The following article has been generously contributed by Jessica Hooley of the Salt n’ Prepper web site.
Is it a coincidence that all of my nightmares occur in big cities? While it may be a personality glitch, I find that considering the dangers you face in the event of an emergency while living in a city, my nightmares may be justified. If you live in a city – buckle up. As a prepper you will have to work extra hard to make your emergency plan viable. And while I make no judgments on city dwellers, I must say – MOVE! For your own safety – MOVE! Move, move, move, move, move. Okay. I think I got it all out.
Now I understand that not everyone can just pick up and move because some lady on the internet says so. So if you are in the situation where you must stay in the city here are a few things you MUST have in your emergency preparedness plan.
Define Your Strategy
One of the biggest problems with cities are the fact that they aren’t self-sustaining. They rely on outer communities to supply them with food, water and often times electricity. The second biggest issue with cities is the space. Most homes/apartments/condos don’t have the space needed to store supplies for 6 months to a year. And even if they did there is a severely high probability of civil unrest, leading to looting and robbery. In short – you need a plan. The three questions to ask yourself:
- How long will we stay
- How will we get out
- Where will we go
How long will we stay – As I said before, in a city you must resign yourself to the fact that you will have to leave if the situation escalates to a point where you either have no supplies or your safety is in jeopardy. Decide with your family how long this period is going to be. After the power is out, the food is gone, and the shelves are empty in the grocery stores of all liquid – how much longer will you hold down the fort. Too short and you may have bugged out too soon. Too long and you risk the possibility of not being able to get out.
How will we get out – Your exit strategy needs to be well planned out. Come up with a minimum of three routes out of the city. You’ve seen how a couple thousand people can shut down a road. Imagine the magnification of that situation when millions are out looking for food and water. You need to be able to navigate your way through the mess and be prepared to defend you and your family. I’ll go into further detail later.
Where will we go – Once again, come up with a couple places as a destination if possible. Think of relatives out in the “boonies”. Anyone that you consider as being in a safe part of the world. If you don’t know anyone within a reasonable distance (you may run out of fuel) start thinking of areas that you could stay. Hotels. Camp spots. Some place to “ride it out”.
As we’ve pointed out before, the population of cities can quickly turn into one of your biggest challenges. So it’s up to you to change that. Build your community into your own personal defense. Help those around you prepare. Educate them about emergency preparedness. You don’t need to reveal all of your prepping secrets but by preparing others you are ensuring help in the event that looting reaches your neighborhood. If everyone has something to defend they are more likely to band together. By not including your neighbors you are making them a potential threat to you. And the last thing you’ll want is to have to pull a gun on your neighbor if they are trying to take your supplies out of desperation.
Get the Gear
Although it may not seem like “gear” – a truck may likely be the most important bug-out necessity for someone in a big city. Reasons why:
- Capable of hauling ALL of your bug-out supplies
- You will need something capable of maneuvering around rubble, waste, people and stalled vehicles on the road.
- Able to store extra fuel in the bed to get further away.
Outside of an off road vehicle, you will also need the following items:
- 96 hour kits for each person in the family
- 7 days of water – 1 to 2 gallons of water per person per day
- A full gas tank and 40 extra gallons to haul
Make sure in your plan to bug out, you have someone armed. When trying to leave the city there will be plenty of people outside waiting to stop you and take what you have. You must be prepared to face the realization that you may have to defend yourself with force.
No matter where you live, water is the basis to sustaining life. If you are planning to stay in your house longer than a week (after water is unavailable) you need to make storing water a big priority. Get creative with your water storage. As you can find in my other posts, polycarbonate containers are great for water storage. If you are crammed on space, I highly recommend WaterBricks®. You can store upwards of 60 gallons underneath your queen size bed alone with them. No matter what you decide for a storage system – make the most out of it. You’ll want to store 1-2 gallons for each person in your family for every day you plan on staying in your home.
Food storage goes along the same lines as water. Make a food storage list to last your family the time you will be staying in your home. The key to your food storage is making it secret. In cities, food is likely to completely run out within 3 days. People will get really hungry really fast. And if someone remembers seeing that stack of food storage in your garage, or remembers you saying something about having 6 months in your basement – you’re their first stop. Don’t put yourself in the situation where you are more likely to have to defend your storage by shouting it from a mountain top. Once again, get creative and bury it in your yard if you must.
In the event of an emergency, you will likely be facing a powerless situation. During the day you’ll just have to get used to being without certain luxuries like powered kitchen gadgets and television. But at night, no power can turn into a psychological battle. Especially for children. Have plenty of snap lights, flashlights and lanterns to keep it bright when the sun goes down so the little ones (and maybe even you) can relief during the night.
TIP: In most cities, homes and other living spaces are close together. When using your evening lighting make sure to draw the shades. Test your emergency lighting during peacetime and see which places in the house you can use them without it being seen from the outside. Light will draw more than just bugs during a power outage. And the result could end up in self defense.
Without electricity you may be in for some cold nights. Be prepared with some down blankets and 4 season sleeping bags. You can also get some indoor kerosene heaters. And if you are lucky enough to have a wood burning fireplace, put it use! Get stocked up on firewood and use it when necessary.
The terrible truth is that most places in this country where self-defense is needed most, it’s unavailable to law abiding citizens. I’m talking about guns. Big cities, despite their soaring crimes rates, seem to find rationale in banning guns whenever possible. And while free speech is still available – I’m telling you to get your hands on a gun no matter what it takes. As long as you are an otherwise law abiding citizen and you don’t hear voices in your head telling you to kill people – you need the ability to defend your property and more importantly your family.
Other fantastic weapons to have stored for self-defense include:
- Pepper spray
- Trip wires
- A guard dog – a really mean looking one
These other defense tools are great to get someone off your property initially but keep in mind that they’ll get away and may come back with the knowledge that this time they’ll have to kill you to get your food.
If you plan to stay in your home for more than a month before bugging out, you need to consider investing in fortifications for your home. This includes making some changes that are more functional than pretty. This includes things like plexiglass windows, steel doors, removing landscaping features that people can easily hide in, blacking out windows, etc. Anything that can make your home more secure makes you less of a target.
So for all you city dwelling preppers, I hope this helped. Make your plan bullet proof. You are already at a disadvantage so have a process in place for everything you need to do. Good luck and happy prepping!
Jessica Hooley is the author of Salt n’ Prepper and contributor to the Army Navy Store Blog – PX Supply.