8 Places to Avoid After the SHTF

Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason January 29, 2018 11:48

8 Places to Avoid After the SHTF

Depending on what specific kind of S hits the fan, there can be a big element of luck in whether or not you get through it. If there’s an Air Force base half a mile from your house, and Vladimir Putin decides to pop a megaton on it, it doesn’t really matter how well you’ve prepared – you aren’t going to make it. On the other hand most catastrophes aren’t going to be so immediately lethal, and even in an extreme case like a nuclear war most people won’t die from the disaster itself; they’ll become casualties of the breakdown that follows.

Of course, your chances of becoming a casualty depend on what’s happening around you, and that mostly depends on where you are. When an advanced society like the USA falls apart, there will be areas of relative safety where you can get on with rebuilding your life – and there will be places that you really want to avoid at all costs. Let’s look at some of the areas you want to stay away from to maximize your chances of survival.

Related: The First US Targets To Be Nuked

Major Cities

Big cities are the engines of modern societies. The problem is that, like any high-performance engine, they have a lot of moving parts and they break down if they’re not looked after properly. In any serious crisis cities will break down quickly. Food deliveries will stop, utilities will fail, law enforcement and emergency services will be overloaded – and all hell will break loose.

Most cities are permanently about three days away from collapse. That’s how long it will take for essential supplies to start running out, and city dwellers are not generally well prepared for that kind of situation. If they live somewhere that’s prone to natural disasters, like California, they might have the government-recommended three-day emergency supply of food and water, but when that’s gone they’ll be desperate. Desperate people can be dangerous; if you’re in a starving city, and anyone thinks you have a stash of food, it won’t be long before your neighbors – probably a mob of them – are at the door demanding you “share” it with them.

Things will just keep getting worse. Violence will soon spin out of control as looters take everything they can get – some going for food, others just generally stealing. People will start to die, and that’s going to bring disease. Expect typhoid and cholera to break out within a week. Then even more people will die, in a spiral of disaster that will eventually wipe out millions of people.

If you’re in a city when the SHTF, getting out of it is the best strategy. Head for a more remote area, where both violence and disease aren’t so much of a problem. There’s plenty space; the USA has more than 3,000 counties, but half the population live in just 146 of them. Most city dwellers will stay right where they are, thinking the city is the safest place – but they’re wrong.

Transport Infrastructure

Modern transport links make life a lot easier, but in a SHTF scenario they turn dangerous. A crisis could leave thousands of people stuck in airports with food supplies running out quickly. Trapped far from home and with no life support, they’re going to fan out across the local area looking for food, shelter and transport to get home – and some of them won’t hesitate to take yours if they can.

Major highways are also a problem. What if an EMP goes off and all the cars on the interstate break down at the same moment? Again you’re going to have a lot of desperate people, getting hungry and thirsty, spreading out across the countryside and looting as they go.

Related:Affordable Vehicles That Can Survive an EMP

To avoid the risks of collapsing transport systems, draw a seven-mile radius around every airport and harbor in your area, and a corridor extending out seven miles each side of every major highway. Seven miles is about as far as most people will go without food and water; you might find a few bold ones going further, but you’re not going to get overwhelmed by a hungry mob.

If the crisis is an EMP or nuclear attack, there’s another reason to avoid transport nodes – they’re targets. A nuclear strike will hit air force and naval bases, but follow-on strikes could come down on civilian airports and harbors. Military units could disperse to these locations, so the enemy will want to take them out. Highway intersections and bridges will also be hit, to paralyze the transport network and slow down reconstruction.

Military Bases

Military bases are also targets for nuclear  – or terrorist – attack, so you’re safer keeping away from them. As well as the risk of being caught up in an attack, the occupants are likely to be at high alert, and mistakes can happen. Maybe you have a right to be in the area, but try explaining that to a jumpy Spec4 with a rifle. If it’s a strategic base, for example a nuclear warfighting unit, they might even have mobile and standing patrols out to secure the area beyond their perimeter, and if they find you in that area (especially if you’re carrying a weapon) things can escalate fast. It’s best to let the military get on with whatever they’re doing, and stay well clear of them.

