Places to Avoid at all Costs When SHTF

Places to Avoid at all Costs When SHTFThere are so many different things and scenarios we find ourselves prepping for, food caches, bug out plans, what to do if…, etc. It can become overwhelming and we end up forgetting about important matters. Like for example the places to avoid when the brown stuff hits the fan.

This is an important topic that is good to know regardless of the imminent survival scenario lurking around the corner.

How about facts such as, for example, that roughly two-thirds of the United States population is located on the eastern half of our states? Did you ever stop to think what that could really potentially mean?

And if we are being completely honest with ourselves, the greatest threat to you and your family’s safety is, in many cases, other people. No, all humans are not bad, and that is not what is being said. Obviously, we all, together, make the world go round. So, therefore, this is not some “hate all humans and hermit yourself into your bunker until all is safe” kind of article.

The human factor

Under “normal” circumstances, most (major emphasis) people are naturally good natured and would give you the shirts of their back. However, once people find themselves in a SHTF scenario, there is no telling how each individual will react.

Regular folk, just like you or I, will be doing what they absolutely need to in order to provide for their families and this can quickly become a threat to you. When you have large numbers of people whom are scared and willing to do anything to get away from immediate danger, you may find yourself grasping the difference between life and death for your family.

There are going to be people breaking into pawn shops and gun stores for munitions. People will be invading hospitals and E.R. facilities to get treatment and medical supplies. Imagine an armed gang overtaking a hospital…

So when the proverbial S hits the big Fan, how can you as a prepper plan to bug out (or in) while being aware of the most dangerous places to avoid? How are you going to mitigate population density to increase your chances of keeping your family safe?

The number one problem people run into during an emergency is that they find themselves unprepared and then the terrible tantrum of panic sets in. When sensing danger, humans first instinct (typically) is to flee. This in itself can cause one hell of a mess in an immediate survival scenario.

Recommended reading:How To Travel When SHTF

In this article, we will be discussing the top places to avoid when SHTF. Surely we have all seen what happens prior to a major storm or foreseen emergency; store shelves stripped of their typical products; you’ve seen impossibly long lines at hardware stores where people are buying plywood, generators and other emergency necessities.

But what about after SHTF? Have you ever watched news clips, read stories online, or seen pictures and videos of what happens after a major emergency takes place. Looters are cleaning out shoe departments, clothing outlets, and raiding electronic stores for “free” stuff.

Look back the situation at Ferguson a few years ago. Something went awry, and in the panic of the populous, businesses were looted, homes were caught on fire, and a mob tore apart the streets.

Again, this article will be about obvious places to avoid when things go awry, such as superstores (Walmart, Target, etc.), clothing stores, shopping malls, and electronic stores. Also covered in this article will be places that you may have never thought of, but still the same can be very dangerous post-emergency.

Places To Avoid when SHTF

During disorder and disarray, generally people do one of two things: tuck in and button up in the home (bug in) or seek safety and substance elsewhere (bug out).

After an emergency event takes place and the rule of law is stretched so thin as to near nonexistence, people are going to target places such as the office of a Dentist In New York, doctors’ offices, and urgent care offices for medical supplies.

People are going to go “loot crazy” and attempt to fill their houses with things they could not afford before the emergency (even if it is in vain…). People are going to be raiding any store that has food and liquids.

Minus the looting portion, some of you preppers out there may have had the same idea (I recommend you spend some time studying how to get supplies when s does htf. As important as it is to know where to find supplies after SHTF, it is equally important to know what places to avoid. Violence and disease will become rampant, so history shows us.

Post-collapse, here are some places you should consider avoiding (or if you do “go in” for emergencies sake, at least have some knowledge of what could be happening before you go in). It is likely that looters and the lesser society will be drawn to these sorts of places and it would be best to avoid them at all costs:


These should be evaded under all circumstances. It is well known that risk of infection (especially in a hospital) is high, even under typical circumstances. However, as people begin dying, these places will become a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.

The chances are that in an emergency situation, hospitals will begin to quickly fill with patients who are extremely bad off. This alone will put you at risk for some serious emotional trauma, which also has an ugly effect on you during times of already existing stress.

