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Preparing for Disaster - Bug Out or Hunker Down?

Emergency Food SupplyJuly 15, 2014 | by Steve McCurdy

Choosing Your Disaster Destination

If you are reading this you likely already know that you must do your disaster planning now. You cannot wait. The reason is simple and should be obvious. There is absolutely no chance that you will ever have any advance warning, no matter what kind of disaster materializes. If you think you can wait until it happens you are out of luck. It will be too late.


Much of the survivalism and “prepping” literature that proliferates on the Internet is devoted to leaving town when disaster hits, which is alternately referred to as “bugging out,” or “getting out of Dodge.” When you actually sit down to logically think through your preparations, however, we recommend you carefully consider “hunkering down” or “bugging in,” e.g. staying at home and riding out the storm. Consider the following:

• There is safety in numbers. Being part of a group is always preferable to being alone and enhances your chances for survival. Most of us live in the same communities as our best friends and virtually all of us have neighbors who share our concerns. Many of us also have family members nearby. Bugging in lets you stay near or with your support group - bugging out does not,

• Very few of us have any formal training in outdoor survival skills beyond our last camping trip or watching “Survivorman” reruns on television.  Surviving in the wilderness, alone and with particularly with a family, presents its own daunting challenges and is definitely not for the uninitiated, and 

• For most people the home is their most valuable financial asset. Abandoning your home in the midst of disaster when rioting and looting are a way of life for many people is a sure way to lose your primary financial asset. Unoccupied homes can be stripped of furnishings, copper, plumbing and electrical wiring in minutes, leaving a valueless shell. 

For these reasons we believe that hunkering down at home or traveling a short distance to a prearranged safe place with friends and family are both much preferable to the woods or the wilderness, and we prefer a “bug in” bag over a “bug out” bag.

Assembling Your Survival Provisions and Tools

After choosing your disaster destination, you are ready to begin assembling your survival Coleman Propane Stoveprovisions, equipment and tools, popularly known as your “bug out bag,” in survivalist jargon. Some of these decisions will obviously depend upon your personal circumstances, such as your family size,  your children's ages, and the climate at destination, but the following are some general guidelines which should always be followed:
1) Stay Liquid with a Viable Medium of Exchange – We recommend storing all your financial assets outside the banking system. Keep plenty of cash with you, as you might not be able to get to it after disaster strikes. In the event the Government declares a “National Emergency,” it will doubtless impose onerous “capital controls,” ostensibly to prevent “capital flight” out of the country. The Capital Controls can include a bank holiday (temporary closing of the banks), restrictions on withdrawals, or even a confiscation of deposits (a “Bail-In”). Although few depositors know it, a bank deposit is not legally a bailment. When you make a deposit, you transfer title to your money to the bank, and it legally becomes the bank’s property. In 1934, after more than 9,000 banks had failed, FDR declared a bank holiday, and he confiscated all privately owned gold and silver bullion and gold coins via Executive Order 6102. Keep your money with you if you can, but by all means get it out of the bank. You should also keep some silver coins available in the event of a currency collapse,

2) Anticipate Being Without Electricity, Natural Gas, and Water Service – Terrorist attacks on the vulnerable U.S. power grid (either cyber, EMP, or physical) and water supplies are very real possibilities. You should buy a propane cookstove(s), propane heater(s), gas or battery-powered lanterns, several 5-gallon water containers, and lots of candles, lighters, and high quality flashlights. Have plenty of wood for your fireplace, and keep your propane tanks and your water containers full. You can check out some propane-fueled stoves, space heaters, and lanterns at the S & P Store.
Home Protection3) Guns and Ammunition – There are some things you might forget or overlook, and some you can acquire after disaster strikes, but guns and ammo are definitely not among them. Our Bosnian Survivor (see Here) recalls that guns and ammunition were easily the most essential and coveted of all possessions for those who survived the long nightmare of the Bosnia/Herzegovina  genocide that began in 1991. To this day he keeps four loaded guns and 2,000 rounds of ammunition for each one constantly at the ready,
4) Long Shelf Life Survival Food - Put together your list of “long shelf life,” ready-to-eat, Emergency Foodsgroceries and then do your shopping. One of the big questions here is quantities. How long should you plan on being holed up before order is restored and you can replenish supplies? In the event of a physical attack on the power grid it could be weeks before normalcy returns. You should by all means have a thirty-day stock and preferably a ninety day survival food supply for all your family and/or group members. Buy lots of large size canned meats and vegetables, and include lots of brown rice, mixed beans, flour, salt, sugar, and powdered drink mixes. And don’t forget plenty of peanut butter, one of the best survival foods ever invented. You can find most of what you need in large package sizes at SAM’s CLUB or COSTCO, or you can buy pre-packaged, pre-measured emergency food kits with free delivery from Amazon. These products offer a lot of meal variety and great packaging so that they take up a minimum of storage space in you home. You can find more than seven pages of emergency food supply products at our S & P Store here.
5) Cleaning and Hygiene Supplies – At minimum, these should include disinfectants, detergents, bleach, soaps, rubber gloves, masks, first aid equipment, and antibiotics. Our Bosnian Survivor said that he felt these items were more important than food, because he could always find food to trade something for, but that these items were very much coveted and very difficult to acquire. 

You can find more ideas for survival gear by visiting our image gallery.
We can’t say this often enough. You will not have any advance notice of a catastrophe, so don’t procrastinate. Start building your survival inventory now, and if you already have a survival Plan, please share it with us below.

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