Planning To Bug Out or Survive In Place Takes a Plan!

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Have you made the decision to Survive in Place or to bug out?  Have you planned ahead for unexpected challenges such as being away from home when a crisis strikes? Or circumstances dictating that you HAVE to Survive In Place, even if your primary plan is to bug out?

To better illustrate this, I’ve written a scenario that’s but one in a long list of possibilities.  The story includes several roadblocks that should be prepared for ahead of an emergency that could otherwise cripple your survival quotient. 

I would love to hear from readers regarding how they would react should they be in a similar emergency.  Would you have left for your bug out (for those who have a bug-out location, that is) or would you have chosen to survive in place?  Would you have done anything differently to prepare yourself and your loved ones ahead of an emergency than the protagonist did? 

I hope you enjoy this week’s post and that it helps to reveal any soft spots that may exist in your preparedness plan.  Here goes . . . .

Are You Ready

Every survival kit should include a sense of humor.” Author Unknown

It’s 1:45 on a Tuesday afternoon.  The office is quiet and your thoughts travel to what to make for dinner tonight.  As you jot down a grocery list, the radio station you are listening to is interrupted with an attention signal from the  Emergency Broadcast System.  You tune out the irritating blare–they’ve been stepping up the tests to the point it serves only as a mild disruption, nothing more.  Your list is complete.  As you lay down the pen, it occurs to you the voice coming from the radio is not the same recorded voice you’ve grown used to with other broadcasts.  You turn up the volume on the radio and suddenly your blood runs cold “… nuclear attack,” the announcer says.  Where?  You listen, holding your breath as your heart races.  “You are advised to remain indoors until further notice.  Please stay tuned to the emergency broadcast system for further instruction.  I repeat, this is the  National . . .”

You are up and out of your seat.  You grab your jacket and sprint down the hallway.  Coworkers are milling about, their faces registering shock and disbelief.  But there isn’t time to join them and try to make sense of the broadcast.  You have one question, and you ask it of your boss as he exits the conference room.  “Where was the attack?”

He continues walking toward the clutch of employees crowding near the receptionist’s desk, his expression unreadable.  “Las Vegas.  A suitcase bomb!” he replies, continuing his determined stride to the biggest concentration of employees, possibly to calm them or to advise them, but you will never know because your goal is to make it to your son’s school before the roads are hopelessly gridlocked.

The elevators have gone to other floors and several people crowding the bank of elevators are staring nervously at the uncooperative steel doors.  You turn and follow the hallway to the stairwell and start down the stairs at a jog.  The parking lot is seven stories down and the stairs are a blur as you take mental inventory of the situation.  Las Vegas is 1,100 miles from  Seattle.  Your family has dodged the first bullet, but your get-away cabin is on Whidbey Island.  Will the ferry be running?  If it is, it runs to  Whidbey every half-hour, so no time constraints there.  But first, you will need to make the 35-mile drive to the Mukilteo Ferry.  If luck isn’t with you, and the terminal is deserted when you arrive, you will need to make the 100-mile drive, some of it on narrow, secondary roads.  Impossible!  The roads will be choked with evacuees before you even reach your son’s school.  Best to head home, and sort it out from there.

Your mind grasps for something positive to hold on to, something that holds more answers than questions and lands on the contents of your trunk; three overstuffed emergency backpacks and a couple of duffel bags filled with cooking supplies and camping gear.  A sigh of relief comes out in a huff of your overworked lungs.  And boots!  Just last week you stuffed new hiking boots for everyone in the last available corner of the trunk.  Even if the ferry isn’t running and it turns out your family will have to wait out the first wave of the backlash at home, you have MREs and water stored in the basement that will see you through.  Your townhouse is nine miles away.  If need be, you and your son will walk home, you tell yourself, as your work shoes cut into the tops of your feet.

The parking lot is surprisingly full, nearly as full as this morning when you’d parked.  A handful of people are walking to their cars and you recognize several co-workers.  No one says a word. In fact, there is no noise at all.  Even the birds are silent.  Your peripheral catches the flash of metal moving toward you, and you dodge out of the way.  The driver continues to tear out of the parking spot without glancing in your direction.  They don’t get far.  Cars on the arterial in front of the building aren’t moving and you are confronted with the first hurdle bridging the distance between you and your ten-year-old son.

Backing your car out of its spot, you head down the alleyway that spills onto a back street, away from the congestion.   The neighborhood you travel through is made up of desperately stacked 60’s era apartments.  The afternoon breeze carries through open windows as cooking smells waft through the air.

