13 Bug Out Scenarios to Practice Today

Most preppers who claim they are serious about survival talk about bugging out, but they don’t really plan for it.

man running away on street

Sure, they might have some pie in the sky ideal of throwing their stuff in the car and heading for their first carefully chosen, pre-stocked bug out location, but they make some pretty broad assumptions concerning the difficulty of the operation.

If history teaches us anything it is that the best laid plans of men, even good, competent men, can go hideously, tragically off the rails as soon as trouble strikes.

Any disaster worthy of the name is going to be bad enough, but it is difficult to impress upon most people just how twisted up things will get.

You’ll have slow, vulnerable or elderly people with you there depending on you. Friends, neighbors and strangers alike clamoring for your help.

The information you are presented with will be incomplete, and decisions you make could be anything but certain with your life hanging in the balance.

No, if you want to really plan for bugging out you need to start planning for these curve balls. You must expect the unexpected and count on being forced to face disaster when you can least afford to and when you aren’t at your best.

In this article we will be presenting you with 13 unique disaster scenarios along with possible solutions, and each one will have its own curveballs. Brace up, put on your thinking cap and let’s get started.

Scenario #1: Earthquake and Panic in the Aftermath

  • Place: Sacramento, California, USA
  • People: You, your partner and your young child.
  • Event: A catastrophic earthquake registering at least a 9.0 shatters your city.

All around the world, earthquakes are just a fact of life, though they are far more common in areas with high levels of tectonic activity, typically those residing over massive, continent spanning fault lines.

Happily, most earthquakes are not felt at all they are so minor, and even the ones that can be discerned by people are usually not damaging or annoyances at best.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have cataclysmic earthquakes that can set the ground to rolling like a flicked rug, topple buildings, completely collapse infrastructure and very literally turn civilization over on its head in a matter of minutes.

An earthquake of this magnitude is incredibly dangerous and destructive, and is something of a total systems disaster.

collapsed house after earthquake

With roads shattered, electricity out, water lines cut, sewer mains broken and most first responder services rendered powerless or nearly so you will truly be on your own for the duration.

It is precisely this scenario that occurs when you are working from home one fine day while your partner busies themselves with their hobbies.

With no warning you are thrown out of your chair and onto the ground as everything not nailed down is toppled, flipped over or tossed from walls.

The sound is cacophonous and though you can hear your partner and your child screaming for help, you cannot get to them. You yell for them to shelter in place, and pray that the building will stay standing.

Eventually the shaking stops, though the roof and walls are cracked and buckling. Fearful of aftershocks, you quickly collect your family and are greatly relieved to see they are mostly unharmed.

Wary of collapse, you immediately get outside of your ruined home and taken a scene of destruction Beyond description.

The totality of the event and the fear for the whereabouts of their elderly father is just too much for your spouse, and they break down, babbling and screaming with fear.

They beg you to set off searching for them near the center of town, but even now you can hear the screaming and the sirens.

Do you:

  • Try to locate the whereabouts of your father-in-law on foot? Your child is scared out of their mind but your partner is an absolute mess and becoming more frantic by the minute. Whatever it takes, you need to try and locate your father-in-law and retrieve them so you can all get out together. You will face many hazards on the way in your search, collapsing buildings not the least of which.
  • Use your vehicle to cover more ground? The roads themselves are in terrible shape, and now littered with debris, but you think your lifted SUV can handle the worst of them. At the very least, it will afford you some protection and your hysterical partner won’t have to walk easing the burden on you.
  • Head to safer ground with your immediate family? An earthquake of this size means that highly powerful aftershocks are quite likely, and even now one could be brewing. It is a dark day, but you need to grab your wife and child before heading to the closest, open area with no buildings or other tall obstacles around.

Scenario #2: Nuclear Power Plant Meltdown Nearby

  • Place: A modestly sized city in central Ohio.
  • People: Your partner, sister and mother.
  • Event: A nearby regional nuclear plant has experienced a significant accident resulting in a huge release of deadly radioactive material.

