There are a few things to think about if you are in transit during a disaster, conflict, or foraging.
Know your area.
If your transit is through a specific location, find out the entrances, exits, and vantage points. After all you may need to evade patrols, LEO’s, or the like.
If in transit is along a route know the geography, where there are safe places, lights, and well used transit routes. What you don’t want to do is to use a map openly during the day. That marks you as ‘not belonging there’.
As for those transit routes.
If packed, there is sort of safety in numbers.
If not, there is probably more safety walking just off that route, paralleling it.
At night all the good routes may have people camping out or regular patrols.
That’s good, or bad. Perhaps it is better to slip past everything.
Only you can make that choice. Speed over covert.
Now we touch on the grey man persona for defence.
Transiting through a run down area?
Make sure you look just as run down or not worth the trouble.
And in a well to do (rich or exclusive) area?
Look like you belong and not a carbon copy of a bag lady or part of the BLM glee club.
Only there is another rub. Race and ethnic dress.
Wrong ethnic type or ethnic dress in an area and you’ll stick out like a white spot on a black domino or visa versa.
Now you’ll have to think about disguising that or STRESSING the ‘of little importance’ bit.
Only don’t go “Too unimportant” i.e. gutter trash as that can invoke conflict.
Neat without polish is usually good.
Tattered, filthy, and stained BAD.
Hats work for all though, even in summer.
Even if a disaster is in progress, it doesn’t make sense to go about looking well equipped, purposeful, or directed. All you are doing is drawing attention to yourself. Need I say that’s bad?
Sound management is important at night.
So how you move and what you are wearing needs to be considered.
Walk heel to toe, slowly, to avoid ‘crunching’ things underfoot.
Most waterproofs make a noise, boots ‘clump’ a bit, and have you ever noticed how your phone or radio always goes off when you don’t want it too?
When patrolling or just in transit, you always double tie shoe laces, secure zips, and stop things flapping round. There is no difference in this tactic whatever you are doing. Noise attracts attention.
As for torches?
If you can, only use the minimum you can get away with.
A single LED key fob type torch is useful for reading a map although even that will destroy your night vision. On the other hand, a large heavy grade aircraft grade aluminium torch (mag-light) should be reserved for challenges or emergencies. Straight into the challengers eyes to destroy their night vision. That and it makes a useful weapon.
As for night vision equipment?
If you are seen with night vision you are automatically making yourself a target. Two reasons, it demonstrates that you are well equipped and therefore “attractive” as a target, and in a conflict zone, it instantly marks you as the enemy. As for passive or even active IR illumination? This is all about being SEEN not you seeing. High-tech is nice, but it can come to be a liability.
Movement is all about backdrop and angles.
Consider the eye reacts more to movement than colour or shape.
You must never let yourself become silhouetted against a lighter background or rise in such a way that you disturb the backdrop’s shape.
Which does actually bring in colours in intermittently lit areas.
What colour is an urban background in low light? Drab natural or greys.
Which can be a bit inconvenient if you are wearing a yellow ‘slicker’ or have those high visibility strips on your footwear and pass through the only light source for miles. A flash or splash of colour in drab conditions is always an instant ‘eye draw’.
I’ve mentioned smell before in other posts but if you are a smoker or one of those ‘nice’ people of life who wears a deodorant or using scented or strong-smelling soap, you literally STINK! If the air is moving in the wrong direction OR if someone crosses your path, there is a fair chance they will smell you.
Not forgetting they might have a furry nose aka a dog at their disposal.
Sound, movement, colour, smell.
Only there is more to think about.
Something that makes the difference between not being NOTICED or interesting as opposed to not being SEEN.
This again is all about knowing the area or reading the movement of people!
Appearing from the wrong place, wrong direction, and at the wrong time is always a give-away that you don’t understand the local protocols of the area. It demonstrates a lack of knowledge. That will attract attention to you.
Think you can trust the uniformed guy in the medics overalls, FEMA shirt, or policeman?
Two minutes ago he may have stripped that clothing off a dead official.
Trust no one.
Talking and confrontation.
Generally the rule is don’t talk, don’t discuss, just keep quiet.
Religion, you have none. Where you’ve come from isn’t important.
They have no need to know your name or which team you support.
NEVER give them anything, never ask for anything.
Conversation is BAD when you are on foot, in transit.
Conversation is also a method of encroaching on your personal space. BE WARY.
Don’t enter into conversation, it’s distracting and you lose focus on what is happening around you. A talker is your worst enemy when in transit. Wasting time and distraction could be the difference between life and death.
As for the “Where are you going?” question.
This is difficult. The more you say the worse it’ll be, so simply say ‘dunno’.
“Help me”, is worse.
If you stop to help, you’re exposing yourself to attack, dependence, or just losing time.
Survival MUST BE all about you and your own.
Avoid using slang like “Hey Bro” or “mate” or even “Sir or Ma’am”.
Some people take the exception to things like that and may not be ‘appropriate’ for the area. If you have to speak be polite but firm. Few words and neutral in manner.
