DISCLAIMER: This essay is specifically addressed to new preppers. Much of the information herein is very basic common knowledge to the experienced prepper. It is intended to serve as a stepping stone in the crucial early stages of the novice prepper's path to self-sufficiency and preparedness.
Organization Of Supplies In Preparation For A Bug-Out Event
-Firearms and Related Gear
-Bug Out Bag
For those who's plan it is to "bug-in" in the event of a disaster (i.e. hunker down in your current place of residence), this essay may not be of the same level of importance as it should be to those who are planning to "bug-out" (i.e. seek refuge in a location other than your current residence), however, organization of supplies is a crucial factor in the efficiency and effectiveness of any prepper's survival plan. A solid system of labeling, categorizing, rationing, and proper placement of supplies could very well put you a few steps ahead of the contraflow, and that in itself could mean the difference between life and death, success and failure.
Being from New Orleans, I have real life, first hand experience with mass evacuation contraflow, and it is something that I never wish to relive. Those who were intuitive enough to evacuate early enjoyed a pleasant, open road all the way to their location of refuge. Those who waited until the last minute, however, were greeted with a journey that took nine or more hours to travel a distance that normally took one hour, and during the Katrina evacuation, we had the luxury of a police-state-free environment. In the event of a total collapse, I imagine you can expect military road blocks, all-out police-state, and far more civil unrest than we New Orleanians experienced during Hurricane Katrina.
For purposes of uniformity, any and all possible disaster scenarios will be referred to as a "BOWE", meaning Bug-Out-Worthy-Event.
FIREARMS AND RELATED GEAR
The manner in which one stores their firearms under normal peacetime circumstances is their prerogative. Some people have children, and some don't. Some may prefer to keep their firearms fully loaded with a round in the chamber, some prefer a loaded magazine and an empty chamber, and some even prefer to keep their firearms and ammunition separated completely. Some utilize load bearing equipment to aid their combat effectiveness and some don't.
Each and every one of these aspects of firearm storage and implementation affects your response time upon being informed of a BOWE.
Those who have small children may be forced to have a slightly slower response time, as responsible parenthood requires that firearms be stored in a safe manner, thus rendering them useless if time is of the essence. Those who don't have children may, if so desired, store their firearms fully loaded and ready for implementation at a moment's notice if necessary, thus making their response time a bit faster.
Regardless of one's parental status, the method of firearm storage that I recommend is as follows:
Primary combat weapon is kept unloaded with a fully loaded magazine within arms reach of the weapon. Supplementary to this, at least eight fully loaded magazines should be kept at the ready as well. (Mine are stored in a load bearing vest, however, other options are available.) If the immediate circumstances of the BOWE do not require the implementation of a primary combat weapon, it is not recommended that it be wielded. In other words, you need not attract attention to yourself by carrying a sheep-terrifying semi-automatic rifle if the situation doesn't call for it.
Secondary weapon is kept loaded with an empty chamber. For obvious reasons, it is far easier to conceal a secondary weapon; therefore there seems to be no need to store it unloaded, as it does not attract immediate attention, and should be kept on your person at all times during a BOWE.
All firearms supplementary to your primary and secondary are stored in one central location for the purpose of ease of transport to your bug out vehicle. (Mine are stored in an inexpensive rifle locker.) No one should need to wonder where they last left one of their firearms; behind the bedroom door, under the mattress, etc.
Related gear (i.e. load bearing equipment, bandoleers, holsters, etc.) is kept in one central location as well, preferably in close proximity to the location where your firearms are stored. As mentioned above, unless the immediate circumstances of the situation require it, wearing load bearing equipment is not recommended. As with the primary weapon, attracting attention to yourself is the last thing you want to do. Having a paramilitary appearance is particularly dangerous in urban and sub-urban areas.
Ammunition is best stored in heavy-duty, watertight (or at least water-resistant) containers, and should be stored in one central location. The most common and inexpensive method of ammo storage is metal military-surplus ammo-cans. Commercially manufactured plastic ammo-containers are available as well, however, they are less durable and tend to be more expensive when purchased at the retail level.
Whatever your personal method of ammunition storage may be, the common theme here is that your entire stockpile needs to be kept together. All ammunition containers should be stacked neatly- ready to be carried to your bug out vehicle.
Every prepper needs clothing specifically designated for a BOWE stored in easy-to-carry bags. I recommend utilizing plain military surplus canvas ruck sacks. They are durable, generally come in neutral earth-tone colors, and most importantly, inexpensive. The importance of keeping a supply of clothing specifically designated for bugging out is obvious. Packing luggage is by far the most frustrating and time consuming part of travel preparation, and it need not be done in the midst of an extremely stressful disaster situation. The type and amount of clothing you bring is up to you, however, I recommend enough for at least one week for each member of your party. Remember, clothes can be washed.