You always knew this was a possibility. You received the quarterly pamphlets printed with beautiful, pastoral scenes and the name of the power company on them describing exceedingly unlikely events and the safety procedures that should follow.

You knew, but you never really believed. Now, it seems like it has happened.

Every channel has the same emergency alert, both on TV and on the radio. Every phone in the family received the same blaring, buzzing emergency notification.

There has been a major accident at the nearby nuclear power plant, an accident that resulted in a huge release of deadly radioactive material. Everyone is being told to shelter in place.

You gaze out of your second floor window in the general direction of the plant but you can’t see anything on the wind. Or can you?

There is no time to waste. You aren’t anticipating any sort of nuclear explosion, but you know that a radiated material can settle invisibly to the ground and make people acutely sick, or even kill them.

You have taken basic material precautions for this very day, but considering how close to the plant you are and the prevailing weather you aren’t sure what to do.

Do you:

  • Shelter in place in your home? Your home does not have a basement, but you have a supply of sealed food and water and the materials needed to tape up windows, block doors and hopefully keep any radioactive material from getting inside. You tried to keep everyone calm and settle in for a long wait.
  • Locate and take refuge in a better shelter? You have grave concerns about invisible, lethal radiation punching straight through the light construction of your suburban home. You vaguely remember a few heavier brick and stone structures marked with fallout shelter placards around town. You wish you were there right now, but are unsure if you should risk making a dash for it less to you and family is overtaken by the arrival of the initial fallout.
  • Escape? You think waiting around for the invisible threat of radioactive material to settle back to the ground is a death sentence. If you throw everyone in the car and drive like the devil is nipping at your heels you might be able to get away from the affected area and out from under the drifting, deadly cloud.

Scenario #3: Terror at the Shopping Mall

  • Place: A popular, multi-floor mall in your city.
  • People: You, your partner, your toddler and your teenage son.
  • Event: Pandemonium erupts and automatic gunfire, explosions and screams echo through the winding corridors of the mall.

Though the era of the mall is coming to an end, you still enjoy taking the family to them. You always liked malls, watching the people go to and fro carrying brightly colored bags and packages.

Smelling the aroma of food wafting through the air and even listening to the cheesy music played continuously over tinny speakers as you wander through the cavernous corridors that seem to shut out the outside world.

You are walking alongside your wife as she pushes your young child in a stroller. She wanted to look for fall fashions and new clothes for your growing youngest addition. You snagged a new pair of boots from the Western store.

Your teenage son has gone off on his own to look for some records at a music shop, and soon you will all be meeting at the food court for lunch before heading home.

Then you hear a sound that freezes your blood and sets your heart to pumping. Multiple, overlapping staccato torrents of automatic gunfire reverberate through the mall, seemingly coming from everywhere at once.

An explosion. Screaming, so much screaming. People stampede in every direction as the gunfire resumes. You have to find your son and get your family out of there, get them to safety, but indecision grips you.

Should you:

  • Get out with partner? You have to deal only with what you know you can influence. Grab your wife and youngest child, heading for the nearest exit away from the sound of the gunfire being wary of the common terrorist tactic that sees victims herded into a predefined kill zone. Your son is smart, and you have trained him so you are counting on him taking shelter or escaping on his own.
  • Send partner to safety? All the gunfire is coming from elsewhere in the mall, and an exit is nearby. You move to the side of the stampeding crowd, tell your wife your plan and send her out with your youngest child. You had deeper into the mall to the last likely location of your elder son.
  • Interdiction? With your family separated and casualties mounting you know the best chance you have of getting all of your loved ones out alive is to put these rabid dogs down. You carry a pistol with a spare magazine and a compact trauma kit at all times. Stealing yourself, you head deeper into the mall toward the sound of screams and gunfire to confront the terrorists and hopefully halt the attack.

Scenario #4: Tornado Swarm Leaves Little Time for Debate

  • Place: Your movie home in your sleepy hometown somewhere in Tornado Alley.
  • People: You, your partner and your faithful dog.
  • Event: A confluence of ideal conditions is unleashing a devastating swarm of tornadoes across the area.

