A harrowing disaster can strike at any time.
It can be even more unsettling when it happens very close to your home.
Here’s the one thing you must do before an emergency hits your community.
The key to surviving an emergency is preparation when things are normal.
Once a crisis begins, every decision becomes magnified and more difficult.
With so much going on, it’s hard to make rational choices, and hesitating just a little bit can lead to negative outcomes.
That’s why the more decisions you’ve figured out ahead of time, the better off you’ll be when disaster strikes.
If an emergency hits your community, the one thing you need to do ahead of time is do reconnaissance on your own neighborhood.
This is incredibly important because knowing your community inside and out will give you a huge advantage during a crisis.
First, scout the perimeter of your community.
If your neighborhood has a barrier like a lake or a freeway that limits points of entry, you can use that information to your advantage.
This will give you an idea of where your neighborhood is strong, and where it’s weak.
It’s hard to defend a position if you don’t know the borders, and it’s easy to get stranded on a dead-end street if you don’t know the area well.
Next, try to find trusted allies in the community for support.
Something like a neighborhood watch might be a good way to meet like-minded people who take security seriously.
If you discover allies, stay in contact with them so you’ll have the most current information to make a sound decision.
Allies can also be beneficial in terms of sharing resources.
Next, if you decide to retreat and go to your bug out location, make sure you plan out multiple evacuation routes.
Streets and freeways could be shut down, so you might have to find another way out.
Also, if you know how to take routes off the beaten path, you can avoid congestion and get ahead of the mad rush.
This is where neighborhood recon could really come in handy.
If you live in an urban environment, massive protests or riots can break out at unexpected times in unexpected ways.
In 1992, mayhem from the L.A. riots led to the deaths of 63 people and billions of dollars in property damage.
Protests over the last few years by terrorist groups like Antifa have led to streets being blocked off, and drivers being pulled from their vehicles.
It’s important to know how to navigate around that kind of chaos.
The same goes for areas that are prone to natural disasters.
If you live in an area that experiences heavy rain, you need to be aware of streets that flood easily and become inaccessible.
That’s crucial information to know if you need to flee the area quickly.
If you maximize your advantage by understanding your community well, you give yourself a much better chance of getting through a crisis.