Stay or Evacuate? When Disaster Is About To Strike, How Do You Decide?


Stay or Evacuate? When Disaster Is About To Strike, How Do You Decide?

With all this discussion about bugging out or leaving town during an approaching or unfolding SHTF, there is little information offered on opinions as to exactly when to go. What factors when compiled together make or break the decision to bunk in or bust out? As they say “timing is everything” and nothing is more important that making such a crucial decision as to when to bug out.

As a commenter in a forum I frequent recently put it, in many types of disasters and SHTF type situations, the main thing that separates the survivors from the dead is knowing when to move and when to stay put.

The problem is that there is no hard-and-fast rule, and all such decision-making is subjective and situational. One person may be better prepared and more up to date on the information and news related to a potential SHTF. Their bug-out bag (BoB) is packed, and the SUV is gassed up and the escape travel route set, and practiced. They are ready to execute a bug-out.

Another might be in a blinding fog, sitting on the front porch watching the clouds turn iridescent blue-green. The battery is dead on their only vehicle. The pantry is nearly empty. Their child is diabetic, but the insulin meds are used up. They are oblivious.

And then there are the folks who decide on a partial bug-out, sending the women, children, and elderly for the dry ground while the men stay behind to finish boarding and storm-proofing structures and to protect property from looters.

When Katrina hit New Orleans on the 28th of August, the state emergency agency had been warning citizens to get out of town 3-4 days before landfall. For several days immediately after the storm landed some people were still on the roofs of buildings waving to be evacuated. Many died. When a hurricane is coming, you listen to weather reports and you get out of town when officials tell you to leave.

In that case there was little to debate about when to bug out. But what about other SHTF events that are more difficult to gauge. Did any preppers decide to evacuate Ferguson or Baltimore? Maybe they lived far enough away from the rioting. Maybe they were well armed, locked down and kept their ears to the rail. Every situation is different.

You live 60 miles from a nuclear power plant. A news flash says there was an industrial accident at the site and radiation was leaking. This is a “GO NOW” scenario. A forest fire is burning 75 miles away but the wind is blowing the direction toward where you live. What do you do? You monitor, and be ready to go.

The ready part here is the critical element. The time to bug out is when you are equipped and ready to do so. Have your bug-out bag packed, refreshed and always on standby. If you’re fully equipped and prepared to bail, then at the very least you have options, and in a disaster options are exactly what you want to maximize your chances of survival.

Avatar Author ID 67 - 1139817093

Award winning outdoor writer/photographer since 1978. Over 3000 articles and columns published nationally. Field & Stream Hero of Conservation in 2007. Fields of writing includes hunting most game in American, Canada, and Europe, fishing fresh and saltwater, destination travel, product reviews, industry consulting, and conservation issues. Currently VP at largest community college in Mississippi in economic development and workforce training with 40 years of experience in Higher Education. BS-MS in wildlife sciences from MO. University, and then a PhD in Industrial Psychology. Married with two children and Molly the Schnoodle.

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