9 Ways To Survive If Martial Law Is Declared

In these uncertain times, when the world seems to go mad, you can’t help but wonder how long until we will experience a martial law scenario.

One day we might have to live under such a scenario since it seems there are many SHTF events that would impose it. The current pandemic is just an example, and personally, I believe we were lucky so far that things didn’t lead to further chaos and social upheaval.

The United States has a certain history when it comes to martial law, and like many other nations, it will do whatever is necessary to defend its integrity (and protect?) its citizens. I believe we should all have a survival strategy if martial law will be upon us in the near future.

What is martial law?

To put it simply, martial law is the imposition of military rule and the occupation of the government over a specific region. It is declared when an imminent threat disturbs peace and order. Martial law can be declared during a state of war when natural disasters are too much to handle for local authorities, when a coup is developing or even when uncontrollable riots and protests affect an entire region.

When martial law is declared, everyone is expected to follow the same rules, no questions asked!

It doesn’t matter if you think what’s happening is right or wrong, and you have to give up certain civil rights for the good of the nation/state.

What Survival Secret We Lost To History

There are certain rights that will be suspended if martial law hits, such as:

  • Right of Information
  • Freedom of Expression
  • Right to privacy
  • Right of Habeas Corpus
  • Right to make choices

Those that are prepared and organized should be able to survive such a scenario without having their lives turned upside down. However, even for them, there are certain things that become mandatory under martial law.

How to survive martial law:

Being self-reliant

As preppers, we are already prepared to outlast various scenarios that may cut us off from the major supply chains. For most of us, it will be rather easy to survive when the government takes full control of food and supplies and their distribution.

As an average Joe, you should avoid waiting for handouts during a disaster or hope that some military rations will find their ways towards you, and you must have your own supply of food and water. Your supplies should last for at least six months if you don’t want to stay in line for help. Also, all your supplies will become government property if you don’t stockpile smart (more on that in the next paragraphs).

Being self-reliant under martial law means that you must have a method of producing your own electricity, the means to prepare and cook food, ways to sterilize water, and everything else that will assure the same level of comfort you were used to before martial law was declared.

Be ready to bug out

In certain cases, when you see the first signs of an impending scenario when martial law is imminent, you might want to bug out to a safe location, if you have one. If you manage to do so before roadblocks and checkpoints are installed, you might be one of the lucky few. If you’re not so lucky, hunkering down may be the safest choice for you and your family. This will be the norm for most folks living in densely populated areas.

If you plan to bug out, you should have everything ready to make a successful trip. This means that your bug out bag should be properly packed and updated for the season. Also, your bug out vehicles should be in good shape to handle the road ahead and eventual obstacles. I won’t get into details about what to pack in your bug out bag or vehicles since these are distinctive cases from one person to another. What I will stress is the need to have everything updated and make sure they function properly.

Stay safe during martial law

We love our freedom and liberty, and certain folks will not bow down and take it easy when martial law is declared. For some, being stripped of certain civil rights is unthinkable and unacceptable. Most Americans fear that giving someone absolute power will lead to mistreatments against the general public.

That being said, the safest course of action would be to avoid areas that are exposed to social upheaval and other scenarios that may lead to dangerous escalations. You will first need to protect yourself and what’s yours before handling any other thing.  There are various ways to protect your home when civil unrest is developing, and you can find a lot of information on Survivopedia.

Keeping a low profile is also recommended before you will get involved in matters that may not be a priority for you and yours. You will have the time needed to plan and act following your own belief system if you stay out of sight. You have to think before you act and decide on an individual case if you follow the rules or rebel against them. Don’t go with the heard and follow the curfew under martial law. Make sure you have all the means to protect yourself and survive whatever scenario unfolds.

Get informed

When martial law is declared, the media and all the information channels will be controlled by the federal government. You might not get all the required information, and the truth may be filtered to avoid creating mass panic. While listening to official broadcasts will provide you with information and updates regarding the imposed rules, you might need to have a backup source of information.

A HAM radio is a great alternative, and the HAM radio community will take care of its own. They will provide all the “unofficial” information, and they will tell you things as they see them. It’s better to know both sides of a story before you decide if its ending is the proper one. We are bombarded by media propaganda on a daily basis, and the last thing you need is to have filtered information being delivered and remain misinformed during martial law. Information is key to your survival during an SHTF event, and you must always be aware of what happens around you.

Always be alert and improve your skills

This is a general rule for us preppers, and staying in shape, constantly learning, and improving our skills proves useful in any type of crisis scenario. Preparedness and our will to survive have to be backed up by proper knowledge and a good set of survival skills.

If you run out of food and water, or if you run out of guns and ammo, what will you do then? What happens if you get hurt by accident, or otherwise?

