Scenario: A Serious Emergency Just Happened – What To Do When You Have to Prep on the Fly

by | Jan 24, 2017 | Headline News | 55 comments

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    This guide was originally published by Joshua Krause at Tess Pennington’s

    empty-shelves(Image Courtesy

    Preppers who are truly diligent and committed have little to fear. They’re ready to tackle almost any disaster you can think of, be it natural or man-made. Truth be told, the only thing a dedicated prepper is really afraid of, is not being prepared. Unfortunately it can happen to the best of us.

    There are plenty of reasons why you, a person who is otherwise fully aware of how fragile society is, might not be prepared when a disaster strikes. Maybe you’re new to prepping and simply haven’t had the time to get started. Or perhaps you used to be well prepared, but haven’t been able to maintain your preps for financial reasons (here are 30 prepper items you can find at the Dollar Store). Or you might just be out-of-town and away from your preps when disaster strikes. Whatever the case may be, you need to know what to do when you have to prep on the fly. By that I mean you’re going to have to race over to the nearest stores in your neighborhood and buy up everything you need, as fast as you can (which is pretty a much a prepper’s worst nightmare).

    Prepare for any disaster with this best-selling survival guide

    Start Pooling Resources With Family and Neighbors

    If you’re completely unprepared for an impending disaster, your highest priority will be finding other people who are in a similar predicament, such as friends, family, and neighbors. The more people you have working together, the more successful you will all be. As well, by combining forces, you can also combine supplies to help see each other though. As a side note, depending on what type of disaster you’re dealing with, it will probably be a good idea to start pulling cash out of your bank account, if that’s still possible.

    Next, you will all need to start gathering supplies. Preppers do what they do to avoid this exact situation, but you won’t have a choice. You’ll have to wade through the mob of anxious people who are also trying to gather supplies at the last-minute. Plan for a worst-case scenario and concentrate your efforts on finding shelf stable foods.

    Societal breakdowns can quickly occur and happen when you least expect – even in a grocery store full of unprepared individuals – so know what you’re walking into. Before you read any further, I’d suggest you look up how to escape mob violence, how to blend in, and how to spot people who may be concealing a weapon.

    Get Organized

    Before you go out and brave the crowds, take an inventory of what you and any neighbors who will be riding out the disaster with you have. For a complete list of items that you will need to stay prepared, click here. Chances are, you will be able to eliminate a few items off your list. Going out to gather supplies under these conditions is going to be scary, which is why it’s important to find other people to work with. You’ll want every able-bodied person to be assigned to look for a specific type of item, such as food, tools, fuel, medical supplies, etc., and preferably you won’t have anyone venturing out alone. If possible, a minimum of two people should be working together at all times for efficiency and safety.

    Avoid the Frantic Crowds

    As for where to go looking for supplies, you’re going to have to think smarter than the mob to avoid the worst of the mob. Have you ever heard someone say “when the zombie apocalypse happens, I’m just going to raid the gun store and then head over to the grocery store to pick up everything I need?” Remember that, because that’s the kind of thinking most people are going to have.  They’re going to head straight towards the most obvious places and pick them clean before you get there. If you plan on going out, try getting to the stores as soon as they open so that you can avoid crowds as much as possible.

    Granted, if you live right next to a grocery store you should be able to get there while the getting is good. Otherwise, start thinking about the stores that aren’t so obvious. By that I mean convenience stores, drug stores, mom and pop shops, and what have you. Other stores you might want to hit up include hardware stores, pharmacies, gardening stores, liquor stores, and gas stations. Again, avoid the big box stores if you can, and focus on the lesser known spots that are second or third on the list for frantic spree buyers and looters.

    Finding less obvious solutions to your needs is the name of the game here. When you reach one of these stores, what do you see? Are they all out of toilet paper? Fine. See if they still have binder paper. Are they running out of canned foods? See if they still have dog food. This isn’t the kind of situation where you can afford to be picky or squeamish. You need to find as many vital supplies as you can, and fast.

    Have an Alternative Mode of Transportation

    You’ll also need to figure out how you’re going to get to any of these stores. If you live in the city, it would probably be wise to forget about driving. In all likelihood the streets will be far too congested, so consider investing in a bicycle or motorbike for ease through high traffic. As well, walking to your destination is going to be your best bet. Unfortunately that means you won’t have a vehicle to carry your supplies. You might have to steal a few shopping carts at some point. I know it’s wrong, but given the circumstances you can be forgiven for such a small transgression. As well, I would also recommend finding alternative routes to these stores.

