How to get home when SHTF
02/23/2019 // Zoey Sky // Views

Disaster preparedness often covers topics like how to survive an earthquake or how to bug out. But if disaster strikes when you're still at work, do you know how you're going to get home? (h/t to

Prepping tips for office workers

If you're a prepper, you may already have a get-home bag (GHB) in your desk drawer at work. Unlike a bug-out bag (BOB) that is designed to help you survive for at least 72 hours after a disaster scenario, a GHB is smaller and includes items that you may need to get home safely, such as:

  • A change of clothes
  • Emergency rations
  • Firestarter kit
  • First aid kit
  • Food
  • Paracord
  • Spare cash
  • Survival knife
  • Water filter

The options below are presented in order of preference. Speed and safety are prioritized in this list.

Drive home

If you drove to work, you can also get home using your own car. However, one risk that you may have to face when driving home is getting stuck in traffic, especially if other people have also decided to use their cars to escape.

Other factors to consider before you drive home include:

  • Your location
  • How far you are from home
  • The route you took to get to work
  • Population density
  • Nature of the disaster

If you think you can get home safely despite the factors above, leave your office at once. Avoid all major thoroughfares and take alternative routes that people don't often use. Familiarize yourself with detours and shortcuts to get home from work. Don't wait until SHTF. Drive through them in daylight and in the dark until you can traverse them by memory.


And finally, drive carefully. It's pointless to drive home if you're going to be reckless. Drive at a reasonable speed, and wear your seatbelt. (Related: You must act fast when SHTF: What to do in the first hour.)

Retrieval mission

If you don't have your own car or you're unable to procure one, ask a family member or a friend to come and pick you up from work. If cell phone networks, landlines, or the internet are still up, you can contact each other.

If you can get someone to pick you up, you'll save some time. However, you need to coordinate with other people so they know where to go if you're unable to contact them. Deciding on who you can trust during disasters is as important as the items you include in your GHB. If you think your "friend" will forget what they're supposed to do, you can't really trust them with your life.


Traveling by car when SHTF is the fastest method of getting home. But if you don't have access to a car or if you can't contact your loved ones, you can hitch a ride with a coworker, first responder or even a stranger.

Ask nicely, especially if they are headed close to where you live. If they're not passing directly, getting off somewhere close to your home can still save you some time. Getting a lift from someone will save you some strength that you may need for something more urgent later on.

This option does come with some risks. If you're hitchhiking with a stranger, you won't know their immediate plans for when SHTF. If you don't want to risk it, consider other options instead of hitchhiking.

Riding a bicycle

Cycling is faster than walking. If you have a bicycle when SHTF, you can easily pass through stalled or gridlocked cars. However, you need to be fit enough to pedal for a long time if you plan on getting home by bicycle. You're also vulnerable on a bicycle, especially if you come across a mob of panic-stricken people or a speeding car. It's also difficult to ride a bicycle over rough or hilly terrain.

If you're considering this option, keep a bicycle at work or invest in a collapsible paratrooper bike.

Walk all the way home

If you run out of options, walking is the safest way to go. Just make sure you're in relatively good shape and you're familiar with the routes that can take you home. Other factors like the terrain and the weather will significantly affect how fast you get home.

Walking may be slower compared to the other options, but it will also let you bypass closed or impassable roads.

You may also need to pack a heavier GHB if you decide to walk home. Self-defense is another thing that you need to consider since walking home exposes you to potential attackers. Practice walking or hiking with your GHB so you know how much weight you need to bear when SHTF.

Regardless of the option you choose, you'll need a good map so you can get home as quickly as possible.

Since people spend most of their time at the office, there's a high chance that you'll be at work when SHTF. This highlights the fact that you should already have a plan or two for how you're going to head back home after an emergency evacuation.

Sources include:

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