Choke Points

When the SHTF a lot of people are going to be bugging out. Some of them will be preppers, and they’re not a problem – they’ll be well equipped, know where they’re going and how to get there. The problem is the rest; panicked people just trying to get away from whatever’s happened, probably short on supplies and not sure what to do. Choke points are places where these people will be forced together by the routes they’ve taken.

Bridges, tunnels, causeways, even freeway ramps can become choke points. Everyone might be trying to get out that way, but the chances are it will soon go wrong. Breakdowns, accidents or just congestion will bring traffic to a stop, then you’ll have a lot of frightened people in a small area. That’s a dangerous situation. When you’re planning routes try to avoid obvious choke points.

Prisons

This one is obvious. In a crisis, security at prisons is going to be under stress. If the power goes then lighting, alarms and even locks could all fail. Most prisons have backup power for these, but will they survive an EMP? Even if the power stays on a lot of correctional officers are going to be tempted to go home and look after their families. There’s a high risk of escapes. Any escapees will be at least as desperate as everyone else, and they’re also criminals – you want to stay well clear of them.

Hospitals

This one isn’t so obvious. Hospitals exist to help people, so why would you want to avoid them? Simple – they’ll attract crowds of people, and crowds are exactly what you want to avoid. That’s even more true when disease starts breaking out and a lot of the people in those crowds are sick. Hospitals won’t be able to cope, so think “angry mobs”. And stay away.

Related:You will Probably Catch One of These 5 Infections When The SHTF

FEMA Camps

Assuming FEMA doesn’t collapse right away, it will be doing what it can to house and feed refugees from the cities. Most likely this will be done in tented camps, probably set up with military help. They’re likely to be pretty grim, with constant and fierce competition for limited resources. The camps themselves will be surrounded by people trying to get in or find food. If you turn up in the area with a loaded vehicle, or even a bug-out bag full of food and medical supplies, you’re going to attract a lot of attention from people who want your stuff.

Stores

People who don’t have what they need to survive are going to head for places they think they can get it. Supermarkets, food warehouses and even local grocery stores are going to be looted, unless FEMA have requisitioned them first; either way there are likely to be mobs around them, either looting or fighting over supplies. It might be tempting to head for Safeway to grab some extra supplies, but it isn’t worth the trouble.

Gun and hardware stores should be avoided for the same reason. They might not be as high priority as grocery stores, but people will want what’s inside them. Gas stations will attract people who want to fuel their car and get away; as supplies run down, tempers will rise. Banks are risky, too – money might not be worth a lot in a major crisis, but not everyone’s going to understand that.

These are the key points you need to avoid when the SHTF. Obviously, crowds in general are also something to stay away from; they’re always going to carry the risks of violence and disease. It might be tempting to try and help them, but you just don’t have the resources to make any real difference – and trying will just wipe out your own supplies. Even if you plan to stick to giving advice, once they see you’re prepared they’ll want your stuff. Any time you see a large group of people, head in the other direction and work your way round them.

If there’s one key principle behind preparedness, it’s that you need to be able to look out for yourself and your loved ones. When things are good, people can live and work closely together to keep a modern society running – but if the SHTF, other people become a danger. You, and a few like-minded companions if you have them around, will be much better off on your own until the crisis is over.

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Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason January 29, 2018 11:48
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50 Comments

  1. Ray January 29, 14:49

    Why did the author use Putin, it should have been that crazy little fool Kim.

    Reply to this comment
    • tpop January 29, 15:56

      Like you typed “crazy little fool” Putin is a sure thorn in our side than little Kim

      Reply to this comment
    • Beau January 29, 17:24

      I agree with you. Kim would be my first concern, followed by Iran. No sense giving someone bad ideas.