    And finally, if you have enough people working together, consider letting a few of them stay behind to protect everyone’s homes. Aside from fortifying and protecting these homes, these people should also be busy filling up bathtubs with water in case the taps stop working. With that said, make sure bleach is on your list of supplies, so that you can keep this water clean for the duration of the disaster.

    As you can see, this isn’t a very pretty scenario. If anything, what I’ve listed above is the best case scenario for what you might have to do to survive. It’s just as likely that you’ll have to resort to some very unsavory measures to stay ahead of the herd. It’s best to avoid this situation entirely, and get prepared long before disaster strikes.

    This article first appeared at Tess Pennington’s Ready

    Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

    The Prepper's Blueprint

    Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

    Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

    Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.


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      1. Just ordered my new Bushnell Equinox night vision. I’m going to keep it in my truck as it will be extremely handy and valuable when bugging out at night. Im going to see if I can use it to shoot a pistol in darkness, then slap it on the rifle for NV shooting.

        • Prepping on the Fly means you just grab your Bug out Bag, a Case of MRE’s and 4 cases of water, guns and boxes of ammo from your prepping pile.

          This is basic stuff folks.

          • Agree. You should have most of what you need in your Bug Out Bag. You should also be able to get home within 3 days to your supplies. If you can’t, then you should have been paying better attention and not have been traveling that far from home. And if you think things are going to get bad, stay home, or carry more stuff in your car.

            The author’s scenario is remotely possible, if things collapse and your car is stolen. But in such cases would your ‘plastic’ work? Or would you have enough cash on you to make a difference?

            • ” And if you think things are going to get bad, stay home, or carry more stuff in your car.”
              You cant carry enough “stuff” to cover every contingency. Knowledge on the other hand weighs nothing.
              Some of us travel, for work or for pleasure FAR outside the “three days by foot” radius of our homes.
              ” Or would you have enough cash on you to make a difference?”
              the change currently in most peoples car ashtray would buy several cans of beans or spam. That’s enough to keep you fed for at least a day or two.
              If the balloon ever goes up, I will be using all my options.

          • I think you missed the point. The article was geared more towards situations where you and your stuff (no matter how much you have) are separated.
            Consider the following situations:
            Doing business in a gun-free zone like a bank or courthouse
            Travel, especially for work, meetings in tall office buildings and other related hazards.
            going for a walk, cycling, going for a run where you may find yourself a fair distance from your BOB or gear.
            Being robbed (its happened to more than one member here)
            Being cut off from your “prepping pile” by fire, flood, civil unrest.
            The second book in Rawles Patriots series (Survivors)deals extensively with an individual who travels from Germany to the southern US post-collapse by his wits with minimal preps.

            Me, I’d suggest caches around your AO, alternate gear stashes, and buying/trading for BOB contents asap after shtf and getting off the main roads. Networking with outhers outside your area is great as well. I had to take a recent trip to Chicago right before the election and spoke with several folks here and in other circles to plan possible stay-over/resupply points in case I had to hoof it home. Sure, I had a BOB, but I wasn’t going to put all my eggs in one basket so to speak.

        • Bushnell Equinox night vision $199 on Amazon.

          The Scout is like $500-$600.

          Flashlight – 1st Generation NV.

          • Does it come with a rifle mount?

          • I don’t shop amazon anyway. There were a couple of places cheaper but they were out of stock.

          • The Scout is a true thermal scope, the equinox is a digital scope.

            Each has special abilities.
            Thermal scopes need no light to see body heat. Anything that body heat can’t go through including clear glass may block your view. They can see an unshielded person with absolutely no external light light needed. They also see heat from fires and many modern machines. They don’t see infrared light sources and since you see a persons emitted heat not reflected light, it’s near impossible to recognize a person you know, though you certainly can tell a person from an animal. They don’t require any light source and so don’t give away your position.
            Digital scopes are essentially a night vision video security camera and a tiny screen viewer in one package. The camera is very sensitive to low light and infrared light. Under a full moon they really kick butt. As it gets darker or overcast they will have limitations. Since they see infrared light you can use an infrared illuminator on moonless nights to see when there is no available light, as in pitch black. That infrared light is invisible to humans and animals, so without an infrared camera or viewer you wouldn’t know you are being watched. Your TV remote likely uses infrared light that you can’t see, but look at it through your cell phone camera and you can see the remotes infrared LED flash. Same principal. Plus side for digital scopes is it sees with reflected light, which allows you to recognize individual people. For this reason digital scopes are the choice of law enforcement over thermal scopes. Digital scopes can also work in full color during the day. Turn on a thermal scope during the day and you can burn it out.

