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To bug in or bug out seems like such a controversial issue. Whether you choose to bug in or bug out, do you have the needed supplies to do either? This will be a personal and very important decision. There are pros and cons to bug in and bug out during an emergency situation.

To Bug In (Shelter in Place)

Bugging in is when you decide to stay at home during a disaster. To shelter in place, you need to plan ahead and have sufficient supplies for the long haul: food, water, first aid/medicines, blankets, alternate power sources, and other necessities.

Your first choice should always be to shelter in place.

Pros To Bugging In

Bugging in means that you stay at home for an indefinite period of time when an event takes place that requires your evacuation. If there is a disaster that threatens your safety and requires you to leave your home, there are many benefits to staying in.

You will have your own bed and all the comforts of home and protection from the outside elements (rain, cold, heat). All your emergency supplies will be stored in their designated areas and easy to reach.

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Your family will stay together and your children will be more secure since they will be in familiar surroundings. They will have their own toys and games to play with instead of having to share with strangers at a shelter.

When your home is properly secured, you will feel safe and more at peace. No one knows your home better than you, including the best places to hide.



You will have access to all the entertainment you need like television and internet. You won’t have to deal with just eating or sleeping during the day.

Cons To Bugging In

If you do not have enough food stocked up ahead of time, there may not be any available for purchase after a disaster or emergency hits.

If your home is damaged during the disaster, it could become unsafe to stay there even after the event passes. You will have no choice but to evacuate.

Extreme weather conditions can make life even more miserable. Being exposed to the elements will greatly limit your chances of survival.

Utilities such as electricity, water and gas may be shut off so that the infrastructure can be repaired. This will leave you without essential services for an extended period of time. Lack of essential supplies will cause you to leave in search of basic necessities.

Your home may become a target to looters who did not prepare and are looking to steal any supplies you may have. It is important to know how to defend your home against looters and other threats.

To Bug Out (Evacuate)

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Bugging out is when you leave the comfort of your home and head to a safer location. This is usually in the event of a major disaster where it is best to get away from the area that has been affected.


Sample contents of a 72-hr emergency kit

If you choose to bug out, this needs to be carefully planned BEFORE a disaster hits. Having a 72-hr emergency kit ready for each family member and pets can save you a load of time when seconds count. Don’t forget to take your emergency documents and ID’s with you.

Disasters can occur at any time. If you are away from home, having an ‘get home bag‘ in your vehicle will help you get home to your family no matter what.

In some situations, you will have no choice but to bug out because your home may be unsafe or inaccessible. However, if you can get your family to safety in your home, bugging out should be your last resort.

Pros of Bugging Out

Bugging should be planned ahead of time. You will have everything you need with you when you reach your destination since you packed it all ahead of time in backpacks or bags.

Wild fires can spread quickly enough where you have minutes to evacuate
Wild fires can spread quickly enough where you have minutes to evacuate

You are in control of your personal safety. By being prepared, you will have the ability to move in a moment’s notice and not be stuck in one place.

More than one disaster can occur at the same time, such as a tornado and a house fire. If your home is destroyed by one disaster, it will no longer be safe to stay there during another disaster.

Cons of Bugging Out

Bugging out, if done wrong, can be one of the most dangerous things you will ever do.

Bugging out could leave you exposed to the elements
Bugging out could leave you exposed to the elements

If you are not fit or are injured, you may not get very far. and possibly in adverse weather conditions. You may run into bad guys, wild animals and insect hazards.

If you are bugging out alone or with your family, its likely there will be many stretching times where you will rely on limited resources to get by, or even lose everything you own.

In Conclusion

Ultimately, you need to decide what you will do in the event of a disaster or emergency. Keep in mind all the pros and cons of bugging in and bugging out. Having this knowledge ahead of time may make it easier for you to remain calm, level-headed and collected during a disaster or emergency.

Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.


About Post Author

self.reliant.princess

During the day, Ms. Williams is a compliance officer for a major insurance agency in Florida. In her free time she enjoys the great outdoors and share her passion for the adventures life has to offer. She now shares her passion for Emergency Preparedness, making it simple for everyone to start.
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