Is It Better to Stay or Evacuate in SHTF


Everyone talks about the importance of prepping. We all think about the supplies we are going to need when an SHTF situation occurs, but almost nobody talks about whether or not to evacuate when it does happen. For example, if a major hurricane is coming your way, should you leave your house or should you stay? Knowing what to do in every possible scenario will save your life.

With that in mind, I did my research. I looked for data and common sense to find out what is the most recommended in those situations. This is one of the few aspects that government agencies and preppers alike agree on.

So, is it better to stay or evacuate in SHTF? According to my research, it depends. I know it’s frustrating to not get one simple answer, but the truth is that your actions should be dictated by the disaster. There are situations in which it is better to leave your home and head for the woods and situations that is better to stay put.

To help you plan, in the best way possible, below you can learn about every situation and how you’re supposed to act when or if they happen. But for those who need an immediate and effective plan, I recommend the following one that I feel will help and guide you to be a successful prepper.

Weather Disasters

Talking weather disaster is something very broad, which makes it difficult to determine which action you must take in those situations. It is better to assess every disaster individually.

Now, with that said, in most cases, the best course of action is to evacuate. Hurricanes and wildfires are perfect examples. Still, it is better to assess every situation individually because, in the case of hurricanes, it may not be necessary and advised to leave your home.

The main thing to consider in the case of hurricanes is the location of your house in regards to the trajectory of the storm. If you live in an area of risk, it’s better that you leave in time to not only escape the storm but also avoid traffic.

Hurricanes are survivable events. They don’t start out of anything. We have a bunch of satellites, and airplanes to track their every move from their birth over the sea to their kamikaze-like demise along our coastlines. We already have 24-hour weather offices that, in most cases, five days of warning of an impending storm. Yet some 2,000 people have died, either directly or indirectly, from hurricanes in modern, 21st century-America.

The same can be said about wildfires. Still, hundreds of people die every year. So, the best you can do in these situations is to evacuate. Also, the best you can do is to have a plan to do so. In times like this, it’s common for people to panic and chaos to rise, so it’s best if you have an evacuation plan to avoid the focus of possible riots and public hysteria.

So, if it is the case for you to evacuate, take the right measures. For example, pick roads that aren’t obvious. Stay away from highways if you can. Everyone is headed there. Leave as early as possible. Have a safe destination to go and enough resources to have a safe journey.

This means having enough food, water, and fuel. Remember that in those situations everyone will go to the gas station to fill the tank. So, it’s in your best interest to take care of that before you need it.

Nuclear Disasters

In cases of nuclear disasters, it’s always recommended that you stay in your house, depending on how close you are to the center of the disaster. In most cases, you should stay inside your house, following radio broadcasts to determine the best solution for you.

9 times out of 10, you should stay in your house due to the risk of contamination. If you have enough water and food, wait until is safe. Otherwise, you risk contamination, which is the worst thing that can happen in this scenario.

Now, there are certain situations that even inside your house, you’ll get contaminated by the radioactivity. In this scenario, you should bug out. Usually, when you’re located too close to the center of the explosion, the walls of the house aren’t enough to contain the radioactivity, so you should leave.

Here the main factors that will contribute to your decision are how much prep you did beforehand and the location of your house. Once you assess these circumstances, you can make the right call.

A lot of people will tell you that the right thing to do in the case of a nuclear disaster is to evacuate due to contamination and the risk of cancer and other diseases caused by the radiation. This is true to a certain extent but not entirely. Often times this type of evacuation will do more harm than good. In a study by the University of Bristol, they concluded that the evacuation of the people in the Fukushima incident in 2011 was just a waste of time since it only increased people’s life expectancy in 3 months.

Still, the conclusion could be that more often than not is better to evacuate. This is due to the fact that if you evacuate you get far away from whatever disaster that happened.  The catch here is that you have to know how to evacuate.

When done wrong, evacuation leads to chaos and way more harm than good. Still, on the same Fukushima incident, the psychological damage that was done by the evacuation was worse than the benefits that were thought that was being brought.

Temporary or Permanent

Another important factor to consider when deciding to stay or evacuate is how permanent the situation is. If the government has fallen and you live in a big city, the best thing is to evacuate. Big cities become a real trap once the law is gone. People enter a survival mode and only care about themselves, even if it is at the cost of everyone else’s safety and well-being.

For temporary situations, usually, the best option is to stay. Of course, if we’re talking about a wildfire or any weather disaster that is coming your way, you should leave. Most of the time, it isn’t necessary. For example, during certain hurricanes what the data shows is that a lot of people that don’t have to evacuate do so out of desperation even though it is clearly stated that they don’t have to. What this causes is chaotic traffic and everyone gets stuck on the highways, which puts everyone there in danger.

So, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if the situation is temporary or permanent and whether or not you are at risk. Obviously, you should use common sense, your prepper knowledge, and every information you gather from your local authorities to make up your best judgment of the situation.

In general, the best option will be to leave for a safer place. Now, sometimes it’s best to leave for 99% of people, but you may be one of the lucky few who is in a safe zone. So, the best you can do is to use your knowledge to make the best decision for yourself. After all, that’s why you prep.


