How to get home when SHTF


You will eventually want to move, either to get home, bug out or go out for resources.

Get home

  • The urban movement procedure, in an at least semi combat scenario in a high threat situation, is:
    • think,
    • hide,
    • first aid,
    • go grey man,
    • update family,
    • lock down hideout,
    • take water,
    • check what tools you have,
    • sleep,
    • sneak to next hideout,
    • eat,
    • repeat.
  • Your tactical movement by stealth with camo varies from walking main roads for speed in normal clothes with no need for hiding, security and first aid for an isolated transport breakdown, to trauma kit, lockdowns, camo and crawling in war.
  • Going grey man assumes you are on the way to civil war, martial law or rule of law is breaking down.
  • The standard steps are:
    • plan,
    • hide,
    • treat,
    • sanitise,
    • camo,
    • comms,
    • secure,
    • drink,
    • check tools,
    • rest,
    • navigate to friendly neighbourhoods in dark or bad weather around obstacles via woodland or paths depending if people are a threat,
    • consume, and if necessary source, food,
    • repeat.
  • It is not just a mad rush to get home to family, but a project to get there healthy and ensure they are there waiting.
  • Bear in mind that cities are prime targets for WMD, where diagnosis will take too long and there will be too many casualties for authorities to help.
  • Stop to:
    • consider your strategy,
    • seek shelter,
    • deal with injuries or contamination,
    • strip off anything that makes you stand out,
    • radio family to check in,
    • ensure you are somewhere safe for a kip,
    • have a drink,
    • check your gear so you know what you have and stash anything you will not need,
    • have a kip,
    • then move whilst avoiding routes with dangerous people.
  • Before moving, consider:
    • land,
    • weather,
    • how long you want to take,
    • who is where,
    • what do they want and
    • what can they do?
  • The demographic may eventually become haves and have nots.
  • Eventually an army or civilians may start roadblocks, confiscation, internment or curfews. These would be a belligerent enemy invading force or an unconstitutional junta or criminals, either way they are at worst hostiles and at best obstacles, and certainly incompatible your survival even if they are not shooting at you, and by definition there will be no law to prohibit dealing with them using superior rations, shelter, local knowledge and cunning. By this stage transport lines and broadcasts may well be gone. Somebody may be trying to take out or rebuild energy, money, comms, medicine, transport and culture, possibly the same forces harassing you now. If such an army cannot reinstate utilities and security they will have no support.
  • Keep hydrated but do not worry about food until day two.
  • A hideout should be where nobody would go, with multiple escape routes, like a hedge, drain or building with lots of doors but only one easy approach.
  • Patch yourself up for bleeds, breaks and burns.
  • If you survive a nuke blast then burns and radiation or restricted medicines, food, water and shelter may get you later, but surprisingly glass splinters can bounce off and usually do not get inside the chest and even if they do probably will not kill you, and likewise for burst lungs, but you may have to contend with temporary blindness and deafness. You need to stay in shelter for up to a fortnight and should not pop out for food and water for a few days, and even then only for minutes in the first fortnight; you will not be going far in an NBC suit anyway even if you had one.
  • For camouflage:
    • Try to make your clothing and packs into blotches of shades of grey, darker for night, not all black if you fear night vision tech,
    • hide tags and moral patches, and
    • try to avoid displaying carabiners, webbing, molle and tactical gear;
    • a grey man blends in and camo stands out a mile in urban areas and even in woods, so you may be better in innocuous plain browns and greens in case you happen across people – reversible clothing would be great.
  • Get in touch with family to work out where you will meet and if you need to bug out or bug in when you arrive and estimate your progress and ETA.
  • You probably will not have perimeter alarms in a get home bag but you might at least be able to hang a mug on a door handle or something as an early warning of intruders to your hideout.
  • Drink ready for the journey and if necessary obtain and purify water.
  • Get your bag ready to run before getting your head down.
  • Grab sleep now as you never know when it will be safe to do so again.
  • You should have got yourself trained in first aid, comms, water sourcing & purification and navigation before SHTF.
  • Avoid playgrounds and parks, as they have excitable creatures frequenting them. Avoid gangs.
  • Expect undesirables to change tactics over time. Do not underestimate how much adversaries will come at you with once they are hungry. Do not trust anyone or uniforms or lack of uniforms.
  • In conflict, the city is partly your friend as probably nobody will have much firepower, time or men to persistently target you, and they are even less likely to control a big area, plus outside any collapsed areas you still have tunnels and basements and there are often air and sea options (as long as war has not broken out). But you could face no electricity so no lights or heating, and have to contend with fires or even firestorms and loss of landmarks, and have to battle ruins, toxic dust, chemical leaks, uncollected rubbish, disease, floods, sewage and rotting animals. Prefer grid street layouts as it is easier to predict where everyone is going.
  • Streets may become kill zones meaning you have to breach walls.
  • No gymnastics, just confident strolling like somebody with no valuable gear, or you acquire transport such as a cycle or car depending how much rule of law is left.
  • Ideally hide survival kits in a wallet, pouch and in clothing so if you lose something like your bag in a robbery or an escape you still have something.
  • Note resources and potentially cache some on the way. Industrial buildings may house chemicals for purification, fertiliser, pesticides, fuel, medicines and batteries. Others may house food, water and shelter gear.
  • If you are worried about night vision being used on you then wear various shades of dark grey and hope there is still ambient light to degrade the equipment. Your natural night vision takes half an hour to get up to speed. In the dark you can see better slightly side-on.
  • If moving through contested area do it at night with no torch, talking, scented toiletries, fires, smoking, insect repellent, shiny items on show or clanking objects. If you have to do it in daylight then disguise your gear with use of civilian clothes, bags, wallets and cache belts.
  • To hear better open your mouth, and turn your head from side to side to trace sounds.
  • Rehearse routes in night and day. This may have to be a family adventure as you would be away for several days if for example you commute into London.
  • Find rest stops in advance.
  • Get home bag:
    • A get home bag needs food to eat on the move without cooking, so it is about snacks not stoves.
    • Most people are not that fit, so carrying enough water is probably not going to happen, but everyone should carry water treatment gear like a bandana, purification tablets and a pocket filter or UV pen, plus fire starting gear such as a lighter and tinder.
    • You will need comfortable clothes, hiking footwear and a space blanket.
    • A first aid kit is ideal; expect bad feet and stomach.
    • A multitool is worth considering.
    • A map and compass are essential.

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