Camping & Survival

The First 5 Things To Do After a Crisis

Picture shows a row of SWAT team holding riot shields standing in front of a fire

You’re sitting at work when all of the sudden one of your co-worker’s shouts with a terrible shriek, “Did you hear?” He can see the confused look on your face and explains, “The financial markets just collapsed and everyone’s running to the bank and ATMs.”

Picture shows a row of SWAT team holding riot shields standing in front of a fire
Preparing for civil unrest in your town is much like prepping for bugging in during any other emergency or weather disaster. You should have plenty of food, water, batteries, medicine and first aid, an alternative cooking method, fuel and lighting for your family for a week.

By Jason Hanson You hear commotion in the parking lot and run to your office window to see people screeching out of the lot and pandemonium occurring outside. You then run to the TV in the lobby and the local news is showing fights and riots breaking out at a bank just a few miles from you.

In this situation, and in the majority of crisis situations (no matter what the crisis is), you want to do the exact opposite of the mob of people. In other words, instead of running to the bank or the ATM machine, you want to check in with your family and make sure they’re safe.

Then, you want to head home so you can safely hunker down while people are going crazy at the bank and ATM machines. The fact is, if you’ve properly planned ahead, then you shouldn’t need to head to a bank to access money.

Personally, I believe in keeping enough cash on hand to cover my family’s expenses for one month. Obviously, this amount will be different for everyone and some people will need $2,500, some will need $5,000 and some will need more. Whatever amount you need, make sure and have a variety of bills with most of the money being in $20s.

After heading home, the next thing you want to do is gather your gear and ensure you can quickly evacuate your home if the need arises. Ideally, you will remain in your home and shelter-in-place because you’ve already got a roof over your head and food storage and water storage handy.

A variety of different medical supplies for a bug out bag.
Essential medical supplies for a bug out bag..whether you build your own or purchase one, make sure you have these supplies on hand.

However, if the crisis requires you to flee your home, you want to make sure you can do it in a matter of minutes. This is why you want to be able to load your food storage quickly in a car (I use the #10 size cans) and why you want to be able to load water quickly too (I use the 7 gallon Aqua-Tainers.) In addition to food and water you should have your 72-hour kits sitting in your basement so you can throw them in your trunk.

Once you’ve gathered your gear and are prepared to evacuate, it’s critical to monitor the news. If TVs are still working you can watch the news, or you can get on the internet. I also highly recommend having a small radio in your home that you can turn on during an emergency. The radio I use is the Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket AM/FM Radio and it’s very inexpensive, costing only about $20.

At the same time that you’re monitoring the airwaves to see if you need to leave your home, you also need to be thinking about home defense since you’ll hopefully be remaining where you are at. Since I’m a gun guy, I would first make sure I was armed just in case any looters came through my neighborhood.

If it were a major catastrophe, I would also get out my rifle in addition to having a pistol on my hip. After all, if it were some crazy end of the world scenario, I would much rather rely on my rifle with a 30-round magazine than on my handgun that holds 15 rounds.

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After I was armed, I would ensure all of the doors and windows were secure and that one of my family members is a lookout to let me know if any trouble was coming down the street. Depending on the level of potential danger, I might take my cars and block off the entrance to my cul-de-sac to keep people from coming down our street.

Fortunately, I’ve got like-minded neighbors who also own firearms, so it wouldn’t be hard to block off the neighborhood entrance and deter people from coming in. (This has been done in cities in past riots and saved neighborhoods from being destroyed.) After establishing security for home and neighborhood you have to continually collect intelligence on the situation so you know what to do next. If the time comes to evacuate, you need to know how long you might be holed up at home; you need to know the danger level in your surrounding area.

I certainly know this isn’t something pleasant to think about, but people all over the world find themselves in this situation every day. You and I are blessed that we don’t, but if our time does come would you be able to go through the steps outlined above? Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. To get a free credit card knife from Jason, visit

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Comments (19)

  1. When anarchy hits and the main objective is people trying to take what you have to save their own lives, you will find that they will want to barter a lot of things but a high priority will be ammo because you can’t shoot people who are trying to kill you with tobacco, alcohol, beans, rice or any of the stuff you and others have mentioned. They will need ammo for their guns because they will be under constant pressure to survive and if they have not planned appropriately in that department they can have all of that other stuff and it will do them no good whatsoever, they will be overrun and dead.

  2. I think bartering ammo is one of the dumbest things a person can do. Tobacco, motor oil, toiletries, OTC meds (cheap too), and you cannot eat gold and it won’t cure a damn thing. A top barter item: alcohol. The bad guys can’t shoot well when drunk. Nor will they stay awake long, they loose caution and coordination. It can be cheap too. If faced with murderers, rapists, put bad JUJU in wine bottles and other drinks or even in food. Booby traps inside and outside. Not legal? “What difference at this point does it make”?

