If you have to Bug Out, my last preference is to evacuate to a mass shelter.  I am not a big fan of shelters (Remember the Super Dome fiasco?) but if you find yourself with no emergency supplies and nowhere to go, an emergency shelter is better than the alternative.  Shelters usually take on the tone of the communities they serve and the people who manage them. They can be great with supplies and capable staff or they can be under supplied, have little security, and be a haven for bullies and thugs.

Shelter Dos and Don’ts
Many of the suggestions in this section are based on information I first read in “Shoestring Survivalism” by Andy James published by Paladin Press. It is one of my recommend books.

Where to Set-up
1. Choose carefully who you bunk by. Size up the people and put your cots by others you feel good about and who you believe are of like mind.

Dogs and wolves hunt in packs because it increases their chance for a kill. Bad guys hunt in packs for the same reason. They pick on the weakest person they can find. They want their meal to come with as little effort as possible and with as little risk of harm to themselves as possible. The lesson here is not to look like a weak, easy meal.

There is also strength in numbers for the good guys. Make friends with your neighbors and watch each other’s backs.

2.  Choose a location not too far from the bathrooms but not too close to smell them.

3.  Choose a location not too far from the food and beverage area so you can be one of the first in line when food is served but not too close to be bothered by the lines and smell the trash.

Volunteer to Help
Become a valuable asset to the management staff. You’ll be let in on the inside info about available services.

What to Take With You
Put people in a situation where there are limited resources and someone will become a thief.
In a shelter, anything that is of value to you will be of value to someone else in the shelter. Small inexpensive essential things like personal hygiene items will become valuable to someone who doesn’t have them. Anything of value you take into the shelter is at risk of being taken. If you bring jewelry and other small high value items with you, they will be a risk and a burden to you. You have to keep their presence a secret in a place where there is very little privacy.

I suggest not taking your jewelry and valuables to the shelter with you. If you can, leave them at home in a safe or in a safety deposit box. If you bring them with you to the shelter, keep them on you at all times in some sort of hidden pouch that is worn under your clothing.

For the things you do take to the shelter, you will need a way to secure them. Buy an old Army duffle bag. They are water repellant, and can hold a lot. They have backpack straps for easy carry and they can be locked with a padlock, and can be easily locked to your cot.

Shelter Supply List
Don’t assume there will be an endless supply of necessities at the shelter. Remember anything you bring can be lost or stolen. With so many people, someone will see where you hide or keep things. Small portable things need to be secured.

• Small Battery Powered Radio – to keep informed
• Music Player – to beat boredom
• Electronic Pocket Games – to keeps kids busy
• Ear Buds – great for listening to music in privacy
• Good Supply of Extra Batteries – to keep your electronics going
• Small Task Flashlight – to move about at night
• Smart Phone and charger – for when cell towers are back up
• Journal/Paper & Pencil – keep information handy
• Fanny Pack – for electronics and other portables to keep them with you

Personal Hygiene
Use the shelter’s supplies first. Save your supplies as the last resort.
• Prescription Medications
• Ibuprofen – or other pain reliever
• Imodium – or other anti-diarrheal
• Sudafed – or other decongestant
• Benadryl – or other anti-histamine
• Toothbrush and Toothpaste
• Deodorant
• Hand Sanitizer – to keep the germs away
• Soap – hotel size bar soap or larger bar cut into smaller pieces
• Shampoo – several hotel size bottles
• Toilet Paper – one roll per person, commercial type with lots of sheets
• Towel – one that will dry you off but will air dry easily
• Wash Cloth or Handkerchief – for washing and splash baths

Go for simple and comfortable.
• Oversize Tees and Sweats in winter, Shorts in summer – several changes
• Socks and underwear – several changes
• Good walking shoes – you may have to walk to or from the shelter
• Flip Flops – great for the showers

You probably won’t need it in the shelter if you have come prepared but some cash will come in handy to get you back home. Do not take more than $100. If anyone finds out that you have cash it can certainly attract the wrong kind of attention. Keep it hidden with you other valuables.

Important Documents
Take copies of important documents that will help you establish identity, prove ownership and file insurance claims in an emergency aftermath. I suggest you leave your originals at home in a safe or in a safety deposit box.

