Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thought on Bugging Out -- Part 1

I am not too interested in the bug-out concept.  I moved out to my fall-back position several years ago.  If you have seen the movie Up -- yet another Pixar classic, there is a scene in which Russell expresses his admiration of the fact that Carl brought his whole house, allowing him to bring all his “stuff”.  That’s the perfect bug-out scenario for most of us. 

We are facing an economic day of reckoning.  It could turn into something uglier than simply a depression, but that is not the likeliest outcome.  Depending on where a person lives and the conditions under which one lives, leaving may not be the best option.  However, in spite of the depressed economy in several areas of the country, other areas have much lower unemployment rates, e.g., North Dakota.  A person might find it beneficial to be able to relocate.  Mobility is always a plus when preparing for future vagaries.  It is also conceivable that people might be forced to evacuate an area for varying periods of time due to, for example, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, nuclear disasters (as in Japan), tornadoes, localized civil unrest, disease epidemics, break downs in supply systems (water, sewer),  etc.

If you are forced to leave your home in a hurry, what do you take?  Let’s assume that you are a well-prepared person who has a pantry full of Spam, powdered milk and eggs, not to mention containers of water, MREs, and sealed five-gallon buckets of beans and hard winter wheat.  Your gun safe and your closets are overflowing guns and ammunition and gold and silver coins.  You had considered, you thought, every possibility, and yet, there is a vast all-consuming forest fire fast approaching your mountain retreat.  If you stay, you will die.  Anything you leave behind will be burned and lost. 

When disaster threatens, and when that threat is imminent, we may have neither the time nor the presence of mind to set priorities and assign relative values to our possessions.  The time to do that is now.  Now is the time to set aside a day or two to gather and consider and to organize.  We need to understand what absolutely has to be carried with us, what would be good to carry if possible, and what is necessary to leave behind.   

What documents do you need?  Passports, birth certificate, marriage licenses, deeds, titles, insurance, medical records, bank records?  Family photos?  What can be scanned and saved on a flash drive?  What has to be carried in hard copy?  Do you have a backup external drive with all your computer records?  How about making sure ahead of time that you have backup copies of documents in a safe deposit box or stored securely with friends or family in another area?  Are you going to try to carry off your laptop?  Do you have prescription medications or medical equipment that you will need?  Spare eyeglasses?  What are you going to do for money if you can’t get to a bank immediately?  What if the power is out and you can’t use a credit card?  Is all this stuff in a central location?  Do you have a “bug-out box” or something that you can grab, throw in the car and go? Decide what needs to go in there, fill it, and place it where it is readily accessible. 

Now, what if you can’t take your car or truck?  Pare your list down farther so that your essentials, including a container of water, some food, required medications, essential documents, cash, coins, computer files, a change of clothes, a sleeping bag or blanket, some tools, and weapons can be carried out in your hand or on your back.  This might be the case in a flood when the roads are closed or you have to evacuate by boat, or, perhaps if the authorities order an evacuation by truck or bus.  Have your bag ready to grab and go.

Everybody will probably have different requirements.  I would strongly suggest having duplicate hard copies made of titles and deeds and storing them at another site.  This is especially critical if you live in a location that is subject to brush fires or flooding.  Anything that can be moved and secured ahead of time is one less thing you risk losing or forgetting or being delayed trying to find.   Aside from documents, records, and irreplaceable family pictures or heirlooms, what else would you hate to lose?  I would miss books and Bibles and all kinds of relatively minor things I’ve been given by family members and friends that have passed on.  We have to face the reality that so many elements of our lives are fragile and perishing, and that someday we will leave it all behind. 

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