10 Places to Avoid At All Costs When the Grid Goes Down

1. Big Box Retail Stores

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This one is no surprise to any experienced prepper. A lot of people think that it’s a good idea to go to their local Walmart or other big box retail store when the SHTF in order to pick-up supplies or even to take shelter for a while.

Of course, you know that this is flat out wrong. This is actually a terrible idea, especially if the power outage happened recently.

There will be way too many people attempting to do the same thing, and this could lead to a violent confrontation. If you must go into a big box store, choose one in a smaller town.

The one component to be especially aware of is that areas surrounding Walmarts and other mega store may be choked with gridlock, police presence, or even crowd control road blocks.

Photo by Mike Kalasnik

2. A Shopping Mall

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In some extreme weather emergencies, residents are advised to seek shelter in fortified buildings such as government buildings or malls. Likewise, municipalities and FEMA may use malls as a temporary shelters/triage locations in an massive grid failure.

A shopping mall, even if it has been abandoned, has the potential to be even worse than a single big box retail store.

There are way too many places for people to hide, so you will never be able to fully fortify this type of building. “Dawn of the Dead” perfectly illustrates just how unsafe a shopping mall is during the apocalypse.

Photo by n.karim

3. A Major City

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Major cities may not be on this list for the reasons you think. In many ways, cities will have better backup services and logistical support than suburban or rural areas. The biggest problem initially will be widespread gridlock and looting.

Imagine what would happen if all the traffic lights in a city were to go offline at the same time. If you are planning to drive to a bug-out location, it may be worth the extra time to avoid interstates that go through major metropolitan areas.

A major city can be stressful and unsafe even when the lights are on because there are so many people crammed into a relatively small area. If you head toward any large city after the lights go out, you will be at risk of falling prey to people who are scared enough to kill.

Photo by Aurelien Guichard

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