or camping outside of your immediate area but family members/ friends would be better). Hope these ideas spark your thoughts

  • Your options are a coin toss; do I stay or do I go? I live in the Houston, TX, area and I experienced many hurricanes and tropical storms. We bugged out once and we left 2 days early. Packed a couple of days of clothes, got money out of the bank, got tranquilizers for the cat, threw the sleeping bags in the car, said good-bye to our belongings, and left. Luckily, both my husband and I both worked for companies that let us go. Well, guess what? There was a bunch of others who left early so driving was not an easy jaunt. Cars broken down or out of gas and they were marooned. No one stopped to help them. We left around 9 am and by 4 pm we’d only gotten about 200 miles north. It was not as far as I planned but it was out of the way We found a rat trap motel that would take the cat. We found a store and bought cleaning supplies to disinfect the room. I’m glad I had the sleeping bags; no way we were using the bedspreads. Well, the storm that was headed directly for Houston diverted and missed us. I won’t do that again. Yes, we have had water in the house twice but if was reparable. The first time caught us in the middle of the night. I woke up to things falling over. Step out of bed into 11″ of water. Since then I stay up and watch the weather reports and the street. I put markers on the driveway to see how fast the water is rising. When it’s 10′ from the door we pick up everything we can and if we have other things we don’t want to get wet we have large contractor-grade trash bags. We bag it up.
    I pull all-nighters now when the weather is bad. I only wake up; my husband when the water is 10′ from the door.
    Would I prefer to live somewhere else? Why? Every place has some kind of problem with nature and the weather. We’ll stay with the Devil we know.

  • If Yellowstone Goes it will be the end of our normal society as we know it. Economy, Food Supply, Etc. Almost everything and everybody in the U.S. Will be seriously affected in some way. IIf you just don’t want to die from the the immediate effects of the eruption, You need to be about 2000 miles away if you you are directly down wind of the prevailing winds at the time to escape the primary Ash fallout. If you are upwind , you need to be at least 1000 miles away. So Yeah, Almost anywhere in Texas might be okay. Especially South/East TX..

  • Mahatma any thoughts with the current issue of COVID-19? As of today New York has called up the Nationals Guard to help the police “maintain order” in a town for quarantine. Thanks for putting the article out.

  • Wow! It seems like disaster can hit most anywhere. We live in the high desert with a well and a hand pump. The only trouble here that I can think of is a fault line about 50 miles away. But the truth is, if God’s of a mind to try his people, he knows where to find us. Our closest Wal-Mart is 50 miles away so hopefully COVID-19 won’t be much of a problem.

  • I look at the information on all of your posts and have my bags ready for my husband and I, but I have added a packet which I keep in my safe which contains not only the cash, but also our passports, our birth certificates, and all the different titles that we may need and/or own.

  • Original meaning of FEMA? Federal emergency MILITARY authority. Purpose? Mop up…NOT civil defense. Just be clear about that – and everything else will be clear enough…

  • Okay….thank you for useful info when Plan A is to bail first.

    However, it is possible to enact a Plan A that is to shelter in place if you know what you’re dealing with when it comes to hurricanes.

    Let’s start with what a hurricane potentially is:
    -sustained high winds > 160 mph +/-
    -wind gusts > 200 mph
    -uplift forces that exceed the wind forces
    -intermittent tornados
    -storm surges

    It is possible to build a home that can withstand all that if you know what you’re doing. The cost to do so is not exorbitant, in the range of 20% more than building a house that is not ready for the chaos that a hurricane is.

    The reason there is a great big Boogeyman hovering over the Southeast and Gulf coasts when hurricanes hit is that for the most part most structures have been built to a northern standard that doesn’t fit this environment.

    If you’re going to live down here, wake up and realize where you’re at and build accordingly.