In 99.9999% of the time, people who live in urban areas will need to evacuate. Buildings may fall, car crashes may happen, too many unprepared people may freak out and start doing crazy things. The truth is that the city is not a safe place. In the case of a war, big cities are the favorite target of enemy countries. In the case of natural disasters, it’s the place with the largest number of things that might get you killed when destroyed.

What I mean is that if you are in the middle of an earthquake, buildings may fall and if you’re anywhere near a skyscraper you might get hit. There are so many obstacles that you actually reduce your chances of surviving. The city is where preppers and anyone with basic survival skills are likely not, so the chances that no one is prepared for whatever is happening is quite scary. When people realize that no one is coming to save them, they will go crazy.

So, if you’re in a big city or urban area, in almost every case, you’re safer heading to the woods. In this case, it’s safer and better to evacuate. Obviously, a lot of people are having the same idea and there’ll be some danger on the road, so it’s best if you plan that first.

Now, in the opposite scenario, the situation changes. If you live in rural areas it’s better to stay if you’re a prepper. Chances are that the most isolated the place, the more prepared the person is. This happens because people who live in isolated areas are used to not have to depend on local authorities for an emergency since they’re far away, and waiting hours for an ambulance or the police is not practical.

The only situation that you should leave is if the problem is coming your way. Also, if you didn’t prep, it may also be a good idea to leave. Still, you shouldn’t head to the city but a close area to where you leave. Maybe a bug out place that you already have set up for yourself.

Do You Have a Plan?

If you act out of desperation and fear during an SHTF situation, you will die and maybe get other people killed. The reason you read this content is to prep, so don‘t be the guy that just reads the information and doesn’t prep. If you don’t have a plan, your chances of dying are big either way. Now, when you stay, you don’t have resources to last long. If you leave, you take the highway and try to head where everyone else is already going, which makes the whole reason of leaving the city to get away from the masses pointless.

Now, if you do have a plan, you know exactly what to do. You’ve prepared for this for a long time. All disasters and scenarios are covered. You have the equipment, the resources, the knowledge, and the means to survive. Nothing can surprise you. That’s why you prep. Because you know that when SHTF takes place no one will know what to do. Everyone will wait for the government or other people to do something for them.

So, if you do have a plan, staying or evacuating is not a problem. It’s not even a question because you know exactly what to do. If you have to stay you have all the water and food you need. Plus, the equipment to survive and protect yourself. If you need to leave, you have the vehicle, the plan, the destination, and the resources and equipment to execute everything without breaking a sweat.

When the moment comes, just assess the information and see what is the best course of action for your case and follow the plan. It’s usually best to follow your instincts, but learn to differentiate your fears from your instincts. Most people make dumb decisions because they let fear overdrive and take the wrong route, ignoring what they had laid out as a plan when they were thinking clearly.

If you do this, you’ll already have more chances than most people. We’ve also discussed in other articles, that you should think about whether or not you’re going to establish a team and whether or not you would allow other people into your house or escape plan, so remember to include those variables in your preparations. Here is a one plan I think will prepare you the right way.

How Much Did You Prep?

How much resources and equipment you have is another crucial component of a decision to leave or stay. Especially because even when you decide to stay, you may have to leave eventually. For example, if you live in a city, water and food will be gone eventually, depending on the situation. The supermarket and the grocery store when left without being refilled will run out of resources.

Now, if you’re close to the woods, you have rivers and lakes. You also have wildlife to hunt. You can also start planting some vegetables in your property. The possibilities are endless. The best part is that you rely only on yourself.

Considering that you have prepped, you should stay in your house for as long as it’s possible. This will be determined by how safe you are. This is related to what kind of disaster you’re dealing with, and the people around you. Are there riots or chances of people breaking into your home? Then, you should assess how much food and water you do have. With all that information, you make a decision on whether or not you should leave immediately.

As long as you prep you are in control and you have a choice. As you may have realized, the less prepared you are the more you have to rely on outside forces to help you and that’s totally missing the point of being a prepper.

So, store the necessary amount of water and stockpile your food. Get your guns, batteries, cameras, first-aid kits ready and start prepping. That’s the best and likely the only way to survive.


This last point intertwines with others. If you don’t know where you’re going it doesn’t matter which road you take. You must have a final destination to go to. Of course, if you’re in the middle of a natural disaster and you have to leave, you do it even if you don’t have a destination.

Still, the best thing you can do for yourself and loved ones is to have a safe house to go to. Pick a strategic place that covers most of the possible scenarios and has it set up for when you need it. Having a destination will save you the trouble of deciding where to go and depending on others.

Now, if you don’t have the means to get more than one place or even just one, you could team up. You can have an agreement with friends or family members and have more than one place. This way, you can get a place near the mountains and another in the woods, for instance.

Final Thoughts

These are all the scenarios and circumstances that you have to consider before deciding on staying or evacuating. It’s one of the toughest decisions you have to make (to leave your home) but it has to be done. The more you don’t, the more unnecessary risk you put yourself in.

To recap, if you live in a big city or if the disaster is coming your way, the best you can do is to leave. Big cities aren’t safe in those situations because they have every possible obstacle you can think of to make them more dangerous. Still, you have to be smart about how you’re going to evacuate.

Once you make your decision, you should have a plan to execute. This way you also free your mind to make a tough call in a very stressful situation. If you need an effective plan, click here for more information

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