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How will you know when the balloon goes up? Advice from survival experts, Part 1

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How will you know when the balloon goes up? Advice from survival experts, Part 1

Postby fastback65 » Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:13 am

How will you know when the balloon goes up? Advice from survival experts, Part 1

A few weeks ago I had the oddest dream. In this dream, I was at home when my husband walked in the door from work and said, “The balloon’s gone up.” Immediately, my kids and I set about getting ready to leave town. I remember feeling impressed because everyone seemed to know exactly what to do.

Now, talk of balloons going up isn’t part of my everyday vocabulary. I use it about as often as I scamper from bush to bush, hiding from black helicopters. In fact, the first time I heard the phrase, I had to look it up online.

“When the balloon goes up” is a phrase used to imply impending trouble. This relates to the use of observation balloons in the first World War. The sight of such a balloon going up nearly always resulted in a barrage of shells following soon after. The expression was reinforced during WW2 when the hoisting of barrage balloons was part of the preparations for an air raid.

Often in survival type forums and blogs someone will use this phrase along with talk of, “getting out of Dodge.”

Obviously, I’m in favor of educating people to survive during all sorts of crises, but sooner or later one has to wonder, “How will I know when, or if, it’s time to gather my family together and get out of town?”

The answer?

“When the balloon goes up!”

And that gets us right back to where we started. When does one know when that balloon has gone up? How do we know when events have taken an irrevocable turn for the worst and the only way to survive is to get as far away from our current location as possible?

I think that’s the $40,000 question, really. Not, “What do I keep in my bug out bag?”

Rather than try to come up with The Definitive Answer myself, I turned to numerous friends and acquaintances in the survival and preparedness niche and asked them for help.

I received so many outstanding responses from experts such as Claire Wolfe, James Rawles, Rob Hanus, and so many more that it will take more than one blog post to include them all. As you read their thoughtful answers, consider how these events might unfold in your own community.

So, in answer to the question, “How will I know when the balloon has gone up?”, or your own version of that question, here are a few of the responses, with more to follow.
From Brian and Daron Payne of the P2E Emergency Preparedness Expo.
1. Empty shelves in grocery & hardware stores
2. Unexpected bank holidays/Run on ATM’s
3. Large groups of looters
4. Loss of life due to the police and emergency services being overloaded
From Timothy French of Americans Networking to Survive (A.N.T.S.)

A.N.T.S has an emergency plan that members can download. It has a section in it which talks about bugging in and when it is time to bug out.

It lists three threat levels and the signs you should look for. They are the same for all disasters because in the end, breakdowns in society are caused by a loss of utilities and supplies.

The signs are:
Level 1 – No danger – utilities are out – people are getting along

OPSEC is low – neighbors working together.

Level 2– Some danger – utilities are out – people are getting very worried.

OPSEC is medium, should try to band with neighbors to block off your street.

Level 3 – Dangerous – utilities are out – people are desperate and looking for supplies.

OPSEC is high – You should bug out or hide in place

So as you can see, your neighbors reactions to an event are your best indicator, and picking up on those little signs before things get bad will give you the advantage. Bugging out before things really get bad will be a judgment call that each of us will have to make.
From Selco of SHTF School

Here are 5 first signs of coming collapse how I experienced it before war started. I’m sure it will be very similar again.

Symptom 1: More violence in your area

Symptom 2: Group behavior changes, survival brings people closer and makes others less human

Symptom 3: Dead streets

Symptom 4: New leaders emerge

Symptom 5: Nobody to trust anymore
From James Rawles of Survival Blog

Five signals of an imminent social collapse:

1. Failure of any of the three American power grids, with no subsequent restoration of power within 72 hours.

2. A stock market collapse of 30% of more of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) in less than 10 days.

3. Simultaneous rioting in three or more major American cities.

4. News of an easily-transmissible influenza pandemic with a high lethality rate, and an outbreak anywhere in the U.S.

5. Outbreak of war, with one or more targets hit in the Continental United States by a major nation state, or multiple targets hit by a terrorist group. (This would include use of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons.
From Randy Augsberger of The Prepared Christian

1) Warning from the Government or other authority

This one is a no-brainer. As much as I hate to admit it, the government will give us warning in some situations. Think Katrina. It would be a good idea to pay attention to what the talking heads are saying. Just run it through your filter and don’t disengage your brain. These can include natural disasters and health issues like potential pandemics.