  3. Trust me no one is going to take anything of mine while I am asleep. My house is like Fort Knox at night and while they could get in they can’t get in without me hearing them. It just not possible. And if they do get in their biggest problem will be getting out. Living out in a rural area will mean a different set of circumstances for you for a while. Living in a more populated area will degenerate more quickly and there will be far more anarchy and people trying to take what someone else has besides looting stores etc. I am better prepared than many people to defend myself and more importantly I have the will to do it.

  4. I think if you read survival stories that involve anarchy you will find that ammunition is the most valuable commodity to trade because it is your best self defense. If you stock up, trading it will not be an issue. Quite frankly if people know i have it they better be willing to risk their lives if they think they are going to take it. I agree that barter will be the way of things but if I was a smoker and short on ammo I would take that over tobacco unless there is a type I can beat someone over the head with in a fight.

    1. The only problem is . . . if you are alone, they will take it when you finally sleep. I’m not going to steal from my neighbors, and I’m not going to trade any ammo–so that leaves tobacco, food, or gold. In a crisis, no one will trade for gold. So if you have some of the legal addict stuff, you will be able to trade for anything you need. Fortunately, I live in a rural area, with lakes and streams, so food will be available—you will just have to go out and get it. Those living in the big city will have the worst time, because they will probably not have access to food or water.

  5. Try 1st, 2nd and 4th amendment rights for starters. Add to that taxation without representation, violation of the laws of the land with regard to immigration noting that we spend 300 billion of the taxpayers money on illegals. the list can get rather long but that should suffice for starters.

  6. New device on Market called Portable Aqua PURE Electrolysis Water Purifier. Sells for about $90.00 USD and will Purify between 1 to 20-liters of Potable Water and UP TO 60,000-Liters in it’s Operational Lifetime…

  7. Cash may be helpful if the crisis does not last a long time. If it lasts a long time, barter with tobacco. You will be able to trade that for anything you need if the civilization collapses. I would not trade my ammo, nor would I let anyone know that I had it.

    We can always hope that this doesn’t happen, but you never know.

    1. So, you let them think you have no ammo?
      More like I may not have a lot but enough to kill you and all your friends before you get any.
      Tobacco is not the best.
      Salt, sugar, coffee, and the big one, medical supplies like antibiotics and antiseptic ointments.

    2. Oh, personal water filters and lots of dry goods, like rice beans and wheat that will keep for a long time.
      Mung beans are best for bean sprouts that are high in nutrition.

    3. @ Archangel

      Aqua Pure makes a Shirt-Pocket size Solar Powered Potable Electrolytic Water Purifier for Up To 20 liters of Water/Day and 60,000 liters operational life cycle for about $90.00.

    1. Matt, when the shoe fits….. isn’t it just hilarious how in the last 7 years we have had such an attack on our freedoms,
      Most of “our” freedom loving folks, who realize it’s the gun culture and our guns are the only thing standing between our freedom and the tyranny caused by today’s government which by the way, has been run by King Barry, blame Barry. So, when the shoe fits….he gets the blame rightfully so.

    2. @ Robert

      Ahhh, What Attacks would That Be? I Can’t Remember the Last Time that I was Required to Show My Passport and Birth Certificate to go From Arizona to New Mexico or Any Other Part of the Country. Refresh My Memory!

    3. @Leveller

      A government isn’t tyrannical until it is. Just because it hasn’t been so far, doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t.
      If you believe ours can’t possibly ever be, at some point, you’re a fool.

      BUT, since you asked.
      We’re now forced to buy health insurance against our will. I can only buy gun magazines of a certain size.
      I can’t consume a plant that I grow in my own yard.
      Some want to prosecute me if I don’t believe in global warming.
      I’m required to pay ever more taxes because the govt won’t stop spending.
      There’s more, but you get the point.
      Or do you?

    4. @ B

      So your basing you’re belief, on the “What If”. One Hell of a Plan, If it Happens.

    5. Leveller: Neither are a lot of the folks who are entering the country from anywhere either. I’ll bet I’m not the only one who might regard that as an attack, or perhaps an invasion.


  8. Actually if there is a financial collapse I don’t believe cash will do you any good. There will be utter chaos, rioting, violence and I think the best thing to do is to stay home and protect the homestead for as long as you can. I believe in that scenario ammunition will be the most valuable commodity you can have along with food, water, materials to build fires etc. Think only of your family and closest friends and don’t trust anyone else and don’t feel sorry for anyone else because it will be hell as everything collapses around you. Shoot anyone who breaks into your home and don’t trust anyone but the people you know you can trust. Leaving home is a bad idea because it could be more dangerous on the road than in your home. If I am going to by the farm its going to be in my own home.

  9. I don’t have 5000 in cash on hand, Obama got all my cash, but I do have a small amount of silver set aside, and try to get more when it is afforded. My commodity is firearms and ammo. Barter of goods, and having needed skills to use. Then when that is dried up, it’s time to be THE zombie and take it back from those who took it in the first place. Liquor, tobacco, hygiene products, water, etc( I got one of those million gallon .01 micron filters ) and have hunting, trapping, fishing skills too. Lots of booby trap making skills will help as much as having a good place to hide with defensive protection.

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