“Evacuation:  To Go Or Not To Go”

There is a concept among preppers known as “Bugging Out.”  I remember the term from watching reruns of M.A.S.H.  Whenever Radar O’Reilly, Major Henry Blake and Hawkeye were ordered to move their Mobile And Surgical Hospital unit to a new location, they would make plans to “bug out.”  Today’s preppers use the term to describe an evacuation process to be executed when the current abode becomes too dangerous to stay put or uninhabitable.

The likelihood of evacuation in our area is usually minor.  Our weather events don’t equal the hurricanes of the East Coast and Gulf Coast states.  Nor do we get the blizzards of the northern regions of our country. Wildfires notwithstanding, those living in our region have had isolated instances of evacuation due to flooding and landslides in the past, and for those living in the tsunami inundation zone, bugging out should be a part of your action plan.

You can be assured if I lived in a major city or in the hurricane zone, my preparation plans would include how to get my family and supplies out of town on short notice.  (Or in prepper lingo, “Out of Dodge.”)  Living in rural Oregon we have several things to our advantage.  Our relatively sparse population is far more self-sufficient and more good-neighbor minded than  city folk.  If you’ve ever watched the news during a big storm or hurricane in a densely-populated area, you see looting and other outlaw behavior.  Not exactly conducive to the “come on, let’s work together to get through this” mindset so vital to community survival and workable in a small town.

There seems to be a segment of society always on the cusp of criminal behavior.  This group of potential criminals allow themselves to be drawn over the line of unacceptable behavior at the slightest provocation and loot, pillage and even worse when they know the police have their hands full with other matters.  You can bet your emergency generator this group has never laid in an extra flashlight battery or can of Spam.  Their “plan” such as it is, will be to take your supplies in the event of a disaster.  This is precisely why, if I lived in a metropolitan area, I would be planning to “get out of Dodge” if necessary.

If you have relatives or loved ones in the big cities, send them a copy of this column and suggest they make plans to ‘bug out’ if the need arises.

If you’d like to read more on the topic of bugging out, there is an excellent blog titled, “Listening To Katrina.”  The author was forced to evacuate his family in the face of Hurricane Katrina.  The blog is over 100 pages long so consider your ink supply before you hit the “print” button.  He has a very balanced and intelligent approach to preparedness and bugging out.  Another of my favorites is a book titled, “One Second After,” by William Forstchen.  This book has been cited on the floor of Congress as one all Americans should read.

As always send your questions, suggestions and comments to  Previous columns are posted on my blog at  Dave Robinson is an author, pastor and freelance writer.  He is the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on, barnesandnoble and other online booksellers.