You knew the tornadoes were always going to be a potential problem living in this part of the country but friends and family who lived in these parts for more than a decade and never had anything worse happen than a strong thunderstorm finally convinced you to pull the trigger.

Partially out of a desire to save money, and partially out of a desire to hedge your bets against not liking the place, you moved into a mobile home, securely bolted to its foundation on a large lot.

But your idyllic summertime life has been interrupted by a confluence of events that have given rise to what meteorologists are calling the storm system of the century.

Tornadoes are dropping all across the region, and a particular hotspot seems to be your area. The densest cluster of the storm system is just west of you and approaching fast.

Already the horizon looks like a bottle of roiling spilled ink. The power is already out and no weather stations are transmitting on TV or radio. This, as they say, is the big one.

You have your partner and dog to worry about, and you have serious doubts about the structural integrity of your mobile home to withstand a storm of this magnitude.

Should you:

  • Shelter in place. The storms are already too close, and whatever you are taking shelter in to be caught outside during a tornado is death. You roll the dice with this house, but now you have to take your chances with it.
  • Seek cover outside in a low-lying area. You know any tornado will easily topple or even carry away your comparatively flimsy mobile home. As terrifying as the prospect is you think you are better off seeking shelter in the drainage culvert near the end of your road.
  • Head towards a designated storm shelter. You have probably precious few minutes until a tornado is on a direct hit course or coming very nearby. If you race into town you might yet be able to gain access to a sturdy, reinforced building that is a designated tornado shelter. But if you are overtaken by the storm and route, your vehicle will likely be carried away with you inside.

Scenario #5: Civil Unrest Sees Neighbors Seeking Aid

  • Place: Your townhome, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  • People: You, your parents, your brother.
  • Event: Rising societal tensions have finally given way to full-on bedlam. Chaos reigns as rioting engulfs the city; buildings are burned and streets are blocked.

Not all disasters are natural, or at least caused by force majeure. Some of the worst things that can befall you are entirely the result of man’s bad behavior.

In the case of rioting, entire cities can be engulfed, drowned under a tidal wave of arson, thievery, assaults, rape and murder. Sheltering in place might not be an option. You might have to fight your way clear.

Considering the political and cultural trajectory of the country you shouldn’t be surprised things turned out this way.

Dire prognostications about the economy coupled with unfortunate timing regarding particular law enforcement actions served ably as the spark that ignited the powder magazine.

burning tires in riot aftermath
burning tires in riot aftermath

At first, the rioting was the usual and expected stampede of looting confined to prosperous commercial areas. But it soon overflowed the banks of that zone and spread closer and closer to residential areas.

Full scale police and National Guard deployments did little to curb the mayhem and suffice to say they are completely overwhelmed. You have heard scattered reports and seen shaky video clips of mobs storming residential neighborhoods and blowing through houses. Time to get the hell out of Dodge, or rather Atlanta.

Happily, you are prepared with bug out supplies for your family and are situated close enough to the edge of the metro area you think you should have smooth sailing to get out of the MSA proper.

Before you make ready to get in your car and boogie your neighbor comes sprinting up to you, out of breath, nose busted and clearly scared out of his wits.

He ran into a blocked road on the way home and was pulled out of his vehicle by the rioters. He got away with his life, barely, but now he, his wife and their two young kids also need a lift out of town.

You can carry them in addition to your own family, but you’ll have to leave pretty much all of your supplies behind.

Should you:

  • Bring them with you. Your neighbors don’t deserve this, and you aren’t going to leave them behind, damn the torpedoes. You can bring a couple of small bags of just the essentials and no more but that will have to be enough. Hopefully you can resupply when you are clear of the city.
  • Leave them behind. It isn’t your fault this happened to your neighbor, but your responsibility is to your family first, and you are not willing to leave behind essential supplies in light of the current situation. Wish them luck, and get going.

Scenario #6: Between a Blizzard and a Hard Place

  • Place: Your home, somewhere in rural Michigan.
  • People: You, your partner.
  • Event: A record-breaking blizzard is going to freeze the region solid and have you sheltering in place for quite a while.

