When it comes to survival planning, most of us have focused our concentration on the question, should I bug-in or bug-out? A valid concern, but unless a disaster has landed smack-bang in your city, the best option for you is probably going to be staying put. Personally, I believe that's your smartest choice. But let's just say you've got unlucky. The SHTF and you've been forced out of your home. Of course, it was sure to happen eventually, and you've set off with your bug out bag heading to your undisclosed destination in the wilderness with your supplies, tactical clothing and a big pile of MRE's. Now what are you going to do once you actually get there? Unfortunately too many survivalists get caught up in the idea of bugging out. They order a ton of supplies that will ultimately be left gathering dust in a corner of their closet, and fail to practice both their plan and the skills they need to survive long term. Today the team at APE Survival just had a session with one of our trainers, on the importance of having you and your bug out location prepared for the long term. Here's what was covered.
1. Get your group together Going it alone is a sure-fire way to get yourself in trouble, so make sure you've got a group of friends to help you through it all. In addition to keeping you sane (we've all watched the Alone series, right), they're also going to be assets, as you can lean on them for man-power when you need someone else to take watch while you sleep, and they'll help you get more done each day.
2. Get to your bug out location Having a clear plan in place is key, and you need a means to communicate with your group and decide when it's the right time to bug out. Be ready for any unforeseen events to change your plans, like turning up and discovering that another group's claimed your homestead for their own. It's preferable if you can all travel together for increased security, and be a little cautious to ensure there really is no one inside before you stroll up to the front door.
3. Get your bug out location prepped Far too many bug out locations are treated like a weekend getaway, and while it's certainly fun to sit around a campfire for a few nights telling ghost stories, it's going to get awfully dull, awfully quick if you haven't taken steps to prepared your bug out location for permanent use. Water. Build large, underground cisterns out of concrete to collect and store the rainwater that falls. The more permanent you make the structure the harder it is for any opportunistic thieves to make off with key components, such as stealing the plastic water drums sitting behind your cabin. Having an ample supply of water really is life giving, as you can use it to water a garden and keep livestock alive, in addition to your daily drinking and sanitary needs. Ideally, you'll drill a well so you've got access to water, no longer how long the rain holds off. Food. As soon as you get to your bug out location you need to consider starting a garden. Your supplies will only last so long, and even with a year's food stockpiled, spoilage as well as overeating will see your supplies dwindle rapidly. Hunting, trapping, foraging and fishing need to begin as soon as possible, to keep your stock levels high. In your preparations today, consider what steps you can take to sow a wild garden, that will flourish and give you a base level of fruits, nuts and vegetables with minimal effort on your part. Look for perennial crops that are hardy, as they don't need to be replanted. Try apples, apricots and pears, vine crops like blackberries and elderberries, nuts like almonds and walnuts, as well as vegetables like asparagus and rhubarb. Oh and don't forget how you're planning to preserve and store all your additional supplies, and that you may need a greenhouse to help your garden make it through winter. Have you got everything you need for this? Fuel. While a giant pile of split logs ready to go on the fireplace is tempting for an opportunistic thief, consider how you're going to keep your bug out location warm. Have some cut ready, but you'll also need a back-up supply of logs, especially if you're in an area that has a harsh winter. It's also recommended you thoroughly go through your cabin to ensure there's no heat leakage or draughts that will make it uncomfortable during the winter. Now's the time to fix all of these small jobs. Energy. In addition to staying warm, you need a plan in place to keep your electronics running. Solar panels can be used to run a refrigerator and the pump for your well to ensure you've got running water, and consider setting up a turbine to make use of the running water in the stream and harness the power of the wind. The more backup plans you have for electricity, the better. Communication. Make staying in touch with the outside world a key part of your plan. We're too reliant on cell phones, which have a habit of going out of range should you get a little remote, and you can forget about them once the grid goes down. Ham radio training would be ideal, as even the handheld battery-powered options can reach hundreds of miles with the right antenna setup. It's probably also a good time to invest in a set of quality two-way radios. Security. Don't forget that there are going to be desperate people everywhere, so ensure you've got a defensible location and the skills and training to keep your group safe. It's more than just knowing how to handle a firearm, take the time to learn how to keep a perimeter secure, how to setup an outpost, and how to detect intruders before they're able to reach your bug out location and do any damage. Sanitation. Most cabins aren't able to cope with the stresses that daily use puts on their septic systems. Make sure you've got adequate facilities for bathing, washing your clothes and dirty dishes, and your latrine is large enough to accommodate the amount of waste that will build up over an extended period.
4. Get a homestead going Homesteading is the next level of survival after a crisis, as you the fantasy of bugging out and living in the woods has now become the new normal. Of course the disaster that struck shook things up, but over time this will calm and you need to look at the longer term. Consider ways you can produce even more from your garden, and also bringing in new animals to raise, whether it's multi-purpose livestock like chickens, ducks or goats, or stocking that pond with Tilapia. The biggest problem we see with survivalists is that they're under the impression that everything is temporary. In a true SHTF scenario, you can't sit and wait for things to go back to normal. You're going to have to take an active role in your own survival from day one if you're to have any hope of making it through the crisis.