You need to be able to handle the above scenarios, and these are not things you can learn on the spot. One needs to prepare in advance and challenge his or her skills with every occasion or opportunity provided.

Take a first aid course, learn to cook without your stove, try to fish or hunt and practice any skill that you may think, one day, will come in handy. You will have to survive on your own during martial law, and the skills you have will make your life much easier. Also, consider that all the activities you do will leave you weak and tired if you’re not in good shape. You don’t need to become a couch potato when dealing with martial law, and you need to be ready for anything.

When you are tired and stressed, your judgment will get clouded, and you may end up making mistakes that will leave you injured or worse. You must avoid this at all costs!

Don’t be a lone wolf

Some desperate times require friends and teamwork to push through. Having an alliance may end up being crucial to your survival during martial law. I know a lot of people that have built a support system composed of friends and neighbors. Imagine if the current pandemic will prolong, and truckers fail to deliver their goods, do you think people will wait patiently, or will they do everything in their power to survive?

We’ve seen it before how desperate times create desperate people, and the same people that fought over some toilet paper will do anything to survive another day, including harming you and your loved ones. That’s why having a trustworthy network of people that share the same vision as you become mandatory.  A survival group can keep the neighborhood safe and still standing if they trust each other and if they share the same goal.

Don’t share more than you have to

I don’t like to brag about my preparedness plans, and I don’t show off my stuff on the internet. I can’t comprehend the need some people have to brag about their prepping plans and show off all their supplies. Why would you make yourself a target and why become a “beacon of hope” when desperate people are roaming around. You can’t possibly hold off all the people, and you are putting yourself in danger for no reason.

Be smart and keep it all to yourself and talk about your prepping plans with your friends and family. Only with those people that you know for a fact they won’t report you to the authorities for hoarding tons of supplies. In a time of martial law, you can’t assume how things will play out, and oftentimes you have to be selfish if you want to survive. Be selfish about sharing information and supplies and keep only those that you trust close by.

Prepare your supplies for a home invasion

We’ve seen how a lot of people bought vast quantities of face masks, hand sanitizers, and other products that were in short supplies (and still are) when the COVID-19 hit the US. While these people were trying to get rich and profit from the distress of others, one thing should have been a wakeup call for many.

The fact that the government sized all their supplies should have made you think about what will happen when the situation becomes even more desperate than it currently is. When martial law is declared, hoarding food, guns, and ammo is restricted. It’s almost certain that the military will implement house to house searches without a warrant if things get grim.

They will locate and confiscate supplies, no questions asked, and they won’t think twice, no matter how much you beg them not to take them. As said earlier, you need to plan your storage properly, and it’s important to keep a lot of your stuff out of sight and store it out of reach or hide it on your property.

I’ve often discussed the “bait pantry” or “pantry decoy” method during various occasions, during seminars, on forums, and whenever I had the chance to do so. To explain it briefly, this method requires you to hide a small part of your supplies without much effort. Somewhere that is not obvious, and it requires some kind of effort to be discovered. 

When someone discovers those “hidden” supplies, you will need to put out a show and act like your life depends on those supplies. Beg them to let you keep those supplies, cry and be as convincing as possible. This will make them believe that what they’ve got their hands on is your main stash, and they won’t bother into looking for your other supplies.

Act if you feel that’s the right thing to do

Under martial law, when the situation is escalating, and it may reach is peak point, some will have to take a stand. It is your God-given right to pick a side, and no one can take this away from you. However, before doing so, make sure you act calm and rationally upon it and, most importantly, that the action you’re about to make suits your personal beliefs and moral principles.

Remain calm and plan your next steps carefully. It may be difficult to do so, but acting on an impulse may not end well. Panicking and irrational people are seen as a threat in general. During martial law, even the most prepared soldiers will choose to eliminate a threat rather than risking to deal with it and establish if force is justifiable or not. Restrain your emotion since this will make the difference between life and death.

Even more, taking a stand doesn’t necessarily mean you have to join “the resistance” or take your fight to the streets. There are various ways to fight for what you believe in without putting yourself in danger. You first have to figure out ways to make yourself heard without looking like a threat. Also, keep in mind that not everyone will find the courage to act when martial law is declared, and you may end up with no support when things get rough.

A last word

If you keep all the above in mind and act upon when martial law is declared, it will help you survive when the military takes over. Even more, plan things properly and consider the last advice when thinking about taking a stand. It will put things in perspective, and you will figure out your chances of making it out alive.