Not to mention, they’ll attract crowds of people, and crowds are exactly what you want to avoid.

Large Shopping Malls and Public Squares

As things begin to grow chaotic just before or right after SHTF, you will not want to find yourself near a large shopping mall or a public square. These places will soon become a lair for despairing, angry people. Also, rioting, looting and violence will be a mock in these areas, therefore deeming them best to avoid.

Choke Points/Bottleneck Points

Choke points are places where people will be forced together by the routes they have decided to take. It is the same principle with bottleneck points; these areas are anywhere that a majority of people much travel in order to get out of a neighborhood, city, county, or state.

When the SHTF, a lot of people are going to be bugging out and some of them will not do in the best way. These will be the ones to be wary of, panicked people who are just trying to get away from whatever has happened and who are more than likely short on supplies and not sure of what to do.

If several hundred or thousands of people are attempting to flee the same area, and everyone has to cross the same bridge in order to get out of  dodge, that point will quickly become a bottleneck point. Bridges, tunnels, causeways, and freeway ramps are all examples of points that can soon after SHTF become choke/bottleneck points.

Transport Infrastructure

Yes, obviously modern transport connections make our lives much easier, however, during a SHTF situation they can turn dangerous if not deadly. Imagine for a moment the chaos of a large airport after a major crisis. Major highways are obviously a problem as well. You will want to avoid the risks of collapsing transport systems.

Another reason to avoid transport nodes, especially if there is an EMP or nuclear threat, is that they will become targets. Airports and harbors, as well as highway intersections and bridges, become target points for when they are destroyed the transport network is slowed down and paralyzed. Mark them on your places to avoid list.

FEMA Camps

If you have properly prepped, stay far away from the grimy scenes of a FEMA camp. Here you will find a constant and savage competition for the limited resources found there. The camp itself will be enveloped by people trying to get in or find food. City parks, conservation areas, and state parks will soon after SHTF become refugee habitats for the unprepared.

Some people don’t see FEMA camps as places to avoid when it hits the fan and they consider such places their salvation. These people are the unprepared, the ones that live in denial. They will turn quickly on others when stuff will run out.

Major Cities

In any serious crisis, large cities will break down extremely fast. Utilities will soon begin to fail, law enforcement and emergency services will be over-stressed, and all hell will soon break loose. Eventually, if the crisis goes on long enough, cities will become infested with disease and violence.

Also, there will not be much to find after SHTF because anything of any value will have been looted much earlier in the crisis. In most cities, it will take around three days for essential supplies to begin running out (which is something that the dwellers of said city are typically not prepared for, which leads to more trouble; and more reason to steer clear). In the city, things will only continue to get worse and worse.

Gas Stations, Auto Parts, and Convenience Stores

Desperate people will flock to these sort of stores. These are the first places they will think of to locate supplies. For anyone who wasn’t previously prepared, getting gas will be nearly impossible.

Long lines and tempers flaring will be reason enough to sit this one out. Once the pumps run dry and the shelves become barren wastelands, you can only imagine the violence that will break out. Surely you get the picture.

Hardware and Sporting Goods Stores

Guns, ammo, knives, bats, and any other tools that one can be used for protection will be high up on the checklist of looters. This deems sporting goods and hardware stores a dangerously busy place just before and after SHTF.

If you don’t already have weapons prior to SHTF, your best bet is to improvise with something around the house or in a different place than the looting hotspots that will become off hardware and sporting goods stores. Gun stores should be avoided for the exact same reasons.

Banks, Check-Cashing, & Pawn Shops

Probably the first thing people will want to do when SHTF is accessing their money. They will wish to pull their cash out of their bank accounts. For this reason alone, banks, loan and check cashing offices will become overflowed with people seeking cash.

If services are down either due to computer shutdowns or the fact that all the cash is already depleted, the desperate folks who believed that cash would get them the supplies needed to survive will become even more desperate and therefore dangerous.

Military Bases

For unmistakable reason, military bases are definitely a no-go. They are targets for nuclear/terrorist attacks, not to mention, do you really want to go perusing around because are protected by trained, nervous soldiers who will be just as startled as you?


