This most basic decision should be reviewed daily "in a crisis" and weekly in preparation for a TSHTF scenario. In order to make the correct call you must understand the situation that you are in.
One thing true for all situations: You must be prepared to defend what you have. Why? Because your life may depend on it (you and your loved ones). Whatever you have prepared can be lost in one single event. You may not get a second chance to do better next time.
Another thing that is important to consider is "time". You must understand how much time you have before you reach the next decision point. If this is a natural disaster, will things get better in three days? One week? Mark this on your calendar or mark in your wallet/purse. Why? Because you can't let a decision point pass you by without considering the basic question: Fight or Flight?
Military commanders, CEOs, everyone has "Decision Points" that come up and signal that you need to do something or face the consequences. Decision points give you time to think about the next step you are going to take. Going to take means "action". If you don't take some kind of action then the stress surrounding your circumstances will increase. Action under stress is a "reaction" or not a thought out decision. In any crisis situation it is best to have two or three courses of action that you can think through or discuss with your group.
Fight/ Stay. Let's look at first part of this, "Fight" or Stay. A lot depends on how much preparation you have accomplished. To stand your ground, stay put, fight or defend means you have means to do that. Are you armed? Do you have supplies (food and water)? Are others there to help you or close by? If the answer to one or more of these is "No" then I would conclude that you are not in a Fight or Stay position. Based on your decision skip down to the Details below.
Flight/ Go. If you can't fight or stay put then your action is to take Flight or Go (move on). This too can depend on preparation (are you seeing a theme here...prepare, prepare, prepare...) Do you know a place to flee to? Parents house, friends, relatives, retreat community, hideout, weekend house, cabin in the woods, or another country. If you don't have a planned place to go then what are your options? Not good really. Worst case scenario is to a government run location, e.g. FEMA camp, Aid Station, Federal Assistance housing. No doubt your have read and seen the movies showing what these places might be like. It is never good to depend on the mercy of the government or someone that has become the local "warlord" of the area. Based on your decision skip down to the Details below.
Fight/ Stay Details.
Where are you at for shelter? From the low end to the top this would be: Public Space, Tent, Vehicle/RV, Abandoned housing, Apartment/Condo (Multi Unit Building(s)), Suburban Home, Country House with or w/o acreage, Retreat Community/Castle. As mentioned above, if you are not prepared to defend where you are at then the decision will be made for you to move on.
At any of these locations you must have supplies. You have to know how much food and water you have in terms of "Days of Supply". Are you down to one month, one week or one day before you run out? If any of these locations runs out of water then you have about three days left to live. Unless you are extremely confident more water is coming or it will rain and fill your bottles/barrels then you have to move on. Looking around for water and returning to your current location sounds better than it really is. Is your family or group safe while you or others are out doing this? Doubtful under even the best of circumstances. Having no water is about as down as you can get. Having water and some food means you can ration supplies and stretch them out for a few weeks.
The decision to be armed will most likely already have been made. When the crisis hits is not the time to go buy a weapon even if they say they are available. You may be in a location where there are not guns or in a country where guns are not allowed. Anyone that thinks they are Chuck Norris and can fight off a gang of thugs is not thinking clearly. If you are not armed then you are dependent on the government to protect you...local police force, conscripted law enforcement or militias. From the Argentine and other crisis articles you can't depend on timely help. By that I mean, if someone is pressuring you to get what you have then help may not arrive to save you or make them go away.
Keep in mind that the decision to give away some of your supplies will most likely lead to them taking it all (especially if you have no way of stopping them) or them telling others where you are swamped by the needy in the area or wandering in the area (think attack of the dead zombies...desperate people act like them).
Skilful use of "money" or bartering might prolong your Fight and Stay decision. I am amazed at the articles that say, "Carry $100 with you". Okay, what do you think that is going to get you in a financial crisis. Think massive inflation...daily price changes. Think Weimar Republic and wheelbarrows of money. This of Zimbabwe 1 Billion dollar note not being able to buy anything. Or Russia chopping zeros off the currency. This makes your $100 now worth about one dollar. Rolls of quarters for the vending machines...how many of those were left after Katrina hit. Have two or three options to think about.
There are some early crisis scenarios where paper money might get you though it for the short term. If you are preparing then think pre-1964 silver coins, precious metal coins and bullion. Don't rely just on one of these. How are you going to buy the few groceries the local store is letting you buy with a 1 oz. gold coin that is now worth way more or 100 times what the store is limited to letting you buy. Track what these coins mean in value for that day. Under no circumstances should you ever start to buy or negotiate something and have to calculate the value or ask someone else what the price is.
Flight/ Go Details.
I think this is the ultimate decision to flee found in the Book of Matthew 24:
17Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
Not sure what this person saw but it must have been bad...and heading their way fast. You can see a lot from up on top or your house. Maybe it was the Golden Horde of crazed looters headed toward your house or neighborhood. The decision to not go back in the house to retrieve anything means you flee with what is on your body. Hopefully this is after the crisis has started and you have your "Bug Out Bag" on you at all times. Not a bad idea if your decision time is this very short.
I have not seen one article about how to stay and fight or flee if you or your significant other is pregnant. Unless you or someone in your group is up to speed on child berth then you are most likely in a stay put mode. And you will be there until well after the child is born (give suck). Expecting a pregnant woman to walk any distance to the next town is crazy talk.
Weather is going to play a big part in your decision making process. Verse 20 (not shown) talks about Winter. Any military person that went through training or operations in winter conditions knows that what you carry goes way up. Going over 40 pounds starts to affect young men and puts old out of the question to carry this load to the next location. Know all the signs of trouble that weather can bring...Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke, Dehydration, Hypothermia, Sun blindness, Immersion foot and the list goes on. Still wonder why you see First Aid Kit on every list. Thinking about these may force you to stay put and reexamine the Fight/Stay options.
Vehicle options do seem to help you out at face value. The obstacle here is can the vehicle get you to where you are going? Will there be roadblocks, check points, terrain, "toll booths" or grid-lock traffic where you are unable to leave the road and/or turn around or select an alternate route. Have you driven this route before the crisis? Miscalculating this means you grab what is in the vehicle and you are now on foot. Have you thought about what you need to carry...have to carry...are able to carry?
Moving on foot is going to be your worst case scenario. Plenty of articles out there on what to take with you. All of them will overload a SEAL/Ranger person let alone your average male or female. What you carry may depend on resupply before you reach your destination. All military operations plan for resupply of food and water (and shelter). What is your plan? You have to figure that all locals along the way have done just what happened in your area...they bought or looted everything. If you plan to approach houses along your route then keep in mind this could get you shot. If where you are going is more than your food and water will last you...then don't start this journey.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT FLASH CARD (Make your own to fit your PLAN or situation)
FIGHT (Stay) -
Improve shelter by:
Improve defense by:
Improve supplies by: F.A.K w/select medicines; food (cache site?); water (improve collection & storage methods); No. of DoS (Days of Supply)?
FLIGHT (Go) -
Recheck what to carry in Bug Out Bag/Backpack; Practice walking with that amount of weight on you.
Recheck what is in or will be in your vehicle.
Examine your "Flee" Courses of Action...What is the concept of how you will get to where you are going?