Maintain personal space.
It is acceptable to say ‘back off’ or ‘give me some space’ if they start crowding you.
A talker will do that subconsciously.
Audibly and visually by extended your arm to them palm towards them is the universal way of saying that. Only be ready, they might grab that arm you are extending.
Don’t instantly go into combat stance when meeting someone, BUT NEVER show them both hands. Remember they could be armed and you will have little (if any) time to react if they are within your social distance i.e. 12 feet from you.
Keep your hands FREE at all times BUT that doesn’t mean EXPOSED for all to see.
If someone can’t see them, or even one of them, it puts an element of doubt into their mind about what you are holding.
Police or other LEO’s on the other hand will DEMAND to see your hands.
Bear in mind that in an emergency they will be hyped up, they may have already discharged their weapons, you just don’t know. Stay still, move slow in all movements.
Follow commands, and don’t argue, YET!
Facing a drawn firearm held by a solo LEO or soldier.
To clear your holster or even raise your arm to the aim takes time, typically about 1-3 seconds. If someone is in the aim already, all they have to do is twitch that trigger.
What you do now is entirely up to you.
If your arms are extended it means little.
They could have shot you on first sight and be done with it although the fact that they want to waste time checking your hands are free of weapons shows a degree of training.
I want to say be compliant but that sometimes doesn’t work.
To question their authority or to get them talking is to cloud their minds.
If they are injured, offer to help them.
Show reasonable controlled behaviour the object being to slow things down.
Remember your best chance is to get close, REAL CLOSE.
Their best chance is to keep you away. That’s what their training is all about.
One thing is certain, if you choose to do what they want, do it slowly, cold custard speed. If they close in for a kick to speed you up, that’s your chance.
Only remember, this only applies to one and you may not have seen any overwatch.
Generally avoid eye contact with all.
Don’t look hurried, give the impression that you are just making good progress.
Remember too that your face and especially your eyes speak volumes.
It is difficult to keep a neutral face, to hide fear, to LIE, without practice.
Any other face than neutral may encourage conflict or even a dependence on you and the last thing you need in survival is baggage which isn’t useful to you.
Wear a hat or a covering appropriate to what is happening.
BUT a scarf covering your face can be taken as a disguise of a criminal.
In the day wear sunglasses.
They less a person sees of your face, your eyes, your hands, the better off you are.
Why? Because they can’t quantify you, analyse you, work out your emotional state, or gauge your combat readiness..
NEVER go with anyone or even follow ‘the flow’ blindly.
Take directions if offered but be wary. Don’t be a lemming and all walk towards disaster.
Reason their advice, question it’s accuracy, make sure it’s up to date and not just hearsay.
Don’t forget officials are following orders sometimes issued hours ago and not updated.
They may know the local ground and the chances you don’t BUT FOR ALL YOU KNOW they could be leading you into a trap or danger. Even sweet little old ladies can do that.
Conflict (Riots, looting).
Avoid it. Back away if you have to, ALWAYS maintaining your personal space.
You should already be prepared to act on conflict but never brandish a weapon or tell them you have one. Use all your weapons in ambush mode.
If you have to draw, draw and fire.
If you pull a knife, use it.
NEVER BLUFF, NEVER use phrases like “Or Else” or “I’m armed”.
Or else is a challenge, I’m armed may bring greater violence before you can strike.
It’s best to leave them uncertain of your capabilities and armament.
You also get no points for ‘yelling hands up or I shoot’ and then shooting.
Shoot first, say sorry afterwards.
If you have to fight, strike coldly, aggressively, and continuously until the threat has been neutralised.
What is your goal in conflict?
To disable your attacker, and escape.
Escape does not mean you running away blindly.
Make good progress but not in a manner that draws attention to yourself.
Don’t walk away in a straight line.
Once you have gone beyond an observers sight, change direction, change clothing, think that the observer will give out a description. A reversible coat and a change of head-gear (if appropriate) is a quick fix for that.
Don’t discard a used weapon unless you have many replacements.
Disarming yourself voluntarily is stupid.
There is little you can do to disguise a long gun or bow.
Well sort of. Inverting the weapon can confuse its basic shape.
If it’s raining, consider slinging your weapon under a cape (area protocols and habits permitting). In an urban location, unless you are equipped with collapsible/ folding stocks (and why aren’t you?), long guns are best stowed away while you carry a smaller ambush weapon i.e. a handgun or knife just in case. What someone can see basically defines you as either a bad guy, a person just passing through, or someone to mug. If you are visibly well armed (or just squared away) they could just set an ambush for you.
The Rambo mentality i.e. open carrying an AR or AK whatever is just pinning a target on your chest or back.
When in transit or just outside you are so vulnerable.
You probably won’t have the luxury of manpower or massive fire power and someone will be better armed, trained, faster, and more cunning than you.
So the goal is to transit without drawing attention to yourself.
The grey man way i.e. leave no mark or knowledge of your passing.