Thursday, August 25, 2016

Getting Out Of Dodge: Evacuating The City

I grew up in the suburbs of a fairly large city, surrounded by large cities. It was different time and cities were a little safer. I don’t think all cities are unsafe but as usual, there are bad places in cities. Most people that live in cities know the bad places and avoid them successfully. But society can be fragile.
There are some hot buttons that can spark tempers and erupt into serious outrage. The outrage among the people spreads like wildfire and before you know it, you have angry mobs tearing things up and making life dangerous. This year alone have been several riots in Milwaukee, WI, and Baltimore, MD, and Cleveland OH. These are cities that lately have not seen this type of activity. They are not without their crime or problems, but riots?

Generally, the government sends in police and military forces to try and control the uprising, but this typically makes things more dangerous for a while. The rage blinds the people and they can no longer tell the difference between friendly, peaceful people and those who wish to take them down.
If you happen to get caught in a city where social unrest is quickly escalating and it is no longer safe to be in the area, you have to bug out. The danger comes from all sides.
The unruly mobs are a risk as are the military and police who are trying to control the situation. Your life is in danger and you have to get out. Evacuating the city without being noticed is going to be tricky. Getting noticed could be deadly.
The following tips that will help you quietly get out of the city relatively unscathed.

Be Inconspicuous
You need to get out of the city without anybody realizing what you are doing—on either side. It will be important you stay out of sight as much as possible. If you are with a large group of people, it is best to travel in a single file line. The military teaches this. Also consider interval (how far apart each one in line is to each other). This is not as important in a non-combat situation.
Always travel in the wee hours of the morning, between about 2 and 5. This is when it is likely to be the quietest. It also gives you the cover of night.
Stay in the shadows and near buildings. The buildings will provide you with some cover and help conceal you. Wear dark clothing that blends in with the night.
Obviously, being as quiet as possible will be a must. If you have young children, make sure they are well aware of the need to be quiet. Make it a game if that works better.
Never travel during the bewitching hours, which would be anywhere from dark until about 2 in the morning. Looters and rioters are going to take advantage of the cover of darkness too.

Go with the Flow
If you are caught up in a mob or there are large crowds brewing, you can use them as cover. Stay along the fringes of the crowd. Don’t get caught up in the chanting or any other violent actions that may be happening. Keep your head down and avoid making eye contact with the participants if possible. When it is safe to do so, casually step away from the group.
If you are with a group of people, you don’t want to all leave the mob at the same time. A few at a time who casually slink away will be less likely to be noticed. Move to the edge and pretend to tie a shoe or simply hide behind a car or building.
Avoid getting caught between a fence and the mob or a wall of any kind and the mob. You could easily become trapped and even crushed.

Avoid Commercial Areas
When you are planning your route out of the city, do what you can to stick to residential neighborhoods. Looters and rioters are going to be more concentrated in commercial areas where they can loot goods.
Grocery stores are not going to be a top priority in the beginning, but eventually the looting will get there. Electronics stores, the mall, department stores and convenience stores are going to be the most at risk. Avoid those areas and you will likely avoid the majority of the crowds.

Know what buildings are empty and prepare to hide in them if a mob happens to form or make their way down your evacuation route. If you can avoid detection, you will be better off. Keep in mind; police are not going to be a lot of help if they happen to see you skulking about. They don’t know who is a part of the angry mob and who isn’t. They are more likely to attack first and ask questions later.

Avoid Crowded Areas
It only take a few people to start a riot. They will encourage others to stand with them and before you know it, a crowded shopping center or a busy street in the city has become a very dangerous place.
Riots are more likely to break out in areas where there are a lot of people. If you have an idea things are tense, avoid those areas at all costs.

Be Prepared
Because you never know when civil unrest may erupt, you should always be prepared. Have an evacuation plan in place. You don’t want to take the most obvious routes out of the city. You want to stay off the beaten path as much as possible.
Running into others who are fleeing the city could be dangerous. You never know if they share your same moral values and will not harm you or your group.
Part of being prepared means having bug out bags packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice. A bug out bag should contain the supplies and gear you need to get out of the city and into a safe place that will not be effected by the unrest. Have a place in mind where you plan on seeking refuge.
This can be a relative’s home, a retreat or under the open stars in a safe place. Have at least two routes planned out of the city, just in case the first is blocked. You will also want to communicate plans to every member of your family. Have a place to meet up so you can all evacuate together.
When civil unrest begins to brew, that is the time to evacuate the city. Pay attention to what is happening in the city as well as across the country. Often times, riots can be predicted. If you hear or sense something isn’t right, it is time to react. Don’t wait until the city is literally going up in flames before you get out.

Being inconspicuous, as stated above, means not being obvious. I like camouflage but sometimes that sticks out in a city. If you want the best of both worlds have a cover for your camo backpack that is not military looking. Be careful about guns. While around others, especially police and military, keep weapons out of sight. Hide that rifle so it doesn’t look like a rifle.

Knowing when to leave is tricky and a little scary. But even if you jump the gun and leave, things calm down quickly and order is restored, you can come back. You can call in sick for work and school. Leaving doesn’t mean you quit your life and can never go back.

Testing your bug out plan is not a bad idea. Be very careful about carrying guns in times of order unless you are licensed and/or it is legal to open carry. Either way, you may not want to look like the VonTrapp family leaving Austria in “The Sound Of Music”! Maybe just walking your route without bug out bags would at least test your route. Or maybe it would not be odd to look like you are hiking for the day on your chosen route. Either way, practice can show the flaws or areas you may need to improve in your plan.
Semper Paratus
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