2) GMO crop failure

One of the biggest dangers of a global catastrophe I see is a famine induced by some bug (natural or man-made) attacking GMO crops. This will play out in the future as more and more of our food supply is controlled by Monsanto/ Government.

3) Talk of making precious metals illegal for private ownership

Don’t think this couldn’t happen? It happen once already in this country. If for some economic reason, real or perceived, the government declares precious metals illegal to own, there will be absolutely no hard currency other than barter (they will probably try to outlaw that also).

4) Martial law declared anywhere in the U.S.

This one is an alarm bell. Again, be sure to not disengage your brain. If you can see (for yourself) a good reason for it, fine. But if it looks like a government power grab, be ready.

5) Widespread violent rioting

One or two cities in flame are not enough to get me too worried (unless I lived in those cities). But imagine the occupy movement if it was done with weapons and violence. We would be on the verge if not embroiled in a civil war.

When is it time to get out of Dodge? The experts weigh in, Part 2

When to get out of Dodge (GOOD) is the question a lot of survival minded people ask themselves. Sometimes, in the case of massive flooding or earthquake damage, the answer is obvious: get out now!

But looking ahead to a time when the rule of law and the structure of our society may not be reliable, when do we know that it’s time to get out, to leave the security of our homes and, hopefully, move on to a safer location?

Last month I asked a number of survival and preparedness experts to weigh in on this question. You can read Part 1 of their responses here.

Now for Part 2, another set of experts weigh in with their assessment of, “How will you know it’s time to get out of Dodge?”
From Nathan Jefferson, author of The Wayward Journey
The long and short answer is very binary. You won’t or you will.That’s really helpful, right? So let me clarify: in most possible scenarios you won’t really know that TSHTF right away. To help illustrate what I’m talking about I’ll use two events; Event X and Event Z.

Event X is a regional, national or even international event that leaves you wondering about your next steps. These happen dozens if not hundreds of times a year around the world and usually a level of normalcy returns after a few days, weeks or sometimes months.

Event Z, is the game changer. You aren’t wondering if TSHTF. Instead you are running around and executing your plan (you have a plan, right?) trying to prepare as fast as possible. The easiest examples would be nuclear war, invasion by foreign forces, national or international large scale events.

For this part of the discussion Event X will be our focus:

People, even the unprepared, are pretty resilient and it would normally take days if not weeks for things to slowly fall apart after Event X.

You’ve seen it on TV and in the news dozens if not hundreds of times after localized disasters. People sit around and expect someone to come help them and that everything will be all right. While there might be looting or other criminal elements around that you don’t see in your average day, things are still pretty quiet and society holds together until they eventually get better or worse. You can find hundreds of examples of things getting better; it’s the norm and to be expected.

It is this very expectation that helps keep the wheels on the bus for the first few days or weeks. As a prepper person who wants to help restore normalcy and keep you and your family safe you should be spending your time executing your plan, assuming things will get back to normal, but always being ready in case they don’t.
For this, you should have everything you would need for a bug out or to ‘hunker down’, ready and waiting. BOV (Bug Out Vehicle) loaded, BOBs (Bug Out Bags) stashed by the door, window protection pulled out from storage, water containers filled, etc. You are ready to bug out or you are ready to fortify, but you aren’t executing that part of the play, yet.You should be listening to the news; local, national and international. If available check the internet. Contact relatives, friends or those in your mutual support group via any means available, phone, internet, CB, Ham. You want to watch for things like:

Widespread rioting
Mass evacuations
People being taken to relief camps
Gas and food shortages
Warnings that utilities will be out for extended periods of time
Spreading unrest or turmoil

