Marine General James Mattis' quote works well for preparedness. General Mattis, well-loved by the troops and famous for his speeches punctuated with a ‘knife hand’ gesture, had the radio callsign of ‘CHAOS’ in Operation Iraqi Freedom. His theory was simple and direct: keep moving forward, no matter what. Once you decide to leave your home in the face of an impending disaster, acting quickly and departing ahead of any crowds is definitely in your favor. One clear tactic applicable from modern warfare and Gen. Mattis is to embrace the chaos of bugging out rather than resisting it through some sort of normalcy bias and then succumbing to victim status through panic and concept overload at the last minute. Fight like you train and you’ll eliminate panic.
Fortunately, these events provide days or weeks of notice. Warnings for the San Diego Cedar Fire of 2003, also known as the ‘2003 Firestorm’ which consumed over 280,000 acres provided most evacuating residents days, up to a week for some to plan for bugging out. It seems that there are always those who don’t pack up for hours or days before the fires are literally at their door, then they rush around like ants when the anthill is kicked. Too often, this delay often costs them their valuables and often their very lives. Other issues are rapid, like the April 1992 social breakdown in in metro Los Angeles neighborhoods which were looted and burned over a five-day period after the Rodney King trial verdict, starting in the afternoon of a typical clear and sunny spring day. These events happen so rapidly that your first warning may be hearing loud voices and fighting down the block from your house. Right away you’re faced with the choice of either standing your ground and barricading your home – “digging in” – or evacuating – “bugging out” – when the additional threat of fire makes deciding to stay a much harder choice.Either decision is difficult, so for the sake of this article we'll assume that a fire threat, hurricane, riots, or another impending apocalypse has caused you to decide to bug out rather than to dig in. Bugging out should be considered strategic, not permanent. Creating a layup point (LUP) in advance near where you live can mitigate your risk of traveling long distance in one leap. Also consider having items staged outside of a specific area you live in, perhaps at a friend’s home, a storage unit. It can be as simple as a well wrapped package stuck into a hole in the ground.