Joe Marshall

Bugging Out

Photo FEMA

Stay or go? That is the question after a disaster or during a crisis. Sometimes it is clear that it’s time to bug-out. The decision to bug-in or bug-out ultimately lies with you and will depend on a number of factors. The time to consider theses factors is before a disaster or crisis occurs. In that way, you can  know by given conditions what the decision should be for that event. Here are some questions to help you assess situations that you might encounter during a disaster.  


  • Are you able to remain in home without endangering family?
  • Do you have enough supplies stored to last through the expected timeline?
  • Will any family member’s health be threatened by power outage?
  • Do you have alternative heating sources for power outages in winter?
  • Do you have alternatives for sheltering within easy reach?
  • Are you prepared to protect your home from looters?
  • What if there is no evacuation route?
  • Would leaving expose family to contaminated air, terrorism or radiation?
  • Are you willing to live under martial law, should it be implemented?
  • Are you able to leave quickly and efficiently?
  • If looting is underway, would leaving force contact with participants?
  • Will you have the opportunity to leave in a few days, if power is not restored?
  • Are you able to walk a great distance if necessary?



  • Is the situation getting worse than anticipated, putting family in danger?
  • Do you not have enough food stored for the event duration?
  • What if evacuating later, if necessary, would not be possible?
  • Do you have infants, elderly or sick that can not live in a home without power?
  • Are conditions life threatening? I.e. fire, mudslides, flooding
  • What if your home is not habitable after the disaster and it is not feasible to setup outside shelter?
  • Is needed access to medical treatment and medications available?
  • Are you unable to defend yourself against potential intruders?

Each event must be evaluated on its own merits. The decision to stay or go ultimately rests on a family’s ability to stay safe, secure, and healthy throughout the event.

Review these questions and think through your family’s needs and your ability to meet those needs with the preparations you have made. Some of these questions may present points you need to address in your preparedness plan. Careful review will bring the right decisions into focus.

Billie Nicholson, Editor
Jan/Feb 2019

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