Step 3 Identify safe havens

A safe haven is a spot where you can get shelter, food, water, and be protected from the elements and other people.  This isn’t necessarily your home, although it could be.  For our purposes it’s going to be a place where you either have permission to be, or a place you own.  Squatting can get you in trouble – or worse shot at.  This is not an effective survival technique.

Ideally your home is the best possible safe haven.  You stay there all the time, you know every square inch.  You know the surrounding area, neighbors, and routes near your home.  Even if you know of a great safe place a few towns over, unless you live there or have lived there recently – you lose many of the advantages of your home.  There are tons of great reasons to leave your home for a safe place (or ‘bug-out’) – but there seems to be a push in different survival/preparedness communities in favor of ‘bugging out’.  You have to sit down and decide where your best chance at survival is for various different emergencies.

Things to consider when looking at safe havens

The cheapest (free) way to get a great view of potential safe havens is Google Earth software.  It’s free satellite imagery of anywhere on the planet.  It can be printed out and stored.  Identify the following in the surrounding areas:

-Prisons
-Interstates/Highways/State roads
-Police departments
-Grocery Stores
-Wal-marts and other big box retail stores
-Distribution centers
-Bridges/Rivers
-Schools
-Churches
-Airports
-Hospitals

Pro’s to Bugging-in at home

You know how to walk in the dark and not stub your toes.  You live there!  You know by touch or feel how to get around everywhere in your house.  You know the roads, the routes to and from your house.  You know your neighbors, who to avoid, who to take care of.  You know where things are safe, and where they aren’t.  This is your home.  You own it, or have lived there.  You have a right to be there.

General Con’s to Bug-in

All the positives can lead to negatives.  Confidence – or thinking your position is secure when it’s not.  If you have an enemy or someone knows you have supplies and resources then you’re marked as a target of opportunity.  If you live in a city or near a huge interstate artery – your hope of staying out of the flow is wishful thinking.  Also – if you don’t have a good deal of storage, your position isn’t long-term.

General Pro’s to Bug out

It’s a good idea to bug out when you’re in the situation above – right in the middle of people or traffic.  Also, if your place is near the emergency or riot or whatever- get out.  If you’re near a prison for obvious reasons bugging out might be a good idea.  If you’re near grocery stores/big box stores, etc. – believe it or not bugging OUT is a smart move.  Everyone and their brother is going to gravitate to these stores in hope of scoring free stuff during an emergency.  When they find that it’s all gone – they could bleed into the surrounding area looking for other targets to loot.  It’s something to take into consideration.  Don’t forget to do this type of evaluation to wherever your location is that you’re heading to.

General Con’s to Bug out

Bugging out means travelling.  This is the root of the problem.  Travelling during an emergency is going to be extremely difficult at best – at worst flat-out impossible.  This isn’t a guess, read back through accounts of hurricanes, etc. through the southern states.  You have no control over your situation when travelling.  There are too many variables.

Look at your area, mark off zones that are potentially bad spots.  This is going to help you decide about safe zones – every situation and circumstance is different.  Gather intelligence (sound familiar?) and make a good decision.

Step 2 Gather information

Now that you have a community to use as a resource, you need to inventory nearly everything you’ve got and create a contact list.  Notice we haven’t spent a dime yet.  🙂

Get out of Debt

You need to get out of debt as fast as possible.  I am not out of debt.  I am trying.  The Dave Ramsey system is a really good system to start with.  There may be parts that aren’t for you – I’ve found that it really centers on families without little kids.  The major principles are simple.

1 Inventory all your spending for 30 days in a notebook
2 Inventory everything you eat for 30 days in a notebook

This is done to show you where you can improve.  You’ll review your spending habits, and it should be fairly obvious where you can improve.  Now set a budget and stick with it.  Pay the smallest bill completely off.  Use that money you used for that old bill and apply it to the next smallest bill.  Rinse, repeat until you are debt free.  Being debt free makes you more liquid with your assets and allows you to make investments in land, etc.

Inventory all food that won’t spoil

Bring out your notebook, and write down everything  in cans, sealed containers, frozen, etc.  that will keep if you lose electricity.  Knowing what you have will allow you to start estimating how long you can be fed from what you have.  This will either scare you or make you feel better.  If you’re scared at this point – don’t panic.  You can fix this with one trip to the grocery store.  We’ll go over what to pick up later.

Master contact list (documentation)

Last but not least is the all important contact list.  Build a list of local and long distant family and friends.  Names, addresses, phone numbers, cell phone numbers, allergy’s, medications, insurance policy numbers, home insurance numbers, mortgage information, car titles, bank account numbers, potential properties or resources any of them might have.  Think farms (and phone numbers if they have them), tractors, RVs, cabins, weapons, vehicles, water storage tanks, etc.  Anything that’s note-able about their environment, or resources – add it to the list.  Don’t feel weird about this, you aren’t going to loot them- you’re just getting an inventory of resources.

Now list external information and data.  Police phone numbers, fire and rescue phone numbers, HAM radio repeater frequencies, NOAA emergency radio frequencies, etc.

Once you have this list you’ll want to make sure you have it secure.  It will be your link to your critical data.  Keep it in your go/bug-out bag (we’ll go over that later), or directly on your person.  You might be surprised who will want this list in your family once you’ve got it made.  It’s a helpful thing to have if its updated and ready to go.