It will be up to you, based on what you learn, to make the judgment call of when to move to the next steps of your plan and bug out or fortify. If you are bugging out, leaving a day before normalcy returns probably won’t hurt, just treat it as a practice drill. If you are fortifying, you might want to wait to the last minute to do any permanent structural changes to your house, but having your protective plywood in position by windows and doors won’t hurt. For Event Z:

You know Event Z has happened. (If it is an Event X that turns into an Event Z, you should already be well on your way to being ready.) You will hopefully have some means to listen to the news and hear details such as:

Nuclear attack/meltdown
Martial law
Invasion or large scale attacks
National scale natural disaster/catastrophe (such as Yellowstone Super Volcano or meteor impact)
Response to other disasters has failed
Almost instant national unrest

If Event Z happens you will be executing your plans as fast as possible, hopefully it isn’t the first time you are testing it.


An Event X that turns into an Event Z is what I believe to be the most likely; where a ‘normal’ disaster finally overwhelms the response and turns into a complete meltdown. For this to happen it would likely come from a combination of two disasters. Think economic meltdown and earthquake or oil shortage and massive hurricane, or any other two things that eventually overcome people’s natural resiliency.

I hope and pray we never have to deal with either of these types of events, but I’ll never stop getting ready just in case!
From Bernie the Apartment Prepper

1. Temporary situation that requires you to leave immediately, but hopefully come back when it’s safe. Some of those would be:

weather related such as hurricanes
chemical spill

2. Permanent bug out, when you have to leave and you may not be able to come back for a long time, if ever. This is a bit more complex and involves carefully watching for signs.

For me, it would be time to leave if:

No trucks delivering to the stores, and it does not look like they will be coming for a long time.
Infrastructure has gone down: no electricity or water for a few days, and no anticipated fix. In this situation, people will start getting desperate in the city and you don’t want to be trapped.
No rule of law; 911 and police no longer responding. This means no help will arrive if you or your family are threatened, and looters will start coming in soon.
Your gut tells you it’s time to leave.

From Claire Wolfe, author, columnist at Backwoods Home

Of course “before the balloon goes up” we’ll see much of what we’re already seeing: militarization of police; wild fluctuations in financial markets; growing authoritarianism and surveillance; huge disparity of wealth; perpetual wars; crumbling infrastructure; lack of opportunity for young people; smart money going offshore; and (most recent and worrisome) currency wars as central banks around the world all race to make their money the cheapest.

But of course, all those things can go (and have gone) on for years.

The real collapse will probably be an abrupt, cascading series of events. All the pundits will scream (assuming they still can) about how “no one could have predicted it.”

My crystal ball is in the shop for repairs, but here are three things you might see right before things go blooey:

1. A sudden doubling or tripling of inflation, which the federal government will either deny or try to fight via silly patriotic campaigns.

2. The military being permanently moved into or near cities “to fight terrorism.”

3. Rolling shortages of key goods (bread, gasoline, crucial industrial supplies). These will be called “temporary” and pundits will say each shortage is caused by isolated, unrelated factors. But, one after another, they’ll keep happening.

Really, though, it’s most likely that a black swan will set the ultimate collapse in motion. Anyone who’s concerned about “when to get out of Dodge” should already have gone. Or go now.

When is it time to get out of Dodge? More expert advice, Part 3

From Todd Sepulveda of Prepper Website and Ed That Matters

When I think about the phrase, “when the balloon goes up,” I don’t usually think about natural disasters, but instead, something man-made. Although I
don’t typically see conspiracy around every corner, I do think that it is important to be aware of what is going on in the world. The way I do this is to stay connected to alternative media. I sift through a lot, but I have found that the alternative media usually releases important stories/reports 3-4 days before the mainstream media. Three of my look-fors are:

• Pandemic – It’s easy to get freaked out when the mainstream media starts talking about the latest virus, they sensationalize it so much for ratings. But if a real pandemic was to hit, it would be devastating. In fact, the video, After Armageddon was the show that got my wife on board. I tend to pay attention when I read about pandemics in various parts of the world…especially if they have gone airborne. I’ll bug out if I see virus trend maps showing movement towards my state.