      Reply to this comment
    • SilverSgt January 29, 22:06

      Kim is ultimately a puppet of China and Russia. They are the rope a dope keeping our planning and preparations focused. Like in a battle, first you create a focus point for your enemy to dedicate their resources. I.E. Locking down the enemy, then you plan your assault from the flank or pin point penetration, or other. Loosing Turkey as a friend and having Syria become a base of operations for Russia, we are being outplayed on the board. I hope the so called secret tech, is our ace up the sleeve, because we are loosing ground even in that area with every Chinese satellite launched, and Russian and Chinese tech upgrades. Pakistan is part of the group and indications are India has joined their club with fake conflicts with China……….Also Nuc’s are not the worse weapon to worry about . . . .Best defense, good home preparations, common goals with people you have known forever and can trust. Faith, Prayer and planning. With faith we live in confidence, with planning we have less anxiety, (we have a direction, )
      With Prayer, we are not alone.
      SmSgt once upon a time.

      Reply to this comment
      • Wannabe March 1, 16:18

        To silversgt, why do you think Obama grounded the space shuttle program? Seemed like a stupid move that advanced China and Russia in theirs to get ahead in the satellite technology. It has been good for private sector to advance in rocket development which two American companies have excelled, but ultimately set us back. I wonder if it was designed to be part of payback with our debt to countries we owe money to. Infuriating to say the least.

        Reply to this comment
      • Marcy May 4, 17:00

        Spot on!! Love this article.

        Reply to this comment
    • Tim January 30, 07:55

      We’re talking about SHTF here. Kim’s not going to make SHTF. Neither is Iran. Only Russia and (maybe) China can make a SHTF attack.

      Reply to this comment
      • Christian Gains February 4, 20:41

        Tim, that’s NOT wise counsel…KIM is, (btw), a beneficiary of MORE than Chincoms & Russians…AND! Kimmy boy is DEFINITELY a “cut out”…{of WHOM? — YOU do not want to know}; BUT!

        IF the Ruskies & Chincoms can avoid any semblance of assistance to KIMMY, they WILL!

        BUT! The LONG GAME is Corporatism…and “We the People…”; [World Wide], are standing in CORPORATE’S WAY…Go figure… AND! Take SGT’s advise!!

        Reply to this comment
    • Fergus Mason February 3, 23:36

      Kim’s crazier, but he doesn’t really have the ability to do much damage. That might change in a decade or two, but right now I doubt he could even hit one US city. Putin is a different story.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Clergylady January 29, 15:09

    It doesn’t matter who the nut is that creates the mess… it matters if you and your family survive.
    I intend to survive and thrive.
    I’m in my personal SHTF situation right now but like all my previous problems, they will get work out. And, I’ll be stronger, wiser, and even better prepared.
    Keep on keeping on.

    Reply to this comment
  3. SHOELEATHER January 29, 17:16

    Same old crap – tell me something we don’t know, i.e. what will be the best to stock up on for barter, whisky or vodka?

    Reply to this comment
    • Rass January 29, 20:12

      Vodka more uses better to clean wounds and will burn cleaner ie lanterns cars and jennys

      Reply to this comment
    • Tim January 30, 07:59

      Many (if not most) of us are relatively new to SHTF, so every little bit helps. Those of us who are old hands know better than to sluff off things that “everyone knows” because there might be one little nugget in there that we DIDN’T know or hadn’t thought about.

      Want advice about barter items? Good. But this is a newsletter. And, guess what? That very topic was discussed, here, several weeks ago.

      Reply to this comment
      • Graywolf12 March 6, 14:36

        Ammo. 9 mm, 45, 223, 5.56,12 Ga,, and 20 Ga. Medical supplies like aspirin, bandages, alcohol, H2O2, quick clot bandages, and others. MRE’s for them, and freeze dried for me. Clothing like socks, gloves, hats, blankets, ETC.

        Reply to this comment
  4. MarieB January 29, 17:47

    What do you do when your husband refuses to get a weapon and refuses to allow our family with little girls to learn self defense? Yes he has catered to the bad guys in the past instead of defending us.

    Reply to this comment
    • Rass January 29, 20:09

      Leave him…a real man protects and cares for his family..I would say get a gun or mace gun but it surely cause a fight. Find a way out

      Reply to this comment
    • JoMama January 29, 20:59

      Get one yourself and learn how to use it so that YOU can protect your family.

      Reply to this comment
    • John January 30, 00:54

      Get rid of him

      Reply to this comment
    • LOGGER 47 January 30, 02:19

      your to good for him!!

      Reply to this comment
    • red January 30, 04:02

      Marie: Go for broke.

