Issues for urban preppers
My wife and I have made the decision to stay in our big eastern city for the next eight years, and then retire someplace small in New Hampshire. That said, we expect to go through some rough times during these next eight years, and are prepping with that in mind. It’s not that we wouldn’t bug out, it’s just that it’s going to take something huge to make us do that after having committed to staying. We think it’s more likely we’ll weather the storm, than it is we will be forced out before we’re ready to go.
We are prepping accordingly, and consume any- and everyone’s opinions and insights that are the least bit applicable to surviving in place (aka urban prepping). Unfortunately, there isn’t that much out there that is specifically geared toward the urban situation.
I read this writer’s article today and was ready to pop my cork. She has some useful ideas, but she lives in Lehi, UT (a little town south of Salt Lake City). So little of the material I run across is by people who currently live and prep in a large metropoliltan area, though some of it is by people who once lived in a large metro area. As a result, I find the articles and insights lacking in important areas. Here’s the link: http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/cities-a-preppers-nightmare-solutions_04102012
So, I’m thinking I should write my own piece about urban prepping. I have seen members and visitors to our community here mention they are in an urban area and looking for community and good ideas to help them. More often than not, they seem to fade away. As a way to get started, I thought I would solicit your ideas and questions regarding prepping in urban areas. What do you think should be covered? What insights do you have? What questions do you and others you know have? Know any good resources and web sites to share?
http://theurbanprepper.com/ this might be of help /
If there is a serious economic problem, the last place you want to be is in a city. This sounds like a high risk strategy. Cities rely upon large and complex logistics systems. If the logistics system for your city is impaired by even 25% a very difficult situation will develop. If the economic problem negatively impacts the transfer payments going to the class of dependency or they still receive the transfer payments but are unable to purchase what they believe they need due to logistics system impairment or rapid inflation there is going to be a major problem. The class of dependency will be outraged and it is a pretty good bet they do not share your value system. If they know you are there and they suspect you have stuff they are going to come and try to take it from you. If there are any good looking females there they may well decide to take them also.
Maybe you should consider getting that nice place in NH a little sooner if that is possible. They way if things get bad and you are able to leave the city you would have a safe place to go to. That place could be stocked and ready for you.
If you are going to stay in a city and you want to prep for that I would suggest you develop a system for concealment. The fewer people that know you exist the safer you will be. I would also suggest that you acquire and learn how to use firearms and stock a large supply of ammo. If you have a vehicle I would suggest to stock enough fuel (treated with sta-bil) to allow you to escape the city in case you find it impossible to remain there.
I always enjoy reading your posts, so anything you want to add from your perspective would be useful.
Some useful things to get your persepctive…
What are some of the unique prepping challenges that you have planned to overcome? What is a good way for a civilian to understand the official police or national guard response to civil disturbance? How would that response be different in an economic decline vs a natural disaster?
I will check back later, and contribute some questions or ideas to try to help.
I used to live on Long Island, NY. Three million people, and you have to get through NYC, with 8 million people to get through another three million in any available direction before the population even starts to thin out? While I lived there I was starting to prep but an absolute nervous wreck about the tenuous nature of things. I’d lived through the 70’s inner city riots as a teen, and while we were in a (heavily populated) suburb — not in NY City–it got my attention.
Staying in a highly populated area will cause you stress but sometimes there is no other choice. I had no choice until recently, because that was where my job was and I could not as yet afford to move anywhere else. So I hear you. And I have a few lessons to impart from those days.
First, if you are stuck in a populous area, try to be on the edge of it, on your escape route. In my case I moved to the North Shore of LI because it was near numerous ferries to a less populous area in CT, and those ferries would put my car on the interstate to my bugout place in rural NH.
Number two, I had a bugout bag in my car. Always.
Number three, my place was small so my strategy for stockpiling food was to use a storage facility. Never got around to it, since I just started prepping before I moved, so what food I had was still in my apartment. NOTE: A prep blog I read suggested that a storage facility was a defensible urban place, and an alternative place to temporarily live and shelter in place if things realy got bad. If I was going to do that I’d made sure it had alternative means of sanitation, a bedroll, stockpiled water, and alternative means of heat/cooling. Combustible heat sources might cause an issue with carbon monoxide poisoning, so be careful. A low temp certified sleeping bag will atract less attention than a fire, too. As to construction, I’d look for cinderblock rather than metal storage facilities (you’d cook in the summer in metal). Cooling might be as simple as keeping the door open or (once the SHTF) installing a vent in the ceiling.
My fourth concern with a storage facility would be if it had an electronic-only gate. If there were a grid-down situation, your urban prep storage place might be inaccessible, so try to find one that also has a key.
Final thought: most storage places have a fence with barbed-wire or razor wire on top. It is Common Knowledge in urban areas that determined thieves can get across such things by putting an old matress on it to shield from cuts. Razon wire is nice but will not stop a determined bad guys. Plan accordingly.
I’d consider not even trying to prep much in the city and devote all of your energies towards your bug out place – whether that means acquiring one or prepping one. Urban prepping to me just sounds like a lost cause – but maybe I’m missing key info. Otherwise, maybe get a trailer to put your preps in here and make it a weekend getaway or purchase some used comex boxes there and fill ’em up, etc. I’ve always thought an RV would be fun and practical since you can still use it to relax and have fun with but its also a backup shelter thats mobile. Good luck.