Residents are congregated here and there, gesturing in panic as if the coming devastation will go away so long as they stand near cars or on front lawns and voice their fears.  You’re forced to navigate around hastily opened car doors on the narrow roadway as residents dump household goods and electronics into the backseats and trunks of their cars.  They resemble busy ants whose nest has been disturbed; running up worn stairs and back down to deposit more useless junk. It suddenly occurs to you most of these people will be a statistic if things get bad.  How are TVs, computers and Playstations going to feed and shelter them?  They won’t!

You force yourself to tune out your thoughts: There is nothing you can do to change the outcome, not when your worst imaginings are being announced on the radio and you are still miles away from your son’s school.

It’s slow going, but the traffic is creeping forward a little at a time.  You turn up the radio and a public service announcer is spilling out information, barely coming up for air.  “Initial reports are the blast went off on the  Las Vegas  Strip.  At this time the number of casualties has not been determined.  You are advised to remain in your homes…”  You turn off your radio, unable to bear more.  Not until you’ve picked up your son.  Your husband is clear across town–downtown, to be exact.

You pull your cell phone from your purse, scroll through the contact list to your son’s school and hit send.  You never got around to asking the school what their emergency policy was.  What if they are on lock down?  It might be. How can they put students on a bus when some would be arriving to empty homes while their parents were stuck in gridlock?  Hopefully, someone would be manning the doors, and allow you to enter and claim your son.

The cell phone gives you a fast busy and a tentacle of fear wraps around you like a cold shroud.  You try again.  This time the call is placed to your husband.  He could have been away from the office and somehow beaten the worst of the traffic.  With luck, he could be at the school now.  You hit send and get another fast busy.  It’s no good.

The traffic slows to a stop.  Horns blare and the cars ahead of you take to the shoulder of the road to get around a stalled car.  They must have run out of gas, you decide.  Every gas station you’ve passed had impossible lines of drivers waiting their turn at the pumps.  You follow the drivers ahead of you and move to the shoulder to get around an old station wagon, your thoughts alternating between worry over whether you will be allowed inside the school, and relief that your basement shelves are ready for whatever lies ahead.

It takes 45 minutes to drive the seven miles to your son’s school and during that time you’ve attempted to reach the school and your husband dozens of times with no results.  The parking lot is full, forcing you to snag a parking spot on the street.  You frantically search for your husband’s car, but it isn’t there.  The next few minutes rest upon a policy maker with the school district, you realize, as your hurried steps approach the front steps of the school.

* * *

If your plans are to bug out, have you made practice runs using alternate routes, that will get you there safely?  Do you have the supplies to get you there?  If you’ve made the decision to  Survive in Place,  are you prepared for a long-term crisis?  Do you have an emergency plan in place for a crisis that strikes while you are at work, and your child or grandchild is at school or daycare?  What situations do you feel the protagonist in the story should have planned for before the crisis?  Your recommendations and knowledge count, and they will help others to prepare for the best outcome!  Please share your comments below.

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Chapter 30 of  Implant  has been posted. You can Click Here to continue reading.


God bless and stay safe,

David Morris and Survival Diva




  1. I guess this is in some ways a little TOO real. I have to say because of the JFK 50 year “celebration” (wrong words)…I lived in Shreveport, LA. The year before my Dad was stationed in Ft. Worth. We had moved to LA which was convenient because of my Grandma. I was in Jr. high – 8th grade. The year had just begun. Halloween had been a wonderful candy gathering event for all of the children in our neighborhood. I had led a group of lil’ kids around the officers area of the base. My Dad traveled continually between Shreveport SAC & Ft. Worth SAC. He was gone it felt like 50% or more of the time. When JFK was assassinated…I guess in ectasy my Mom gathered my brother & I into our car I WE DROVE THRU DEALY PLAZA the day after JFK did. It was a ghost town. Her desire – to be as close to the man she loved as possible. My brother 5 years younger than I – oblivious. Me at Jr. High level – aware but…
    As an Air Force brat I think I was much more aware of this situation than many were.
    This really influenced my life and decisions,
    BUT…life is QUITE interesting

  2. Don Richey says:

    Couple of points: Alternate communications, i.e. while cell calls may not get through short texts may, also if you have access to facebook or something similar, you could post your status so others could check on you and visa versa. There is also the use of radios/CBs. Another point, their get away cabin is on Whidbey Island, but they don’t have access to a boat?? This is a major hole in their plan. Also you have a major military installation on Whidbey Island, the naval air station, this could work in their favor or against them. The military could be concerned of an attack there and put the island on lock down, or their security could make the island more secure as long as they can prove they reside there.

