Major disasters have a way of bringing out the worst in people, turning once safe locations into very dangerous places. Combine this will all of the non-human related risks that certain areas pose in a post-disaster scenario and you certainly have plenty of reason to be careful about where you go.
If and when a major disaster strikes, there are a number of places that you’ll to stay far away from in order to ensure your safety. As you plan your bug out route and survival plan, try to keep a good distance from any of these seven places.
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Every hospital in the area is going to be overrun after a large disaster, meaning that your chances of receiving care when you visit one are minimal at best. Even if there is a small chance that you’ll be able to get medical attention, it’s probably best to avoid going to the hospital (depending on the severity of your injury, of course). After a disaster, hospitals are going to become epicenters of chaos and confusion, and full of hurt, desperate people.
What makes hospitals even more dangerous is the risk of contamination. The last thing you want to do at a time when a minimal medical treatment is available is expose yourself to infection, and hospitals are, by nature, full of infected people. Unless your life depends on it, you’ll be better off treating yourself and avoiding hospitals after a disaster.
Like hospitals, airports will become places full of hysteria and chaos as countless people try desperately to escape the area. It’s unlikely that any planes will be flying out after a disaster anyway, so avoiding the airport is your best bet.
If a desperate person realizes they aren’t going to be able to fly away from the disaster, robbing you might become their second best option. The same thing applies to train stations, subways, or any other mode of public transportation.
The vast majority of people are unprepared for major disasters and do not have food and supplies stockpiled. This means the supermarket is going to be the first place that many people run to. Of course, the store won’t have nearly enough product on hand to meet the demand after a disaster, and many people may be willing to kill over what supplies they do have.
Hopefully, you’ll have enough food stockpiled that you’ll have no need to rush to the supermarket after a disaster. If you don’t, though, trying to gather supplies after a disaster has already struck is a major gamble.
4. Bridges and Tunnels
There’s no way to know for sure whether or not these structures have been damaged and are on the brink of collapse. When planning your bug out route, it’s best to avoid these structures as much as possible.
There’s no reason why you would want to go near a prison after a disaster, but there are plenty of good reasons to stay away from them. If the disaster is serious enough, security in the prison may break down, allowing inmates to escape. With no mode of transportation, these inmates will likely wander around the vicinity of the prison.
Major disasters can make even decent people do terrible things, so you can imagine what society’s worst would be willing to do with newly acquired freedom and a world with no rules. To avoid falling victim to an escaped inmate, you’ll want to plan routes that don’t take you anywhere near a prison.
6. The Wilderness
Many people have this romanticized idea that when disaster strikes, they will simply head into the wilderness and live off of the land until things return to normalcy. However, bugging out into the woods with no other plan should be a last resort.
The reality is that surviving in the wilderness is much more difficult than it seems. Every single day is a battle to survive, and there are so many things that can kill you. You’ll have only a few days to find a source of water before you die of dehydration, and maybe less time than that to find shelter before you die of exposure. It may take a few weeks before you die of starvation, but finding food in the wilderness is often even more difficult than finding shelter and water.
Factor in all of the other dangers such as injuring yourself and being unable to move, wandering across dangerous wildlife, eating the wrong berry, and much more, and the wilderness becomes a very hostile place. Even trained survivalists have a hard time making it more than a week or two in the wilderness without ample supplies.
Heading for the wilderness is still an option if things simply get so bad that you don’t feel as if you can survive anywhere else. However, it certainly shouldn’t be your first choice, and you should always have a plan for where you are going to go next rather than planning on the wilderness being your final destination.
7. Locations of Riots
Any place that a riot has broken out is a place that you do not want to be. The mob mentality that takes over when a riot starts is extraordinarily dangerous as it takes away people’s fear of consequences as well as much of their individual responsibility. What starts as a mostly peaceful protest can turn violent in little time at all when people are angry.
To avoid getting caught in a riot, you may want to steer clear of places where riots may break out such as near government buildings. If you do see a riot starting to form in your area, act as normal and inconspicuous as possible and maneuver away from the crowd.