Surviving Alone

static_tv_survive_shtfWhat if SHTF?  You are the only one home at the time when it hits.  Your kids are grown and gone.  Your wife is gone at work.  It is dark outside.  You hear nothing; see nothing.  There are no cars on the streets. When you finally venture out of the house early the next day, you see nobody on your neighborhood street.  The following day you find no one on any streets in your entire neighborhood.  You retreat back home and lock down in earnest.  There are no cars on the streets.  Normally you can hear 18-wheelers on the interstate highway just two miles away. Now, nothing.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Since it hit the fan, the electricity has been off.  City water is still on, thank goodness.  The natural gas stove still works.  For now, that is. Cell phones are dead.  FM and emergency radio channels yield only a static buzz. The police scanner scans and picks up….nothing. What do you do now?

The New Routine

It is time to execute your Plan A, the Bug In Option. Now you fully secure the house and implement your PDWs (personal defense weapons).  Everything is locked and loaded. Various firearms are stationed near primary exterior doors with loaded mags or pouched ammo within reach.  Your CCW weapon of choice is on your waist and an AR is nearby at all times now. Time to focus.  You break out all your prepper emergency gear and supplies. You lay it all out in plain view. Water, food, candles, flashlights, meds, batteries, extra firearms, survival knife, ammo packs, first aid and all else. Everything is organized, grouped, and put within easy access.

ar_resizedYou hydrate, eat, bathe, and rest.  You watch out the windows, moving quietly and judiciously around the house.  At night it is mostly a total blackout, so as not to draw attention from outside.  If you want light to read, or study, or rest, you use an interior room with no windows like a bathroom, closet or laundry room.  All noise is kept to a whisper.  Later, you elect to slip out a back door, well-armed, to recon the yard, street, neighborhood, venturing as far as you dare.  After sundown, that night vision scope really comes in handy.  You stop often to listen, smell, peer, and move cautiously.

The next night you spot a dim flicker of a light in one house down the street. In another house a form of a shadow moves across a corner window. There are still no cars on the streets, no police, no national guard, no planes overhead, and no more highway noise off in the distance. You vow to knock on those two doors the next day, but you change your mind.

Related: Top 5 Worst Incidences of Martial Law in The United States 

Days later the FM radio blares on. The announcement is like a weather warning but not the same. It is recorded and orchestrated. The news is confusing without many details, but some kind of an explosion or more has occurred and this caused a massive grid shutdown. There was no clue given about how extensive it was or how it has affected your general area. It is frustrating.

You learn that this final announcement that came before the full extent of the SHTF event warned everyone to stay put wherever they were and not to venture out. You missed that report, but it explains a lot. You worry again where your wife is and if she is OK. You worry the same for your kids hundreds of miles away. There is no way to know their fate.

Status Observation and Investigation

This worry emboldens you to visit the two houses where you spotted signs of life. As far as you know, the air is not toxic. Birds are flying and squirrels are playing in the yard as usual.  For a moment you see a dog run across the end of the street. Still no people or cars.

Now you wish you had at least met your neighbors down the street, but at least you have the neighborhood directory and look up the names of the residents in those two homes before you knock. You think, at the very least, it is best to be able to call them by name.

In the daylight no evidence of residence can be seen. There is no answer at the first house and no sounds come forth. At the second try a meek, scared voice asks your name. You speak your name and they recognize you as an administrator from the local college. That gives you some credibility, but the guns you carry are a bit discomforting to them.

bug_in_bag_shtf_woodsYou assure them you are no threat, because you are not. They know your wife, so they open the door just enough to peek. It is a relief and a welcome comfort to see another human face. The family inside is from Japan, here now as the husband is an engineer with the nearby automotive manufacturing plant. You are invited in. They exhibit signs of fear and caution, which is expected given the circumstances.

Their supplies are meager as the event has caught them completely by surprise.  With two smaller kids, they have a lot to manage.  They never ask for anything from you.  They have city water, too, with filled vessels in plain view as well.  You note a pan of rice on the stove.  They have one flashlight, but the batteries are dead. You promise to bring them more and some candles.  They are receptive of your visit. They become trusting and kind. You reciprocate.