            If I had an unlimited budget I’d want one of each, like the military. If I could only have one I’d have a digital scope with an infrared iluminator. I got to use a digital scope at night under a 3/4 moon, clear night. It worked very very well. The infrared illuminator let us see a fox hunting under some tree cover. Without the scope you would never know that fox was there. A neighbor down the street had several night vision security cameras with built in infrared lights on his house. Through the scope the area was well lit, but it wasn’t obvious where that light came from. I thought that interesting.

            There are some really amazing digital scopes on the market, shop till you drop.

            • Ya we also have a PS24 thermal imaging monocular. It’s pretty cool but like you say, it cant tell you who the person is just an outline image. They are pricey too (2000) for the ps24. The nice thing is that it won’t give you away if someone else is using night vision as it needs no illuminator.

            • PTPO- Good info, thanks for sharing and explanation. I’m saving that info.

              • ptpo, you will NOT burn up a thermal imager if you turn it on during the day. You will burn up a non digital ir NV device though.

                • Good point, try to read the manufacturer manual on line before buying any NV device. They are a big investment.

                  For any DIYer out there, it is not so hard to remove the infrared filter from old digital cameras. There are how to videos on YouTube. Add and infrared light source and you have a poor mans NV tool.

                  You can also take a $75 night vision security camera and connect it to a compatible viewer. These often have built in infrared light sources.

        • How much was it?

          • 279 bux at midwayusa with rifle mount. Sgt. Dale turned me on to it. Supposed to work just over 200 yds. with illuminator. Easy to detach from the rifle mount and use anywhere.

              • This Article Opinion: “Start Pooling Resources With Family and Neighbors” “WRONG!!!!!”

                F-ck that. That was tried back in the Pilgrim days in the 1620’s. That called socialism communism, where a few do all the work and prepping and filled the storage facilities with grain and tools, the lazy liberals sit and watched them, and got to share in the benefits. That was the race to the bottom, and the settlements almost did not survive under that plan. Not until the ruling government allowed private property ownership and you got to keep your profits from your labor did this country flourish.

                Prepping is all about being fully independent, where you don’t ever need help or resources from anybody else, because you got your Sh!t together. And you maintain your OPSEC, and not expose all your resources for Plunder. Once you start sharing you just breeched the biggest hole in your prepping plan, and you will be killed and your preps stolen by the unprepared. You zip your lips and shut your big fat trap about prepping. Be the gray man and look poor, and watch the wind direction as you are grilling your steaks on the grill, as they are searching for crumbs.

                If religion taught you to be charitable, you will experience an early death. Bank on it.

                Barter is another issue, where you can trade your resources or skills. That is a free market, not communism. Did we not just learn here in America this last election, over the last 50 years how communism works so well here in America? Its a race to the bottom. Massive debts and everybody is broke.

              • This equinox also uses CR123 batteries. Glad to see ya switching from AA.. 1000 hours battery life in my optics with the CR. I carry a pack in my BOB. Battle Rifle handle storage.

                Let us know how it works for ya. To see in the night for a few hundred bucks may be an option.

                This is the one I want. $3800
                FLIR Mid-range 1.25-5X Power Thermosight RS32 Thermal Rifle Scope

                Item # E704J-596644

                They also have long range 4×16. Thermal. For that half mile away zombie night time attacks. Is your life worth $3800? 🙂

                • Did you even look at the link I posted? Whatever you saw for 200 bux isn’t the same thing. This has rifle mounts and uses AA batteries. 4.5×40 ,magnification.

                  • I just Goggled your description. “Bushnell Equinox night vision” did not add the Z after Equinox. Sometimes they add Letters or numbers to the description for tracking purposes. Or special pricing. I was just wondering the ball park figure. Go field test it G, let us know how it works, Good, bad and ugly. lol

        • G

          Hey brother, how much did you get the equinox for i saw it on amazon for 200, really concidering buying. How do you like it. Night vision is paramount for buggin out. Especially since night time is the best time to move.

      2. Avoid the rush! Attention all Free Range Inmates! The first 100 customers to self-check are guaranteed access to an outlet to charge their iPhones! Hold-on, that’s not all! If you sign the non-resistance waiver, we’ll thrown in a $25 bonus that will be credited to your personal RFID tag. Good for all purchases in the citizens commissary.

        So what are you waiting for? Welcome aboard!

        Sincerely, your friendly FEMA Camp Manager

        • um…oooookaaayy….?

          • Some of us will Prep, all others will Panic and want the Gov to take care of them.

