Avoid these dangerous mistakes when “bugging in”

Hurricane Ian was the fifth strongest storm to make landfall in the U.S.

Over 2.5 million people in twelve different counties were told to evacuate parts of Florida before the storm hit.

Over 100 people died because of hurricane Ian and thousands more were rescued from their homes.

Some people were trapped in their houses and couldn’t be rescued in time.

A 67-year-old in New Smyrna Beach died while waiting to be rescued.

According to the Volusia County Sheriff’s office, the man was inside his house during Hurricane Ian when he fell.

As the flood waters rose the man was unable to get off the ground and get above the water. Unfortunately, the man drowned inside his house.

The man and his wife were on a list of people who needed to be rescued.

But sheriff’s deputies were unable to make it to the house in their regular patrol vehicles. They had to use a high-water rescue vehicle, but it was too late.

A neighbor named Jacob said, “I expected trees to be down. We expected all of that, but we did not expect the water.”

The City of New Smyrna Beach conducted over 180 evacuations during Hurricane Ian.

The man’s death was a tragedy, and I’m sure he and his family had reasons for not evacuating.

But if you are going to “bug in” during a disaster you need to be prepared.

Unexpected things can happen (such as rising floodwaters) that may have not been predicted.

Considering this, here are a few of the most common things that could be overlooked when bugging in during a disaster.


If you choose to stay home during a disaster, you are likely prepared with the staples like food and water.

But there is a chance your neighbors aren’t prepared at all.

And during a disaster, one of the biggest security risks is from other people who want to take your supplies.

Looters will strike when people are at their most vulnerable. This is usually during a disaster and in the middle of the night.

If someone approaches your house during a disaster, always greet them with caution. Even if they appear to be offering help it could be a way to get inside your house.

Also, during a disaster, you want to limit attention to your house.

For example, if you have power, don’t keep all the lights on in the house. Just keep the necessities running such as the refrigerator.

Storing supplies outside:

Most likely you keep some of your gear outside your house. For example, you might have a stack of firewood in the backyard or a shed full of gear.

If you store supplies outside your house, bring them inside before the disaster hits.

Of course, you can’t bring your entire stack of firewood inside, so stock a healthy supply near your fireplace.

Also, if you store food or water in a shed or different area outside your house, bring it in before things get bad.

The last thing you want is for people to see you grabbing a bottle of water from your shed during a disaster.

Additionally, there may come a point when it’s too dangerous to leave the confines of your house, so if your extra supplies are outside, they may be out of reach.

Helping others:

You don’t want to advertise to your neighbors that you have tons of food and water storage. But you want to keep a positive relationship with the folks who live nearby.

So, if your neighbor stops by and needs a bottle of water, give them one if you have any to spare.

By giving your neighbors a little bit of help they will think of you as a good friend, not a target.

Also, even if you try to keep your supplies a secret your neighbors will notice that you aren’t struggling as much as the rest of the neighborhood.

And lending a little bit of help can go a long way.


If you have backup power, do your best to keep it to yourself.

When you fire up your generator everyone will know that you have a source of power. It can be hard to hide the sound, and the fact your house is running appliances.

Ideally, you want to keep your generator in a soundproof enclosure where you can minimize the chances of someone hearing it.

Make sure that the lights and noise cannot be seen or heard from outside your house.

Having the lights on when no one else has power will bring unwanted attention.

Do your best to conceal what’s going on inside your home. Keeping the blinds and curtains shut is the bare minimum you should be doing.

So, to recap: when you decide to bug in during a disaster you need to have a backup plan in place.

For example, keep your bug-out vehicle ready to go with your gear nearby.

Have pre-planned escape routes that you will use if you are forced to leave and can no longer bug in.

The decision to evacuate or stay home during a disaster is a tough one.

If you bug in, keep these things in mind to avoid the added trouble of people coming by your house with bad intentions.

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