If you live in a big city or even a suburb, you’ve probably been told more than a few times that during a serious SHTF disaster, you NEED to get out of the city. It’s the first piece of advice most preppers hear and is generally accepted by every preparedness authority out there.
According to popular belief, the big cities are going to be a cesspool of disorder, chaos and will be a virtual time-bomb, ready to destroy everyone left in it. The accepted strategy is that you need to strap on your 50 pound pack, your AR and head to the apparent nirvana that is the rural countryside. Somehow, everything will be OK once you’re out of the big, scary city.
Well, today we’re going to take a deeper look into this assumption and learn why, despite popular preparedness advice, bugging out of the city is probably the worst thing you could do in a SHTF disaster.
Here are 10 reasons why you’re more likely to be safer staying where you are…even in a post SHTF city.
* If you’re a prepper, you’ve probably got quite a bit of food, water and supplies stocked up. How much of it realistically could you fit in your vehicle, or in your bugout bag for that matter? Why stockpile a bunch of preps just to leave them behind at home when you need them the most?
* In episode 932 of The Survival Podcast, Jack Spirko interviewed a man named Selco from shtfschool.com. Selco lived through one of the worst real-life SHTF disasters in modern times, The Balkin wars. He specifically said that the rural areas were actually much more dangerous than the cities simply because of the lack of people, the lack of active commerce between people (for re-stocking supplies) and that rural areas could simply not defend themselves from their aggressors. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to take the advice of someone who’s actually been in a SHTF scenario before believing the assumptions of people who haven’t.
* Where do you plan on going? Planning to get out of the city is all well and good, but where do you plan on going? Bugging out to the middle of the woods is a horrible idea so unless you already have a pre-stocked bugout location to go to all you’re really doing is giving up a comfortable shelter to roam around in the middle of nowhere.
* It doesn’t matter if you’re the next coming of Rambo and think you can defend your location with one hand tied behind your back. Numbers matter. In a real SHTF, without-rule-of-law scenario there’s a real chance that people could band together in groups to take supplies from others by force. We’ve seen this time and time again every time a big hurricane hits America.
Your only chance to defend yourself against something like this is with a community of like-minded people willing to help each other. Is it more likely that you’ll find this community in your current neighbors or is it more likely that some random group of farmers is just going to happen to let you in to their close-knit community? I’m putting my money on my neighbors forming a community.
Again, Selco described in detail about how neighbors would band together to share resources, defend themselves and even pool resources together to hire bodyguards if needed. This sounds much safer to me than me and my family being on our own or even with a bunch of strangers out in the middle of the country.
* Bugging out is one of the biggest security risks you can take. Everyone seems to think that bugging out is a solution to a security problem. This is far from the case. Bugging out only makes most security problems worse. Sure, if you’ve got a well-stocked bugout location with a close-knit group of preppers waiting for you then yeah ONCE YOU’RE THERE you might be in better shape than you are now. That being said, you still have to get there, and during that time you are completely exposed, without many supplies and you’re essentially a walking Wal-Mart for anyone that sees you. At least for me, everything that I could have at a remote bugout location is right here; supplies, arms, convenience and my community. I don’t need to make that risky trek just to be somewhere with less people.
* How well do you know the area that you’re bugging out to? If you’re like most city dwellers, you probably know every square inch of at least a few blocks from your home. You could probably get around with your eyes closed. You could probably point out the closest water source, wild edibles, what locals to look out for, and if necessary, where you could hide if you weren’t inside your home. You probably won’t know any of these things if you choose to head for the hills. Situational awareness is important, even more so in a SHTF disaster. I’d rather be in an area that I know like the back of my hand than in a place that’s foreign to me.
* Another huge advantage to staying in place is that you can prepare your location NOW for the issues you’d be likely to face in a WROL, SHTF scenario. Trying to harden or reinforce your location during a crisis is going to be much harder than putting those plans and projects together now, so that if this kind of situation were to ever happen, you’ll be ready for it.
* A SHTF disaster is (despite contrary opinions) is unlikely. Yes the threat is out there and yes, it’s a good idea to be ready for them if the unlikely occurs. However, even in an event like this, the idea that organization, government, utilities and communications would NEVER be restored is next to impossible. Order will most likely be restored, the grid will come back on and eventually, little by little, life will return to some sense of normality. However, as we’ve seen from natural disasters, what areas get focused on first? What areas do the power companies focus on to get the lights back on first? Cities. If your goal is to put the SHTF scenario behind you and get back to normal, you’re going to be waiting a lot longer in a rural area than if you’re in the city.
* Most preppers justify a rural bugout by saying that there are so many more resources “out there” than there are in the city. This may be true (personally I think that’s debatable) but just because those resources are there, doesn’t mean they’re yours. You’re not going to just go out there and start digging up a farmers crop, fishing and hunting on a farmers land. Rural people defend their land. They’re proud people, armed people and are used to their landscape and defending it. It is unwise to assume that just because there may be resources out in the country, that you’d ever come close to getting your hands on them.
* Bugging out does make sense in some situations. If your location has been compromised or is unsafe and the risk of being exposed is less than the risk of staying put then yeah, you need to go. Hopefully you have a plan in place for that.
We should stop for a second and put a quick disclosure in here. This in no way means that a city dweller is better off in a SHTF disaster than someone in a rural area with their own land and resources.
If you’re picking a place to live with prepping and self-reliance in mind, go rural… or at least somewhere that’s in-between a rural and a small town setting. You’re much less likely to have to worry about excessive government regulations and people poking their nose into your business. You have more freedom to build systems of self-reliance like large gardens, planting trees, rain catchments, alternative energy, hunting, fishing and raising animal stock. These are huge advantages during a SHTF disaster. However these are systems that take a long time to build.
You can’t choose to live in the city and then just all of a sudden when disaster strikes think “Oh well I’m a farmer now, let’s head for the hills!” No, in a disaster you have to work with what you have… which is the whole point of this post.
The important thing to remember when it comes to bugging out from a city or any situation is that EVERYTHING is situation-dependent. It’s good to make plans and prepare but there’s an old war saying that goes: “The best laid plans never survive contact with the enemy” That’s very true when it comes to disaster preparedness. We can plan until the cows come home but we’ll never truly be ready because every disaster is different. Every person is different. We’ve all got different skills, we live in different areas and we’ve all got different family and community situations. The best plan for me isn’t going to be the best plan for you, which is why the endless “bugout debates” are pointless.
Staying put is nearly always your best option, but that doesn’t mean that those plans can’t change in a heartbeat in a bad situation. Plan and prepare to stay where you are, be ready to leave if you have to… but above all else, stay aware and don’t get too caught up in the “bugout fantasy” debates. Bugging out and even SHTF scenarios should be pretty low on your list of preparedness priorities anyway. Being a prepper is about being self-reliant, even if that means you’re in a big city. Set up your own “urban” versions of self-sustaining systems for food, water and power…and if doomsday ever does come, think twice before leaving them behind.
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