Read Also: Bug In Contingencies

The man of the house speaks English quite well.  He was coming home when he heard the radio announcement.  He locked up the house and hunkered down.  The guy is smart and displays common sense.  They have no firearms, but you note a golf club at the front and back doors.  Work with what you have,’ you think. You ask about the other house across the street. They have nothing to report.  Their only radio is in the car which they listen to daily.  You assure them of your support and offer to visit them again the next day with some supplies.

On the walk back home, you round the corner and coming down the street is a military vehicle with some personnel walking alongside.  They spot you, armed.  They display their weapons as the vehicle comes to a halt. For moments you stand there staring each other down.  What do you do now?  Fiction or reality to be?

Photos Courtesy of:
Dr. John J Woods
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17 comments… add one
  • KEVIN November 8, 2016, 6:54 am

    very likely to be happen

    • SirHerc November 10, 2016, 7:58 pm

      Ok, first thing, you check for others on day 1 or maybe day 2. Why, because their less likely to be dangerous that early on. They are just as scared as you. As society degrades into base survival people will start seeing you as a resource not a human.

      Second, you scout them first, then leave a note and set a meet in a neutral area you don’t goto them. That way your not going to their potential lair and you can meet in a back yard off the main road so you can go home without being spotted.

  • mary November 8, 2016, 12:14 pm

    Sounds like the start to a great book. I would buy it!

  • Ray November 9, 2016, 7:01 am

    NEVER! NEVER! NEVER! Place weapons and ammo “around the house”, by doors and windows. If someone breaks in that weapon by the door is now THEIR weapon to shoot you with. Put your armor on if you have any. Carry your PDW and spare ammo. LEAVE THE REST IN YOUR SAFE! “Government” is your enemy 100% of the time. You are a slave with NO rights you are not willing to kill for. A government vehicle is always bad news. The military is a sledge hammer. They never show up on a peaceful street to do good works. They enforce the might of the state they represent. Your death is “collateral damage”. They are NOT COPS . Nor are they “good guys” They ARE killers. That is the one and ONLY job of all army’s everywhere ,and your ONLY options are fight or obey. If you chose to obey. You and all that you have are property of the state. If you don’t chose to obey, you better be a good shot. Because disobedience = death.

    • Ray November 10, 2016, 6:05 am

      I’d like to add to that : Your frame house is worthless as cover. It won’t stop 5.56X45 bullets. MG and rifle fire will just go through EVERYTHING in your house. If you do chose to resist don’t pick a house for “cover”.

  • irishdutchuncle November 10, 2016, 4:14 am

    my first thought: find the wife. I’m very fond of her.

    we should have made a plan, but I didn’t anticipate this. OUR “science fiction dystopia” has begun… I just wasn’t aware of it ’til now.

    everything was fine. the red queen had been vanquished (I thought) by “the donald”… but, the power elite, and their minions chose now to exact their revenge.

    • irishdutchuncle November 10, 2016, 4:44 am

      … the wife is not the type to cower in place. (shelter in place)
      she’s headstrong, like her dad. hard to believe he’s been gone ten years already. “The Mother” needs her help, so that’s where she’s heading if she’s alive. our brother in law may still have his Ham gear working. I will try to contact him by “packet”, but my tech savvy is really stretched to the limit.

  • Steve suffering in NJ November 10, 2016, 10:13 pm

    I wouldn’t be knocking on the neighbors door with a long arm. Absolutely a concealed handgun. Allot of bad sh– has to go down before its “ok” to walk around with an AR on your shoulder. Visible firearms would likely draw more negative attention than anything else. Certainly in the described situation ( IMO)

    • Ray November 11, 2016, 8:00 am

      I agree completely. Hauling a tricked out AR would make you a target for everybody. Also a blackout is not TEOTWAWKI until it hits week two , or you start hearing widespread gunfire and see folks fleeing in terror. Then you SHOULD get out the long gun. Army guys going “door to door” are “gun grabbing” however. Run or fight.