      Reply to this comment
    • CCTer January 30, 06:33

      Sorry to hear that Marie. My wife tolerates my prepping, but the funny thing is, she is willing to let me protect her, but wont take steps to protect herself. He should at least let yall learn self defense. I recommend getting the book “When Violence is the Answer” by Tim Larkin. You read it first then give it to him. If he wont do something from that point…he’s got a problem.

      Reply to this comment
    • Graywolf12 May 4, 19:42

      My wife tolerated my guns and my hunting for a long time. As our 45 wedding anniversary approached she said if you haven’t bought anything for me I’ll tell you what I want. She shocked me as she said I want a Remington 870 in 20 Ga. She now has a 22 semi rifle and 2 ea 380 semi auto pistols. She had read , The day after, and One Year later. Find some books like those and have him read them. If he still resists, run to some one safe. He will be useless in a SHTF situation.

      Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady May 17, 16:45

      Girls and boys need to learn some self defense and at the least situational awareness.
      My daughter could out shoot her brothers but they all had opportunity to learn.
      I have been shooting since I was 14. My kids all learned gun safety and how to shoot well before they were teens. Guns were not stored out in the open nor easily accessable but everyone knew to respect them and what they can do.
      My most used safety option isn’t a weapon or posession. It is paying attention. Be aware of something that doesn’t feel right even if you don’t see a problem. Avoid demonstrations. They often go nuts even if the stated idea is nonviolent. Stay aware of your surroundings.
      If your husband is otherwise a good man, nudge him into your way of thinking with a book or a movie or some what if questions. Nagging doesn’t win over anyone. Gentile puruasion might. I do ultimatly agree a mans position should be to protect his wife and children but who says you can’t?
      As a mother I’d have killed to protect my children. Now they are older and would protect me.
      My neighbor and his family are working together so we are helping each other these days because my kids are far away. He’s out of work, she’s starting a small business, their teenage grandchildren have moved in with them. My husband and I are past 70. I’ve had two recent painful injuries and a life threatening medical emergency just two weeks ago. They have worked non stop for the past several weeks to help us with things we have been unable to do alone. They took me to emergency and sat all night with my husband even though they had appointments the next day. They are getting interested in practical preperations. Not fancy going to war stuff but survival prepping. They do have hunting weapons. They would be my choice to bug out with in a shtf situation. They have both lost their parents. We feel like family of the heart. Sometimes that’s better than blood. They are begining to make suggestions of things we can do together or how tos for things I’ve mentioned. My son who is moving back here is like minded. They are all best friends. I’m greatful for that.
      If a son of mine were to refuse to protect his family I’d councel a daughter-in-law to get a weapon and take lessons.
      Thankfully I don’t have such a problem with my son-in-law. He bought my daughter a pistol and cc permit and training.
      I don’t have a conceiled carry permit but I do open carry here on my property. I shoot dogs going after my critters and poisionous snakes. My property is posted no tresspassing but I’ve not shot one of the two legged theives who used to come here frequently but they know I could….

      Reply to this comment
    • Prepper Lady May 25, 20:52

      Get your own gun and learn to use it. I did.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Klaus January 29, 18:07

    We are surrounded by countries who want to kill us. China, Russia, NK, most of the mid east

    Reply to this comment
    • Auckland Escapee January 30, 03:21

      You are almost correct, but you are still hopelessly wrong, China does not want us dead, China wants to send us to the poor house, Russia does not care if we live or die, NK can make a real mess of America, but they can’t kill us, sure, most of the Middle East want us dead, but they have their own problems when it comes with working with each other, and then there are the other countries that want us dead, at least 5 in South America, 12 in Africa, plus countries that would help us if they were asked, New Zealand, Denmark, Italy, just to name a few.

      Reply to this comment
    • Fergus Mason February 3, 23:37

      That’s true, but threat equals intention *plus capability*. It doesn’t matter how much somebody wants to kill you if they can’t actually do it.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Johnny January 29, 21:44

    Could not order from email I got from you to order books.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Ivy Mike January 29, 23:07

    Some good advice, want to point out that cholera and typhus are not caused by dead bodies but by live ones and the most likely place to encounter disease is refugee centers because sanitation breaks down.
    And other countries don’t want to destroy us, Big Brother just wants you to believe and be afraid so he can build lots of bombs while gently stealing away your liberty.