Written by

Bob Rodgers is an experienced prepper and he strives to teach people about emergency preparedness. He quit the corporate world and the rat race 6 years ago and now he dedicates all his time and effort to provide a self-sufficient life for his family. He loves the great outdoors and never misses a chance to go camping. For more preparedness related articles, you can visit him at Prepper’s Will

Latest comments
  • I honestly believe there will be a “Martial Law” declaration in America before the Thanksgiving holiday. Why? It has already started. These incessant “Protests” (actually riots) are going to become progressively worse. Then, on November 4th, when Trump has been reelected, the leftist radicals are going to go berserk. Trump will have no choice but to implement Martial Law in the urban areas, and the leftist political hacks will seize the opportunity to move against any and all patriots still in their areas of influence.
    So, if at all possible, those who live in urban, or even suburban, areas, need to get out now. Better now, than having to shoot your way out on November 4th.
    Those able to celebrate Christmas will be doing so from rural, isolated areas, since those areas will be the only remaining enclaves where any semblance of peace and sanity will have a chance.
    And you’ll still have to be on Red Alert….

  • Don’t come here!

  • Low profile. Don’t do or say anything that will make you stand out or cause someone to take a ‘second’ look. OPSEC. Do ‘not’ ever ‘advertise’ that you are a prepper or what you have. You can take the ‘pantry bait’ idea a little farther and apply it to firearms, especially if you have a couple ‘cheap’ or broken ones. Have a partial box of ammo to go with them. Whine and plead about them being the only way you can protect your family and home. Remember… You sold any other firearms, you own, at a gun show so you could have money to feed your family. Just make damn sure those will not be found on your property. Some people want to get all ‘technical’ about Martial Law and what ‘can’ and ‘cannot’ be done. The moment Martial Law is declared…just figure your ‘rights’ are gone and act accordingly. If you try to complain and ‘set those imposing Martial Law right’ by arguing about what they can or cannot do…you might just disappear or get shot on the spot.

  • S.S.S

    • que?

      • Shoot
        Shovel
        Shut up

  • I think the “no law” could indeed be worse than Martial Law. I know it can suck but the chaos of looting rioting and starving masses can suck a lot more if there’s nothing to keep them in check. Criminals act freely and gang up in militias to hit on the rest of the population if there’s no army or police. Either way it’s better in the rural areas as cities do get tense and dangerous. It will be a mess for some time anyway.

    • The “Black Malitia” have already ramped up, geared up, are on the move. What scares me is the Hells Angels and Monguls bike gangs, made a lot of comments in favor of getting BLM and Antifa thugs out of town but never followed through. There is a false sense of security in thinking that right-wing, conservative, Bible God and country, gun-carrying Patriots are gonna save the day. There is a force behind some wealthy individuals who Act behind the scenes and pay politicians to do certain things. Over the decades some of these folks have dabbled in the occult and are influenced by the Devils organization. This is a fight between good and evil going on now and culminating into a tribulation. Never mind Martial Law, just one of the details of how things might go down. When the powers that be turn on Religion and trample all your other rights , watch out! Watch out! Something bigger than mankind is about to happen.

  • Why demonize liberals? Why create divisions where none exist? Some people might catagorize me as liberal even though I’m not. Certainly I am not going around rioting. There is a Nazi group as well as others that are apparently causing the trouble. There is nothing wrong with peaceful protest, and certainly it is high time we started treating black people the way we want to be treated. Instead of placing all the blame on the victims, why don’e we just come together and solve the problems like sane people do? This isn’t an impossible problem to solve. Instead of fighting each other, why don’t we make plans to see that there is no reason to riot. Make sure food can get to the store shelves. Make sure that people have jobs so they can support themselves? We’ve had 40 years of stagnant wages. Pay fair wages. The elite 1% doesn’t have to have the entire wealth of the nation.. I’m a Prepper myself, but why set up a situation where Americans who trust the system and don’t prepare will be forced to riot to get food? Everybody who is forced to roam about to find something to eat is not a bad person? Why aren’t we making plans so food will be available. We are wasting money right and left by the trillions. Why not put it to practical use? Also,, why are you talking up Trumps chances of being reelected? He has wasted trillions of dollars more than every democratic president in history on stupid things and alienated almost every friend the United States had in the world. He has taught the entire nation how to lie, and practically everything he has done has been wrong. I meet and discuss politics with some of the staunchest right-wing fanatics weekly, and we get along fine. Don’t you wish everybody would do that? We are very close to starting World War III, but if we do, it will be the last one because today’s weapons are capable of wiping out the human race. Nobody wins wars like that. What in the world are you talking about when you suggest the starving masses need to be kept in check? A sane government wouldn’t have to declare Martial Law, anyway . We are Americans. Let’s act like it. Even the far Right is saying we’re all in this together. There is nothing to be gained by fighting each other.

    • Fred, The ONLY WAY that you Will Succeed in what you propose – Remove George Soros from Life Support, Remove the Satan followers, and close the current US Government – The Only Way.