• Riots – I’m not talking about your ordinary neighborhood or city riot. I would pay close attention if riots started in one city and started spreading to other cities. This could happen for many reasons: economic, food shortages, government dissatisfaction, but no matter the reason, I would pay close attention. Although things are good in my home state of Texas right now, I would start making preparations to bug out if I saw riots in cities like Austin and Dallas or any big city in one of our neighboring states.

• Financial Crash – Again, I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill Dow Jones dropping 200+ points. I’m talking about days of uncertainty which would spiral and cause people to panic. Panic is contagious. When people panic, they do stupid stuff…like riot (see above).

Some might wonder why I’m not referring to nuclear war, super volcanoes, solar flares, etc. I feel that if these things happen, everyone would know about them instantly. There would be no time for the balloon to travel up…it would just pop right then and there! Barring a solar flare/EMP that fried everything, I would bug out in any of these scenarios.

Again, the key for me is to be aware. I don’t let this all get in the way of life happening, but I do keep an eye out for what is going on. The point to ponder here is that there will be signs and people will be talking about it. Air has to go into the balloon before it can go up.
From Steven Aukstalkanis of Threat Journal/AlertsUSA

*The following is guidance we have supplied to subscribers of the AlertsUSA service.

Current events unfolding in Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Argentina and elsewhere provide us a clear view of what causes a widespread, sustained breakdown of social order.

While the specifics leading to their situations vary from country to country, the breakdown in social order typically begins when people, en masse, are rapidly taken out of their comfort zones.

In each of the above instances, large numbers of people were quickly put out of work, banks became insolvent preventing the withdrawal of deposited funds, extension of credit slowed to a crawl and, perhaps most importantly, social programs and safety nets were dramatically cut back.

The impact extended to businesses as well. As an example, if a grocery stores did not pay their suppliers, deliveries of stock ceased and shelves were bare. If the transportation companies were not paid, products remained in warehouses. If workers were not paid, products were not produced and companies closed.

In modern society, literally every aspect of one’s life is dictated by access to money either through wages earned or social programs. A home, basic utilities and food on the table are all dependent upon its accessibility via some means.

When large numbers of people rapidly begin having problems meeting these basic needs through lack of work, bank failures and insufficient social programs, dangerous levels of unrest and crime WILL occur.

In desperate times, desperate people do desperate things.


– Failure of multiple LARGE banks.

– Failure of multiple LARGE brokerages

– Bank holidays declared preventing withdrawal of deposited funds

– Widespread “Bail Ins” (depositor funds used to refund insolvent banks)

– Capital controls (limited withdrawals and limited movement of assets abroad)

– Bond market collapse


1. Keep an eye on overseas markets. It is highly likely that a cascading systemic failure of the U.S. financial sector will begin overseas. Europe and Japan will be likely epicenters.

2. It is critical that readers make moves NOW to exit the system. Keeping deposits in banks beyond that necessary to cover monthly bills is placing those funds at tremendous risk.

3. Regarding 401Ks and IRAs: These are the last remaining piles of unencumbered cash available for the U.S. government to seize upon. There is already legislation being drafted in Washington that will mandate the replacement of such tax deferred savings with dollar for dollar equivalents in U.S. Treasuries. The reasoning that will be used is “to protect responsible savers.”

This has been in the planning stages for years

NOW is the time to get out if at all possible. Bite the bullet, pay the taxes and get your assets back. Anything left in these accounts stands a good chance of being taken

4. In all investments it is critical you eliminate, to the greatest degree possible, all of the agents between you and your assets.

If you hold stock, the chances are good they are held by the broker in what is referred to as “street registration”. This means that in the brokerage records, the stock belongs to you, but in the eyes of the company in whom you own stock, it is in the name of the brokerage. Leaving assets in “street name” with your brokers and bankers is a financial death wish.