  • RonM November 11, 2016, 9:42 am

    The additional problem with carrying a long gun so soon after an event, and in daylight is you are easily spotted be the military patrol you did not check for! Stop crossing linear danger zones in broad daylight! If you must, then check them first! How many people walk around in condition white is amazing! Stop it!
    Get to know your neighbors now-at least meet them. If they are receptive to being prepared for “disasters” then offer advice, otherwise they are going to be a “zombie” in a few days. Grasshoppers and Ants!
    As a Christian now is the time to get your house in order and assist your neighbors. Proverbs 22:3: The wise see the evil ahead and hide while the fool walks on and is punished. I can only help those who want it!
    Good luck and God Bless!

  • Roger November 18, 2016, 12:31 pm

    Ray is right, modern houses are death traps, vulnerable to smalls arms (and up) as well as fire (arson), but there are a few things you can do to help negate these threats. Obviously, a brick or concrete home with a steel roof is best, but it thats not possible (by budget or municipal code), then adding additional layers of material to the interior of your walls can help. Painted sheet steel panels would probably be best (but quite heavy and expensive), but at least 2 layers of thick plywood panels (with a 1-inch gap between) will reduce or even stop small arms rounds, though kevlar panels between the wood panels would be great. There are spray-on coatings that are quite fire resistant, but they must be reapplied every two or three years. Some stuccos are fire resistant as well! Placing sandbags at all windows and all-but-one of your entree ways will help keep out intruders and increase your resistance to small arms, but remember that sandbags are heavy and you may need to reinforce your foundation beforehand! The door that you choose as your only entrance should be protected with a “C” shaped semi-circle of sandbags with sharp objects imbedded along the top to keep intruders from just jumping over it with a section of say nails sticking out of a board next to the handle side of the door frame that can be flipped up or over to allow you access so you can enter or leave thru that reinforced door without making it easy for intruders or potential snipers! IMHO there are two main flaws with this scenario and they are that after you realize that the SHTF then you should don your weapon(s) (at least a handgun), your body armour, secure your house and then fill every container in the house with potable water since most (if not all) municipal water is supplied via a electric pump and filter so without electricity the water flow from your sink will soon be zero! Second, DON’T go walking around your neighborhood since that makes you an easy target and your home is now unguarded. If you must communicate with your neighbors, then a pre-arranged system like colored construction paper with simple symbols can be placed in your window sills to send basic messages! GLAHP!

  • Survivor1 November 23, 2016, 8:19 pm

    It’s necessary at a time like this to practice the 3 ‘P’s :
    To stop, look, & listen – lay low to observe & assess the situation, before taking any action.

  • Gerry "Doc" Dowd November 25, 2016, 5:27 am

    First thing, keep your hands away from your PDW. Don’t provoke them into an action you are ill prepared to defend against. Lets assume they are U.S. soldiers. Check out the uniform and the patches. Are they National Guard, Regular Army or Marine? They’re National Guard and you, in a friendly manner wave to them and ask them what is going on? As citizen soldiers they’ll be more inclined to talk to you than regulars. They question you about your being out. Play dumb? The lights went out. You’ve not heard sounds of motor vehicles like you normally do for the few days. Finally curiosity got to you and you went to see if any of your neighbors were home. You just left a family low on food and you were going home to get some for them. They ask you why you are not obeying the broadcasts. Play dumb. What broadcast? When? They ask you why you’re armed. I’m armed because I’m licensed to carry and you can’t be too careful if this is the Zombie Apocalypse. Put a little humor into an otherwise serious situation. LOL. Can’t hurt. At that point they’ll be more inclined ti open up to you and tell what’s about.

    I agree with Ray. Your guns are safer in the safe. If you have a break-in the your PDW should be adequate; loaded with birdshot for the first few rounds. It won’t kill them but it really stings!! If they’re really determined then it’s time to play hardball. A strobe hand light at 1000 lumens will shock their retinas and cause temporary blindness as well as outlining them to you. Me, I have my 870/7+1 with a mounted strobe and the first 3 shells are #4 BB’s. The other 4 are 000 buckshot. I never keep one in the pipe. That sound, “SCHIK – SCHAK” has to be the scariest sound that an intruder can hear.

