Bugging IN or OUT your response times matter

Bug In or out , your response times matter.

Think about it, we nearly all have well sorted INCH, BOB or GHBs and plans on what to do it the balloon goes up, but have you considered your RESPONSE times in relation to Getting Out Of Town / Getting home/ Evacuating in the context of what everyone else is doing at the same time.

Lets consider a few examples of thev worst kind first before looking at more likely issues.

1 Cascadia / San Andreas. If you live close to the coast you could have as little as five minutes to react to a tsunami hitting places like Coastal Oregon / Washington and an average of roughly 12 to 25 minutes in So Cal. But remember the footage from Anchorage in the 60s when the same fault let rip, the first thing that went out was the bridges and roads as huge landslides blocked roads, bridges collapsed and in places roads split and rose or fell by 30 meters so you need to explore all options including such things as heading to the upper floors of tower blocks and Multi story Car Parks insead of joining the masses running away from the sea.


2 Depending where you live if the Volcano on Gran Canaria erupted and that huge chunk of mountainside fell into the ocean you could have up to 3 hours to get out to safety in Northern Europe and FIVE hours on the East Coast of the US, but consider the blind panic as New York, Boston etc Galveston, New Orleans, Miami and the Keys etc all tried to get inland in five hours ?. 

During H Andrew when the target area had DAYS of warning many left it late to move to safer ground inland, Gridlock ensued and one well documented Prepper families efforts were for nothing. They left 12 hours before the storm was due to hit in a fully prepped BOV with full tanks and extra jerry cans, But because of the huge volume of traffic they found themselves crawling along at 5 MPH for 14 hours and ran out of fuel in the middle of nowheresville Georgia. Imagine all of the lowlanders of SE England trying to head west and north in a blind panic with the news that the tsunami is only 3 hours away.


3 Slipping down the scale of dramatic effect a bit if we had another perfect storm of the type that caused so much damage to the UK east coast in 1953 where nearly 3000 Brits and Dutch drowned often in their homes. Today sea levels are higher, population density is FAR higher today and only certain key coastal and riverine defences like the Thames barrier are fully maintained. Another storm like the 1953 storm if it broke through the defences could kill upwards of 50,000 people and deluge much of London and the area around the Thames estuary. Can you imagine 9.3 million Londoners trying to leave the area in a hurry and most would not try to get out until the barriers started to fail. Only ONE van leaking diesel in the Blackhall tunnel recently during rush hour caused traffic jams over 10 miles long and delays of up to 5 hours across a huge area, so a couple of minor crashes, people running out of fuel etc and hundreds of thousands will be stranded with no room for manoeuvre. Oh and in 1953 we still have a huge CIVIL DEFENCE program of equipment and staff to help rescue efforts ALL now long disbanded.


I wrote this BEFORE the Covid Outbreak of 2020.

4 So imagine a Spanish flu outbreal like the one in 1918 hitting London, crippling essential services https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic or an EMP or Carrington event https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859 hitting the country and suddenly the power is gone, not only have your cities lost their electricity but their street lights, traffic lights, cell phones, land lines, refrigeration, tube trains, trams, water , gas and sewage supplies, check out tills and credit card readers, cash points, lifts, flood barriers power to houses and shops. Imagine the Carrington event happening in a bad winter?

5 The HUGE firestorms that raced across both California and Australia in the last few years, that in some cases the fires were reported to travel faster than a speeding vehicle..

6 Mass urban civil unrest and rioting looting and arson in the US in 2020, often the law enforcement agencies stood aside and did nothing. Think about people living OVER or NEXT to shops and businesses being looted. OR Imagine living along a route between shopping centres and business districts.

It could even be the arrival of MILLIONS of desperate migrants overwhelming the authorities and pouring into the country in huge numbers collapsing our entire social welfare infrastructure and looting, stealing and rioting. The EU has found itself totally unable to stop 2 million migrants from surging across Europe, And in the US Trumps wall looks likely to be abandoned because of a change in the administration. 

Imagine any given scenario where you need to get home QUICK or bug out QUICK I am sure most if not all of us have our plans in place regardless of how minor, melodramatic or massive they are, but have you considered all the potential obstacles in your way from blocked roads, refugees, road blocks, strikers, terrorist activity, riots by migrants creating no go areas, collapsed bridges, traffic jams, YOUR vehicle breaking down AND the realisation that your allotted times for getting out of town turn out to be far shorter than you planned for. Consider Alternative routes, Consider alternative responses, Consider the suitability of your current kit to deal with varying situations and far shorter reaction times. Consider ensuring you have TV and Radios with the ability to switch to breaking news broadcasts if something happens.