All of the weather channels have been talking about it and it sure looks like they are right. A record-busting blizzard is on the way, snowing though it is currently bound to get much worse.

You knew this would come with the territory when you and your partner moved up to chilly, remote Michigan from the balmy American South to be closer to her parents.

Dealing with winter weather was just part of the bargain, but you had hoped you wouldn’t face anything quite this bad.

The forecast is multiple feet of snowfall, sub-zero temperatures and bracing, constant winds that will drive the actual temperature down even farther.

Despite the state’s best efforts, they understand that salting and plowing roads is only a token gesture at this point, and the entire region is bracing for a long stay indoors.

Moving around outside, on foot, or by vehicle, could it mean death and no one is coming to help if you get into trouble.

Luckily, your partner was adamant about getting prepared for just such an occasion.

You have a store room completely packed with a month’s worth of food and your house, though drafty, has an inspected and completely functional fireplace with a huge supply of firewood to go with it, ready to burn.

However, all is not well as your partner has been unable to get in touch with her parents who live about 60 miles away.

Landlines and cell phone service had already been erratic, and though she knows her parents have reliable gas heating she is still gravely concerned.

The situation is getting worse outside by the hour. The decision of what to do must be made.

Do you;

  • Stay home with your partner. The road conditions are already terrible, and risking an accident as far out as you are on these already traveled roads will not do anyone any good. You’ll need to wait for a break in the weather to attempt the trip to check on her parents.
  • Head to the in-laws with your partner. Though you are sure your partner will be 100% okay at your snug home with the fireplace roaring, you think splitting up is a bad idea and two people have a better chance of getting out of a bad situation than just one. If you load up the truck with supplies and take off now you should make it to her parents house in a couple of hours and you can all shelter there.
  • Head to the in-laws’ alone. You are hedging your bets with your most precious loved one by leaving them behind where you know they’ll be safe. But you don’t want her worrying about her parents and you yourself don’t want to leave them to their fate. If things get too bad by the time you reach them, you know you can stay there and be safe and warm.

Scenario #7: Hurricane Havoc Strands Friend in Harm’s Way

  • Place: Your home, Gulf Coast of Florida
  • People: You, your partner, your two children, your sister and her son.
  • Event: A monster Category 5 hurricane is bearing down on the region, threatening millions.

Living in Florida, hurricanes are just a fact of life, and no you are not a lifelong son worshiper, you have lived there long enough to feel like a native and natives don’t get out of bed for any hurricane weaker than a Category 3.

But as luck would have it the crown jewel of this year’s hurricane season is quite a doozy. A titanic Category 5 storm they are calling Svetlana.

A little less than a week ago she was a pipsqueak Category 1 trending towards a tropical storm, but boy did she develop quickly over the warm waters of the gulf.

Your sister and nephew are down visiting, and completely unprepared for this type of event. Naturally, they are frightened.

It doesn’t look like she is going to bullseye your town, but the entire coast and much of the state is bracing for rough air ahead.

You’re home, happily, is on the high ground so you don’t have much to fear from the flooding or storm surge though high winds and torrential rain will be problem enough, along with all of the other attendant factors making up the aftermath of the storm’s passage.

You are still debating whether or not you should shelter in place or evacuate away from the path of the storm when you get a frantic call from your lifelong best friend who lives several hours north of you.

His beachfront condo will surely be obliterated when the storm makes landfall as predicted but worse yet gas shortages and clogged roads mean that he is unable to properly evacuate.

He has always been something of a screwball and you know he is totally unprepared for what is to come. He sounds scared out of his mind and is begging you for help.

Trying to get to him could see you stranded on the road when the store makes landfall, and in an even worse situation. You love your pal like a brother, but you have your own immediate family and children among them to worry about.

