My topic is a little bit of a reality check for you. An exam of sorts. Many preppers have certain preparations sorted out, but there are often realities of the situation that people overlook. This test is to present some of those realities for your consideration.
Now, this isn't a criticism of preppers work. Not at all. Think of it as an aide memoir, so you can check if there's something you may have overlooked. Hell, I may have even overlooked something myself, and if I have, I would love to hear extra suggestions in the comments. But who knows, this article may lead to a new hobby developing a certain skill for your future preparations. After all, remember that a good survivalist focuses on three things: knowledge, skills and preparations.
So let's run through an example scenario of a realistic SHTF situation.
You live on the South-side of the river-city you live in, but you're at work, on the North-side. An emergency broadcast goes out that the recent rains have caused the nearby dam to burst and the city you live in will be underwater within hours. The official call for evacuation is put out. You call your significant other and arrange to meet back at the house within three days.
- Your supplies are at home
- Your significant other is at their own work, a good distance away, but will meet you in three days
- People are panicking
- Everyone is trying to get home at once, refusing to leave cars/belongings. Main roads and public transport are clogged
- You need to get home. Can you get there without the use of transport?
- Are you fit enough to walk the significant distance home?
- Do you carry a 72hr bag to last you the (potentially extended) journey home?
- Do you know the routes home well enough to have at least 3 alternate routes in case of blocked passage?
- Do you have the camp skills and resources to be able to spend a night safely and undisturbed in an urban environment?
- Do you have the means to accommodate needs such as defecation? Personal hygeine? Food?
- Do you have a prior plan worked out with your significant other upon which to fall back if communication between you is severed?
But then you hear helicopters and realise that the armed forces have been brought in to assist in the evacuation. As you progress, you see that the soldiers are herding people into large facilities: football stadiums, warehouses, etc, "for their own safety".
- Main thoroughfares are being cordoned off
- Aerial views are being gathered
- Patrols are moving about, looking for stragglers
- Civilians are getting angry, not wanting to be separated from their families and homes
- Small riots are breaking out
- Force is being used to corral people (riot control, teargas, etc)
- Do you have the skill to be stealthy and avoid being herded?
- Are you able to cover distance without being seen?
- Do you have adequate skill and means to hide from aerial surveillance?
Some people around you are packing up their vehicles and leaving, others are sandbagging their houses and preparing to tough it out. They're calm now, but there is an air of panic about. It took you two days to get home from your work, so you have one day left before the planned rendezvous with your significant other.
- You don't know where your significant other is
- You have full access to your supply cache
- You have full access to your equipment/gear cache
- Are you prepared to wait until the full 3 day rendezvous is over?
- Do you have a home security plan prepared which you can set up in the 24hrs you have left?
- Are you familiar with your significant others proposed travel routes from their place of work to your home?
- Do you have an alternate means of communication with which to contact your significant other?
OPTION A) If you choose to go out and find them, you need to set up a sweeping plan to cross over their travel options to get from work to home. If you have planned out this as the system beforehand, your significant other could know to stay put where they've managed to make it to. This will make it much simpler to find them. Keep sweeping back and forth along their routes until you either find them on their travels, or find them back at their place of work. Keep cautious, keep vigilant. If they haven't been able to make it home, there's likely to be a reason for that. Don't get caught in the same trap.
OPTION B) Time is of the essence now to prepare your home for the coming weeks. A dam release is not something that will be resolved quickly, and so the clock is ticking to either get dug in or bug out. Because of this, you need to assume, realistically, that you wouldn't be able to seek out your partner. It's time to take matters into your own hands and hope that your partner either makes it home on their own (if you're bugging in) or can follow your trail (if you're bugging out).
So this now goes into two different branches: bugging in and bugging out.
You Decide to Bug In
If you have ascertained that the flood waters won't reach your home, then your best bet is to bug in. The next few weeks will potentially get quite bad. They're calm now, but when the public realise that the grocery stores aren't getting re-stocked, the plumbing won't come back and the power won't come on, they will start to panic. Many will attempt to evacuate, but many of those who choose to stay will resort - out of desperation - to looting to collect supplies.
- Securing your house will become a priority over the next 72 hours
- Depending on where the flooding is, and how severe, you may not be able to rely on grocery stores to get food
- Also depending on the flooding, medical aid may be out of reach
- Desperate civilians may resort to looting houses in your area in search of food and supplies
- Do you have the ability to secure your house against home invasion?
- Do you have enough food stored to ride out the lack of supply?
- Do you have enough clean water to ride out the lack of supply?
- Do you have a means of purifying more water as needed?
- Do you have plumbing alternatives such as a chemical toilet or solar shower?
- Do you have an alternative power source, such as a solar panel array with battery backup?
- Do you have the knowledge/skill to gather alternate food, such as edible vegetation or hunting?
- Do you have the means to grow your own vegetables and medicinal plants?
- Do you have adequate medical supplies and skills to handle your own medical treatment?
You Decide to Bug Out
It's looking like the flood waters may reach your house. Or perhaps the street violence and looting is proving too much, and your home security can't overcome the sheer desperation of the local population. They've realised what you have and they want it for themselves, so it's time to get the hell out of dodge.
- You've been forced to leave your home base and have to move on
- Water is rising, so time and routes are limited
- If you're bailing, so too will other people, and the roads may be blocked
- Do you have multiple bug-out locations pre-planned in case one or more are compromised?
- Do you have multiple travel routes to each location?
- Do you have your gear organized in such a way that you can bail out quickly?
- Is your vehicle capable of the off-road travel you may need to endure to bypass blocked roadways and make it to your bug-out location?
- Do you have the means to move anyone who is injured to the point where they are unable to move under their own power?
- Do you have hidden caches of supplies buried between your home base and your bug-out locations to help assist your travels in the event of a rushed egress?
This is just one scenario. Take the time to imagine varying alternatives, such as the following:
- A violent cyclone or tornado
- A tsunami
- A major earthquake
- A large terrorist attack
- An out-of-control bushfire/forest fire
- Civil unrest/social collapse
- A long-term economic crisis
- The outbreak of war
- A large solar flare destroying the power grid
- A major water disruption
- Food shortage
- Martial law
But as you can see by the questions presented, the steps are there to be ready for it, and by being ready, you can ride it out.
Always remember, be prepared, not scared.