To evacuate or not to evacuate. That is the question. All too often I hear others who jump to the conclusion that when faced with disaster, they plan to ‘bug out’. Evacuate. It’s like they believe that somehow things will be better… away from their home! As though strapping on a backpack filled with clever supplies and hitting the road or trail will somehow make it all better. I hear so much talk about bugging out – evacuate – heading for the hills. Well let me tell you – more often than not, this is probably not such a good idea.
Here’s what I mean. You must ask yourself what threshold of disaster needs to exist for you to evacuate? And more important, where will you go? How will you get there? Then what? If you had stayed home instead, would you be better off? How so?
To evacuate and leave most everything behind is a serious decision. It may put you at a huge disadvantage. Most people have most of their acquired ‘stuff’ inside their homes. To evacuate and leave your stores behind, and to rely upon what’s on your back or at your destination, is risky to say the least.
Let me clear the air right now, because I can hear some of you shouting at the screen saying, “What about the marauding zombie pillagers or government agents who will be going door-to-door taking everyone’s food and supplies!?” Here’s the thing… sure, there are some scenarios IF things got bad enough and IF you lived in a densely populated region and IF the disaster went on long enough, that you are at risk to encounter desperate people looking to feed themselves. But lets face it, there are strategies to avoid these problems while choosing not to evacuate, and staying safely at home, with a few caveats.
While there will always be a bad element within the human population, those that turn to criminal behavior during a long drawn out SHTF scenario, will be doing so out of desperation – not necessarily evil intent. There’s a difference, and this difference can make a big difference when it comes to avoidance.
What you need to do is put yourself in the shoes of a desperate man or woman who has become desperate to feed themselves or their family. They’ve run out of supplies. (Note that if you had decided to evacuate, you may have run out of supplies before these people did) The desperate will often first turn to their government for help. If that doesn’t work, their friends or family. If that doesn’t work, they will turn to their neighbors or perhaps a nearby church or parish hoping for a handout. If all that doesn’t work, some will beg more forcefully, some will starve, some will become demanding and resourceful. It is the latter that you will be concerned about.
Hopefully the resourcefulness will be foraging for food and drink in the wild. There is often plenty to eat in plain sight. Others though will begin searching for warehouses, stores, etc. to loot. Once these sources run dry, yes then they may go door to door in search of food, perhaps with others in the same condition of desperation.
Granted, it won’t take all that long for people to get cranky on an empty stomach, and to become desperate. All I’m saying is that you may be worse off if you evacuate or bug-out on impulse, if all you had to do was to stay put and use a few strategies to stay safe. Caveat: unless of course you must evacuate due to physical eminent danger (fire, hurricane, flood, nuclear fallout, etc.), update: or if you live within a major city (common sense – should go without saying).
You can remain fairly safe if you lay low, keep a low profile, stay under the radar, out of sight – out of mind. An effective strategy is to blend in with your neighbors and everyone else who is suffering around you. Seriously. While there may come a time when you must defend, you will stick out like a sore thumb if you are patrolling your perimeter in plain sight carrying your firearms, as though you had something to defend! You see, much of it is about appearances. Have you ever heard the saying “Things are not always what they appear to be”? Well it’s true. If you appear not have anything worth stealing, then thieves will move on to better prey. And trust me, there will always be better prey.
As a prepper, you probably have an adequate supply of food and water to make it through many types of disaster. A question is, where is it all stored? In plain sight? Have you considered ways to hide the majority of it (but not all of it) so that IF things deteriorated bad enough such that a desperate group, or individuals enter your home in search of food, would they see it or find it easily?
Part of your covert strategy should be to keep a little here and there within your home in relative plain sight, while effectively hiding the rest. Have plenty in reserve such that you can give away bits of it, all the while appearing destitute about it. Don’t give others a reason to believe that you have lots of food tucked away. For example, after leaving an ATM machine having just withdrawn $300, do you walk down the sidewalk waving your cash in the air? No, you probably put it away immediately. Do you leave cash laying around the house on counters and tables? No, you probably have it hidden away or in a safe somewhere. Get the idea? Food will be ‘money’ during a severe SHTF scenario.
In a round about way, I’m suggesting here that before you spend so much of your time planning to evacuate or bug-out, and before you spend so much time planning out your bug-out-bag, kits, etc., you should first plan, procure, and secure your food and supplies at home. Chances are that staying at home will be the better choice for the majority of people and for the majority of disaster situations. The key will be your planning and precautionary measures taken to secure your supplies ‘out of sight – out of mind’. Just blend in!
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