Date Published: 2021-12-15
If Martial Law Happens, Where’s Your Bug-Out Location?
By Adelia Ladson
Martial Law is not something that you want to have to live under or subject your family to. You need to figure out where you’re bugging-out to if it happens and you need to know ahead of time.
What Is Martial Law?Martial Law is an emergency action taken by the federal or state government that allows the military to step-in and take control of an area. The idea is that they will maintain civil order during a crisis situation like a time of war, an insurrection or a natural disaster. It has been declared 68 times throughout the United States’ history for various reasons including riot and civil unrest, labor disputes, war and invasion, domestic war and insurrection and natural disasters.
Where Are You GoingAs there are many grey areas when it comes to the rules of martial law and it’s not addressed at all by the U.S. Constitution, you don’t want to stick around when it’s declared. You have your bug-out bags packed and ready, but do you know where you’re going? I hope that you do have a plan in place because the moment you step out of your front door, survival and getting away, before you are locked-down, is your only priority. This depends on getting to a safe location where you can establish a secure living environment. Where you plan to go depends on where you’re coming from, will the location sustain you and your family for a substantial amount of time and what you’re financially able to invest. These are considerations that you must make when making your bug-out plan.
Where You’re Coming FromYour bug-out location needs to be a place that you can get to quickly and easily. It really depends on where you live. Do you live in an urban area or a rural area? Ideally, you should be able to get to your bug-out location on one tank of gas or be able to get far enough away from the martial law perimeter before you have to gas-up again. Also, as you will probably need to leave in a hurry before the perimeter is locked-down, you need to always make sure that you keep your tank filled or that your route has a station where you can quickly top-off. It needs to be an out of the way station that most likely won’t be busy. This leads me to your route to your bug-out location. You need to have several ways to get there and all of them need to avoid main roads. Of course, if you live in a more rural area, it’s easier to find back-roads. If you live in an urban area, you really need to take a street map and plot several routes through side streets. Generally, the statement, “head for the hills” is the consensus on bug-out locations. This may not be a reality from where you live but there are other options. The main thing is that it needs to be remote. This could be a desert refuge, an outer-banks island refuge or even deep in a wildlife refuge.
Sustaining Your FamilyAs you won’t know how long martial law will last, you need to be prepared to sustain your family for at least a couple of years. It’s better to overestimate your supplies than to underestimate them. You need to have a reliable water source like a river or lake, a large rain water cistern or by actually digging a well. You can also explore the possibility of planting a garden to supplement your stocked food with fresh vegetables. Remember, though, planting a garden has a learning curve to it and you can’t expect it to be successful the first season. What kind of structure you plan on living in for the duration of the time you’re not able to return to your home will depend on the yearly weather at your bug-out location. In otherwords, I wouldn’t plan on living in a tent in Colorado or Minnesota unless you absolutely know that you’ll be able to return home before winter. If you plan on escaping into a wildlife refuge and pitching a tent, that’s doable as long as there are no weather extremes to contend with. However, don’t forget that you could be there for a long period of time and, sooner or later, it will start to become a hardship on you and your family. Unless, you are avid campers, who are accustomed to extended camping trips. To me, the best option is a cabin deep in the wilderness or a house on a sparsely inhabited, private island off the coast. It just depends on, realistically, how large of a financial investment you can make or want to make in securing your bug-out location.
Your Financial Investment AbilityThe financial investment in your bug-out location can be as elaborate as a cabin or house or as simple as a camper or tent. Ideally, being able to purchase a piece of land and then gradually improving on it is the way to go. Things to also consider, along with a reliable water source, are: is it far enough “off the beaten track” and is the weather going to be an issue. When you’re looking at your financial investment, don’t forget to include stocking your bug-out location with food and supplies. This will be an ongoing process as even “non-perishable” food has expiration dates and will need to be replaced periodically. Although “living off the land” would reduce some of your financial investment, it’s not a reality unless you’re seriously an expert in wilderness survival skills. If you have a family, this is absolutely not an option, even as a temporary plan until martial law at home is lifted. Your bug-out location must be well-stocked with everything that you and your family needs and this means preparing ahead of time.