If disasters and apocalyptic events warned us before they happened, the whole idea of prepping would be very different. Why prepare for bugging out now when the events warn you advance? It is for this exact reason that prepping is so important, because there is no warning.
The natural disasters that strike, often happen with very little warning, if any. Earthquakes, flash flooding, tornadoes, avalanches, tsunamis. Take your pick.
Earthquakes generally strike with no forewarning, the first sign of trouble normally when the ground starts shaking.
But while prepping and bug-out gear may sound like the perfect plan to combat the unpredictability of a disastrous event, there is another enemy far closer to home.
This enemy is one that is much more difficult to prepare for and can strike as quick as any disaster. That enemy is panic.
What is panic?
Panic is a sensation so powerful, it steals your ability to see reason and logic, replacing it with fear, anxiety, and agitation. Once panic grips you, it’s extremely difficult to make logical decisions that will essentially save your life. In other words, panic makes you do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do.
Many victims of disasters and apocalyptic events die because they panicked. Fight or flight takes over, removes any common sense or rational thinking and leaves you clambering to survive any way you can.
Your body reacts to the panic by increasing the heart rate and dumping adrenalin into your bloodstream. Faster breathing loads you up with higher levels of oxygen and sweating starts to cool your body in preparation of the flight instinct.
This decreases your reaction time and helps you move much faster than normal. Whilst good in a normal situation, your heightened sense of survival takes full control, forcing you to lose focus on anything else.
Panic is dangerous. There are no 2 ways about it. In some circumstances, it might be useful, but panicking during a major event like a full-blown disaster could spell disaster for you.
But the weapon against panic may just be one of the simplest things you can do.
How Can I Fight Panic when Bugging Out?
Panic as an emotion may be unavoidable, regardless of the circumstances behind it. It can cause you to make irrational decisions which you wouldn’t normally make. But rather than fight the panic itself, try to beat the panic by removing as many decisions that may need to be made in an emergency beforehand.
The best way to beat the panic that will no doubt surface, is by planning for it. Planning for the decisions that are needed and giving yourself the answers ahead of time. There are several ways to do this.
Create a bug out bag
Trying to decide what to bring with you during an emergency is a sure-fire way to panic. Time is critical during any disaster and the last thing you want is to go searching for necessary supplies.
Plan an escape route
Prepare a number of pre-determined escape routes based on different scenarios. If there is a single plan and it’s cut off by the disaster, you don’t want to find yourself trapped.
Know how to reach family if separated
Determine how to reach family if they are at work, at school, recreational activities. Understanding different access points like roads and transport may ease the panic.
Determine a bug out location
If a disaster strikes and you need to “get out of Dodge”, work out where you will go. Make sure every family member knows where they can meet up and ensure each is aware of the location well ahead of time. Plan to reach the place together, if possible. If not, allocate several meet-up points.
Beating panic may seem daunting in the face of disaster, but planning to survive may mean the difference when emotions want to take over.
The Things You Need to Avoid when Bugging Out
While planning for survival is a great tactic, so is avoiding certain things while actually bugging out. The following list is handy to know, particularly if you live in a built-up urban environment.
#1: Don’t leave bugging out until it’s too late
Maybe a given, but the fact is people will use any excuse to put off committing to a decision. If you know that time is critical, then don’t hesitate to bug out. Use your time wisely and use it to prepare for the road ahead.
#2: Try not to take too much with you
Plan what to take and what to leave behind well in advance. A decent bug out bag should already be stocked and ready to grab well before any disaster strikes.
If you find that you are struggling to decide which of your belongings to take and which to leave behind, consider their importance when it comes to surviving.
If you fill your vehicle with a mountain of belongings, what will happen in the event of a breakdown? What if roads become impassable and you are forced to abandon your vehicle? Can you leave those things behind?
#3: Keep your plans private
For the sake of saving you and your family, keep your plans a secret. There’s no reason to share them with anybody unless they are a specific part of the plan. The goal here is to keep you and your family safe.
#4: Hide any weapons you have
If people can see you carrying weapons when bugging out, they will assume you have something worth taking. This brings with it extra risk and dangers that are avoidable by keeping weapons concealed.
#5: Don’t look too prepared
Similar to the above; if you look prepared for bugging out, people will take that as a sign that you hold valuable survival gear they could need.
This could lead to unnecessary confrontations. Try and avoid conflict and focus on getting you and your family to safety.
#6: Using highways might not be the best idea
Once a full-blown disaster strikes, the chances are extremely high that many people will use the largest road possible to escape. Too many people and vehicles will quickly turn most highways into parking lots, with queues stretching for miles.
Get to know different ways to reach your bug out location so you avoid the hassles of sitting in traffic.
The best way to leave cities is via the roads that others won’t want to use. It might mean taking a long way around, but if it’s safer and faster, then don’t hesitate to use them.
#7: Avoid roads if your vehicle fails
Cars break down. It’s a fact of life with any piece of machinery and regardless of how well you plan for it, your vehicle could let you down when you need it most.
If it does, avoid following roads to reach your bug out location. If possible, follow trails and avoid people.
Others will be looking to self-sustain and may see you as an easy target. With no law to protect you, it may come down to the survival of the fittest.
#8: Don’t have your bug out location too close
Make sure you have enough distance between your home and your bug out location. If it’s too close, it may be susceptible to the reasons you need to leave your home in the first place. Always have a backup plan and give yourself several means of reaching it.
Always remember that your own safety is above everything else. Other people will pose the most danger during a bug out, so avoid them at all costs.
Plan for the disaster well ahead of time and prep the things you’ll need, both at home and on the road.
Do you have your bug-out bag ready? Here is what you need to include in it: 17 Items You Need in Your Preppers Bug Out Bag List.