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If you’re new to prepping, you may be wondering what bugging in is and why you would need to do it. Bugging in is the act of staying in your home during a disaster or other emergency situation.
This is in contrast to bugging out, which is when you leave your home and go to a predetermined safe location. There are benefits and drawbacks to both bugging in and bugging out, and the best course of action will depend on your individual circumstances.
For example, if you bug in, you won’t have to worry about finding shelter or food—two things that can be very difficult to come by in a disaster area. Plus, if you have young children or elderly family members, bugging in may be the best way to ensure their safety and well-being.
Bugging in also has the advantage of allowing you to stay in familiar surroundings and giving you access to all of your supplies. However, it also means that you could be trapped in an area that is unsafe or difficult to escape from. If you live in an urban area, bugging in may not be an option if there is widespread civil unrest or if your neighborhood is unsafe.
Before making the decision to bug in or bug out, it’s important to have a plan in place and to familiarize yourself with your options. Below are some tips on preparing for bugging in so that you can be as prepared as possible should the need arise.
When it comes to being prepared for an SHTF scenario, one of the most important things you can do is have a plan for bugging in.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to bug in, there are some things you’ll need to do right away in order to increase your chances of survival. Below, we’ll go over some of the most important things you need to do when bugging in. So without further ado, let’s get started.
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1. Get Home Fast – And Get Family Members Home, Too
Imagine this scenario: You’re at work when you get a call from your spouse telling you there’s been a disaster and you need to come home immediately.
But when you try to leave, you find that all the roads are jammed with traffic and you can’t get out of the city. This is what is known as a “bug out” or “begin” situation, and it’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to have a plan in place for how to get home fast.
The first thing you need to do is assess the situation and see if there is any way you can get home using your own transportation. If not, your next best option is to try and find someone who can give you a ride. This could be a friend or even a stranger, if necessary. Once you have a ride lined up, make sure you have a plan for where you’re going to go and how you’re going to get there.
If driving is not an option, then your next best bet is public transportation. Again, this will require some planning on your part so that you know which routes are available and how long it will take to get to your destination. In some cases, taking public transportation may even be faster than driving.\
2. Get As Much Intel as Possible
In a survival situation, intel is power. It allows you to make informed decisions that could mean the difference between life and death. In order to gather intel, you need a way to communicate with the outside world so you can stay up-to-date on what’s going on.
There are many ways to collect intel in a survival situation. One way is to have an emergency radio and listen to the news. This way, even if power and cell phone services are down, you’ll still be able to get information from the outside world.
Another way is to talk to people who are in the know. This could be firefighters, police officers, or even military personnel. It wouldn’t hurt to make friends with people like that.
The more information you have, the better decisions you can make. If you know what is happening, you can make a plan to stay safe. If you don’t have enough information, you might make a decision that gets you killed.
3. Communicate With Anybody Who Hasn’t Made it Home (or Other Loved Ones)
You should know who you will try to contact and how you will do so. Keep in mind that traditional means like phone lines and the internet may be down, so it’s always good to have alternative means of communication.
It’s also good to have a backup plan. For example, if you know somebody is going to be out of town, make arrangements to check in with each other via text or social media beforehand. That way, if something happens and you can’t get in touch with them, you know they’re safe.
Use whatever means necessary to communicate. If phone lines are down, try email or social media. If those are down, send a text message or use a messaging app.
There are even ways to communicate without an internet connection. For example, the app FireChat allows users to create their own mesh network using Bluetooth or WiFi so you can still chat with others even if the internet is out.
Stay calm and be concise. If you’re able to reach somebody but can’t talk for long, let them know what’s going on and where you are. If possible, send your location via GPS coordinates so they can find you if need be. And always remember: the calmer you stay, the more likely it is that your loved ones will stay calm too.
4. Gather Any Last-Minute Resources
Prioritize your needs. What do you absolutely need in order to survive? Make a list of your top priorities and start there. For example, if you’re bugging in during a winter storm, you’ll need to make sure you have enough food, water, and fuel to last you until the weather clears.
Take a look around your current location and see what resources are available to you. If you’re bugging in at home, for example, you probably have most of the supplies you need on hand already. But if you’re forced to bug out to a public shelter, you’ll need to get creative. Can you get food and water from local businesses or – even better – from nature?
Don’t forget that your neighbors can be a valuable resource, too. If they’re also bugging in, they may have supplies that you need – and vice versa. Don’t be afraid to barter with them for goods or services. You may just come out of this situation with some new friends (and some much-needed supplies).
5. Ensure Access to Water, Lighting, and Heat
Ensuring you have access to emergency water, off-grid lighting, and heat are key components of bugging in successfully.
In a bug-in situation, you may not have access to clean running water. It’s important to have a plan for how you will collect and store water. Ways to collect water include rain catchment systems and gray water systems. Once you have collected the water, it’s important to filter and purify it before using it for drinking, cooking, or cleaning.
During a power outage, you will need alternate ways to see in the dark. Candles are one option, but they can be dangerous if left unattended. Flashlights and lanterns are other options for lighting your home. If you use battery-powered lights, make sure to have extra batteries on hand. Solar-powered lights are another option that can be used both during and after a power outage.