    • Nick February 3, 2017, 9:34 pm

      If they come into your house, they’re serious. I load slugs in the shotgun, steel core ammo in the AK. There are no warning shots.

  • Phil January 21, 2017, 1:41 pm

    I wouldn’t let on I had some food, they may be looking to “collect provisions for the party”

  • Really_Old_Guy February 24, 2017, 6:01 pm

    The time to reconnoiter would have been day 1. If no one answered their door (I wouldn’t have a weapon on display), and I “knew” they were home (I know most of my neighbors), I’d be VERY suspicious. Those that answered (because they know me) would fill me in that there was martial law…martial law is the ONLY reason that people would be told to stay indoors.

    Okay. I’m now informed. I’d ask the vulnerable ones (elderly couple) if they had enough to eat. I’d also recommend they fill every jug and container (including their bathtub) with water.

    It’s tough to defend a home alone. I’d go out the first night and dig in the garden and bury some “critical” supplies (you guess which ones).

    I hide other “critical” supplies in other areas of the yard, disguised to look like normal landscaping and leaf litter. To do this adequately, I’d be using mason jars and lids AND plastic bags to prevent the lids from rusting. Not only mason jars, but plastic bottles (from the recycle bin, or wherever) to store miscellaneous bulk foods, matches, bullets, batteries, etc.

    Then I’d set up a very obvious “pantry” area either downstairs or next to the kitchen with “excess” foods (close to expiration dates) that I wouldn’t mind got confiscated by the gub’mint. That way, if asked, I’d point to those meager supplies and say, “That’s what I’ve got available, right now.” I would NOT say, “That’s ALL I’ve got” and I’d VERY definitely say “right now” so as NOT to be lying to authorities…because, in fact, “right now” what they see is what they get and I’m not letting on there is anything else hidden away.

    If I think about it, while I’m considering various potential scenarios, I might even hide some of my supplies (under cover of darkness) a foot down or so in the neighbor’s yard right up against our mutual fence and camouflaged/covered with leaves, mulch, whatever currently exists there…after all, what my neighbor doesn’t know can’t hurt him. BTW, anything hidden outdoors that contains gunpowder I’d ensure was in tightly sealed (washed) containers and additionally, double- or triple-wrapped in clean plastic bags to deflect drug- and gun-sniffing doggery. I might even wear latex gloves while doing so to disguise/eliminate my own scent. I’d ONLY go after these supplies some months down the road, as needed. I’d make no maps, no references to the locations, and I’d tell no one about them…not even my wife…what she doesn’t know can’t hurt her.

    As for the balance of my supplies…need to get really clever about those…maybe in plastic bag beneath cat litter in the litter box…maybe in the walls…maybe behind batt insulation up in the floor joists…maybe under bags of garbage in the garbage can…maybe under blown-in insulation in the attic…maybe at an empty house down the street? I’d have to get creative. I’d have to take precautions about food scents…maybe use some Essential Oils as camouflage? These are simply “first” thoughts. AND…Expect some of your stash to (eventually) be found.

    I live in “rain” country, so survival water wouldn’t likely be a long-term problem…however growing food in my tree-studded environment might be…I’d have to consider guerilla farming (using other’s land) or some other option I’ve yet to think of.

    Firearms packed in containers of dried peppermint might go undetected. Ammo would be even MORE important. Homemade weaponry isn’t that difficult to construct…study up on it BEFORE the perceived need for them. Stay legal, though…you don’t want to give the gub’mint an excuse to haul you off to a FEMA camp.

    I could go on and on about bug-out bags, mountain retreats, etc., but everyone has their own skill sets AND their own limitations (including those whom we are supposed to protect)…so think about what “might” happen and how you’d handle the details of bugging in or bugging out.

  • Curtisjord April 8, 2017, 8:17 am



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