Be careful to safeguard your document copies to avoid identity theft. I suggest scanning the document and keeping them all on a USB thumb drive. Just keep the thumb drive in your fanny pack, on your person. You can encrypt the files or place them in a hidden file for added security.
• Drivers Licenses
• Passports
• Birth Certificates
• Social Security Cards
• Address Book with Phone Numbers
• House Insurance
• Inventory of Valuables
• Vehicle Insurance
• Medical & Dental Insurance
• Vehicle Titles
• Trust Deeds
• Promissory Notes
• Marriage Certificates
• Military Service Records
• Other Important Documents
• USB Thumb drive or portable computer hard drive with copies of family photos and videos

Other Items
• Roll of Duct Tape – a million uses
• 100 feet of 550 paracord – hang up clothes to dry
• Sheet – hang with paracord to give privacy, reduce noise and light
• Earplugs – several pair of disposables to cut noise so you can sleep
• Eye Mask – cut light so you can sleep or nap
• Lightweight Folding Camp Chair – one per person

Put any group of people together and it will include thieves, predators and perverts. Most thieves, predators and perverts are opportunist. Thieves look for unattended items that are easily taken without notice. Predators and perverts look for victims that are alone, isolated and out of earshot of others.

As stated above, either keep your things locked up and secured or keep them on your person in a fanny pack or under clothing security pouch.

Personal Security
First and foremost keep around groups of other people. Don’t wander away alone or go anywhere that is dark or away from other people. Be vigilant and watchful. Know who is around you. Make note of anyone who is watching you. Learn to recognize if you are being flanked or stalked. Always tell someone where you are going and use the buddy system; it is especially important for women and children.

Self-Defense Basics
These basic skills and information are important for everyone but especially for women, children and seniors. Predators and perverts prey on the weak and they see women, children, and seniors as weak, at least more so than 18-50 yr old men. In a civilized world you shouldn’t have to worry about this but, if you are a woman, make sure you are not drawing unwanted attention by showing too much skin.

Be aware of your surroundings. Notice if you catch someone watching or staring at you often. Notice if anyone follows you around. Notice if someone goes out of their way to position themselves in your path so that you have to pass close to them. Learn to notice small groups of 2 or 3 people trying to corner you, block your way or flank you.

If you find yourself in trouble:
Yell, scream or blow a whistle if you are cornered, stopped or detained.
Immediately hit, kick, fight, scream, yell and try to run if you are grabbed or about to be grabbed. Go after the face, eyes and groin.

Self-Defense Weapons
The shelter will not let you bring traditional defense weapons like a gun or knife into the shelter. But there are many innocent items you can take into the shelter that can be used as a defense weapon. Add these to your Shelter Supply List.
• Whistle – a loud, shrill whistle can bring attention – one per person
• Cane – allowed anywhere, even on an airplane – a formidable weapon if needed. There is a lot of information and even some free videos on the web on how to select and use a cane for defense.
• Knitting Needles – Learn to knit and take some yarn and knitting needles along. Also allowed on airplanes.
• Small Scissors – A small pair for your knitting or kid’s arts projects. Just keep them under 3” and you should be allowed to have them.
• Kubaton – Small innocent looking weapon. Again do some research online for how to use a kubaton for self-defense. Kubatons are being more recognized as weapons so you may have to opt for kubaton like object. Metal or other sturdy pen. Big sturdy marker. Dowel rod. Toothbrush. I saw a woman do some incredible damage to an assailant with a toothbrush in each hand. Strike targets are the face, eyes, ears, neck, throat, groin, and any pressure point.

If you plan on going to a shelter in case of an emergency, then go buy an army duffle bag and a pad lock and gather all the items you need to go to a shelter. In a real emergency you may not have time to gather supplies. Have your shelter bag packed and ready to go.

Remember once you evacuate, it maybe many weeks before you are allowed to return to your home.
For more information on Bugging out, check out my book “Keep It Simple Survival, Stay or Bug Out”.

Ed Rogers
Copyright “Keep It Simple” 2012. All Rights Reserved.

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