Knowing you are prepared for an impending disaster is one thing, but actually living through the experience is an entirely different matter altogether. The way you handle yourself plays a crucial role in whether or not you survive whatever situation forced you to bug out in the first place. The preparedness community spends a lot of time discussing bug out bags and escape plans, but we sometimes neglect to consider the most important part of preparedness – how to survive in the aftermath. Here are some steps you can start thinking through to plan your survival action plan after bugging out.
Make Yourself Secure
Once you have selected a place where you feel safe, you need to make sure it’s secure. Explore the entire space to make sure there aren’t any lurking dangers. You should also acquaint yourself with the area’s key features such as trails, shelter, and water. Make a map that includes the surrounding areas and make special note of water, roads, and buildings. After you have explored the area, you’ll want to make another sweep of it and look for signs that there are other people actively using the area.
The final step is choosing the best spot to settle. Use your rope to create a trip wire around the place where you’ll be sleeping, which will prevent any people from entering the area without your notice. Scattering a few glow sticks on the ground around your sleeping bag will discourage wild animals from venturing too close.
Check Your Health
Now that you’re in a safe place, it’s time to check your own health, both physically and emotionally. This is the time when you need to deal with any scrapes, blisters, cuts, or other injuries you have sustained. No matter how minor the injury might be, you need to make sure it’s treated with antibiotics and bandaged.
This is a good time to make sure you drink water and restore the fluids your body lost when bugged out. The stress you’re under increases the speed that you can potentially dehydrate.
Your emotional health is just as important when you’re bugging out as your physical health. Now that you’re feeling safe, the odds are good you’ll start to feel the emotional toll of bugging out. It’s natural to feel your emotional barriers starting to crumble. Take a few deep steadying breaths and then find a way to keep yourself busy which will help your mind stay focused.
Try to Communicate with Others
Now is the time to pull your emergency radio out of your bug out bag and try to use it to contact someone. Even if you can’t raise anyone, you should be able to tune into an emergency broadcast that allows you ascertain the state of the world. You can use this information to help you determine what additional steps you need to take to keep yourself safe and comfortable. Pay special attention to comments about storms and bombs. Based on the information you hear on the radio, you will be able to determine whether or not your current location is as safe as you first thought.
Create a Shelter
You need to have someplace where you can get out of the weather. If you’re in an area that has an ample supply of logs or branches, you should be able to fashion a nice lean to style shelter for yourself. If the area you’ve selected doesn’t have any building supplies, you can look for a low hanging branch or other method that allows you to turn your tarp into a shelter.
Build a Fire
You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel once you have started a small fire. It provides you with a certain level of security and safety that you’ve been lacking. The fire makes it possible for you dry any damp clothing you have, prepare warm food, send smoke signals, and ward off predators. Make sure the fire is a safe distance from your shelter.
It’s in your best interest to dig several holes you can use as latrines. The location of these should be downwind of your camp and located far away from your water supply. There’s more to creating a latrine than simply digging a hole in the ground. Survivalists urge you to make a six foot long trench that’s approximately eight inches deep.
Protect Your Food
Food can pose a problem for some people after they have bugged out. Not only do you have to work out a way to extend your food supply until its safe for you to return home, but you also have to protect it from the animals it attracts. The best way to make sure that your food doesn’t become the property of raccoons, bears, or other type of wildlife is using a bear bag method of securing your food. This involves putting all of your food in secure bag and tying it to a high tree branch. Ideally, your food supply should be 15 feet high.
The most important thing you need to do after you have bugged out is to stay calm and use good common sense.