    • Fred, don’l demonize conservatives, either. We believe all people should be treated fairly. We must help those who cannot help themselves. We’ll go the extra mile for somebody just trying to better his station, peacefully. There are those on the right for whom ‘noose’ is just another ‘N’ word, just as there are those on the left who think conservative is just another ‘C’ word. But you are correct. Let’s not fight.I can’t fight the left extremists, as you can’t fight the right extremists. What makes it difficult is, I believe in some tenants of the far right, and I assume you believe in SOME tenants of the far left. But I think we both agree with the survival of the United States Of America. Not all at the extremes do. But they are loud. I don’t have an answer. But this “Grand Experiment” must continue. As bent, folded, and mutilated as it has become, it is still the best form of government in the world, even if it’s practice leaves something to be desired.

      • Bill in Idaho, Sam, and Sue Kenney, Thank you all for your responses to my comment. I get your thoughts a lot in my weekly political, social, and economic discussion groups which contain hard core activist Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and unaffiliated individuals. We just refuse to get mad at each other no matter what, and as a result it is surprising how well we get along and how much respect we develop for each other.

        Bill in Idaho, I have mixed feelings about George Soros. After reading a couple of books about him and watched some of the sentiments he has expressed, I see some good and some bad. Some of my Conservative friends can hardly say his name without spitting, but many of the things being said about him are just not true. For instance, he never betrayed his fellow Jews to the Nazis. I wasn’t sure which Satan followers you referred to, but on the face of it I agree with you completely.l So far as closing the current US Government goes, I frequently think the same thing. I saw on the internet that 12 states have already taken legal steps to succeed and are at various stages of organizing their own independent governments and currencies.

        Sam, My friends would eat me alive if I ever dared demonize their pet ideas, so I think we are safe there. I am really glad to see that we are in more or less agreement about treating others the way we want to be treated. The way my group handles disagreements is in our discussions we organize our arguments and then write independent letters to the editors of newspapers and magazines setting forth our own opinions. Then we kid each other about what we read. It is hard to insult anybody face to face or in the press. Also, I have come to realize that I don’t know everything about any subject there is to know. Sometimes the other guy is right. 🙂 About our government, have you ever stopped to think that everything anybody wants to do is illegal today! The money we print is counterfeit, and there is an iron curtain between Washington D. C. and the rest of the country when it comes to communicating our thoughts and suggestions to Congress. You gotta love them, though. We keep reelecting them.

        Sue Kenney,, bless you, dear lady. I need all the defenders I can get. Thanks again, everybody, for your responses.

        • Fred, Reg. George Soros, I was NOT referring to his betrayal of Jews (Yes, he did) – I was referring to the Millions of Dollars he has Paid to Rioters, Demonstrators, Arsonists, and Looters. Reg. US Govt., I was wanting to remove the “Swamp Dwellers” – Bureaucrats, Staffers, Lobbyists, and followers – Not legitimately elected Office holders.

    • The progressive liberal left is the root cause of many of the socio-economic & moral problems in this country

  • Fred,
    “I may not agree with what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it. “- Patrick Henry

    • That was Voltaire…

      • It is the statement that matters. It represents a little thing called FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Which the “Left” no longer supports
        If you want quotes from Mr. Henry , here they are:
        “The distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers and New Englanders, are no more. I am not a Virginian, but an American.’ “Give me liberty, or give me death !”

  • I’m new to prepping, but I knew pandemic will hit us even back in December and started prepping. I also knew riots will come and I think Martial Law is sadly inevitable. I live in an urban setting in an apartment complex and my storage capacity is limited. Where can I store/hide extra supplies? Getting out in a rural area won’t be possible for us, so we will have to hunker down. Any advice on building survival stash in a small high rise area?

    • I rented a small office room near my apartment and made a small cache which may also work as an emergency bug out place or springboard to our rural bug out location, or I can stay for some time if things get bad near my home. This office is a in a small, cheap commercial building so it’s not a place where people would ever look for supplies. I keep my bigger stockpile there and no one knows about it, so it’s probably safer than my apartment. Another perhaps even cheaper way to stock is to get an old car or van in a parking building nearby with some of your food, clothes and other supplies. I have that too as it would also allow me to hit the road immediately without needing to pack.

  • The Covid “planned demic” gave the government a test bed for determining the “submissiveness” of the people The American people have shown they are basically submissive sheep. They willingly submit to having basic Constitutional Rights removed be edict and fight over toilet paper and not for their liberty. The Commie Traitors see this and start their “revolutionary insurrection” Martial Law is now inevitable. When it is invoked, most Americans well welcome it because it will make them “feel” safe, 99% of American have never experienced Martial Law. YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS ! You only have ORDERS that you MUST OBEY ! “Those who would purchase a little Safety with an essential Liberty, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety” B Franklin

  • Thanks for all your information. I live in a middle class neighborhood in MO. I have s basement but from your information that is a terrible place to put your extra stuff. I have no place else to go and am retired. Do you have any suggestions.
    Debbie

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