Oh and never forget its the preppers who are best informed who can react quickly to take advantage of the various APPS and Tickers you can get for your PCs and Cell phones that instantly send breaking news to you as it happens.

PreWARNED is as good as being prePARED.


  • Comments (19)

    • 3

      You make many good points of the need to be prepared and to be able to react quickly. Do you have any ideas on how and where to store supplies if livin in earthquake country? My fear is I’ll have my bags and food but everythin will be buried under my collapsed house. Then what?

      • 2

        Naturally in a quake zone its a good idea to divide your food and prep supplies, ( dont put all your eggs in one basket) some within your home and perhaps  some in a sturdy wide mouth barrel in your garden shed or garage ( or some place not likely to squash your supplies flat if it collapses).  One gent I came across buries his emergency supplies in his back garden, deep enough to be protected from the sun etc. He has wrapped the two wide mouth barrels with heavy weather proof 10 mm climbing rope with the end of the rope above ground. if he needs to get to the two barrels he just has to pull the barrels either by hand or tied to the back of his car.

        Storage caching drum foods

        Concealed Caches or stored  in your Primary Vehicle are probably your best bet, OR If you face having to bug out because of the quake risk then perhaps you already know where you are heading to?   if so finding a place to bury a cache of supplies, or renting a bit of storage at your intended destination (or en route).

        Another option is to make Cache tubes out of waste water drainage pipes and siliconed on end caps, They look so drab, bland and boring some folks simply place them in their back yards away from direct sunlight. They are just so “Meh” they are not worth stealing, but can be packed with essential supplies.

        Over here in the Uk some folks store supplies in large 120 liter garbage bins (the type with hinged lids and wheels) they just leave em in the back yard out of sight.

        If you have a flat roofed house or garage you can store well protected supplies on the roof so if it collapses MOST of your gear remains on top, providing it doesnt burst into flames.

        Many towns have storage rental places on the edge of the town close to the main roads, you could hire a locker at one of those places to keep supplies at.

        Sometimes its possible to leave some supplies etc at your places of work / school / college.

        Finally storing a Trailer or U haul outside of the town limits with a full set of gear is another alternative, OR do you have a good friend or family member outside your quake zone who you could leave a couple of barrels or boxes of supplies with for you to pick up if the BIG ONE  happens?

      • 2

        Thank you for your thorough explanation and many ideas. Hadn’t thought about storin gear in a barrel like you have pictured there. Placin additional gear in a storage rental location is also a solid backup plan. 

      • 4

        I’m in earthquake country and can’t dig down to store underground (pretty much on bedrock which is a good thing in an earthquake).   I’ve put some of the prep along the ‘utility’ side of the house which is not visible from the street and some on a shelf above the roll up windowed garage door.  If the house is unsafe, I’m hoping I can get through the garage door windows to the stuff that fell or is still above them or dig through the rubble to that layer.  I’m always considering ways to include storage into our backyard designs: I recently added shelves under the down-slope side of a deck; I want to build tall raised planting beds – so they may get some storage under them; I already have some stuff in the grill itself and considering building a cabinet for next to the grill that could house some items too as well as provide cooking prep space.  

      • 1

        Some good thinking and planning there.

      • 2

        I am considering and scheming on what things I can store around my yard and outside to save space inside and not have all my eggs in one basket (house). But I also am trying to make sure that they are all secure out in the yard and won’t be wandering off with the first thief that comes by. Any thoughts on how to balance this dilemma? 

      • 2

        As before cammouflage em, bury em, hide them in the compost heap or put them in a trash can but covered with cleaned garbage like food wrappers, pizza boxes etc.

      • 4

        JB – my custom storage areas under the deck are lockable, and if I ever make the others they will be as well.  You can also lock containers to poles, fences, eyebolts mounted on exterior walls or heavy furniture with cables or chains depending on how secure you need it.    