    Reply to this comment
    • Fergus Mason February 3, 23:38

      Yeah, I could have been clearer about that. Typhus and cholera are caused by pathogens, but bodies will attract rats and flies. They spread disease.

      Reply to this comment
  8. CCTer January 30, 06:33

    Sorry to hear that Marie. My wife tolerates my prepping, but the funny thing is, she is willing to let me protect her, but wont take steps to protect herself. He should at least let yall learn self defense. I recommend getting the book “When Violence is the Answer” by Tim Larkin. You read it first then give it to him. If he wont do something from that point…he’s got a problem.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Richard February 1, 16:19

    I’ve got about 3 1/2 year’s of supplies, including plenty of guns and ammo, getting a new 9,000 volt generator that will run the AC and the Kitchen, even having 2. FUEL tanks buried by the side of the house, tanks hold 100 gallons a piece , but I know that won’t last forever, and I do live about 65 miles east of Orlando, 5 min. From the beach, in a city of about 75,000″ should I stay and wait it out or leave??

    Reply to this comment
    • LOGGER 47 February 1, 22:12

      about 35 days of fuel and plenty of supplies but 75,000 people you don’t have a chance leave!

      Reply to this comment
    • Fergus Mason February 3, 23:40

      It depends how obvious your preparations are. If you can keep your head down, stay indoors and quietly live off your supplies you’ll be fine. But if your neighbours know you have what’s needed to survive, they’ll come for it.

      Reply to this comment
    • Wannabe March 1, 15:31

      Richard, please stop telling everybody what you have. In two sentences you have told us about your supplies, guns, ammo, power supply, fuel supply and where you live. I hope you don’t share these things with those living around you. I would only share this with those closest to you who you trust. Please do t make yourself or family a target. I do have to say good job for preparing though. Keep it up.

      Reply to this comment
    • Armin March 12, 01:11

      I’d have to agree with Wannabe here, Richard. You need to be a little less vocal about what you have and where you are. I’m sure that these kinds of websites are also trolled by people with less than good intentions. Who don’t necessarily post on here. As for what you should do in case the unthinkable happens, that is going to be your decision in the end. If you have a good support group around you in the form of good neighbours you may stand a chance where you are but 75,000 people are a lot to try and defend yourself against no matter how much ammo you have. And once order is restored, and at some point it will be, people will be held accountable for their actions. And above all don’t advertise what you have to anyone! Especially your friends, no matter how much you are tempted to do so. These are things you absolutely cannot brag about to others. The wrong word dropped here and there can cost you your life when it comes down to it and then all your preparation is for naught. The only people that should know about your plans are those that you KNOW you can trust with your life and the closest family members. People are fine and dandy as long as they’re warm and fed but don’t underestimate how desperate hungry people can become. They may be your friends now but once they start starving they have nothing to lose and you may end up being lunch. Literally. I’ll share a little of my personal plan with you. I’d like to end up in a very small community where we’re basically FORCED to work together to survive so that if SHTF comes to pass we’ll already be used to working TOGETHER. Co-operation instead of animosity. I don’t want to be so far from civilization that I’m completely out in the boonies but still far enough away from major centres so that it’s quite difficult for others to get where I am. A balancing act to be sure. My first two priorities are a hospital nearby and the LAW. Other than that it’s nobody’s damn business what I have or what I’m up to. And this a very general outline. As far as I’m willing to go. I have very good friends in the neighbourhood and they have no idea what I may or may not be up to. And as much as it pains me, because I really would like to confide in someone, but for obvious reasons can’t. It’s a lot to carry on your shoulders. Everything that you do to prepare. Everything that you have. You keep that info the closest to your chest. To your heart. No one need know it. You’ll never be able to save everyone and when it comes down to it some very difficult decisions will have to be made by you. At that point do not let emotions sway your decisions. You will have to become as hard as hard as a diamond and some of those decisions will break your heart but they will have to be made. Don’t know if this helps but you should try and delete your first post as quickly as possible.

