When It Hits The Fan Do You Stay Or Do You Go?


We live in a dynamic constantly changing world. A beautiful world full of mountains and lakes and palm fringed beaches. A world getting torn apart by war and greed. A world where the sun we depend on could wipe us out with just one major burp of plasma from it’s surface. It may be beautiful but it’s also dangerous. Earthquakes, volcano, tsunami, solar flares, CME, diseases, war, terrorism…it’s amazing any of us make it through the day…but we do, and we will continue to do so unless a truly huge global catastrophe befalls us.

Question is, if you were faced with a critical situation would you leave your home and go somewhere you think will be safer…or would you stay and wait it out, survive in place?

Where you live will have a bearing on your answer of course and in prepper circles it seems to be the mantra that people must leave the cities to survive. Nice idea, a log cabin in a rural area, on the edge of the woods with a pristine year round stream near by. Seriously though, that isn’t the reality of life for most people. Most people live in cities and towns, they work, they have kids, they have bills to pay that prevents them saving to live in that kind of idyllic location. Some have been laid off and are struggling to survive already. More and more people who have always behaved responsibly, who haven’t spent their lives studiously avoiding work are struggling to put food on the table and keep their kids fed. Getting out of dodge is not an option for them.

The next question of course is what kind of event has occurred? Is it an EMP and we will be without power for years? Military rule for whatever reason the government have come up with? A pandemic? Would the event make a difference to your decision ? Would the type of event increase the urgency to get out? The speed at which the event occurs will also have a bearing on if you stay or go.

I read an article on a very well known site recently where the author not only said if you chose to stay you’re dead but that you should have at least two and preferably three locations, each a few days apart so you have plenty of options, oh and you need to walk to them apparently!!!! Really? how many people could afford that and how many people could walk between these locations carrying the supplies they needed for the trip, a couple of kids, the family pet and your ageing mother?

The comments section of the article was very telling and I’m really glad I’m not the only one who had a problem with this plan.

You also have to ask yourself honestly if you are physically capable of getting out. Most of us are average people, we don’t have the background of Rambo and the ingenuity of McGuyver. Not all of us are physically or mentally up for the challenge of putting a 60 pound pack on our backs and trotting off into the wild blue yonder.

The next thing you have to consider is would it actually be possible to get out and if so would it be prudent to do so? In a pandemic you may be better opting for staying in you home, effectively quarantined rather than hitting the road and risking contact with infected individuals.

The biggest question for many will be belief. Do you believe that you could survive in place or do you believe that staying equals certain death? Psychology matters in survival situations. If you don’t believe you can survive and put don’t put your body and soul into surviving you will most likely fail regardless of where you are.

The pluses of having a rural home, fully rigged with solar panels and clean fresh water supplied by a well are obvious. A full pantry only needs you to add  a solid fuel stove with wood local enough to fuel it and you’re good to go…but are you?

  • Do you know how to garden?  How ever much food you have stored you will run out eventually.
  • Is the ground workable or not?
  • Is the soil good enough or not?
  • Are you in an area where the weather has a long enough season to grow a variety of food?
  • Will you be able to keep up with a very physical lifestyle on an ongoing basis?
  • Do you have the ability to deal with medical emergencies in such a remote location?
  • How will you deal with ‘outsiders’ that happen along occasionally?
  • Do you have a defence strategy if a group of unwelcome visitors arrive? if you are thriving they will know you have ‘stuff’
  • Do you have a means of supplying protein to your diet?
  • If you intend to trap protein are you proficient in all the skills you will need including butchery?
  • Do you have the materials to keep your home in good repair as time goes by?
  • How will you keep in touch with what’s going on in the rest of the world?
  • Is your vehicle suitable for the terrain you now live in?
  • How will you keep your vehicle maintained?

I’m sure there are many more things that you can think of that may apply to your and your family specifically.

Now, if you don’t have a definite place to go but head off anyway you will most likely be on a suicide mission. You will only have what you can carry/transport with you and depending on the situation replenishment along the way may not be possible. Just heading off because it seemed like a good idea at the time will get you killed. You need to think about the decision you’re making and plan for it. A major crisis is not the time to hope everything works out as you would like.

Living in the woods foraging and trapping is something that the vast majority of us could not survive on for an extended length of time.

There’s no doubt that staying in a city or large town has many disadvantages. All resources will vanish far faster than they would in a rural location, purely due to the number of people in those areas. Disease spreads faster in highly populated areas and gangs of roaming marauders are far more likely than a rural location. You will still need to grow food for when your supplies run out so getting a garden going is as important as it is in a rural area.

There are advantages though – if you look outside the box.

  • Scavenging will be far easier. Most looters will be stupid enough to go for Nike sports gear and electrical goods…even if there is no electricity! This leaves the good stuff others have left behind for sensible people like you.
  • Spare parts for vehicles will be easier to come by.
  • Building maintenance will be far easier than in the boonies.
  • Banding together with neighbours and people you already know increases the chance of survival for all of you.
  • The skill mixed is increased. This makes it easier to have a semblance of normality in a very un-normal situation. Things you couldn’t accomplish alone are more likely to be achieved.
  • Taller buildings can give you a tactical advantage.
  • There will most likely be some form of service, however basic at hospitals and clinics. Even a doctor that has decided to stay and survive in place is an incredibly valuable resource.
  • Dogs and cats are more plentiful and a ready supply of protein.

Regardless of the choice you make if it’s the right decision for you in your circumstances you should go with it and not be persuaded otherwise unless something new is thrown into the mix. That could be as simple as the situation becoming untenable and you having no choice but move out. Maybe a group of people you know decide to go and you feel your chances would increase if you go with them. Maybe you had decided to leave but a neighbour you trust tells you you escape route is unviable.

It’s still prudent to be prepared for the unexpected. If you plan to stay still have a bag for every member of the family packed and ready in case the situation changes and you have to leave fast.

If you plan to go make sure you stay in touch with what’s happening in your area and be ready to change you plans at short notice.

For all of us that don’t have a hideout to run to this will be one of the hardest and most important decisions we will ever have to make, by being realistic about your capabilities, and those of your family your survival chances are greatly increased. Try to make your plans adaptable so they can apply to as many situations as possible and build some flexibility into your plan.

Take Care



2 thoughts on “When It Hits The Fan Do You Stay Or Do You Go?”

  1. Hi Liz

    An interesting question to be sure. Since we, like Howard and his wife, live in a rural area, we won’t be bugging out. Both of us also have mobility issues although I’m not as disabled as my husband.

    If we did have to leave, where would we go? We don’t know anyone who lives further away from the city than we do. I think to just take off with no safe destination in mind would be foolish. Although humans have done just that during wars all through the ages, it would be as a last resort. Our home will most likely be the destination for my children if they have to leave the city. His children live thousands of miles away and somehow I don’t think they could ever make the trip safely.

    Hopefully, bugging out won’t be necessary for any of us.


  2. For us it would have to be stay in place. We are about as rural as you can get an still be on a road system . My wife is not physically capable of walking a mile on rough ground. We have solar panels but they would probably be fried in an EMP/CME disaster. But they are Mostly to run the iternet and computers. Our big problems would be resupply if commerce restarted because we are at the end of the supply lines. It would be easy to stay away from people in a pandemic situation. Protein is available in fish and game and we have a large and productive garden (it looks like at least twenty bushel potato yield when we finish harvest). The big worry would be a local disaster in the form of wild fire endangering us. We do our best to reduce fire danger but a big fire can jump highways and rivers.

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