The preferred way of holding shares of stocks has always been in your own name as physical certificates. The second best method is to hold your shares in Direct Registration.
From Rob Hanus of The Preparedness Podcast
There are some other minor events which would require a short-term evacuation, such as a chemical spill, but there are four big events that would cause me to bug out immediately.
NUCLEAR DETONATION: Should there be a nuclear detonation on any city in this country, regardless of where it occurred, it would immediately throw the country into chaos and turmoil, both socially and economically. The sense of security we have in America would be completely shattered and we’re likely to see a psychosis among many people. The threat, real, implied or inferred of another detonation would necessitate the need for me to get my family out and away from any large population centers and any other likely targets.
RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT: Without appropriate shelter, the only defense against radiation is distance. A radioactive cloud, whether from the fallout of a dirty bomb, nuclear detonation, or power plant meltdown, requires a spontaneous evacuation. This is one instance where getting stuck in traffic could be deadly, so you would need to leave immediately in hopes of getting out before everyone else realizes they, too, need to leave the area.
EMP: An EMP attack on the US would shutdown the electrical power grid for the entire country. Once down, it will likely be over a year before we would see electricity again. Without the power grid, there will be no food or fuel deliveries, nor will there be water, sanitation or any of the other many services we rely on for daily life. This means the cities will quickly become death traps, either through starvation, disease or violence.
In some urban areas, the breakdown of society is likely to happen within a matter of hours, though in most places, it may be two or three days before people realize the problem is bigger than they initially thought. Without radio, TV and phone communications, there will be no way for people to learn the entire country has been affected and most will opt to wait it out.
By the time people have figured out the electricity isn’t coming back, everyone else will also have realized there is no more society. Once people understand there are no more laws, no police, no fire fighters and no medical help available things will quickly deteriorate. For this reason, once you realize we’ve been hit with an EMP attack, you need to do whatever you can to get out of the urban and suburban areas and get to someplace that can grow food and supply water.
ECONOMIC COLLAPSE: Society has suffered economic collapses before, but should the collapse be so severe that we lose basic social services, such as law enforcement, sanitation services, food and fuel deliveries, and when the crime rate begins to increase, it’s time to get out. This scenario is trickier to know when to leave, especially if you are one of the lucky few that still has a job. If you have the resources to build up your defenses at home, you might be able to stay and ride out the collapse, but don’t stubbornly resist leaving. Safety of your family should be paramount.
The most important aspect of bugging out is having someplace to bug out to. Never become a refugee. Have several safe places you can go to. Having a destination eliminates one of the biggest barriers of deciding to leave. Ideally, have several retreat areas planned, and choose the best once you’ve made the decision to leave.
From Erich of Tactical Intelligence
Since the authorities will always wait until the last minute to evacuate a populace, waiting for the government to announce that it’s time to evacuate is in many cases too late. Especially if you live near a highly populated area, you could be joining the thousands of other stampeding cars all trying to Get Out Of Dodge — likely not getting anywhere but stuck on an evacuation route with all the other disgruntled (or worse) people.
For this reason you’ll want to have a set of “precursor signals” that tell you and your loved ones that it’s time to go (and let me remind you again, this shouldn’t be when the authorities tell you it’s time to go).Having this will keep you way ahead of the crowd. What you’ll need to do is make a list of events that would act as triggers that let you know it’s time to head out to your predetermined Bug-Out Location (or at minimum, a safer spot).Remember, in most cases you can always go back if things calm down or never amount to anything.

Here are a few example events:

The Economy:

Bank holidays or limits on withdrawals
Stock market closes or the DJIA reaches ‘x’ amount
Dollar loses reserve currency status

Social unrest:

Looting/riots spreading to nearby city
Crime and lawlessness on the rise and reaching a “tipping point”
Racial violence (ie a “Rodney King” event)
Class violence (ie “have-nots” beginning to physically target the “haves”)

Weather conditions:

Any category ‘x’ hurricane
An Impending Tornado

National events:

Martial Law enforced
Internet goes down for extended period of time
Transportation or supply systems effected

Local events:

Power outage for more than x number of days
Curfews implemented
Police going on strike

Ultimately, it comes down to paying attention. Awareness is ESSENTIAL.

