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The greatest danger in a real catastrophe is the desperate hordes of people: This U.S. map reveals which areas to avoid

Survival planning

(NaturalNews) Survival experts are generally in agreement about one thing: the biggest danger in a major disaster will not necessarily be the direct effects of whatever the cause is (power grid failure, economic collapse, etc.), but rather the threat posed by millions of desperate people bent on survival at any cost.

Imagine what would happen in major population centers if, for instance, a massive solar flare knocked out the entire power grid of the United States -- a scenario that could easily happen, according to scientists, and one that may be more a case of when rather than if.

Some experts predict that such an outage could take months, or even years, to repair. If that were the case, our large cities would rapidly become unlivable and millions of inhabitants would become desperate, if unwitting, human predators practically overnight.

It's a chilling scenario, but it could happen.

Most survivalists recommend a SHTF preparedness plan that includes what has been termed "strategic retreat" -- in other words, choosing a destination where the chances of survival will be greater. This is typically up to seven miles away from a major highway, a distance considered far enough away to keep hordes of people from disturbing your critical resources.

Do you live in a danger zone?

To help people better plan a strategic retreat, Mac Slavo of SHTFplan.com has posted a map showing the areas of highest population density in the United States. The map, which is based on U.S. census data, shows the most populous counties shaded in blue, so you can easily see which areas to avoid in case of a disaster.

Included in this list are counties from coast to coast, ranging from Los Angeles County, California to Bronx County, New York. Franklin County, Ohio and El Paso County, Colorado are also on this list. However, there are many more areas that are heavily populated and as such, more likely to experience huge masses of desperate people running amok and filling the streets with chaos.

It's not just a matter of getting out of an urban area when the SHTF, but also knowing which route to take and where the major highways are located. One thing to consider is the fact that major escape routes from urban centers will likely become hopelessly congested. Areas within a few miles of main highways will also become unsafe.

Recalling history to explain SHTF severity

As Slavo notes:

"So, no matter where you are located, consider your proximity to high traffic thoroughfares going in and out of the city. During Hurricane Rita, which hit Houston several years ago, every major pipeline out of the city was jammed for hundreds of miles. Interstate 45 from Houston to Dallas was bumper to bumper traffic. Normally a 4 hour trip, those who didn't evacuate in time were stuck on the highway without food, gas, sanitation, or potable water for upwards of 15 hours."

Cornell University experts study zombies, suggest best place to flee to survive

So, where might the ideal place be to consider as a strategic retreat?

According to Cornell University researchers, it's the Rockies.

Interestingly, the researchers studied various stages of disease using a fictional zombie outbreak as a model for their study. Their finding is right in line with those of survivalist experts in that highly-populated areas would be the most dangerous, while fleeing to areas such as the northern Rockies offer the best chances for survival.

"A lot of modern research can be off-putting for people because the techniques are complicated and the systems or models studied lack a strong connection to everyday experiences," says Alex Alemi, a Cornell University graduate student who worked on this study. "Not that zombies are an everyday occurrence, but most people can wrap their [brains] around them."

So, when you begin taking steps to become prepared for a SHTF scenario, be sure to take population density into consideration. Studying a population density map and making plans accordingly could be the key to your survival.

Sources for this article include:

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