We prepare for the worst and we do everything we can to assure the safety of our loved ones. However, a crisis can hit unexpectedly and the timing and manner in which you act will determine your odds for survival. Before you start evacuating or hunkering down, there are some questions you need to ask yourself.
A crisis can occur with little to no warning at all and most people will panic when time is running out. The event itself will dictate your actions and response time, but for things to work out you need to develop a crisis mindset.
Ideally, we should all be aware of the signs of an impending disaster or crisis. However, with everything that is going on it’s quite difficult to develop a good sense of awareness. If a crisis hits your area, you should remain calm and find the answers for the following questions:
Am I Ok and is everyone else that counts OK as well?
An event can affect your physical condition. Many people realize that they are hurt only after the event has ended. This is a common situation during terrorist attacks and due to the panic installed people do not realize that their well-being may be at risk. Regardless of the nature of the event, you should make sure that you are OK. Once that is established, check that everyone close to you is OK as well. Under certain conditions, you might not be able to provide assistance to everyone around you. When that’s the case, your loved ones should be the main and only priority. If they are not in the same area as you, the next step would be to contact them or try to reach their location. It all depends on your escape/bugging out plan.
Related article: How to stay safe in a big crowd
What happened? (not why)
Logic dictates that one should get as much Intel about the event as possible in the shortest amount of time, but often people will waste time trying to figure out the details. You need to know what happened, where it happened and where it is heading, anything else can wait for when you reached safety. Curiosity is a strong habit of our human nature, but you shouldn’t risk your integrity just to seek out information. The type of details that might not be useful during that particular place and time. For example, if there’s a chaos in the building and you find out is a shooter (by hearing gun shots) causing mayhem, you can work with that piece of information. You need to know where he is located and where is he going. You don’t need to know who the shooter is or what the motivations behind the attack are.
Is it safe to be here?
You need to establish if the event affected the integrity of your home or shelter, or if it will in the near future. If there are cracks in the walls or if there are holes in the roof you need to leave your home. It may crash down on you, trapping you for God knows how long. A crisis may develop quickly and you need to act based on the information you have.
If a hurricane is bound to hit your area, you should get to a safe, underground shelter. If waters are rising and a flood is heading your way, your best chances of making it are getting at the top floors of your home or on the roof since you can’t outrun a flood. Your next actions depend on the crisis you have to face. You should evacuate if you think it’s not safe to stay put.
If I need to move, how fast and how far do I need to go?
The answers to these questions should be found in your bug out plan. You need to have one if evacuation is part of your prepping plans. At least, have a destination point with two or three alternative routes and some stopping points (rendezvous points, observation points and caching/provisions points). Your bug out plan timing should be calculated based on the distance you have to travel and the means you have to do so (by foot or by vehicle). Every stopping point will affect the timing you have planned. The speed will most certainly be influenced by the time of travel (daylight or nighttime). You can’t calculate precisely the time needed to reach your destination and there should be no room for assumption. You should practice based on your bug out plan after you’ve built it, to make sure is feasible for everyone.
Related article: How to travel when SHTF
Based on the nature of the event, where should I go?
Although this may sound like common sense for those who have a bug out plan, things don’t always go as planned and you might have to rethink your actions. In case the event is heading towards your safe heaven, going there should be out of the question. If the event is blocking all your routes (like massive wildfire) hunkering down may be the next option. If your family is out of town or anywhere else that would require a long detour, your destination point may change more than once. Having a bug out plan is without a doubt the right way to go, but having a backup plan to your bug out plan should also be considered.
What do I have available to take with me?
If you have a bug out bag ready your chances of survival increase considerably. A get home bag is the next best thing and it should help you reach your home or at least give you a head start until you reach your bug out location. If you are not preparedness minded and you don’t have a survival bag ready. You should take with you all the supplies that will keep you alive, the ones you can carry. Food, water, shelter systems and items that provide protection should all be on your list.
You should take with you only the things you can carry. The ones that won’t make traveling difficult (regardless if you go by foot or vehicle). All the important documents should be part of your survival bag, but you should also consider bringing some cash for unexpected needs. If time allows it, take pictures of your home (inside and outside) before you go. This will allow you to notice if something is missing when you get back and it will also help with the insurance.
Suggested reading: Get Home Bag essentials
What role does the current season play in my survival plan?
Fleeing to the woods during winter will dictate a different game plan than summer. Your bug out bag might not be updated to cover the needs of the environment during a particular season. This needs to be taken into account. While a crisis dictates your next moves, the time of the year will affect your prepping plans. You should be certain you are equipped to face the coming weather. Driving is different on snow and it will affect your traveling speed and the time needed to reach your destination. If you travel by foot, making a shelter and preparing a meal in winter is much more difficult than in summer. These are all things that one should consider before going on the road.
Am I alone in all of this?
If you are not alone and there are people nearby that require your attention, you should plan your action based on the nature of the crisis. Assuming you have the time and knowledge to help others, you should start by assessing their condition. Decide whether they need to be moved or not. Becoming a lone wolf or forming an improvised survival group are all actions that will be dictated by the nature of the crisis, your personality and the luxuries you have (time and resources). Choosing between being selfish or helping others is all up for debate. We should remember that not everyone is a hero.
Is it safe to go back or get out?
Regardless if you bug out or if you hunker down, at some point in time you will have to go back or emerge from your shelter. The hardest part is to decide when it is safe to go back to normality and everyone has a different timing. If you bug out, you should listen on the world and gather as much information as possible. Do this from the safety of your bug out location using any means you have (radio, TV, internet, etc.). If you hunkered down during the crisis, you should start by keeping a low profile and observe the outside world (you can use communication items or do some prospecting). The amount of resources you have will also dictate when it is time to return to normality and those who are bugging in may be forced to get out sooner if they don’t manage properly their supplies.
Recommended article: How to keep a low profile during SHTF
What are my next moves after the crisis ends?
The nature of the crisis will also dictate your next moves, but everyone should assume that the crisis will have long-term consequences. If you are well-prepared you can outlast most people and you won’t have to worry about the next few months. However, at some point you have to decide what you should concentrate your efforts on. Usually, rebuilding is the next step after each disaster. If the crisis has large scale consequences, reaching towards self-sufficiency would be the logical step, but that can’t be achieved without having planned for it in advance. Although it is almost impossible to predict the long-term consequences of a crisis, most preppers and survivalists agree that the world will be divided in two; self-sustaining people and scavengers. The type of person you will become is entirely up to you. It will certainly be defined by the skills and knowledge you have.
Do you make these fatal mistakes in a crisis as described in the video below?
If the current state of the world concerns you and if you feel that something is coming you should have all the answers for the questions listed above. Having any unknowns in your survival plan is not recommended. Now would be the time to identify and eliminate them because survival won’t be possible without proper planning.
Stay safe and God Bless!
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