Should you:

  • Stay home and hunker down. It should be a pretty interesting couple of days, but you are confident you’ll be safe where you are with your fortifications and supplies. You hate to leave your friend in the lurch over something so serious, but it won’t do anybody any good if you both get caught out by the storm.
  • Retrieve your friend. You can’t leave your bro to his fate considering the storm is so powerful. You’ll have to find your way across the back 40 of creation dodging Gators the entire way, but you think you can get to him in a timely fashion if you stay off the main highways and interstates. He might have to hike out to reach you, but it should be possible before conditions get too bad.
  • Get your friend out of there. You don’t know how, but if you call in a couple of favors you might be able to get a privately chartered boat or plane to whisk your friend away to the north out of the danger zone. You need to start making calls if it is going to happen.

Scenario #8: Landslide with Elderly Parents in Tow

  • Place: Your home in the mountains of South Carolina.
  • People: You, your partner, your parents
  • Event: Sustained days of torrential rain has seen several calamitous landslides occur already. Your mountainside home is now facing foundational failure or destruction if one occurs up slope.

The amount of rainfall has really been something. days and days of rain, seemingly without it, and though at first you felt pretty smug because you had nothing to fear from flooding, as it turns out, there is only so much water that any amount of soil can hold before it starts to float away on its own.

Roads are being washed away, major flooding is happening down off the mountains and now the risk of catastrophic landslides is increasing.

You have loved living up on the side of the mountain in your cozy home, and have long been appreciative that many of the worst weather events simply cannot touch you up here but now your mountainside perch could be your undoing.

You have already heard sporadic reports that some mountainside and neighborhoods have been evacuated for fear of landslide threat and though there has been no mandate in your neck of the woods you think the time might be nigh to do just that.

But you know for certain that the winding road that leads down off the mountain, one already somewhat treacherous in the best of times, is likely to be dangerously unstable.

The cold, drenching wet weather would make hiking down on foot grueling, but still possible and probably safer than trying to get down on your 4×4.

Worse yet, your elderly parents have been living with you for a few years now. There is no way on Earth they could possibly hike down on foot.

If you aren’t going to shelter in place the only option for evacuating your spouse, your parents and yourself down off the mountain together is by vehicle. You aren’t sure what to do. Maybe your home will hold up and remain safe, or maybe it won’t.

Do you:

  • Try to drive off the mountain. If you are cautious, and perhaps if you or your spouse walk the road looking for hazards you can get everyone down safely. But a single skid or rollover could spell ruin.
  • Hike down. All you can hope to do is hike off the mountain considering the road is so dangerous. If you rig up a litter or a sledge you might be able to get your parents down safely.
  • Shelter in place. Trust that your foundation will remain strong and no mudslide from further up the mountain will sweep down to obliterate your home or unseat it from its moorings.

Scenario #9: Industrial Accident Goes Out of Control

  • Place: Your home near LaPorte, Texas, USA.
  • People: You, your partner, your two kids (in school).
  • Event: a calamitous accident at a nearby chemical processing plant has released a deadly amount of poisonous chemicals into the air. You and your partner are at home, but your children are in school a few miles away.

Minor accidents and close calls at the local chemical plants and processing stations are hardly news, and you have long grown used to bulletins and notices keeping the townsfolk informed of what is going on. But this one is different.

A series of mishaps at a plant led to a massive release of various deadly chemicals, many of which are gaseous and now being carried away from the sight of the accident on the air.

Sirens, emergency broadcasts and vehicles with public address systems have been going off non-stop since.

People are being told to shelter in place while taking all precautions to prevent the dangerous chemicals for beginning inside their homes. People closest to the plants are being evacuated at a breakneck pace.

You and your partner are at home and ably equipped to shelter in place safely, you even have chemical resistant suits and gas masks, but you’re two children are in school just a few miles away.

You have talked through the school’s contingency planning with officials before, and though they say all the right things you have always harbored lingering doubts about their ability and their thoroughness.

Time is precious. You must act quickly whatever you do before the cloud reaches you.