If you have seen any of the epidsodes of Doomsday Preppers, there are a number of people who live in urban areas and are prepping. We have picked up a few ideas from the show. Prepping is similar under most circumstances, but the reasons people do it are as varied as you can imagine. One NYC firefighter who lives in Harlem is prepping because he thinks the Yellowstone caldera is going to blow and NYC would be directly downwind.
I think that is a fairly remote possibility and would not prepare for a volcano eruption unless I lived close to an active one. Nonetheless, he had some pretty good ideas. It’s virtually impossible to get a cc permit in NYC so he has acquired some knives and taken lessons on self defense with blades. He’s a pretty imposing figure himself. His upper arms appeared to be about as big as my thighs, maybe both of them. He rented a space not far from his apartment to store food and practices getting there and back in 45 minutes with a face mask, oxygen tanks and a backpack for carrying food. Even in NYC that’s quite a sight. Many of his preps focused on sealing his apt. from airborne particulates. That probably wouldn’t be a high priority for most of us, but it might be something to think about.
It might not be a bad idea for anyone living near water, particularly NYC, to have a boat available. As safewrite pointed out, a ferry would be a good way to get off the Gisland. (little humor there for those of us who have spent a lot of time with Long Islanders). Of course, that’s assuming the ferries are still running. Your own boat kept in a secure location might be a better idea.
That’s all I got.
Do you live right in the middle of the city or are you in a large urban area?
Do you live in a big apartment building, condo or house on a small lot in an urban area?
Do you own the place you live in so you can make changes to it without having issues with the landlord?
I assume you have city water and sewer.
What is your source of heat? Do you have only one heat source?
What is your backup source of water?
Do you live in a neighborhood where you know your neighbors or is it too crowded to really know people? I was thinking about what I saw with them in Egypt guarding the neighborhoods. I also read a blog or post somewhere (long forgotten) where the guy described during the huricane how his neighborhood with what would be considered gangs sealed off and helped each other but later after he moved to suburbia all the people just turned on their generators and stayed inside. The were so oblivious of things that someone could come and take the generator and they only would realize it when their lights went out.
He explained that the so called gang members actually were mainly watching out for their neighborhood and knew exactly who should and should not be in the area. Granted, if you should not be there they were just as likely to rob you as to give you crap for being there, but if you belonged in the neighborhood they would more or less leave you alone.
The more stand-up citizens in the neighborhood also were all outside and watching their yards, not clueless and inside like the yuppies in the suburb.
If I recall, you are a member of a big blue gang. How do you see that affecting your shelter in place strategy?
In an emergency situation would you be expected to be out and about with your family on their own while you are working, or would you be taking “time off” to protect the family? Just a retorical question, I don’t expect you to answer that on a public forum.
I look forward to following this thread. I consider myself to live in rural New England, but the fact is that I am less than 20 miles from a large urban area with a million people in the greater xxxx area.
I think those who are planning on preparing for survival in an urban or suburban environment, have some considerations to make:
- Think of how people in gang-infested suburbs (Compton, Watts) and urban and suburban areas of Third World countries protect their homes and belongings:
- Reinforced steel doors, bars on the windows, walled or fenced in lawns, brick or cinder block construction,, etc.
- Gated enclaves with security, or at least private security patrols
- Developing neighborhood contacts and intelligence (urban gangs use affiliates – less-involved younger or older members, family, etc.)
- As you already know, Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre has posted extensively about his experiences in post-2001 collapse Argentina, and his preference is NOT for a rural retreat. He advocates street smarts, combat awareness, and emphasizes the panoply of skills, trades, and jobs available in urban environments, as well as having good neighbors and security patrols.
- Don’t feel too bad if you can’t get to a remote rural bug-out location. As Aguirre points out, it leaves you isolated and vulnerable. You have no real backup aside from those immediately with you. He points to stories about White farmers in Zimbabwe, ranching families in rural Argentina, etc. What it tellse me is that: Someone with a high-powered rifle could pick you out from a distance as you walk about doing your animal husbandry or gardening chores, or put a bullet into your car (or horse) as you travel to town or are on your way back home.
- For an alternative view, consider Charles Hugh Smith’s great little essay, “The Art of Survival, Taoism and the Warring States“, which talks of how rural people – kids especially, but also potential thieves – may view strangers who suddenly show up to build up a bug-out location. Also talks of what makes you more vulnerable, what makes you more valuable – applicable to all environments.
- Above all, I highly recommend AGAINST getting the book that John Michael Greer (whom I otherwise highly recommend) endorses: Surviving the Apocalypse in the Suburbs: The Thrivalist’s Guide to Life Without Oil. I got it, read part of it, and stopped. It sucks. It’s written by a suburban mommy blogger with zero real experience, who lives on about half an acre or a quarter acre, who rambles on and on about what she might consider doing if something bad were to happen. I don’t know why he recommended it. Maybe it’s dumbed down to encourage the hesitant milksops to at least think a little about survival.
That article that I mentioned about the neighborhood during the hurricane confirmed exactlly what you said about the kids being the information scouts. The guy said that the kids were running all over the neighborhoods observing and reporting the information as they were running around seeing all their friends.