Hurricanes: Making the Case for Bugging Out

As of this writing, there are 31 confirmed deaths related to hurricane Florence. People were warned, evacuation orders were given, this was no surprise; so why were these people still there? Why would one choose to ‘ride out the storm?’ This was no surprise, the storm did not change course at the last minute as others have in the past, this hit right where it was predicted to; so again, why were these people still there?

Bugging out vs. bugging in has long been a debate within the prepper community, and the answer would likely be based on your current situation and what potential crisis you are facing. Yes, arms and ammunition would be helpful against looters, but ineffective against 3 feet of rain, rising rivers, and 100 mph winds. Yes, a bunker full of food, water and other survival gear would be critical in many disasters scenarios, but basically useless if its under water. Now I’m sure there are some prepared folks in the affected area who are hunkered down with food, water, communication and back up power just waiting it out, but clearly many thousands of people were unprepared at best.

hidden bunker

The term bugging out conjures up images of a cabin deep in the woods, or a deep underground bunker far from society, but that isn’t always the case. Fact is, most preppers simply can’t afford to spend the money necessary to own a 2nd property ‘just in case.’ However, everyone should have a plan. Sitting at home hoping for the best, isn’t a plan, nor is it very smart. So ask yourself, if I had to leave now, where would I go, where would I find safety for my family. If you’re family is separated at the onset of an event, do you have a preset meet point? If you can’t safely stay where you are, where will you go?


That bug out location doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be safe from whatever disaster you are facing. It might be as simple as going to Aunt Betty’s house in Bug Tussle Alabama, or a roadside motel outside Topeka Kansas; and remember to take supplies! If you haven’t created a bug out bag, then start simple; think, what would I need most on a 3-5 day trip.

  • Cash – cash is always king, no power means no ATM’s or working credit card machines.
  • Credit card with plenty of available credit. We keep a high limit card with a $0 balance for emergencies only.
  • Bottled water, food and snacks
  • Change of clothes or two for each member of the family, extra shoes
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Matches or lighter
  • Candles, hand warmers, emergency blankets, hats and gloves if appropriate
  • First aide kit, medications
  • Hand crank emergency radio, means to charge cell phones without power
  • Map book
  • A full tank of gas, never let your car get below half a tank
  • Means of self defense

There are many, many other items that you might find useful, but just these few items should help you on your trip to a safe location. We moved to our bug out location 10 years ago; selected for it’s isolation and protection from most natural disasters, but despite that, the items I listed above reside permanently in both of our vehicles. Regardless of whether you live in the city, suburbs or deep in the woods, there may come a time when you have to leave for your own safety and you need a plan, maybe two. The safety and well being of your family is your responsibility, so get to work on that bug out plan!

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.


  1. I have just a bit of experience with hurricanes 🙂

    Unless you live in low-lying (flood prone) areas or right on the coast 99.9999% of the time riding it out is the best option.
    When Rita threatened the Houston area a few years ago people panicked and tens of thousands tried to evacuate. The roadways were jammed. Many who tried to bug out would have been caught in the middle of the storm in a parked car had it not shifted at the last minute. The death toll had that happened would have been horrific. Those who really needed to evacuate couldn’t because the roads were so jammed by people who didn’t need to evacuate. By there very nature these storms are unpredictable. My middle daughter evacuated to a location north and east of the Houston “out of the path” of Rita. Because of the last minute shift she would have been caught in the brunt of the storm had they not “bugged back.” The house where they would have been taking shelter lost power for almost a month and the folks who lived there and those they were “sheltering” were trapped there for over a week until all the fallen trees could be cleared from the road.

    If everyone in the path of Hurricane Harvey had tried to evacuate we would have been talking about somewhere around 100 million people or more. There is no way to move that many people in the available amount of time and no infrastructure to support them if you did. Then there is the question of where to evacuate to. Ike continued to be a dangerous storm system all the way up into Ohio, Indiana and Illinois over 1000 miles away…

    Take care and God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

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