When would bugging in be your optimal choice? Things like winter snow storms, pandemic outbreaks and the like mean that you don't necessarily need to leave your home and in fact, you may actually be safer at home than out among the public.
The challenge when bugging in may well be...actually staying home. Years ago, staying on the ranch and not going into town for days or even weeks was not uncommon. Everything one needed was at home and going into town, especially if the next town was an hour or more down the road, was a major production. These days most people live in more urban areas where nearly all of their life takes place somewhere other than at home.
Should the need arise to stay home for an extended period of time, for example, if the news tells everyone in your community to shelter in place until the order is lifted, what would you do? Consider these things when creating a bug-in plan:
- Do you know your neighbors and can you work cooperatively with them? During major storms it may be hard for responders to even get to you due to road closures or downed trees for example. In these situations neighbors often pull together for things such as storm clean up, clearing downed trees, helping elderly neighbors bring in firewood, etc.
- Do you have everything you need at home so you don't need to risk life and limb to get to a store that will probably be closed anyway? If you have been doing the steps outlined here for the past two weeks the answer is probably yes. You need water, food, toilet paper, diapers, and all of the other things that you would usually go to the store for stockpiled at home.
- How would you keep everyone entertained? In our 24/7 connected lives, entertainment usually comes from outside the home--cable TV, interacting with people on social media, playing online video games, etc--so you need to plan for things to keep everyone entertained without access to the outside world. Board games, books, gardening tasks, etc. keep everyone busy and boredom at bay.
- Can you protect yourself and your family from outside threats? In a pandemic situation where a deadly and highly contagious virus is spreading rapidly in your area, cutting off all connections with other people until the threat has passed may be your only option. That means not answering the door and not interacting with others. In a major snow storm this may mean keeping deep snow off your roof so it doesn't collapse and not going out on the roads which have been closed. In a TEOTWAWKI event, it may mean protecting your home, your family, and your supplies from looters with deadly force if necessary.
- Understand the various reasons for (and actions to take) based on why you are bugging in. If a shelter in place order has been given due to a chemical spill, you may need to bring pets and all family members inside, turn off all HVAC systems, and seal all windows/doors/air vents with duct tape and plastic sheeting. If you are bugging in due to a tornado approaching, you will want to get all of the family into the basement or interior room, put on helmets if available, and cover yourselves with mattresses or blankets.
- You will also need a way to receive information from the outside. This can be through AM/FM radio (battery or solar powered if there is no electricity), TV news, social media, push alerts, HAM radio, etc. During a disaster the community will be notified through these various methods of communication if you should boil water (or forgo tap water all together), turn off your gas service, when the threat has been neutralized, etc.