July 24, 2024

Unless you have a fully stocked bug-out location and the means to make your way there in a post-apocalyptic landscape, bugging in is probably the path many of us take when SHTF strikes.

The term ‘bugging in’ refers to the act of sheltering in your home during an SHTF situation. This can seem like the best option in many ways, especially if bugging out was never an option.

Your home is where the bulk of your supplies and gear is located, and it makes a lot of sense to secure the family home and shelter in place.

Even though bugging in is the better option for many of us, it can be a more deadly option in many circumstances than a bug-out. Even with nowhere to bug out to, it can often be the case that staying put will get you killed.

I’m not suggesting that bugging in does not have its merits or that it should not be considered a viable option for preppers; what I am doing is to illustrate some scenarios where bugging in could be deadly.

Nuclear Accident Or Attack

Many preppers ensure they are prepared for a nuclear attack or accident and stock up on all the necessary gear to shelter in place after such an event.

In addition, countless books, websites, and videos are dedicated to surviving any radiological event.

With all the information and supplies we have access to, it seems that bugging in is a good option for a nuclear attack or another type of release of radioactive material.

When faced with this type of scenario, the problem with bugging in is that we can learn from only a few instances of large-scale nuclear events.

? US Nuclear Target Map. Do You Live In The Danger Zone?

Most of what we have to go on regarding prepping for a nuclear event is based on the best science and research available, but there have not been enough real-world examples to test this information. We lack recent data on how people prepared for and survived a nuclear event.

The truth is that shielding ourselves from fallout is something we can prepare for but can not effectively practice. Despite any drills or practice runs you do, there is no guarantee that these efforts will be effective in a real-world scenario.

There is a good chance that after you seal your home from fallout, a small forgotten area that did not get appropriately sealed could leak radioactive materials into your home, making you and your family ill with radiation sickness.

A minor insignificant lapse in the shielding of your home could very well be deadly.

Natural Disasters

A wide variety of potential natural disasters can strike without warning.

It is a difficult decision to pack up what you can and evacuate the area, especially when you have invested a significant amount of time, money, and effort in being ready for anything that comes your way.

Related: How To Understand The Signals From Animals Just Before A Natural Disaster Strikes 

Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn’t care, and if she decides to level your home, no amount of preparedness will stop her. Hurricanes are a great example of this.

Hunkering down in your home is not going to do a lot of good if the storm surge floods the area and your house along with it.

Even if you are not killed during the storm, the aftermath will bring a lot of additional problems which you would not have had to face if you evacuated the area.

Sometimes, following evacuation orders is the best option.

Running Out Of Supplies

Depending on how long the emergency lasts, you could find that your food supplies dwindle quicker than you had initially anticipated.

Likewise, if you are only prepared for a few weeks, a disaster lasting months could lead to potential death due to dehydration or starvation.

Even things like medical supplies can result in a bug in turning deadly. For example, running out of critical daily medication for some people will either result in much suffering or be a death sentence.

If don’t want to run out of medical supplies, learn here an ingenious method to stockpile prescription medications and what supplies you need to stock up on before it’s too late.

Ammunition is another supply that running out of could turn deadly. If you end up in a situation where you have to use force to defend your home, you will be shocked at how fast your supply of ammunition will run down.

If you are battling to protect your home and run out of bullets, it will certainly be a situation that becomes deadly.


I am a huge advocate for including amateur radio in any preparedness strategy. But, unfortunately, when you bug in, you are effectively cut off from communication with the rest of the world.

Any other potential problems approaching your home will take you by surprise.

Floods, fires, storms, riots, or looters are only a few examples of things that having good communication with the outside world could prevent them from sneaking up on you.

Even just getting information on the scope of the situation you are bugging in from will protect yourself and your family.

It is good to know that what you thought was an EMP was actually a distant nuclear attack, and there is fallout heading your way.

Even in the event of an EMP, using this method you can maintain the continuity of comms, and it is actually very simple and inexpensive to do. Knowledge is power in an SHTF scenario, and not knowing what is going on outside your walls can be deadly.

Inadequate Security

A critical aspect of bugging in is maintaining a high level of physical security in and around your home. Once people realize that you have a stockpile of gear and supplies, there will be some who will want to take them from you.

If you have not paid enough attention to securing your home against attack, you will be caught off guard and could be seriously hurt or killed by those who want to steal your stuff.

Ultimately, if a group of people is motivated enough, all the protections in the world will not prevent them from gaining entry and taking what is yours. So the best you can really do is make it as difficult as possible for them to get to you.

Another problem is that when a group of criminals and looters surround your home to attack, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for you to escape.

It will also be easy for anyone intent on driving you out to set fire to your home to ‘smoke you out.’

Not all of us can afford to have a remote bug-out location and the ability to get there after SHTF. This means that many of us will plan on bugging as our primary preparedness strategy, with bugging out being a last resort.

The important thing is that if you plan on bugging in, you need to stay aware of all the ways it can turn deadly and make plans to mitigate those risks.

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