During a SHTF event, potential hostiles could be anywhere and only your wits will help you get to your safe place. If you are forced to travel through hostile environments where the human factor poses a real danger you need to have a plan and some common sense.
When things heat up in your area, you must leave quickly and quietly if you don’t want to become part of a gruesome statistic. If you get stuck in the wrong place, chances are you will be attacked by thieves or other elements of society that wish you harm. In order to avoid capture and move undetected, there are a few rules you should follow.
Strategies for safe travel through hostile environments:
Blending in against all odds
Under pressure, most people cannot concentrate and they fail to blend in. They make glaring mistakes that will give away their position. Making noise and light should be avoided, especially if you travel at night. You can blend in quickly as long as you follow your senses when you move through hostile environments. Your brain is a powerful survival tool and it is designed to keep you alive. It does its job even when danger is lurking at every corner.
It has the ability to filter out or ignore information that would create stimulus: sounds, movements, colors and threats. By doing so, it will prevent you from acting in a way that would trigger a predator’s instinct. As a quick example, your brain can ignore the sound of a clock or ceiling fan, but it will trigger a fast response if you hear glass break. The same goes for any other sound that implies a dangerous scenario.
Choosing the proper clothing is also another factor that needs proper planning. You should always wear the colors of your environment. If you need to travel through hostile environments, you should at least know some details regarding those environments. When getting stuck in a forest, wearing camouflage would be the obvious choice. If you get stuck in the city, things change entirely and you need to choose your clothing based on the environment and time of the day.
The time of day is critical
If you travel during nighttime, you should wear dark clothing (blue, black and grey) that will not reflect light. Leather should be avoided, because it reflects light, but also because it makes noise when rubbed against itself. Keep in mind that you need to get rid of accessories such as sunglasses, belt buckles, watches when you travel through hostile environments. Those items will twinkle like a beacon. The same goes for the bulky items from your backpack that could make noise if dangled at a fast pace.
If you travel during daylight, you have to figure out if there are any people around. If that’s the case, you need to make sure you can blend with them. Look at what they are wearing and leave your tactical clothing behind. Travel like they do and act how they act. Your bug out bag or get home bag should not be anything extravagant. The bag you’re carrying should look like a regular backpack. If there are no people around, you should not be out in the open. Use back alleys and every other urban element that provides you with cover and keeps you out of sight.
You need to assess the situation
To understand how you should travel through hostile environments, you have to stop and evaluate the situation in a calmly manner. If you are in the wrong part of town and in danger because of who you are, you should not let your emotions control you. Never initiate a conflict with the people around. Most rioters and protesters are just waiting for a reason to get violent. There is a thing called mob mentality and you should avoid being dragged in it.
You are better off to distance yourself from the crowd. Say whatever you want about the mob and their beliefs when you get to safety. It’s better if you swallow your pride when someone throws emotional outbursts at you. Don’t draw attention and get to the outside of the crowd as soon as possible. You have to understand that if someone throws a punch at you, everyone else will join in and you have no chance of dealing with multiple attackers at the same time. Forget about using your gun as rioters may turn into shooters as well. It’s not the survival of the fittest contest. You need to detach yourself both physically and emotionally from the crowd.
Related reading: Know your region before disaster strikes
Don’t run, just don’t!
When faced with a problematic situation most people think that running is their best chance of evading and escaping a threat as quickly as possible. Running will trigger a predator’s instinct, and you will only draw attention to yourself. Not to mention that running blindly due to panic will get you lost and will eventually get you into trouble. When you travel through hostile environments, you’re better off if you walk at a steady pace, rather than running like there’s no tomorrow. Increase the step count gradually as you follow the map you brought along. Always check if the alternative routes are obstructed or not.
It is essential to pay attention to your environment and look for available escape routes, long before the triggering event. If you travel daily with your face glued to your phone, you will not be able to notice the blatant and less obvious routes of your town. Next time you take the bus or your travel by foot, take the time and look around. You will be amazed by how many things you didn’t notice in the first place.
Frequent and brief stops to catch your breath
When you travel through hostile environments, you need to stop frequently to catch your breath if you want to keep a steady pace. It will help you maintain a certain level of silence and you will also be able to acquire new information to change your plans if needed. Stop and listen as you can’t predict how a crisis will unfold. Always wait standing to be able and stay alert and move suddenly if the situation requires you to do so.
Even if you are fit and you think you don’t need to stop, you should be vigilant about your surroundings in order to reevaluate your plans. Stopping often when you travel through hostile environments will also give you the chance to be observant. You will be able to approach corners cautiously and avoid exposing yourself. Watch for movements in dark places and in the shadows and pay attention to unnatural sounds.
Anticipate obstacles before it’s too late
For this strategy to work, you need to know your region. Like I said before, the more you know about your living area, the better you will become at preventing road blocks or any other obstacles. Understanding the layout of the streets can reveal any upcoming barriers and it will dictate how your escape path changes.
If you know there is a shopping area ahead, and there are looters all around the city, logic dictates to stay away from that area. If there is a police station ahead or an iconic landmark nearby and people are protesting for human rights, you might as well stay away from those areas. Knowing about sensitive areas ahead of time will work in your favor when you have to travel through hostile environments.
Suggested reading: Ask yourself these questions when a crisis arises
Use your environment to stay covered
Every environment can offer some sort of cover and protection if you pay attention to it. There are various ways you can use your environment to your advantage. Blending in with the buildings by staying close to them is indicated for urban environments. Walking on the side of the street that has no streetlights or avoid crossing in front of storefronts will keep you concealed. You should avoid parking lots, wide streets and every other open area that makes you a possible target.
If you travel through hostile environments an open area such as a pasture or wide road should be avoided at all costs because you will get exposed, but you will also reveal your direction of travel. Open areas can be monitored from different angles, and you never know who could be watching.
There is no room for trust anymore
Trust is hard to get even during the daily routines of our lives, so what makes you think you can trust people when the brown stuff hits the fan? You should trust no one when you travel through hostile environments. Everyone, you don’t know personally may be or become part of the problem. If you are on your own and if there are too many unknowns for the ordeal you’re going through is better if you avoid other people.
While there is safety in number and it can provide you with a solution to your immediate problem, is just not the time to make alliances. You can do that once the threat is no longer present or the event has ended. Forming a survival group doesn’t happen on the spot or overnight. You should keep your distance until the situation is contained if you don’t want to get hurt.
Traveling through hostile environments requires a keen sense of observation and situational awareness. Keeping a right balance between obliviousness and paranoia is necessary when moving through hostile environments. If you can sense danger before stumbling across it will significantly increase your chances of survival.
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