Monday, August 25, 2008

SHTF: Suburbs - Should I stay or should I go?

Welcome Woodpile Readers! Thanks for stopping by and please visit again!

Big fracas today over on TB2K about whether one should stay in the suburbs after the SHTF or flee to a pre-positioned rural location... see if here..

A lot of hotheads and hotter opinions being expressed which is a shame, because both sides are missing the real problem.

First, more people, I would hazard to guess without looking at census information, live in urban and suburban locales rather than in true rural areas.

And with the national and international scene being what it is, more and more of these suburban dwellers today are developing the prepper mindset like their rural prepping counterparts do which is "How do I prepare for what if?".

That being the case, the real problem is "how do suburban dwellers responsibly and creatively prepare for TEOTWAWKI without planning on becoming a burden to their country pals?".

Here are a few of my plans/suggestions that might be of value to the suburban dweller post-TEOTWAWKI.

1) Prep now. Buy lots of non-perishable foods, storage equipment, tools, supplies, etc. now while prices are reasonable and stocks are high. For instance, this weekend the wife and I invested in more storage buckets, water filters, OTC medicines, vitamins and other essential stuff.

"Do you really have enough food stocked when the SHTF?"

2) Put a plan in place for Day One of the SHTF for your home and family. How to get from point a to point b. Communications. Safety. Transportation.

3) Can you disguise your presence in the neighborhood? Some of these suggestions have to be done beforehand while others they day of SHTF..
a) Have measured pieces cut now and plywood over exterior visible windows from the street and rear of house once the trouble starts.
b) Erect the highest fence around the exterior rear of your property as allowed by the city and neighborhood association. (Do this now).
c) Move running vehicles to rear of home or into garage. Cover over garage windows with more plywood ( have that plywood ready now). Back cars into garage and be able to open doors manually if forced to evacuate.
d) Consider leaving one, partially disassembled vehicle in front of the house. Put it on blocks or jacks or flattened tires.
e) Put a pink or yellow typewritten piece of paper on the front door which declares the property is foreclosed and uninhabitable. (Before the emails start.. I know, a piece of paper is not going to stop a determined group of illiterate gang bangers. Rather, it is part of a complete illusion.. work with me).
f) Put a sign in the yard which states the house is foreclosed as well. See above.
g) Limit activity and leave and come only through the rear of the property. Let no sign or presence be known i.e. generators, bar-b-que grills, etc.

4) Devise a defensive strategy for your home. Early warning alarms, (can be as simple as trip wires and cans), peepholes, viewpoints, sniper nests, diversions, reinforce exterior walls, create an interior saferoom, fall back positions and escape routes. Besides your favorite firearms, purchase a number of inexpensive weapons for backups and handouts to those joining you. I particularly prefer the SKS as it is inexpensive, can take a lot of punishment and is relatively easy to use.

5) Connect with other neighbors. This is tricky because unless you know your neighbors real well, they may or may not be reliable in a scrape. I fully expect most of my neighbors to collapse under the strain or flee before hand. That being the case, my presence will be as low as possible and I plan on using any left behind resources as possible.

6) Get a replenishing water source. I am a big proponent of sand point drilled wells for suburban situations. Of course your water table must be taken into consideration and if a hand dug or sand point well is out of the question, you are going to need, at minimum, the following:
a) a creek, river or lake on your property.
b) lots of bleach, filters and fuel for boiling. (solar panel, batteries and hot plate work too).
c) Big storage like multi hundred gallon containers or cistern.
d) rain water catchment system.

Remember, your rural friends will have this same consideration as well. Just having a well on a rural property does not mean an unlimited, uninterrupted supply of water.

7) Once the back yard is hidden from view as best as possible, expand your garden. Start on this now. I have been gardening edibles for years and it is something learned over time not the day after the SHTF.
Along those lines, stock plenty of seeds, (multiple years), hand tools, fertilizer and build at least one large composting area (I have two).

8) Lay out areas where additional gardening can be done. For instance, nearby vacant lots, golf courses, abandoned backyards, etc.
Remember, most of these areas will be overgrown in a few weeks. Pick out a spot as far from view as possible and surrounded by higher weeds or grass. Create a 6 x 6 garden square, till, replenish the soil and plant. Surround with chicken wire. Leave a couple of empty five gallon buckets in the enclosure to catch rain water. Check a few times a week under cover of darkness or in early morning hours and tend.
If possible, plant fruit trees in back yard. Drive or walk your neighborhood and catalog existing fruit trees and types. I have found over two dozen good producers in my neighborhood. Know how to prune and tend to these trees after the original owners have "moved on".

9) Stock up now on anything needed to preserve food including a couple of dehydrators, canning jars (and lids!), spices for jerky, etc. Target had a starter home canning system available for less than 40.00 this weekend. That is a fast food lunch for a family of five. No excuses why you have not bought this type of hardware.

10) Get solar panels and deep storage batteries. You are not powering a fridge and clothing dryer, but a few basic appliances and communications gear. A battery powered hotplate emits no smoke like a grill or fireplace. My suggestion is to check online for panels or try a Fry's if they have them where you live. Fry's had 85 watt panels on sale not too long ago. A simple home system is not that hard to set up (or tear down and hide if need be). My neighbor has four panels he rolls out onto his side-of-house driveway on sunny days and uses them to power his workshop tools.

11) You don't have to be in the country to have livestock. Most municipalities allow homeowners to have a few chickens or rabbits. Mine allows me up to 6 hens and one rooster. I can also have goats and rabbits as long as they are not a nuisance. Better to have two laying hens now than none the day after.

12) Plan an escape route and fall back position. No plan, suburban or rural is perfect. You may have to flee as well. Have a plan.

I have a choice. For right now i am staying in the suburbs. I know the area and I have my supplies in tact. Your plan may be completely opposite, but any plan is better than having no plan at all.

1 comment:

bb said...

some urban survival gear to consider: mosquito netting and air mattress. Sleeping inside with no air can be brutal. Same with sleeping outside in the tropics with the mosquitoes. I've waited a bit longer than I wanted to so I'm planning, for now to make an urban stand. Any input, such as yours, is greatly appreciated. Good luck.

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