    • Texting worked well during and after Hurricane Katrina. Sending a key word, punctuation mark or three worded text is the key to getting through busy digital communications. If the event in Las Vegas was only a dirty bomb, there would be no EMP effect, so people trying to contact others, states away, via texting would most likely get through.

  3. I love that you do these things David, they are so helpful! I think the obvious points have been made on the flaws with the scenario above. One however, that hasn’t been mentioned is to be spiritually prepared. Nothing you do to prepare will be more important then this! Scripture actually tells us what to do when the end begins. I would strongly advise everyone to add scripture reading and daily prayer to their prep list(if you haven’t already). Thank you again David for helping us prepare physically and mentally. God bless!!!

    • Don Richey says:

      I have a bible in my emergency gear, but the point here is what you can do to prepare yourself, your family and loved ones. God can help give you strength and purpose, but it is up to you to act.

  4. Ok so what happens after she gets to the school? Am I nissing a link to the rest I clicked the link on the bottom n its not the same story???

    • Hi Edward,

      The “what happens after…” question exists no matter where the story stops. And Implant (the link you clicked on) is a full novel that Diva wrote about a mandatory RFID implant scenario.



  5. Captain Fair says:

    The scenario you have illustrated focuses on human response to a situation involving; (a) panic, (b) isolation ( due to diminished communication and separation ) and (c) maternal instinct. In such a situation maternal/parental concerns will override all actions. No parent will leave a child compromised. The essential planning should concentrate on reaching loved ones in the shortest possible time from any location the parent finds themselves in.

    • Survival Diva says:

      Captain Fair,

      The story stemmed from talking to parents who hadn’t thought through picking up their child during a crisis. They had no idea what emergency plans their child’s school had put in place, didn’t keep their gas tank topped off, and hadn’t discussed which parent would pick their child up from school. They had never agreed to a meeting spot if separated during an emergency. Their plans have improved since then, but it’s something many people never think about, even when their child is their first priority.

      You’re so right about essential planning to reach loved ones!

    • Don Richey says:

      From what I read the mother is trying to get to her child, we don’t know if the father is also trying to get there. No mention of a meeting location was made, and we don’t know yet what prior plans were made.

  6. some very good points made, thank you.

  7. Why is she trying to evacuate from Seattle because of a bomb in Los Vegas. There is no way the radiation from the bomb in Los Vegas would come anywhere near Washington.
    The prevailing winds blow from West to East. Seattle would be one of the safest places to be then.

    • Survival Diva says:

      That’s true, but what if she was worried it was only the first heavy populated area to get hit.

    • Don Richey says:

      A suit case nuke was set off, is this a one shot deal? Possible, but an organize terrorist attack could involve multiple attacks on multiple large cities for the purpose of instilling fear across the country. If you wait to see if this is an isolated attack, your death could be part of the proof that it isn’t.

  8. Try to have redundant on everything you can, be it food , supplies and the usual stuff. Have it spread out , alternate routes, alternate of the alternate routes .know them . My wife carries a small hand held walkie talkie, 22 channels, good for 5 miles. my truck has the CB radio. talk in code ,know your routes pre stash your stuff , and stay focused. We have gone over the plans and what if’s . you can only do so much , so keep it simple , easy to remember.

  9. Protagonist should have “gathering point” pre-arranged with family members and at least one alternative site. She should have the child drilled on what to do and expect in emergency and plans and permissions in place with administration about retrieving her child. In a disaster of this scale, forget phone service; rely on prior arranged meeting and set time limits on reasonable time to wait, how soon to move on. With what sounds like an escalating conflict, she should never let her gas tank drop below 1/2 or even 3/4 full.

  10. northerncousin says:

    …a pair of runners in her desk drawer to get safely down those long flights of stairs without breaking an ankle! Also, a road map of the area she works in to work out several alternate routes that she can mark A,B,C and so on. If the child was old enough, she should have pre-arranged for the child to leave the school for a pre-determined rendevous away from the school that is more easily accessible.

  11. John Pierce says:

    Why does she carry everything in her car? Say she is in gridlock, or the car beaks down, now her gear is stuck in the car. Maybe a look at 1 go bag (hers) in the car. Trouble comes and she can be on foot with all her gear. No way to take everything she had packed in that trunk.

    • Soylent Green says:

      Not criticizing your thoughts John, but remember, this is only ONE scenario. We can’t assume every emergency is going to occur while we’re at work separated from each other. We might just as easily have all of our family in the vehicle if some type of disaster happens. If you can’t afford multiple stashes of duplicate supplies (I can’t), then it’s just a crap shoot. Kind of like advising people to move from Las Vegas to Seattle based on the story above. Hope for the best and prepare for what you can. Don’t obsess on what you can’t control.

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