If bugging in during winter, you need to make sure you have a plan for staying warm. This may include having a wood-burning stove or fireplace as well as storing extra wood. If you use a wood-burning stove or fireplace, make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors in your home as well as a fire extinguisher.
Another option for heating is to use a propane heater; however, these should only be used with proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
6. Secure the Home
There are a few things you’ll need to consider when it comes to securing your home in an emergency situation.
The first and most obvious is to stockpile food and water, if you haven’t already and have the ability to, then do so now. This one is a no-brainer. If you’re bugging in, you need to have enough food and water to last you until it’s safe to come out again.
That means stocking up on non-perishable items like canned goods and dry goods, as well as purchasing a water filter so you can purify any water sources you come across.
If possible, create a safe room. If your home is breached, you need somewhere to go that’s safe from harm. Choose a room with no windows and few entry points, and stock it with supplies like food, water, and first-aid kits.
Fortify your doors and windows. One of the most common ways criminals break into homes is by breaking a window or kicking in a door. To deter would-be intruders, make sure all your doors and windows are made of solid materials like wood or metal, and install security bars or grates over them for extra protection.
If you have them (and a means to power them), put up some security cameras and alarms. Another great way to deter criminals is by making it known that your home is being monitored. Install security cameras around the perimeter of your property, and connect them to a loud alarm system that will go off if anyone tries to break in.
Finally, be prepared to defend yourself. Last but not least, if all else fails and someone does manage to break into your home, you need to be prepared to defend yourself. Keep a weapon within reach at all times, and know how to use it.
7. Make Sure Pets Are Inside and Livestock are Penned
If you have pets, it’s important to make sure they are inside with you. This way you can keep an eye on them and make sure they are safe. If you have livestock, it’s important to put them up so they don’t get out and become lost or injured.
8. Review Your Emergency Plans and Make a Plan for the Next 24-48 Hours
Reviewing your emergency plans is a good first step, as it will help you to identify any potential weaknesses in your planning. It is also important to make a plan for the next 24-48 hours, as this will help you to focus your resources and make the most of your time. In a bug-in situation, it is important to remember that safety comes first.
Make sure that you have a safe place to stay, and that you have the supplies and resources that you need to stay alive. Once you have taken care of your immediate needs, you can then start thinking about ways to contact the outside world and get back on track.
9. Make Sure Your Home Doesn’t Stand Out
If you’re bugging in during a disaster, the last thing you want is for your home to stand out. After all, if your home is the only one with lights on or smoke coming from the chimney, it’s going to be pretty obvious that you’re the only ones around for miles. So, how do you make sure your home doesn’t stand out? Here are a few tips.
Keep your lights off. This one might seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that windows are like giant lightbulbs to anyone outside. If you need light, use candles or oil lamps instead of electric lights.
Don’t use your fireplace. Again, this one might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people forget about their fireplace when the SHTF. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, make sure to close the damper so that no smoke can escape. And if you have a gas fireplace, simply turn it off at the gas line. Either way, resist the urge to light a fire—it’s not worth the risk of giving away your location.
Keep your blinds and curtains closed. Just like windows, doors are another way for light to escape into the night—and attract unwanted attention. So, make sure to keep your blinds and curtains drawn at all times, day and night. This will help keep prying eyes from seeing inside your home and potentially spotting something they shouldn’t see.
Be careful with generators. If you’re using a generator to power your home during a disaster, be sure to keep it well-ventilated so that the exhaust doesn’t build up and give away your location.
You should also try to keep it as far away from your living quarters as possible so that any noise it makes won’t be audible from inside your home. And finally, never refuel a generator while it’s running—the fumes could easily ignite and start a fire that would give away your position in a hurry!
10. Consider Back-Up Bug-Out or Bug-In Plans As Needed
While nobody wants to think about the worst case scenario, it might be necessary if you want to survive. You may need to change plans and leave (or adjust your current bug-in plans) if the situation changes.
Maybe there’s a natural disaster or civil unrest in your area and you can’t make it to a new designated bug-out location. Or maybe your primary bug-in location has been compromised and you need to evacuate. Whatever the case may be, it’s always important to have a back-up plan.
There are a few things to consider when making a back-up plan. First, you’ll need to identify a secondary bug-out location. This should be somewhere that’s safe and easily accessible, but not too close to your primary location. You don’t want to put yourself in danger by bugging out to a place that’s too close to the source of the problem.
Next, you’ll need to gather supplies. If you have time, it’s always best to pack a bag with essentials like food, water, and first aid supplies. But if you have to evacuate quickly, make sure you have at least the basics so you can survive until you reach your destination.
Finally, you’ll need to make sure everyone in your family or group is on the same page. Make sure everyone knows the plan and knows what they need to do in case of an emergency. It’s also important to have a meeting place agreed upon so everyone knows where to go if they get separated.
Those are just a few of the things you need to do first when bugging in. Remember, bugging in is a good option if a bug out isn’t possible or safe. If you find yourself in a situation where bugging in is your only option, make sure you follow these steps so that you can increase your chances of survival.
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