      3. Strong men’s hearts will fail from the fear of what’s to come ? After an EMP? Knowing you will watch your kids starve to death? And will have to put them out of their misery? Running out of ammo with the rapeing canibles surrounding you? Saving the last bullets for your family like the settlers did when surrounded by Indians ? To escape a fate worse then death? Or the Cristian women in Spain devising a way to comite suicide to avoid Muslem enslavement without offending God? As for prepping on the fly? Fill 5 gallon gas cans with powdered milk, rice, beans ,macaroni, flour, peanuts,cooking oil.salt. Or 2 gallon gas cans? Easy to move, bury, use for water when empty? Almost indestructible , bug proof ,bear proof, Each 5 gallon can holds 35 pounds of rice . That’s pretty much a months worth? Mixing flour and powdered milk together in the right % might be the ultimate I’m running for my life and can only carry one 5gallon can ?

        • “strong men’s hearts..”???
          That was so sappy it gives me gas.
          Your point is good in that scenario but that is not likely to be the way it plays out…when world war 2 broke out, people in Germany still lived as much like normal as they could..that is more likely to be the truer sequence of events.

          • Strong men’s hearts failing because of fear of what’s coming. Is in the bible Luke 21:26 It describes the tribulation. World war Tri? 3? The last book in the bible revalations. Is suppose to reveal the future? The elements will burn like the sun .Uranium is an element? Peoples eyes will melt in their sockets and their tounges will melt in their mouthes before their bodies hit the ground? Read eyewitness accounts of Hiroshima ? Or watch that cartoon movie . It describes it exactly? All a coincidence ? Read Matthew 25. And see what happens to foolish virgins.

        • Why would anyone use a gas can? Use a food grade water can so you don’t get toxins in your food and you can use it for water after you empty it.

          • Food grade water cans? The blue ones aren’t very strong ? In a live or die situation a milk jug type water container won’t last long . I was just thinking of the longest lasting container? Plastic, steel , aluminum. What’s cheapest, easy ist to get, In extreme cold steel or aluminum? So you can melt the water over a fire? Otherwise the toughest plastic container available ?5 gallon buckets the handles break, the lids won’t take a hit and seal after opening and closing a 100 times? A 5 gallon gas can made out of food grade plastic, if its tough enough , might be the ultimate warm weather container?

      4. The boy is wearing an Obama, “HOPE” shirt.

        • Good catch on the shirt. I was busy wondering why they did not pick up that single loaf of bread and the few canned goods visible instead of just staring.

          • It is obviously not a real scene. Just people posing for a picture and the obama shirt for effect.

            • It symbolism, as the newest preppers in this Post Election Panic, are Libby Obama supporters. I told ya the shift in Articles to include Fear Porn for Libbys now. Play along, Got to keep the Adds clicking. lol

          • the shirt? how about the blond children and black haired mom and dad?

            • You have two genes for hair color. Black is dominant. So each parent could have one black hair gene and one blond hair gene. It’s just luck that both children are blond. If there were a whole house full of children, you would expect 3/4 to have black hair and 1/4 to have blond hair. The black-haired children would be of three genetic backgrounds: 1/3 would have both black hair genes, 1/3 would have a black from father and blond from mother, and the other 1/3 would have a blond from father and black from mother.

              Of course, none of the above matters if it’s just a posed photo with unrelated models.

              • Naw. The aryan milkman likely banged the wife while the cuck dad was off communing with his “men’s group”

            • Oh, the woman was the kids baby sitter, and just ran off with the kids when the SHTF, and the guy is her abusive Ex.

              Think about that, the next time you leave your kids with a sitter! What happens to them if an EMP suddenly knocks out all electronics (including you’re vehicle to get home)?

              • Its the dad, the baby sitter and his kid. Notice how she play along and looks concerned in the photo. The sparse food is just thrown on the shelves in random fashion. Nobody leaves just 1 jar of peanut butter on the shelf. And just by chance just across the isle 2 more loafs of bread are left on the shelf. Yea!! Christmas is saved!!

      5. Everyone is at some level of preparedness, even if it is just having clean underwear. A lot of people understand the importance of having insurance, a fire extinguisher, a little put aside for emergencies, and maybe trust in a higher power.

        I think that my level of preparedness is to make the unexpected suck less. My everyday carry (EDC) can get me home in the event of a calamity, but added with my get home bag (GHB), the journey sucks less.

        My bug out bag (BOB) is at the ready, if the homestead becomes unlivable. Caches of extra gear spread out in secure locations will make being on the road suck less. A designated bug out location (BOL) is part of the plan. It really helps relieve the suck.