During the crisis, the security of prisons will be under extreme tension. If the power fails, lighting, alarms and potentially locks could fail. There will be a high risk for escapes, and we can all envision how that may go… These escapees will be much more than desperate.

Large Social Gatherings and Public Events

It may be tempting to join a large gathering, for there is some strength in numbers, and it is sometimes nice to feel the reassurance that others are in the same boat as you. However, if you surmise in the least that things around you are getting a bit chaotic, get out of Dodge.

If you discern civil or economic disturbance or any other precursor to unrest, avoid large gatherings at all costs. If trouble is in the air, avoid major public events. These places will be filled with large crowds of people making them targets for terrorist attacks.

Recommended article: How To Travel Through Hostile Environments

What to do Instead:

Now that we have a better grasp on places to avoid let’s discuss a few tips on how to go about avoiding these places while maintaining your chances of survival.

  • Begin to form the habit of keeping your fuel tanks in your vehicles (that you use regularly) at least three quarters full all the time. It would also be ideal to store additional fuel in validated containers at home and at your bug out location.
  • Keep up with the maintenance on your vehicle. Yes, this is important and beneficial for a slew of reasons; especially executing a proper bug out the operation. Keep the most common parts, such as belts, spark plugs, brake fluid and engine oil, etc., in your stockpile. Keep a manual of your specific vehicle around (it also is handy for a multitude of reasons). Elevate your knowledge on simple repairs.
  • Safely store a stockpile of “emergency” cash to avoid last minute bank runs.
  • Keep an inventory of any personal self-defense armaments. This includes any potential items, such as shovels, hatchets, axes, bats, chains, etc. Know what you have as well as how to use it properly.
  • Plan your way out prior to shtf. Have a bug out plan mapped out: meaning go ahead and remark the necessary routes on the appropriate maps and have your family trained to know what to do from where ever they are when SHTF. Have special, alternative routes pre-planned.
  • Map out any sources of freshwater within a decent radius of your safe zone. Be sure to have some sort of water purification set up. A hand water pump and collapsible water container will be of use as well.
  • Reserve lightweight food, some water, as well medical supplies in order to avoid a run to any stores. Have a stockpile at both your bug out location and your everyday domicile. You may even want to place strategic caches along some of your mapped routes.

Conclusion on places to avoid

Above are some key places to avoid when SHTF. Crowds, in general, are a thing to elude, as there is always a roaring beast named violence waiting just beneath the surface of the every day, hustling and bustling.

Especially post-SHTF, you will want to always immediately avoid large crowds or areas with a lot of folks moseying around. You will need to have a good bit of insight and intuition to make it through just a few encounters with others.

Taking on a whole crowd, when you are prepared and they not, of desperate sheeple will not be very easy. Once they see that you have supplies, you will quickly come into some dangerous times.

You must be able to take care of you and yours. This is not some hate speech against fellow humans, nor does it promote that sort of perception. It is simply a truth that if everyone, while simultaneously keeping a level head, would simply mind their own and be courteous to others while doing so, we could co-exist until things cooled off, got better, or…well, who knows.

When things are running smooth, it is easy to get caught up in the everyday comforts. People are living and working closely together to keep the modern society operating smoothly. But let SHTF and “other people” will surely become a danger and threat to your survival.

The article ” Places to Avoid at all Costs” has been written by Jonathan Blaylock for Prepper’s Will.

Other Useful Resources:

Learn how to Safeguard your Home against Looters

The Best EMP survival and preparedness guide available for the general public

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

A DIY Project to Generate Clean Water Anywhere

3 thoughts on “Places to Avoid at all Costs When SHTF”

  1. I have been a ‘prepper’ for many, many years and, one little piece at a time, have accrued everything I can think of to delay the inevitable in a remote location; e.g., what about the aftermath (?). In all honesty, I am scared to death. The ‘what if’s’ can scare the living daylights out of even (the most) prepared senior citizens like myself. I’m still missing something, though… those scenarios I haven’t mentally, or emotionally, prepared for; the unknown.
    God speed to all and may Almighty God forgive America.🙏

  2. You talked about storing fuel for your vehicles. Could you give instructions for doing this safely? Gas has a fairly short lifespan as I understand. Is there a way to extend that & how long will it last? Thanks.


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