In other words, you can’t afford to live in a bubble! Stay abreast on what’s going on in your local area, on a national level and in the world and how those events could shape your future.

These trigger events are very subjective and unfortunately there is no “one size fits all”. For your own trigger events you’ll want to consider the most
probable events first and then to move on to other disaster scenarios.

It’s also very important to trust your gut in all of this. If you or someone in your family or group “does not feel right” about what’s coming, then that should also be a valid trigger event.

When is it time to get out of Dodge? Experts have their say, Part 4

This is Part 4 of a 4-part series in which experts from all parts of the country and areas of expertise weigh in on the big question, “When do I know it’s time to get out of Dodge?” There is no one-size-fits-all answer, which is why I wanted you to get a wide variety of opinions and observations.

Be sure to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, to hear from James Rawles, Claire Wolfe, Rob Hanus, and many more.
From Fernando Aguirre (FerFAL), blogger and author

Don’t miss my interview with Fernando and our discussion of relocating out of the United States. Is it practical? A really bad idea? Click here to listen.

I think that the first question to answer is why are you leaving. How is it that you are improving your situation by doing that? In general, the standard answer is that you only leave when staying isn’t an option. Staying in a secured, known ocation, where you have assets, supplies and a network of people you know and trust is the best thing to do as long as you can do it.

Leaving makes sense when there’s a true risk and evacuation is the wisest course of action. If there’s flooding, tornado or storm warning and your area is recommended to be evacuated, then it makes a lot of sense to leave. Sometimes its disasters like a house fire, gas leak or nearby industrial accident that forces you out with very short notice. Again, its not as if you have much of a choice other than to leave in those cases.

Now, and maybe this is where it gets more complicated, should you leave because of economic instability, civil unrest threats or rioting on the streets? The answer here is generally no. You don’t really fix the economy by evacuating or relocating and take it from someone that’s been through more protests, roadblocks and looting than I care to remember, when there’s out of control crime and rioting on the street, the best thing to do is to close all doors and shelter in place until the situation defuses.

Hopefully you have somewhat hardened your home and have a proper tool for defending yourself and your family. No matter how bad looting and rioting gets, it eventually dies off and its much safer to stay put than risk traveling when criminals are rampaging on broad daylight. In terms of bugging out because of an economic crisis or even an economic collapse, how would it help? What you need is an income to keep the bills paid, and running doesn’t solve that unless you’re moving somewhere where you have better job opportunities.

There are some cases in which staying or leaving is even more confusing and not that obvious. Here, to a degree it becomes a matter of personal choices and the standards of living you consider acceptable.

If an economic crisis or collapse causes a significant decrease in the quality of life in your state or country, then I see the wisdom in leaving to greener pastures. Its not easy but when the situation has degraded enough it may get to appoint where things aren’t going to get much better for years to come. The level to which things have degraded may be beyond your tolerable standards. In my case, I left Argentina because the level of crime, cultural and social degradation was so big I simply didn’t consider it acceptable anymore.

Something similar may happen during social and cultural uprisings as seen in the Arab world. When there are threats of war or higher than acceptable risks for the civilian population, especially when a specific ethnic or religious group is being persecuted, in that case you may also want to consider bugging out, maybe even bugging out abroad to a different country.

As you see its not always that clear, and what some people may consider acceptable in some cases may not be acceptable for others. Either way, I believe that no matter want you should still have plans for evacuation in case you are left with no other option.
From Jim Cobb, author of Prepper’s Home Defense, blogger, and editor of Survival Weekly

One of the most common questions I get, just behind What kind of gun should I buy? and just ahead of, Who sells the best-tasting dehydrated food? is “How will I know it is time to bug out?” Variations of this include “How will I know this is the event?” and “How can I get out before the crowd?”