        It all comes down to having a plan. Not just plan A or plan B or plan C, but a comprehensive GAME PLAN . Anybody may be a casualty of catastrophe, but nobody need be a victim. Up your level of preparedness, and up your chances of it sucking less.

        I prepare ‘cuz I hate standing in lines.

        …Be safe….stay the course…..BA.

      6. Always keep nightcrawlers in the fridge.

        • yeah ’cause after the shtf you’ll never see them again…

        • I watched 3 Mexicans use a cast net to haul 12 bass out of the retention pond behind my house yesterday in about 20 minutes. No bait required! Getting one today!

      7. One of the things that might be in short supply is information about what is going on. Don’t expect to be able to turn on the television and hear the news. In a crisis, you want to know the nature of the crisis and the geographic area involved. Just how bad is it? Is it short term? You might be at work or at home or travelling. Expect to have limited information and you won’t be disappointed.

        • Aye – that is the main reason I went through the time and expense to get my HAM radio license and a portable ham radio and truck mounted antennae. Also invested in satellite tech that connects to my phone and allows me to text / email from anyplace that has a view of the sky ( for when I am out and about on my quad. Because I have the luxury to live in by BOL, I am contemplating setting up a proper base station with 20 meter antennae so that I am not reliant on repeaters.

      8. To leave your family behind and join the resistance ? Or run and hide? The eternal question?

      9. I would say last minute shopping(get shopping now!)if you have cash is ahit a dollar store.They are in strip malls with no big stores like wally world/big supermarkets,yet they have 2pd bags of beans for,well,a dollar along with rices/pastas/canned goods ect.They also carry cheap but usable lighters/first aid shit for boo boo’s and medium wound dressing and such.Last minute shopping there would be good as believe at least initially the crowds going to hit the big stores.

        You should be set this way ahead of time,but,a steady burn towards crash and things not too insane might make for a good last minute hit.You will use this stuff either way and better then paper cash things really go very wrong.

        You just starting out prepping,you can do it!Oh,and as always(yes,my phrase yet again!)the smalls add up!

        • War child, keep cash for last minute items,$ store would be a good stop,lots of fruit.Hard
          To stock doesn’t have a long shelf life,other last minute items.Oh, a truck load of beer
          can’t fight zombies without beer! Another hard to prep item,lol
          Be well all
          Maniac out

      10. Knowledge helps and in any endeavor the smart people realize their own ignorance when they are just starting out. Rather than reinventing the wheel, very smart people research what the experts do and quickly learn first by imitation, then by improvisation.

        __ The Boy Scout Books have good info for campers. If you will be homeless due to weather, fire, whatever; it is nice to have an RV, or a van or station wagon. Being able to lay down in a vehicle should be on your list of preps, iMHO.

        Water is the next most important necessity, second only to oxygen. You have got to be able to breathe. If you live in a forest prone to fires, check out what firemen’s masks and fireproof clothing are available, or just move. I have seen beautiful homes burned to the ground and people die, only to see new homes rebuilt in the same place, burn down. Think for mercy’s sake. It is insane to do the same thing and expect a different outcome.


        • Cranberry beans have the highest amount of protein of any plant. If game is not plentiful, protein for strong muscles will be crucial. Bob’s Red Mill carries a long list of beans, grains, seeds, and is certified for celiac with an assortment of glutin free flours. I have been very happy with this company and recommend them. I also buy from Honeyville and since Genius recommended; I’ve been purchasing from them. Thanks Genius.

      11. I have everything I need right here at the BOL. I’ll sit back behind the barbed wire and moat with Gators, and watch the Ytube Vids online, of all those unprepared sheep panicking in the streets of America. Maybe load a few more mags and stash the ammo cans by the sandbags to watch the choke points. I guess this is where good NV or Infrared optics come in handy for nighttime play. You can see the difference if the object is a deer or a man. Identify your target. I have things crawling all over here at night. You can hear them, but you can’t see them.

        What if your attackers have NV night vision and you don’t? How do you counter that to reduce your heat signature? Answer: Sandbags Baby, will hide a heat signature. Got them? Build them and conceal them behind a hedge corner.

        • What happens when you pop up from behind the sandbags for a shot? How will you know where they are? How will you be able to move? There are ways to defeat thermal imaging with a home made suit just search youtube. Both IR and thermal have there good and bad points. A guillie suit will hide you from IR but not thermal, A thermal blocking suit will hide you from thermal but not IR.

      12. ever pushed a shoppin cart on a gravel road?????????????you need a jogging stroller…a GOOD one will carry way over a hundred pounds.

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