6. Its Time to Leave: How Evacuation Orders Will Stop Your Bug-In Plans

Staying prepared for worst case scenarios is a crucial part in not being devoured by 2020, and if we’ve learned anything over the last 10 months, hopefully it’s been that circumstances can rapidly change from good to bad, or from bad to worse. Fast.

In previous years we had the luxury to purchase and use outdoor/survival equipment sparingly for recreation. We had the time to slowly build up our stashes, be selective extraordinaire in what we chose, and had peace of mind in postponing a needed inventory purchase.

That’s all changed and there’s no reason to believe it’s going back to the way it used to be, anytime soon at least. Now our timeliness in acquiring gear and skills could potentially mean life or death.

What we may have or still need, and fully understand or remain oblivious too will all determine where the years’ next surprise will leave us.

This article covers the realistic and potential threats that could very well stop us from bugging-in and sheltering in the safety of our own homes when SHTF.

Developing Threats

Bugging-in at home and sheltering in place is usually the best course of action to stay out of harms way and avoid a multitude of dangerous obstacles, though with this years growing frequency of fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and localized civil unrest events, you could be ordered to evacuate your home and area.


If you must leave your home, your local government and agencies will work to set up temporary shelters for displaced residents where you can stay free of charge.

A shelter could be a great resource for you to wait out the disaster until the area’s deemed safe and you can return home, but the recent exponential growth of COVID-19 is worth taking into consideration.

My wife and I recently took these considerations into account when we woke up to see plumes of smoke from our window, and received news that a fire was rapidly spreading a mile west of our home.

Our area was put onto pre-evacuation orders. We gathered our valuables as quickly as possible and packed them into the SUV.

The local fire departments were thankfully able to contain the fire, but while the uncertainty raged on, we had to decide an immediate plan on where to temporarily stay.

Due to her pregnancy, we decided that a temporary shelter would pose unnecessary risk.

A major risk factor to closely watch for is the potential of capacity overload. You can do so by closely evaluating your areas surrounding events, and check for:

  • building capacity
  • local/state budget
  • FEMA’s timeliness
  • secondary crisis’

An overloaded shelter with more displaced residents than expected could potentially become deadly for higher risk groups. That’s not to say all such temporary locations would succumb to such loss, but taking human error into account is certainly always worth considering.


Another threat worth considering is the evolving interstate travel restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

As each state constantly changes and/or increases its level of security and entrance/exit requirements, attempting to cross multiple state lines to bug-out to a distant location may become comparable to maze navigation, if not impossible.

Take the State of Colorado’s COVID-19 travel guidelines for example. For those who fall ill or contract the virus, the government website clearly states:

“Public health orders may limit your travel or even require you to stay in Colorado during your quarantine or isolation, at your own expense. This means you may not be able to leave the state, regardless of how you travel (e.g. private car or airplane)”.

Another example can be found on Pennsylvania’s official COVID-19 travel guidelines site, which says:

The Secretary of Health issued an order requiring anyone who visits from another state to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the commonwealth. If someone cannot get a test or chooses not to, they must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Pennsylvania“.

As preppers, we constantly evaluate local, state, and national ongoing events to effectively determine, “when its time to go”. The virus is spreading and the states are rapidly becoming more desperate to stop the spread. Businesses are shutting down early, store shelves are clearing (back) out, and a shelter in place/lock down is likely to be ordered in various locations.

Depending on your general outlook and optimism of the virus, your local area’s crime trends, and your personal financial situation, now may be a good time to temporarily head for a less populated and stable environment. That could be a close relative or friend outside the danger zone that wouldn’t mind you staying for a few weeks.


If we consider how the events of 2020 unfolded after the first wave of virus restrictions eased up earlier last April, as well as take into account the potential of future lock down measures, it would be safe to predict that society will experience a similar set of outcomes nearing the end of the second wave and/or lock downs.

The first lock down to attempt curbing the virus created a host of additional tragedies for the US. To name just a few; an economic recession, mass homelessness, widespread crime waves, increased suicide, drug, and alcohol use, and untold amounts of resentment which led to riots and destruction.

The US is struggling to properly handle the effects of the first wave and lock down. Once the second set of events hits us, the effects will compile and multiply any and every undesired effect we now face.

Though no two days, weeks, months, or years are exactly the same, at very least we can expect an intensified anger and resentment towards the failing system.

Bug-Out Plan

If you find yourself in the situation of having to leave your home for an extended period and bug-out, make sure that you have planned a location that you can stay at for up to two weeks, until you can return home at a safer and later time.

travel obstacles

Consider situational hazards that could prevent you from freely traveling to your bug-out location, which could include:

  • major road/ highway closures
  • street blockades
  • heavy traffic
  • irrational drivers
  • packed/empty gas stations
  • city/town road closures
  • state-border travel restriction enforcement

It’s not possible to be fully prepared for every crisis scenario, as an infinite amount of possibilities exist in our unstable reality. It is possible however, to be ready and prepared to accept and deal with any event as the need arises.

By staying informed with current events, working on survival and self-sufficiency skills, and securing the necessary tools to aid you in the journey, you can build a solid base for remaining steady and calm in the face of any adverse situation.

Whether your bug-out location is in a different town, area of the state, or across the country, be sure to start planning on where you will go, how you will get there, and how to get around circumstances that could potentially prevent you from safely arriving.

“If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to see future posts, don’t forget to subscribe using the follow button at the bottom of this page, and follow me on Facebook. Please feel free to leave any thoughts in the comment section of this page as well.

Rocky Mountain Preparedness is veteran owned and operated. All site related costs are paid out of pocket, and any donation amount is greatly appreciated. Thanks for visiting my site.”

Travel. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2020, from https://covid19.colorado.gov/travel
Travelers. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2020, from https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Travelers.aspx
Yale, L. (2020, April 27). The Colorado County That Learned from the 1918 Flu. Retrieved November 24, 2020, from https://www.outsideonline.com/2412253/gunnison-colorado-coronavirus-1918-flu-public-health

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