It is very difficult to give any sort of concrete answer to these questions because they are, at least in part, very subjective. For almost all potential scenarios, my pat answer is to remain at home until such a time that home is no longer tenable or safe. But, I’ll readily admit that is side-stepping the actual question.

Here, then, are some indicators, “red flags” if you will, that things are likely to get much worse before they get better.

Stores aren’t seeing stock coming in.

We’ve all heard the statistic that grocery stores only have about 3 days worth of stock at any given time. While that figure varies depending on the item, such as having enough toiletries to last a typical month but enough fresh meat to only last a couple days, the average for the store on the whole is likely stock levels to last a week or less. If something causes disruption to the replenishment process, that not only makes it difficult to purchase food and other supplies, the secondary result is people begin to panic.

In our modern society, most people are accustomed to immediate gratification. They want something so they go to the store and buy it. Now, how often have you run to the store to pick up something and upon arriving you learn they don’t have it in stock? It makes you feel frustrated, maybe even angry. How dare they not have the new season of Justified on DVD!

Now, imagine that instead of a set of DVDs, it is canned vegetables, milk, or bread and your family is already getting pretty hungry. One of the first things we’ll see in the wake of a major event is store shelves not being stocked. The disruption may only be for a few days but you don’t want to be around when people find out they can’t get food from their normal sources.

You hear eyewitness accounts of looting in your area.

I want to stress the “eyewitness” part of that. In chaotic situations, rumors are guaranteed to be flying left and right. Case in point – think back to all the rumors you heard about what went on inside the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. No doubt about it, there were bad things going on but, as far as I know, the rumors about infants being killed were never proven to be anything but stories.

So, if you hear that a neighbor was told by a friend of their cousin who heard from a guy down their block that their uncle saw some looters, you might take it with a grain of salt. However, if said neighbor instead tells you he saw a band of ne’er do wells going house to house as he was coming back from scouting the area, that’s a sure sign things are likely to be heading south quickly.

Emergency services are overwhelmed.

As we’ve seen in the aftermath of major disasters like Hurricane Katrina and various tornadoes in Oklahoma, law enforcement agencies as well as other emergency services can easily become overwhelmed. Please do not take this as a gripe against them. Thousands and thousands of good men and women work in those fields and do the very best they can to respond to emergencies large and small. However, they are only human and they have limits. They can’t be in two places at once and there’s only so many of them to go around.

traffic jamAt some point, triage will have to take place and decisions made as to which emergencies are more important than others. This happens every day, actually. Police dispatchers routinely need to determine which 911 calls get priority when things get really busy. A traffic accident with possible fatalities on a major highway takes precedence over a complaint about an out-of-season campfire in a backyard (yes, people call 911 for such inane complaints).

However, after a major event, staffing levels may drop due to officers having been injured in the disaster, being ill, or just plain wanting to remain at home with their families and this will result in many calls for assistance going unchecked for longer periods of time, if responded to at all. Even if attendance at roll call is 100%, the sheer volume of requests for help may become too much for any department to fully bear. In the event that takes place, you really don’t want to be one of the people standing around, waiting for a squad car to arrive and hoping they’ll resolve a problem for you.

Above all else, trust your gut. If that voice in the back of your head is telling you it is time to head out, do so. You may only have one chance to get out ahead of everyone else and make it to your secondary destination rather than end up in the middle of an interstate that has become a large parking lot.
From James Smith, The Covert Prepper

When the balloon goes up: What are my indicators to Get Out Of Dodge (GOOD)

National indications

Increased activity of the following:

1) Business closures such as Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Burger King, etc. This may be preceded by news stories of credit difficulty or stories about re-alignment, accounting method changes

2) National unemployment above 10%. They’re lying if it’s not actually higher

3) Zero or near-zero growth of all economic indicators

Don’t listen to MSM, look at John Williams’ website, ShadowStats.
May be masked by say growth was less than last quarter/week/month, but will not state an actual amount.
New home sales, Baltic Dry Index (BDI), and Municipal bond sales will be the key indicators.