Should you:

  • Shelter in place. You have the means to keep yourself and your partner safe, and there is nothing to be gained by risking almost certain death outdoors. You’ll have to trust that the officials at the school know what they are doing and can keep the children safe.
  • Suit up and retrieve your kids. You quickly help your partner set about securing every crack and crevice in the house that could let in the outside air, then you dawn your hazmat suit and gas mask, and prepare to make for the school by vehicle with appropriate gear for your children. If you bring them back you know you can keep safe inside your home.
  • Retrieve your kids and evacuate. The situation is too grim to risk staying in the area. You and your partner move to suit up and then go retrieve your children from school. As soon as you have them in hand you are heading in one direction, away.

Scenario #10: Regional Blackout Threatens Vital Treatments

  • Place: Home, just outside of New York City.
  • People: You and your partner.
  • Event: A massive, rolling blackout has crippled the region and seen a steadily rising tide of crime and mayhem.

It seems that blackouts are just a fact of life when you live in a densely populated area. A spate of bad weather, a particularly hot summer and boom, lights out.

Luckily most of them don’t last that long and our little more than water cooler worthy conversation in the office the next day, but this one is obviously different.

You don’t know exactly how it happened and you probably aren’t going to find out anytime soon, but the lights have been off for a couple of days. What announcements you have heard don’t promise any restoration of power or vital services.

The entire city is out of power, and much of the region according to the reports. This isn’t good. Aside from the general pandemonium and chaos that this is resulted in the animals are increasingly coming out at night, and you aren’t talking about the possums.

Crime, including looting, arson and robbery are all on the rise. The beleaguered police are doing the best they can but even their ranks are increasingly thinning as officers desert to take care of their own families.

You have major problems of your own, as your partner needs lifesaving dialysis treatments regularly, and she is due for one now.

What hospitals are still operational are on generator power and in major triage mode, meaning it is dicey if they will be able to help.

You have not been able to raise anyone at the usual treatment clinic for days. Your partner needs help, and she needs it real soon before things get too bad.

Do you:

  • Take her to the hospital. You have heard from neighbors and passersby that the hospitals are still operating, even if they are operating in chaos. If you can just get your wife there through the mean streets of the city you know that can help her.
  • Try to locate someone who can treat her in place. You don’t know what can be done for someone needing dialysis except in a medical setting, but a doctor, a nurse or even a paramedic might be able to help her hang on without too many ill effects. You just need to find someone with the skills and then convince them to come with you.
  • Head out of state. You honestly don’t know how bad and how far the blackout has traveled elsewhere, but you know things can’t be this way everywhere. You are going to pack up your partner in the car and head south. The farther you get from the city the more likely it is you’ll find a place that still has power.

Scenario #11: Raging Wildfire Leads to Harrowing Escape

  • Place: Rental cabin, somewhere in central California, USA.
  • People: Just you.
  • Event: a roaring wildfire season promises to get even worse as several major fires have combined along with an onset of high winds and drought conditions. Your area is being directly threatened.

It is just your luck that the first vacation you have taken in a decade would be interrupted by something as unstoppable and unassailably dangerous as a wildfire. The past few wildfire seasons have really been something, and this one is shaping up to top them all.

You knew there was a reasonable risk of blowback from these wildfires before you booked the trip, but when you were getting on the plane to come out here to your remote rental cabin in the middle of pristine California wilderness the fires were still small and far away.

But now here you are a few days later and unfavorable weather conditions have seen two of those fires join forces into a massive, fast moving inferno, and inferno further spurred on by sustained high winds. Now it looks like the jig is up.

You have smelled the smoke, and recent emergency broadcasts have informed you that this area is it the direct path of the fire and in serious danger. It is time to evacuate.

But the path off the mountain is long and winding, and based on your understanding of the current situation some parts of the road might already be engulfed in flames. You could take a direct path on foot down and out of the hills, but the fire is moving fast and the hills are steep.

Should you:

  • Hike out on foot. The direct path, though arduous, will let you avoid any parts of the road out of the hills that might already be engulfed in flames and reach an evacuation point. However, the fire is moving fast, unpredictably so, and if it catches you you are dead.
  • Drive away in your car. Taking your vehicle out of the affected area will certainly be quicker and give you a psychological boost, but you have reason to fear that the flames have already overtaken parts of the road you’ll be traveling on. Melted tires or a stalled engine in such a firestorm will mean certain death.

