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When the SHTF, the last thing you want is to be away from home. But sometimes, circumstances beyond your control mean that you’re stuck at work or out running errands when disaster strikes. If that happens, don’t panic!
There are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting home quickly and safely. But before we talk about that, let’s talk abut why you might end up in this situation in the first place.
What Are Some Scenarios That Might Require You To Get Home Fast After SHTF?
In an SHTF scenario, there are many potential dangers that could prevent you from getting home to your family. A nuclear attack, a pandemic, or even a large-scale natural disaster could all lead to mass panic and gridlock on the roads. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place for how you will get home as quickly as possible.
Keep in mind that an SHTF situation might not be super localized. For instance, you could be at work and find out that a nuclear bomb has been detonated in Europe, sparking WWIII. Obviously, you’ll need to get home fast and get to your bug out location – but getting home in this situation, where others might not yet be aware of the extent of the danger, might be a little easier than a more localized issue.
You may find that you have more trouble navigating your way back home in the event of a natural disaster, local terrorist attack, incident of civil unrest, or other catastrophe that directly impacts your city or town.
Because of the different scenarios you might encounter, it’s a good idea to have multiple plans in place (and multiple escape routes) so that you can tackle any kind of crisis that strikes – and get to where you need to be – without delay.
Tips for Getting Home Fast After SHTF
In the event of a major disaster, your first priority should be to get home as quickly as possible. If you live in an urban area, this may mean fighting your way through gridlocked traffic or dealing with other obstacles. Here are a few tips to help you get home fast after the SHTF.
Don’t Wait for Government Help, Like Everyone Else
In a disaster, the first 72 hours are critical. If you wait for government help, you could be waiting for days or even weeks.
But if you take matters into your own hands and get home fast, you stand a much better chance of surviving.
Waiting for government help is not a wise strategy. Instead, you need to be prepared to take care of yourself and your loved ones. That means having a bug out bag packed and ready to go, knowing how to use survival skills, and having a plan for getting home fast.
Get Out of Immediate Danger First
It’s every prepper’s nightmare: SHTF. But if you find yourself in the middle of a true disaster, your first priority should be to get out of immediate danger.
Once you’re safe, then you can start thinking about getting home. If you’re caught in the middle of a city when a large earthquake hits, for example, your first priority should be to find shelter and ride out the aftershocks.
Once it’s safe to leave, your best bet may be to walk, since roads and bridges could be damaged or blocked. If you’re able to make it to public transportation, that may be faster, but it could also be more crowded and dangerous. In any case, getting home fast after the SHTF is all about staying safe first and foremost.
Check for Injury or Exposure
Before you start running towards your loved ones, it’s important to take a moment to check for injury or exposure. If you’ve been wounded, it’s essential to stop the bleeding and get medical attention as soon as possible.
Likewise, if you’ve been exposed to hazardous materials, it’s important to decontaminate yourself before coming into contact with others.
Decide Whether You’ll Need to Go Home or a Bug Out Location
After a disaster strikes, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to evacuate your home in order to stay safe. But what’s the best way to get away from the danger? Should you head for your bug out location, or try to make it back home?
The answer depends on a number of factors, including the proximity of your home to the disaster, the severity of the danger, and your own personal preferences. If you live in a remote area, or if the danger is just too great to stay put, then it may be best to evacuate to your bug out location.
On the other hand, if you’re relatively close to safety and you’re confident that you can make it back home without incident, then heading for home may be the best option.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to go home or bug out is a personal one, and there’s no right or wrong answer. What’s important is that you make a decision and stick to it. Trying to second-guess yourself in the middle of a crisis is only going to add to your stress levels.
Get a Map
When an emergency strikes, time is of the essence. If you’re trying to get home fast, the last thing you want to do is stop and fiddle with a map. But in a pinch, a map can be your best friend.
A good map will not only help you navigate your way home, but it can also help you avoid obstacles and hazards. If you’re caught in heavy traffic or bad weather, a map can help you find an alternate route. And if you get lost, a map can help you backtrack to safety.
Keep a map with you at all times – remember, your GPS may not work when the SHTF.
Keep Your Phone Charged
In an emergency situation, your phone will be one of your most valuable assets when there’s still a signal. Use it sparingly to conserve battery life, but make sure to keep it charged in case you need to make a call or use GPS.
If possible, invest in a portable charger so you can keep your phone charged on the go.
Identify Choke Points
In a grid-down or SHTF scenario, one of the most important things you can do is get home as fast as possible. Depending on where you live, this could mean navigating through a city or rural area that has been plunged into chaos.
To give yourself the best chance of getting home safely, it’s important to identify choke points along your route in advance.
A choke point is any location where there is potential for congestion or violence. This could be a major intersection, a bridge, or even a stretch of empty highway. By identifying choke points in advance, you can develop a plan for avoiding them if necessary.
In some cases, this might mean taking a longer but more direct route. In others, it might mean finding an alternative route that avoids the choke point entirely.
Plan Out the Fastest Routes Ahead of Time
The best way to make sure you can get home quickly is to plan out the fastest routes ahead of time. Familiarize yourself with the terrain and find the shortest, most direct path home.