      • 4

        @Roland — My take on this is to start by finding out what your home’s seismic weaknesses are and then figure out where to store your preps. You might be worrying about something that straight-up isn’t going to happen. If you’re in a timber-framed single-family dwelling bolted to its foundation and not on liquefaction-prone soils, or a house built within the last 30-50 years (depending on your state), it probably won’t collapse from shaking, even in a very strong earthquake. Personally, if I could pick where to be when The Big One hits, I’d choose home— no contest. If I lived in an apartment, I’d probably still choose home, provided it wasn’t a soft story or an unreinforced masonry building, and again depending on year of construction and what it’s built on. I’m much more worried about collapsing facades in commercial areas (where you’re more likely to find large buildings built before seismic codes or with certain known or yet-to-be-discovered weaknesses) and major infrastructure like highway bridges than I am about residential structures in primarily residential neighborhoods.

        So… find out what the liquefaction risk of your underlying soils is (most municipalities and/or states map this and put the maps online). Find out if you’re bolted to the foundation and if you have plywood shear walls bracing your cripple walls to help the house withstand lateral motion. You could have an engineer or contractor specializing seismic retrofits come out and look at your place. They can tell you whether your home has been retrofitted, how good the retrofit was, and what places in your home might be structurally weak relative to others. (I think I once read that there is a certain kind of split level where the part of the house where the garage attaches to the main house tends to be weak, for example.) You can probably even get this done for free as a quote for a retrofit. If you’re in an apartment, try to find out if it’s a soft story or an unreinforced masonry building (URM). The latter have been outlawed in CA since I think the ’30s but are still common in OR and WA; the former were forced to retrofit in SF post-Loma Prieta but compliance is still ongoing. If you live in an SFD that you own, get an automated earthquake-actived gas shutoff valve, which could save your house and your preps— I worried WAY more about a gas leak followed by explosion/fire than I did about structural failure (until I got the valve… now my main concern is that all the neighbors get valves, too!).

        If you can’t do any of those things because you’re a renter, just don’t store your preps in a basement or a garage (if there is anything that can collapse onto the garage, like a second story). Side of the house like Alicia suggested is what my dad does; my mom has a shed on the outside of her place where she keeps some things, and others are next to her bed for easy grab-and-go. In the past I’ve kept some stuff in a shed, some in the house with me, and some in the car (but only when I didn’t park it in a garage or under utility poles or anything else that could squash the car). Right now we keep most of the preps in the house, but store the water in backyard— even if someone hopped our fence, they’re not going back over it with even the smallest (5.5 gallon) containers. I love Bill’s garbage bin suggestion, too, because it makes it so easy to move the stuff!

        Hope that helps assuage your concerns a bit… bottom line: I really don’t think your house will collapse on your preps, and if that is a risk, you have bigger things to worry about (i.e., your own life) and you should find out!

      • 4

        Thanks pnwsarah.  I agree that public works are more of a risk.  During Northridge (6.7), highway over passes collapsed much farther away from the epicenter than any home or apartment building was damaged.  If we get a 8+ I’m not sure any building will stand up to it.  

      • 2

        @Alicia — I’d still rather ride out an 8+ in a timber-framed SFD on non-liquefaction-prone soils in California than just about anywhere else (as long as I’m nowhere near the hypothetical chimney on this hypothetical house). They’re much more resilient than folks give them credit for! The 1906 San Francisco earthquake was an M7.9 and most of the structure loss was due to fire (which was worsened by efforts to create a firebreak by dynamiting standing structures), not shaking. Plenty of buildings were left standing— witness the city’s fabled trove of Edwardian row houses! I grew up in one of those, and it survived 1906 without any seismic safeguards in place (e.g., shear walls, foundation bolts). The massive 1964 Alaska earthquake was a 9.2 (!!!!) and plenty of structures were basically unscathed. There was a lot of land subsidence, which I think is more common in subduction zone earthquakes than those produced by transform faults like the SAF, and the seemingly catastrophic damage to the main drag (where the marquees of all the buildings are sitting at the sidewalk level) occurred because there was a subsidence trough (where a block of land drops several feet down) right there, NOT because the buildings’ lower floors pancaked during the shaking. 

        One of my friends re-read the New Yorker article on the Cascadia Subduction Zone last week and had a “Wait why do we live here?!” moment, so in addition to my above reply to Roland I spent like an hour on the phone with her trying to reassure her that her house won’t fall down. I am not an engineer, but— funny coincidence!— I ended up spending this weekend with a structural engineer who helped write seismic building codes in the Pacific Northwest when geologists began to get a grip on the region’s seismic vulnerability. We were on a relay team together and I had no idea that we had this shared interest in earthquakes until we got to the coast and I was like, “Let’s be sure we know how to evacuate the inundation zone in case the earthquake hits!” Once I found out that I was in the company of someone who actually understands how buildings fail, I (a) got really excited, and (b) ran my “your house will probably not fall down on you even in a REALLY bad earthquake” reasoning by him. FWIW, he said I was correct. 