      Reply to this comment
    • Some kid May 21, 06:19

      Wow 9000 volts! Are you sure it’s not 9KW?

      Reply to this comment
    • bob6977 May 31, 21:55

      That would be a 9,000 “volt-amp” generator (so readers would not be confused).

      Reply to this comment
  10. Wannabe March 1, 15:42

    Something to think about is when to make yourself scarce from population. Personally I would take a chance in populated areas within the first 48 hours when there are still supplies to be acquired at the stores. Go carefully and with a plan. Get all I could because the panic generally starts after 72 hours. Some areas may be sooner than that this is why I said within first 48. After dark on the second day, stay away. Bug in and secure your perimeter if possible. Red Dawn showed this pretty well although they were forced to bug out they had a place to get supplies and when they ran out they quietly ans stealthily came to “town” to shop. Have not seen that movie in years, need to watch it again. Will see things differently after having a propers mentality.

    Reply to this comment
    • Armin March 12, 01:16

      That sounds like a pretty good rule of thumb. And it will also make a difference what time of year it is if the SHTF situation comes to pass.

      Reply to this comment
  11. left coast chuck March 6, 15:07

    Others may disagree because none of us know for certain, but I think the biggest danger is a single EMP attack from a source that I won’t describe but has been described by many others. All it takes for a successful EMP attack is a single, not very big, atomic device. It doesn’t even have to be launched from overseas. I think the death toll from an EMP attack would equal that of a massive standard nuclear attack very shortly and without the massive radiation fallout of a standard attack. It would leave most of the physical structures intact. It would leave the farmland intact. It would decimate the human population. There is an old joke but the punch line is: “I’m in here for being crazy, not being stupid.” Kim may be crazy but he is not stupid.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Unexplained Hunter May 15, 15:26

    Don’t take your eyes of China!!

    Reply to this comment
  13. oldsalt1947 May 15, 19:59

    Once again no one is stating how to prepare for a land invasion which will follow any attack.

    Reply to this comment
    • Unexplained Hunter May 15, 22:42

      Most of us won’t have what it would take to take on a Army that is coming at you, just the numbers in they men would over whelm you, so hit and run, maybe put up some sandbag bunkers and walls with fox holes, sniper’s nest, etc. then depending on the land around you, you could make a line of these for miles. Hit them then drop back to next spot and so on then work flank back around them, Hell shoot a few in the back, all is fair in war, plus you could also help out our guys in the area, working with them. We all would have to work together, and I for one would rather shoot a invader then one of my countrymen.

      Reply to this comment
  14. Ghost June 1, 03:26

    The ignorance of people talking about random invasions and other countries taking over is ridiculous. Has anyone ever been to another country as in Russia, Syria or even China? What about the Middle East? The people over there are very thoughtful and welcome people no matter what country you are from.

    Let me tell you a little secret- most people don’t want to just kill others or invade other countries. The USA is the only country that does this now a days.

    Turn off the TV and Read people. Open up your minds. Knowledge is power and true liberty and freedom can be had by all. But 99% aren’t ready for that.

    -none are more hopelessly enslaved than those that falsely believe they are free.

    Reply to this comment
    • Graywolf12 June 1, 14:45

      It is not the people that we must fear, it is the leaders. They have their military dedicated to them because they pay them enough to buy food. I have lived in other countries. You sound anti USA from your accusation about being the only country that invades other countries. I suggest you look up Russia, and china in their take over of neighboring countries. We are far from perfect, but not ogres.

      Reply to this comment
    • Submarine CPO June 3, 01:42

      I’ve been to fifteen, ranging from Japan to Philippines, including Iran.

      What you said is 1) mostly untrue and 2) irrelevant.

      Very few countries’ governments mirror the people. US is one of them..

      I repeat, in case you’re too stupid to read and understand it: The US is one of them (country whose government mirrors the people).

      Lastly, your comment is the epitome of arrogance and self-superiority.

      Climb back into your shell and let the rest of us do something about the future.

      Reply to this comment
  15. John G June 17, 15:05

    That’s why I live in the boonies with the birds and the bees to start with. Thanks for the info.

    Reply to this comment
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