4) Mass retirements of CEO/COO/CIO of Fortune 500 companies.

This may be masked by announcements of new people filling the spots, not necessarily that someone is retiring.
The same companies will be suffering high layoffs and low productivity.

Local indications

1) Loss of General Services at the local level. This demonstrates a collapse of government that cannot protect its citizens.


2) Preceded by:

Municipal bankruptcy — This has already happened in Detroit, Stockton, and other cities.
Foreclosures increasing
Watch county sales of tax-delinquency homes
Unemployment increasing

Why should you Get Out Of Dodge?

1) Increased civil unrest

Race related
Class warfare (Occupy movement)

2) INCH (I’m never coming home)

To be with a family members.
Large city with too many “needy” folks.
FEMA camps being set up to house people.
Look for press announcements of tenement camps (Hoovervilles) being closed down by police, and then the camps will open up as a humanitarian gesture.

Why Stay at home? When is hunkering down better?

1) INCH is just not an option

Physical health
Health of a family member

2) Small town with a close network of friends and family.

3) Rural setting is already an ideal Bug Out Location (BOL).

4) The area is resource-rich (hunting, fishing, farming).

Creative options to Getting Out Of Dodge

1) Go on “vacation”

Provides the opportunity to come back if conditions are still within your tolerances.
Allows you to leave without prior warning to neighbors.

2) Go on weekend “fishing trips”

Shorter term departure and allows you to simply not return one day after an expected trip.
Does leave your home open for theft.

3) House Hunting

Provides an excuse to leave town at random times to your BOL for random reasons.
Can be done for just the overnight.
You’ll need to tell neighbors you’ve got to get a bigger/smaller house weeks in advance to make the cover story most plausible.

If you want to be covert about your movements, here are a few excuses.

1) Excuses allow us to abruptly leave, but providing a cover story as to the real reason. Should anyone ask, a simple explanation is usually best as the neighbor would repeat your reason.

“Family is ill.”
“Found a job.”
“Moving in with family.” (Most plausible as families do tend to stick together.)

From Chris Slife, owner of Howling Coyote Silver

Before I share the metrics that I use when considering these questions, I want to say that I believe that the ‘American Age’ is going to end badly for most people. As I see it, there is either going to be a slow grind into the Third World, or a sudden collapse into a Bosnian-esque hell-hole.I do not pretend to know which scenario plays out. In my opinion, there are far too many variables to know how the ‘American Age’ comes to an end. Therefore, I want to encourage everyone to continue doing their research while continuing to live life to the fullest in the here and now.

Now, when considering the questions posed by Lisa, I ask myself the following general question: “In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, is it more likely that I will survive by staying put (ie., bugging in), or getting out of Dodge (ie., bugging out)?” The nice thing about the following metrics is that you can use them in a short-term disaster scenario (ie, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, et cetera) or a long-term economic/societal collapse scenario.

Metrics I use for staying put or bugging in:

a) Protection / safety, water, and food are available.
b) The disaster is likely going to be short-lived.
c) You can live off of the supplies you ALREADY have stockpiled for a short-term emergency.
d) And lastly, you stay put if it is too dangerous to travel.

Metrics I use for ‘getting out of dodge’ or ‘bugging out’:

a) Protection / safety, water, and food are not available.
b) Disaster is going to be prolonged
c) Life is in imminent danger

I know I will get some comments about my being too ‘vague’ with my metrics, but, the reality is, there will be NO NEON SIGN flashing, “Get out now or you’re doomed”. In considering whether to ‘Bug In’ or ‘Bug Out’, everyone is going to have to make tough decisions based on INCOMPLETE INFORMATION. The amount of variables bombarding all of us will be overwhelming. My suggestion to everyone is to develop their own metrics and game plan based on their own research, and then, “be like the willow and not the oak, the willow bends but the oak breaks” (Cody Lundin). In other words, make your plans, BUT BE FLEXIBLE.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: How will you know when the balloon goes up? Advice from survival experts, Part 1

Postby Oldfart » Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:54 pm

Great article
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