        I’m not saying that earthquakes aren’t wildly dangerous to life and livelihood (esp. in the PNW) and that I’m not worried about being snuffed out by a pile of bricks, concrete, and steel. (I am.) I just limit my worrying about it to when I’m actually vulnerable, and feel safe in my house, and I’d like others to have the same sense of respite when it’s warranted!

      • 3

        Sorry I haven’t responded to  you pnwsarah. I only tend to be on the forum durin the weekends when I have spare time.

        Thank you so much for your detailed explanation and for the comfort it gave me. I am goin to look into the history and stability of my house some more, but from what you said I probably don’t have much to worry about.

        As a follow up question, if an earthquake hits and my house is still standin but clearly is in bad shape, how do I know if it’s safe to live in and when I need to find other accomodations?

      • 4

        A very good question for which I don’t have a clear answer.  I think you need to identify what you mean by bad shape and also note that some damage may not be visible.  Also consider if there is any risk of further damage by staying in the house (are the drains still connected or is flushing the toilet with pool water going to flood your family room? )  Another thing to consider in the assessment is that earthquakes can come in groups that get classified as foreshock or aftershock in hindsight.  The ones near Ridgecrest, CA in 2019 had some activity above 4.0 every 4-6 hours which can affect a structure that has been compromised.   A friend closer to Northridge  in ’94 noticed that it tipped his chimney to a precarious angle (threatening to fall on his car which he moved) and an aftershock returned it to vertical.  Had he not seen the interim state, he wouldn’t not have realized it was compromised and needed attention. 

      • 2

        Roland, Alicia here makes some good points. You may have a broken gas, plumbing, or electric line that isn’t visible that can lead to further issues.

        When in doubt, stay out.

      • 3

        @Roland — No worries! I’m glad my post was helpful and that you’re going to investigate your house a bit more. It’s probably very sturdy and it will be great if you can confirm that.

        As for your follow-up question, I don’t know the answer, either, but I share Alicia’s concern/skepticism about utilities and aftershocks. Our house looked totally okay after Loma Prieta, and we slept in it, and it was fine, but we knew the retrofit was good, we’d turned the gas off, and we (well, my babysitter’s fiancé and my dad) thoroughly inspected the house and found nothing of concern. If my house shifted off its foundation, or otherwise seemed off-kilter, or had significant visible damage, I’d definitely camp out in the backyard (assuming the backyard is big enough relative to the height of the surrounding houses than nothing is likely to fall on you there).

    • 2

      you actually consider that little story about that prepper family bugging out 12 hours before a hurricane a viable bug out ????

      that’s a prime example of prepper failure – anybody in hurricane territory should be tracking each & every storm – have levels of preparedness connected – that family should have bugged out 48-72 hours MINIMUM before the hurricane hit …..

      totally agree with not bothering to hurricane prep if you can’t push the “button” better than that ….

      • 2

        If my ageing mind has not failed me, the guy who was an MD actual article was a warning focussed on the fact he left to late, I think he wrote the article to point out his own failings, IE no matter how well prepped he was its all pointless if you dont bug out as early as you can. 

        I think ( the article was a long time ago 1992) he also was trying to highlight the folly of trying to use the Freeways/ Motorways as a B O ROUTE if you try to leave the same time as the masses.

        I do remember some comment either from the author or from critics saying that relying on the single main road out of the FLA Keys was dumb and reckless if you did not leave ASAP.

      • 2

        in the case of evacing from FL – unless you finish the drive cross-country using groves & pasture >>> that bottle-neck northern border is a prepper’s nitemare – nobody down there should be ashamed of any bug-out false starts – better bugged out than not 

    • 2

      Forget trying to use motorways/freeways, they will turn into giant parking lots as people run out of fuel/break down/road traffic accidents etc.etc.

      they reckon you need twice as much fuel as you thought for your bugging out journey to account for any detours you need make, and dont even think of stopping to fill up your tank once the event happens, we’ve all seen the queues when something bad happens.

      you wont just be dealing with other preppers but the panicked masses.

      thats why I got out of a city 22 years ago.