This is a worst case scenario SHTF prepper nightmare, but prepping is what we do, so I thought I’d at least touch on this topic. Let’s say that TSHTF and you have to move out of your current location on foot for whatever reason. If things have gone real bad; criminals roaming the streets, gangs looking for things to steal, rioters destroying things. Whatever the case, you decide it’s time to leave. How do you do it without being seen? Unless you’ve got a small army the idea is to not advertise your position when moving.
Here are a few ideas for staying out of sight when being seen could mean big trouble for you and your family. The chances are slim that you’re going to be able to teach your family and friends how to leapfrog or bound on a sniper when he opens fire, so the idea here is to keep it very basic.
My wife asked what I was writing for today’s post and when I told her she said, “What about kids?” That’s a great question because if you have kids or pets you’re not going to want to leave them behind. (I hope.) So what do we do? The only answer I have is do the best you can with them. Babies might be able to sleep if you put them in a back pack carrier, but toddlers to eight or ten years old could be a real challenge. My two year old is hell on wheels and honestly it would be a big job to try and get him somewhere quietly. Try as best you can to keep them quiet, try to stay away from groups of people as much as possible, and keep the vulnerable near the middle of the formation so that it’ll be easier to protect them if you’re attacked.
When moving I would suggest moving in Ranger File. This is basically just a single column march with the man in front called the Point Man. This person is usually in charge of navigation and keeping an eye out for ambush, road blocks or anything that looks suspicious. Pick the best person you can for this position because it’s important. The leader is usually near the back of the formation in order to keep control of his people. The idea is to move slow, no more than a normal walk at the fastest. The people in the column must be alert, looking to both sides as well as glancing to the rear of the formation every minute or so. In the day time you should keep at least five meters between the person in front of you although at night you can close it up, so that your formation doesn’t fall apart or can’t respond effectively to a threat.
If attacked the people in the formation go either left or right and get down facing outward and supply cover fire if needed. The direction the individual moves is determined by the leader. The point man will move left or right depending on the situation. The second person in the formation might go left a few steps depending on the terrain, the third person will go to the right, the fourth person left, etc. This should be as instinctive as possible especially if you’re ambushed. Once your people have moved they immediately drop down and take whatever cover is available. I guarantee if your column is attacked by a bunch of gangsters and you react in a strict military fashion it will make them think, especially if you’re returning fire effectively.
Other things to watch out for:
Noise and light discipline. These are critical when moving tactically and every effort must be made to keep noises that carry to a minimum. Avoid metal on metal – such as pounding in a tent stake or hitting a rifle on something metal. Try to keep talking to a minimum when moving.
Do not use your white lens flashlight or headlamp at night. Most headlamps these days come with a red lens and if you absolutely must use a light then use the red light to see by. This will help to keep your night vision sharp and it won’t advertise your postion as much as a white light will.
If you’re a smoker – don’t. Not only does the smell carry a long distance, but the flare of the match and the glow of the cigarette coal can be seen a long distance off.
In the spirit of keeping it simple there are just a few hand signals that everybody moving in your formation should know. Anybody in the formation can give these signals, which is why it’s important that people look behind them when moving.
Stop – raised hand in the universal “Halt” gesture. Someone has seen something that needs to be investigated. Stop until you get the signal to move forward. (The move again is generally given by the squad leader or the point man.)
There are many more hand signals of course, but you can probably get by with these if you’re just moving your family and some friends out of the city.
Again, this is one of the worst case scenarios you might enounter for travel as a prepper, but prepping is what we do, so it pays to think these kinds of problems through. Better to think about it now and have a plan in your back pocket than to run into the problem without the faintest idea on how to proceed.
Here’s an Allstate advertisement I saw online and thought was pretty funny, but it’s a good lesson going back to what I’ve been saying about GPS (and other electronics.) Have a back up!!
I went through something like this recently when my daughter’s boyfriend brought his GPS in my truck when he was helping me move a bedroom set. I was close to chucking the thing out the window by the time we got to Portland!