Throughout history, refugees have always been a fact of life. Whether driven from their homes by weather, a natural disaster, war, persecution, or some other event that causes their homes to become more dangerous than hitting the road. In all cases, these people have come to realize they have no other choice.
In modern-day America, we’ve seen our share of refugees in such instances as Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, but who knows what future events may cause you to decide your home is no longer a safe refuge. If that time ever comes, you’ll be glad you spent time thinking through your options and doing some planning for bugging out.
Bug out the right way
You will become a refugee, too, if you don’t bug out correctly. The biggest bug out in U.S. history was the result of the hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans.
You can learn a lot from that event. First of all, look at the large number of people who failed to leave and waited for the government to rescue them. This was a ideal situation in that the people were warned and had opportunities to leave. Additionally, a number of people were forced to relocate by floodwaters. This book about evacuation planning is one of the best I’ve seen to make sure you aren’t caught unaware.
If Katrina had been an economic disaster, EMP or an earthquake, rather than a hurricane, I think more people would have stayed home. Personally, in these scenarios, I think that the majority of people will not leave due to various problems:
- Lack of transportation
- Physical condition
- Traffic accidents
- Shortages of fuel
- Drug and alcohol problems
- Desire to loot
- Belief that the government will rescue them
- Lack of information about event
To avoid becoming a refugee, you need three things
- A bug out bag. By “bag”, I am referring to the supplies that you would take with you, regardless of how they’re carried. This could include a vehicle and fuel.
- A plan. Know what supplies you need to take with you, and have several routes planned in advance.
- A destination. Without a destination, you are just one of many refugees, maybe a bit better equipped than most. You need a destination, whether it is a cabin in the hills, the homes of friends or family, or even a remote location that you are familiar with and have stashed some supplies.
Now, different scenarios will affect you in different ways. For instance, if the evacuation only occurs in a portion of the country, you still may have access to your bank accounts. The thing that you have to watch here is that you have your money in a bank that has many branches throughout the country. Some people who had money in small local banks after Katrina, were unable to draw it out for several months, because of the damage to all the branches.
If at all possible stay out of refugee camps. You will be under government control if you enter them. You will be disarmed and may lose most of your gear. Red Cross shelters require that you sign in and out, you won’t be able to bring your pets, and they have many rules. If you have absolutely no place to go, it’s better than nothing, but you should know what you’ll be required to give up in exchange for a place to sleep and eat.
A question was asked in a comment on yesterday’s blog, about groups of people buying property together. Personally, the only people I would buy property with is family, and even then, only if we were really close and had the same goals for its use. Better to have a smaller place and have full control than sharing a larger piece with people that cause trouble.
If you live in any large urban area, plan your evacuation routes ahead of time. If the times comes when you are in more danger by staying than leaving, get out of dodge.
Update from Noah: Howard’s last comment about getting out of Dodge, reminded me of a series of articles in which well-known survival and prepper experts were asked, “When do you know to get out of Dodge.” Here’s the link to part 1 of that series.