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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Worst Case Scenario - The Mass Bug-Out

Anyone who has lived on or near the coast for any appreciable length of time has experienced the effects of a mass bug-out. Just when you think you are located in a relatively safe area, here comes a mass of humanity headed directly towards your area in an effort to get out of the way of an impending disaster …generally a really bad hurricane as far as most coastal areas are concerned.

Now when a large mass of humanity all starts moving out of an area, the effects will be similar to a large number of grasshoppers appearing in your pasture. They will strip everything bare and leave little of anything in their wake. Lack of preparation when combined with a certain level of panic both contribute to this problem. All of a sudden you realize that the arrival of a large population of displaced people is going to put a strain on your available resources.

Similar to the herd instinct of most animals, this mass of humanity once they get moving will trample anything and everything in their path to avoid the effects of a disaster. During Hurricane Katrina, the interstate in my area was completely useless to people in the local area. Even the secondary highways in my area were clogged with large amounts of people and traffic. A simple 45 minute trip took over two hours to accomplish and was only possible by using back roads that people unfamiliar with the area weren’t even aware of their existence. Another similar situation, although not as bad, occurred during Hurricane Ike.

Along with the traffic congestion, came the problem of just accessing routine items such as gasoline and food. Lines at convenience stores were so long that they were blocking nearby intersections, which caused even more traffic congestion. And those people who couldn’t get fuel for their vehicles or suffered a mechanical breakdown (forget about AAA!) wound up stranded on the side of the road. Forget about buying food, bottles of water or batteries. Shelves were stripped bare in most stores along the evacuation routes in a matter of hours and the possibility of re-supply was non-existent for the present. People were literally fighting for what was left.

Now in a worst case scenario this is probably what should be considered a localized event. It is fairly limited in its scope because it is happening in a fairly generalized area (those closely affected by hurricanes). What about a disaster with even more serious consequences? After 911, many people were absolutely terrified to be in any type of skyscraper in any city because of the possibility of it becoming a target. Any major city or urban area could find itself in the same position. A terrorist threat, a major outbreak of a deadly disease or anything of a similar nature could create a scenario where there could be mass evacuations from a number of large urban areas at the same time because of the panic that could be caused by the “What if my city is next?” syndrome. The resulting displaced masses will be a very real threat to your survival. A failure to be prepared could have disastrous consequences.

In most cases your home is going to be your best survival option, there will be those times that you may need to avoid the stampede...

Staying above the water line!