Scenario #12: 200 Year Flood Threatens Homestead and Herds

  • Place: Your working ranch, somewhere in Arkansas, USA.
  • People: You, your partner, your three children and your two more ranch hands.
  • Event: A 200 year flood event means your homestead will soon be entirely underwater along with everything else in the area.

You grew up on a farm, but long dreamed of having your own ranch. Some years back, that dream became a reality and you are the proud owner of 50 acres and 12 horses on your modest ranch. The work is hard but life is simple and you wouldn’t trade it for anything.

However, all of your hard work and sacrifice might be for nothing. A cataclysmic flood event is currently underway, and every nearby river, stream and lake is currently breaking its banks.

Your property is in the lowlands, and you know it is only a matter of time before rushing torrents of water turn the entire region into a basin. There’s nothing you can do, no amount of preparation or last minute countermeasures will save your property from this. All you can hope to do is get out with your family and your farm hands in time.

And your animals, of course. Your trailer only carries four and there is no time at all to make multiple round trips. Any neighbors that could help are busy with their own problems. There is just no time. With clouded thoughts and heavy heart you wonder what the solution is.

You could:

  • Evacuate with your family and farm hands. It will haunt you for the rest of your days being forced to leave your animals behind, but the lives of your family and your faithful farm hands are more important. You need to get out while the getting is good.
  • Evacuate with what animals you can in the trailer. You can’t save them all, but you can save some. Load what horses you can, open the gates and get moving. Maybe providence will preserve the rest.
  • Caravan out to high ground on horseback. You’ll accept no losses. Among your group you have five skilled riders and that will hopefully be enough to manage the balance of the other horses. You set the rest of your family to loading the vehicle as you and your farm hands prepare to head for higher ground on horseback.

Scenario #13: Tsunami Threatens the Entire Family

  • Place: Beachfront resort, Japan.
  • People: You, your partner, your two kids, your in-laws.
  • Event: A powerful undersea earthquake has sent a tsunami hurtling toward the shore. It promises to wipe out everything in its path.

A wonderful family vacation, partly as a reward for your hard work and partly as a celebration of your parents 40 years of marriage, has taken on a terrifying turn.

Pleasant relaxation on the beaches of Japan has turned into uncertainty and uncertainty turned into terror as a powerful earthquake far off the coast in the ocean has given rise to a tsunami which is even now racing toward shore.

Some mishaps with typically reliable detection equipment means that the warning has arrived late and now there are only a few minutes before it makes landfall.

The Japanese authorities, orderly and efficient as ever, are keeping people calm and shepherding them to move with all haste off of the beach.

You and your partner grab your children and you quickly move to help your elderly parents get underway, abandoning your possessions.

Then you notice. The tide has receded, too far and too early. You know from prior researches that means the tsunami is very near. This is the critical juncture. You must decide what you’ll do and act immediately if you hope to survive.

Should you:

  • Get inside the nearest sturdy building. Tsunamis are extremely powerful, but hopefully a strong structure will afford you protection enough from the event. It would be terrible if it demolished the building, but you don’t want to take your chances on open ground or in the street. If you can get off of ground level, you should be okay.
  • Get as far away from the shore as you can. More than anything else, a factor of distance will lessen the tsunami. If you can get about a half mile from the shore, you should be home free. You have serious doubts that your parents will be able to keep up, though.
  • Climb a tree or get on top of a tall hill. If you can stay above the water you’ll be fine. You know between yourself and your partner you can hoist your children up into a tall, mature tree nearby and then hopefully do the same with your parents before it is too late. Barring that, even a tall Hill might be enough to keep you out of the swirling, deadly water.

Ready To Practice These?

Bugging out of a bad situation is something that every prepper plans for, but hopes they never have to do.

But make sure you aren’t planning for a clean, sterile and statistically normative event by taking into account the unique challenges that are likely to arise as part of your family situation, lifestyle and activities.

Only by incorporating these curve balls into your plans and rehearsals can you hope to be ready for a live event should it occur.

bugging out scenarios Pinterest image


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