Make sure to take into account any obstacles that might slow you down, such as rivers or steep hills. And always have a backup plan in case your primary route is blocked.
Keep Supplies in Your Vehicle
In an emergency, every minute counts. If you find yourself trying to get home fast when the SHTF, you’ll be glad you kept supplies in your vehicle.
Here are a few essential items to keep on hand:
- A map of the area. This will help you navigate if roads are closed or unfamiliar terrain must be crossed.
- A first aid kit. This could come in handy if you or a passenger is injured en route.
- A flashlight and extra batteries. You may need to travel at night or in low-light conditions, and a flashlight can also be used to signal for help.
- Non-perishable food and water. In case you get stranded, it’s always good to have some food and water on hand. Choose items that don’t require cooking or refrigeration.
- A fire extinguisher. If your car catches fire, a fire extinguisher could save your life.
Here are a few more ideas for your vehicle survival kit.
Consider a Motorcycle or Bicycle if That Might Be Faster
While cars and trucks may be the first choice for many people, a motorcycle or bicycle might actually be faster. In a grid-down scenario, traffic jams will quickly form, making it difficult to make any headway in a car. But a motorcycle or bicycle can easily weave through stalled traffic.
Additionally, if fuel becomes scarce, a motorcycle or bicycle can still be ridden, while a car will be effectively stranded. And in the event that roads are blocked by debris, a motorcycle or bicycle can often find a way around obstacles that a car would have to go over or around.
Get a 4×4 Vehicle
If you’re trying to get home fast when the SHTF, then you’ll want a 4×4 vehicle. 4x4s are designed for off-road driving, and they have the power and traction to handle any terrain.
Plus, they’re built to withstand the elements, so you won’t have to worry about getting stuck in the mud or taking a wrong turn and ending up in a ditch. And if you get into an accident, a 4×4 is more likely to protect you from serious injury than a smaller car.
Here are some other bug out vehicles to consider.
Have a Backup Plan
No one knows when an emergency situation will happen, which is why it’s essential to have a backup plan. If you find yourself in an SHTF scenario, the last thing you want is to be stuck without a way to get home. A good backup plan will ensure that you can get home fast, even in the most challenging circumstances.
There are a few things to consider when setting up your backup plan. First, you’ll need to identify all of the potential routes that you could take to get home. This may include main roads, back roads, and even off-road paths.
If you live in an urban area, a backup plan may mean having a bike or walking shoes stored away so you can get home if public transportation is no longer running. If you live in a rural area, you may need to have a map of back roads and trails so you can avoid any blocked highways.
Judge the Variables When You Decide Which Route to Take
In an emergency situation, every second counts. That’s why it’s so important to plan your route in advance and know which roads to avoid. Depending on the situation, you might need to take the quickest route possible or the route that will avoid populated areas.
Here are some things to consider when making your decision:
- Time of day: If it’s late at night or early in the morning, there will likely be less traffic on the roads. However, you also need to be aware of curfews that might be in place.
- Type of emergency: If you’re trying to flee a wildfire or another natural disaster, you’ll need to take different routes than if you’re trying to avoid an urban riot or civil unrest.
- Mode of transportation: If you’re on foot, you’ll obviously be limited to different routes than if you’re in a car or on a bike. You’ll also need to consider whether you can take shortcuts through parks or other open spaces.
Communicate the Plan (and All Backup Plans) to All Family Members Ahead of Time
Any good plan begins with clear communication. When it comes to emergency preparedness, this is especially critical. If you wait until an emergency situation is unfolding to try to communicate your plans to your family, it will be too late. You need to sit down with your loved ones and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Discuss the various scenarios that could unfold and how you would respond to each one. Agree on a meeting place and establish a communication chain in case you are separated. It is also important to have backup plans in place in case your primary plan fails.
Avoiding strangers is always a good idea, but it’s especially important in a crisis situation. You also need to be careful of large groups of people, as they could be looters or have other malicious intent. Sick and/or contaminated people should also be avoided, as they could pose a health risk.
Roadblocks and checkpoints can also be dangerous, as you never know who is manning them or what their intentions are. Finally, be aware of disabled vehicles, as they could be hiding an ambush.
What to Keep With You for When SHTF
Anyone who has ever been stranded on the side of the road knows the importance of having a few key items in their car. However, in a survival situation, these items can mean the difference between life and death.
The items you’ll want to keep with you will likely vary between person and person, but here are some suggestions.
- A gun is essential for self-defense
- A good knife can be used for everything from hunting to self-defense to making shelter
- A compass and GPS are essential for navigation
- A reliable watch can help you keep track of time
- A flashlight is invaluable for signaling for help or finding your way in the dark
- A get home bag will give you the supplies you need to survive if you are forced to flee.
With these items, you will be prepared for anything that SHTF.
The best way to be prepared for an emergency is to have a plan and practice it often. By following the tips in this blog post, you can be confident that you know what to do in case of an emergency. The most important thing is to start today. Don’t wait until it’s too late.