Once disaster strikes, every decision you make will have an effect on whether you survive or not. Making the right call will keep you and your loved ones alive. Failing to take immediate action and not using all the information you have, will drastically lower your chances of survival. When disaster strikes, you have to be ready and you have to know what to do.
The most critical decision you must make is if you stay or if you evacuate, and the sooner you know what to do the better you will be. To decide if you need to bug out or if you need to bug in, you need information, and this means you have to tune in and listen. Having a HAM radio or a police scanner will provide you with a fantastic advantage when a disaster strikes. Some people prefer to have them both and that for good reason. The police scanner will provide you with the filtered information while the HAM radio will provide you with the raw reality, as seen by the radio operators. If you hear anything that makes you feel uncomfortable about staying at your current location, don’t think, just go!
Another aspect that influences the decision to say or to go when a disaster strikes is the integrity of your home. If it was damaged to the point it poses a safety hazard, then it is obvious you will have to relocate.
On the other side, if you decide to bug in, you must ask yourself, can I protect my home from the elements, can I make it secure against intrusions? If the answer is yes, you can stay and hold down the fort. When a disaster strikes, only you and your family should know about your emergency preparedness plans and about the supplies you’ve stockpiled. Even a simple text from your kids, sent to their friends can bring unwanted attention. Kids these days are used to put everything online and you should make sure your kids don’t brag about your protection measures.
Related reading: How to bug in and survive
There are some people that even if their home is heavily damaged, they will decide to build a temporary shelter on their propriety and rebuild. Rebuilding it’s something that is hard-coded in our spirit and there are those who will prefer to stay due to various reasons (mostly sentimental). While somehow I can understand this, you have to think about the aftermath and not only about the present. When a disaster strikes, the beginning of the event can be just the tip of the iceberg.
In heavily populated urban environments, building a temporary shelter it just isn’t an option. You have to think about personal safety first. The effects of a crisis will turn cities into certain death traps. Lack of utilities, supply chain disruptions, damaged roads and civil unrest are all part of the aftermath. If a disaster strikes and you are caught in the city, you should do whatever you can to leave and find safety elsewhere.
People during a crisis will turn to the authorities for help and when help is not forthcoming, they will turn against the government. If that happens, you know what’s coming next; Martial law. Even though martial law is an unpleasant scenario, if you’ve made it until that point, you have a good chance of survival. Your chance of survival will increase only if you know what to do under martial law. I’ve written in a previous article about how you can survive martial law and I advise you to read it.
You might have noticed that I said “if you’ve made it until that point”. The reality is that most of our fellow citizens will not make it until Martial law is declared. Civil unrest will become a nightmare for some. When the streets get full of people, there will be destruction of propriety and there will be violence against others. If a disaster strikes, its ripple effect will cause the human factor to become unstable and unpredictable. Certain elements of society can’t wait for something to happen, to be able to victimize others by looting and other criminal activity, under the cover of the survival pretext. It is funny how during a disaster the food remains almost untouched and the liquor, tobacco and electronics vanish first. I can’t understand how an Ipad will help you survive more than bread and water, but maybe I’m just being judgmental.
Regardless how it will all go down when a disaster strikes, make sure you have your bug out bags fully packed and ready to go. Leaving a heavily populated area should be your first option in case of disaster and especially if civil unrest starts boiling.
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If a disaster strikes, be prepared for when reality kicks in.
We have to understand that once the reality sets in and people realize they are in a survival situation, desperation comes along and you don’t want to be around when that happens. Those that did not prepare will be seeking out those who did prepare, and they won’t ask nicely. First, you will have to expect the “friendly lechers” as I call them. The friends and family that think you are crazy when you talk about emergency preparedness, the same ones that will joke and say; “I know where to come if SHTF”. Trust me, that’s no joke and you will have to decide at some point who gets in and who stays out. You will not be able to turn your back to those who ask for help and in the end, it is all up to you. If a disaster strikes, nobody can tell you what decision you should make or if the one you took was right or wrong. Your family comes first and you have to look out for their well-being.
And second, there are those who will try to take what you have. Personally, I think that it is not worth dying for a can of beans. If you are in a heavily populated area and you find yourself in this type of situation, leaving may be the best option. There will be those who want to stay and defend what’s theirs, but they have to be well prepared. Military training should be a must for those people, otherwise they won’t be able to fend off waves and waves of looters. Even with all the guns and ammo in the world, mathematically it is impossible to survive when you are under constant siege. Not to mention that there are those who will burn down your house with you in it, if they don’t manage to get their hands on your supplies. Human nature can be destructive and that’s a reality. You must remember that people will do things during a crisis that they would never otherwise consider.
If you decide to stay, fortify your home by covering windows and doors. Although it’s recommended to take precautionary measures before a disasters strikes, you can have everything ready to board up your windows and doors, and do it once the time comes. Criminals like to take the path of least resistance and once they realize you have prepared and you can put up a good fight, they will hopefully move on to find a less prepared victim.
Related article: Home Defense at it’s finest
If you decided to evacuate, do it just before the sun rises. Make sure you have the necessary means to do so (a bug out vehicle and a survival bag) and that you have mapped alternatives routes to get out of the hazard area. You should also have a target, you shouldn’t go on the road if you don’t have anywhere to go. Changing your mind and changing routes too often will take a toll on your supplies and your physical strength. If you evacuate by foot, make sure you avoid commercial areas of town and do not engage anyone in crowds or demonstrations. Move swiftly and keep you head high. Criminals look for victims that appear distracted or are not paying attention. If you show confidence you can avoid confrontation.
Whatever you do, don’t slip away at dark. Nighttime is a dangerous time when a disaster strikes and the criminals will take advantage of the dark to do their looting. Anyone that is not a criminal will stand out and become a target. Since looters have to sleep as well and since they don’t like to operate during daytime, it will be the perfect time for you to move without drawing as much attention to yourself.
Keep in mind that there will be others leaving as well if a disaster strikes and starting alliances with them might not be a good idea. You should do this only with the people you trust or with the ones you could read. If you know their motives and if you have some idea of their character, they can tag along. There’s safety in numbers after all.
Staying or going when a disaster strikes is a decision that only you can take. You have to keep in mind the various factors and how they will impact the integrity of your home and the health of your family. There is no one that can tell you what to do and what’s best for your family. Survival depends on knowledge, environment and the skills to make the environment work in your advantage.
Stay safe and God Bless!
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