Fleeing a disaster before it happens (bugging out) is not always an option that we have. Sometimes, we may have no choice, or it may even be a smarter option to think about staying put (bugging in). During this guide we are going to look at how you can keep yourself and your family safe whilst bugging in.
The article below will act as a quick guide to get you started. From here we will link to more in-depth articles on each subject as they are written.
What is Bugging In?
Bugging in simply means to shelter in place or “hunker down“. Providing that you have prepared in advance, in many situations, this may be the best course of action. This being said, I am not telling you that you should put all of your focus into preparing to bug in and forget about bugging out, you should have plans in place for both scenarios but we will cover bugging out in a later article.
What to Consider?
No matter where in the world you are or what situation you find yourself in, your basic needs will always be the same. These are:
- Self Defense
Let’s take a closer look at these below.
By the word ‘shelter‘ I do not simply mean your home and the roof over your head. Shelter is what is going to protect you from the elements. You are going to need to think about alternative heating options such as wood burning fireplaces and propane heaters. Remember that you are also going to need to store wood or extra propane canisters also.
When bugging in, you do not necessarily need to worry about heating the whole home. Choose a room that will be used and focus on keeping that room warm and keep all doors closed.
- How to Choose the Right Generator
- How to Store Gasoline Safely
- 5 Best Home Security Cameras
- Keeping Your Home Warm this Winter
- Protecting Your Home from Looters
Depending on the scenario, it is quite possible that your fresh water supply will be shut off. The simplest option here, is to dedicate an area in the home to store extra water but make sure it is in a cool area and away from any direct sunlight.
Start by trying to store enough water to get your family through a week and then build on that. The government recommends 1 gallon per person, per day but try to double that at least. The more the better!
You also have options around the home for getting water should it be needed. Your hot water tank as well as the tank behind your toilet are good options. You can look at collecting rain water or gathering water from local water sources such as streams and rivers. No matter what, be sure to have a good water filtration system such as the Sawyer Mini at hand.
- How to Choose from the Best Water Storage Containers for Emergencies
- Emergency Water Sources Around the Home
- How to Harvest Rainwater
- Survival Basics – Water for Survival
We have already looked at keeping warm so here we will focus on the cooking side of things.
If you have a wood burning stove or fireplace, be sure that it can be used for both cooking and boiling water (not all can be used for both).
Natural fuel stoves are small, easy to store and work on a variety of natural fuels such as sticks, twigs, and charcoal. A great example for this would be the Biolite Campstove.
Camping stoves are also a lightweight option although always remember to store extra fuel.
When it comes to stockpiling food you need to think about foods that you can eat with little to no preparation. They should also not require any refrigeration and have a long shelf-life. So what options should you be looking at? Let’s take a quick look:
- Dehydrated Meals – with a 10+ year span and you only need to add hot water.
- MREs – long shelf-life and usually come with their own heating element.
- Canned Foods – your options are endless. Don’t forget a manual can opener.
- Packaged Foods – again, there are many different foods to choose from.
If you have children and pets, don’t forget to store foods for them also.
- How to Preserve Food at Home
- A Guide to Long Term Food Storage Containers
- Beginner Tips for Building Your Emergency Food Supply
- Methods of Cooking Without Power
It is always a good idea to learn at least basic first aid but even more so if you want to prepare for a disaster. Hospitals may be closed and it may become impossible to get out for medical supplies or get to the local surgery.
You need to think about what you and your familys’ medical requirements are and make sure that you stock up on supplies and medicines to keep them well. Just like your food and water supplies, you will need to keep an eye on expiration dates and rotate the supplies as needed.
Another must is to take a local basic first aid course. It is all good having a well-packed first aid kit but it is useless if you don’t know how to use it.
During a disaster, you have to expect delayed times for emergency responders due to the high volume of people calling and needing help. During these times, crimes will usually go on the increase so it is incredibly important that you know how to protect your family and your home.
There are many cheap but very effective ways that you can improve your home security. Some ideas include:
- Changing all external doors to ensure that they are solid with no glass.
- Using indoor mounted door bars.
- Installing exterior security lights.
- Having gravel and bushes outside your home – more on this in a later article.
Here in the UK, we have very strict gun laws and in many cases owning one may not be an option. However, if you do have a license, it is important that you know how to use it safely and effectively.
- Home Defense: Surveillance Cameras
- 4 Easy Self Defense Tactics to Protect Yourself
- Jeff Cooper’s Color Code for Situational Awareness
Extras to Consider
- Hygiene – stock up on extra toothpaste, soap and shampoo.
- Tools – without electricity you are going to need torches as well as spare batteries.
- Communication – understand that phones and Internet may be down so you will need to think about alternative ways to communicate.
- Entertainment – this is especially important if you have children.
When it comes to making a bug-in plan, it really isn’t as hard as it may seem. I hope that you have learned the basics of bugging in during this guide and check out other articles for more in-depth advice on the above subjects.