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We often hear about Bug-Out Bags or Bugging-Out when things get bad. (5 Options for Bugging-Out and Leaving Town for City Dwellers) This translates to leaving your home for safer ground, perhaps higher ground or a less-populated area. Bugging-In is staying put and going into lock-down mode in your home.
There are many situations such as snowstorms, hurricanes, political unrest or power outages that can dissuade you from wanting to go outside. Instead of leaving the area; you stay put, making the decision that staying is better than leaving. In some situations, you may also want to hide your supplies and your activities.
"I'll be in my bedroom, making no noise, and pretending that I don't exist."
~Harry Potter Book 2
I see two major situations for staying in your home: natural weather events and human social conditions.
Tips for Urban Bugging-In
#1 Protect yourself first.
Just like on the airplane, you put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others. You have made the decision to ride out the storm in your home, and gathered everyone inside.
Take a moment (especially true for those with dependents) to assess your personal requirements. Address issues that could effect your ability to protect your family such as dehydration, hunger or minor medical issues likes cuts.
#2 Fortify your home.
If you have warning for the weather event such as a hurricane or snow-storm take measure to protect windows and doors. This may be hard for those who live in apartments but try to seal up the inside if you can't change the outside.
- Move furniture in front of windows and doors if you expect they could be broken from the outside.
- Add black plastic or cloth to the windows to prevent others from seeing inside.
- Use winter window plastic (this is what I am taking about) or duct tape to seal cracks, windows, doors or outside vents if you suspect poison gases may be outside. (In cases of social unrest: tear gas, pepper spray, etc)
- Gather basic supplies in the bathroom or other interior rooms in case you have to retreat further from windows.
#3 Last minute prepping.
Are there last minute things you can do to add to your supplies? I don't recommend going to the already mobbed grocery store but consider these actions you can do at home.
- Fill empty containers with water before the storm hits.
- Consider filled a WaterBOB plastic bathtub liner so you have a bathtub full of drinking water.
- Look through your car for any items you make want inside: extra blankets, first aid kit, flashlights, ice melt, etc
- Do the dishes. If the water supply cuts out, at least you won't have a sink full of dirty dishes.
- Fill bags or containers with water and put in the freezer. This will provide extra ice if needed, delay the freezer from defrosting if the power goes out, and be extra drinking water when it thaws. It's hard to store lots of water in a small apartment but every bit helps.
- Watch a survival movie, it's entertainment and learning rolled into one.
- Go to the library and stock up on books to read, or download some free eBooks from the library. It's good for morale.
#4 Check your supplies.
A few months ago you stocked the survival pantry full of food, but over that time some of the supplies may have gone missing or were used and not replaced. Get a good idea of the supplies you have on hand. Hopefully your supplies looks something like this:
- 3 days worth of water per person (more if space allows)
- water filters or way to purify more water (Sawyer Filter, Lifestraw Family Filter)
- 1 weeks worth of food per person (more if space allows)
- multiple methods of cooking (gas stove, electric stove, fireplace, camp stove, cook fire, etc)
- Basic medical kit including necessary medications (Handy First Aid Kit)
- Methods for keeping warm or cool as the season depends
#5 Have a plan.
Do you have a plan for heating, cooling, cooking, food storage in your home should your primary systems fail? Or perhaps, they haven't failed but you would rather not run the air conditioner and draw attention to your home?
- 8 Steps to Evaluating your Food Preparedness for Power Outages
- 7 Steps for Heating Your Home During a Power Outage
#6 Be prepared for the long haul.
Know your home's assets and be prepared to ration goods like batteries and cooking gas (like propane). You never know how long the weather event will last, or how long it will be until you can return to normal habits.
Any number of your home's primary systems for heating, cooling, cooking could be out of service during this time.
#7 Continue to watch the situation.
A crank radio or a view out the window will keep you informed of current events. This can help you decide if the situation ever turns, and you need to leave your home.
Follow the military OODA loop. Observe the events, Orient yourself to the situation, Decide on a plan, Act on that plan. Then observe and start again.
The decision to stay or go can be hard, and depends on the situation and your family. It could be hard to leave with elderly or small children but may be necessary. The decision could be made for you with an evacuation notice. Or it could just be, that you have no place else to go. Whatever your reason to stay, set yourself up for success today and rest easy tonight knowing you are a small bit more prepared.
Thanks for reading!
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