Planning, Training, and Exercising for “Bug Out”

Planning, Training, and Exercising for “Bug Out” by Mr. E – Survival Blog

Many of us, myself included, have been guilty of fantasizing about what we would do during a scenario where we would want to “bug out”. It is easy to say things like, “My plan is to grab my go bag, my family, and run for the the hills.” For others, it is easy to imagine ourselves traversing chaotic streets with a group of our most trusted friends, loaded to the teeth with weaponry, battling our way to our off the grid location. While no doubt these daydreams can be interesting to entertain, it is important we take a holistic and realistic approach to “bugging out”.

There are plenty of fantastic articles on why you should or shouldn’t bug out and even more on how to set up and prepare your area of refuge that you and your group will bug out to. For the purposes of this article, we will be simply focusing on the skills involved with planning, training, and exercising your bug out plan after the decision to leave has been made.

The Planning, Training, and Exercising Process

These three skills– planning, training, and exercising– are based on tried and true emergency management principles and are currently being used by both public and private institutions all across the nation. The benefit of this plan, train, exercise process is that it allows you and your group to take an all-hazards approach to preparing for a plethora of disasters and emergencies. It is important to understand that your bug out plan standardizes the way you and your group handle this process. This plan helps ensure that everyone has a common understanding of what they are expected to do during your bug out.

It is important to have all group members involved in the planning process so that everyone’s voice can be heard. Once the plan is formalized, then you can train everyone on the plan so that they know what actions to take. Only once everyone has been trained should you exercise everyone’s ability to follow the plan under simulated conditions. If your group members have trouble achieving the objectives in your plan, it is important determine if the objectives were not met due to lack of training, equipment issues, or planning issues.

Developing Your Plan

Let’s face it we can’t plan for every specific emergency or disaster scenario that could unfold in our modern society, but we can take an all-hazards approach to our bug out planning process. Simply put, we should focus our planning efforts around the things we know that we will need to keep us alive if we are ever forced to leave our homes for a safer, more sustainable area. For bug out specific purposes, we will focus our planning, training, and exercising lessons around the supplies/equipment, communications, and our egress routes to the area of refuge.

Planning Considerations For Supplies/Equipment

When making plans for supplies and equipment, ask the following questions:

  • Does every member in your group have access to enough food, water, clothing, medical supplies, and defensive equipment with them on a daily basis (i.e. in the trunk of their car or go bag)?
  • Is that enough to sustain them for the journey to your final destination?
  • On any given day, do you and your group keep enough fuel in your vehicles to reach your bug out location?
  • If you were to get a flat tire or dead battery in your vehicle, do you have the equipment to repair it on the road?
  • How quickly can you gather together the supplies you need to bug out on a weekend?
  • Does that amount of time change during the work week once group members are spread out?
  • If you had to leave in a hurry, what items are the priority (i.e. important documents, cash, food, firearms)? How will you quickly take those items with you?
  • Have you considered placing caches of supplies along your egress routes? You may not able to take everything you originally intended to.
  • What is your procedure if you meet peaceful individuals in need of supplies and equipment while bugging out?
  • How does that procedure change if those individuals are hostile or become that way later?
  • How long do your equipment batteries last under normal conditions? Can you extend that time if you needed to?
  • Do you have a way to recharge the batteries for your bug out equipment without plugging it into the grid?

Planning Considerations For Redundant Communications

Redundant communications in emergencies are the key to success. Whether it be communicating that the road up ahead is blocked or coordinating your group rally point, being able to effectively communicate should be a high priority. During regular emergencies in our society, cell phones are the first to become inundated. Sometimes we can get a text through when phone lines are busy, but we can’t rely on cell phones alone. Ham radios, simple two-way handheld radios, and CB radios are relatively inexpensive and easy to use.

Although radios do rely on batteries, which may be in short supply after the event, they can still prove to be useful for the hours or days of travel required to reach your destination. Satellite phones are pricey and are also limited by batteries but can serve as another alternative to radios. Your communications plan for bug out will ideally have multiple methods of communicating to your group.

Egress Routes Planning Considerations

It doesn’t matter if your bug out location is 10 miles away or 1,000. Your routes of escape should be well mapped and understood by all members of your group. Much like communications, your egress plan should have multiple options in case one way is blocked or compromised. Consider which routes will be the least traveled. Saying away from the other travelers is usually the safer bet when resources are scarce.

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Our IP Address: primary I’m James Wesley, Rawles (“JWR”), a survivalist author. I’m a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer and technical writer. I’m now a full-time novelist and part-time blogger and retreat consultant. I founded SurvivalBlog in 2005, and now serve as Senior Editor. Day-to-day operation of the blog is handled brilliantly by Hugh J. Latimer (“HJL”), our Managing Editor. (To contact JWR or HJL, see our Contact Page.) Because of SurvivalBlog, we are part of something bigger: a virtual community of some of the most brilliant people that you could ever meet. Despite our differences, we all have an interest in preparedness.