Regardless of season, ample cold-weather clothing should be included in your supply. At least two heavy blankets, preferably woolen, are recommended as well. All clothing, blankets, and clothing accessories should be stored in some form of carry-bag.
A well-rounded supply of food is essential to any solid survival plan, but one aspect of food-prep that is commonly overlooked is storage methods that are easy to "grab-and-go". Food storage is somewhat of a non-issue for those who plan to "bug-in", but it is every bit as crucial to the prepper's BOWE response time as any other aspect of supply storage.
Every prepper should have as much food on hand as their budget will allow, however, it's difficult to cram an entire closet or pantry of food stock into a bug out vehicle. For this reason, a supply of food should be stored separately in easy-to-carry containers. I personally utilize Rubbermaid "Roughneck" containers, but the brand name of the container is of little importance. What is important is that the containers have handles and can be carried to your vehicle quickly and efficiently.
A solid bug-out plan includes a vast array of hand-tools for a variety of purposes. Some common yet essential tools may be impossible or impractical to store in a carry-container- items such as an axe, crowbar, bolt-cutters, machete, etc. It is acceptable to simply store these items as they are, so long as they are stored within very close proximity to each other so that they are easy to locate in the midst of a BOWE. I personally utilize a pegboard where all of my large tools hang in a uniform fashion.
A well rounded tool bag with a sturdy carry handle is also a must. This is where all small tools such as pliers, screwdrivers, and wrenches should be kept. Tools that are commonly associated with vehicle-repair are essential as well. As with food and clothing, you may have many more tools than will readily fit into one bag, but the tool bag is what you will be grabbing in the event of a BOWE.
A full socket-set with ratcheting wrench containing S.A.E. as well as metric socket sizes is also recommended as it is crucial to your ability to repair your bug out vehicle if need be. As with all other supplies, your socket set should be of the variety that comes with a carrying case.
BUG OUT BAG
Perhaps the single most important item in the prepper's arsenal is the bug out bag, commonly referred to as a "BOB". It is the prepper's last ditch, bare minimum cache of the most essential supplies and necessities for his or her survival. The purpose of this section is not to review the contents of the bug out bag, but merely to outline the most efficient means of upkeep, transportation, and implementation of it.
The bug out bag should be exceptionally sturdy, and utilize shoulder straps, as it is intended to carry a heavy load for an extended period of time over long distances. A carry handle on the top of the bag is preferred as well, as you may often need to carry it a short distance where it may not be necessary to sling it onto your back.
A prepper's BOB should be readily available at all times, during a BOWE, or during normal conditions. Most BOB's are too cumbersome to keep in your vehicle at all times under normal peacetime conditions, so many preppers utilize an "every day carry" bag, or "EDC". This is simply a smaller, more refined version of a full size BOB, and it's intended purpose is nothing more than to allow you to survive long enough to get to your BOB (and hopefully your full stockpile of material preps if luck allows it). It is my personal suggestion that the BOB be the very first item you carry out to your vehicle when loading up for a BOWE. In the unfortunate event that circumstances prevent you from fully loading your bug out vehicle, you will at the very least have your BOB.
Organization of supplies is the single most crucial element of the bug out plan. Whether discussing the BOB, food storage, or firearm storage, the common theme is the need for practical and efficient storage methods, and the need for an expedient plan to grab your things and go.
Rationing is important as well. You must decide how much of each item to bring with you. The amount of supplies you are able to bring depends heavily upon the size of your bug out vehicle. If you drive a compact car, you may be forced to cut your rations painfully short. If your intended bug out vehicle is a large SUV, or pickup truck, you have the luxury of bringing a much more accommodating amount of supplies, and your experience will most likely be easier as a result.
All bags and containers should be properly labeled according to their contents, and should be stored in one easily accessible central location. Food specifically designated for bug out purposes should all be stored in one location. Bug out clothing all in one location. Ammunition all in one location. Keep your preps as centralized and organized as possible, as this will allow you to load your vehicle and "get out of Dodge" in a fraction of the time that it will take the poor fellow who may have had everything he needed, but all of his preps were scattered aimlessly around his residence.
There is no supplement for practice and mental preparedness. Plan your work, and work your plan. Know where your supplies are located. Run drills. Load up your vehicle randomly like a bat out of hell, just to familiarize yourself with the process. By keeping all of your material preps neat, organized, and ready to carry out the door, you will be putting yourself leaps and bounds ahead of the majority of the general population, and with any luck, you might just beat the contraflow and enjoy a smooth, uninterrupted ride to your retreat.
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