May 26, 2017

City Survivalists

Today’s post was guest written by Lee Flynn

As history has repeatedly shown, disaster can strike at any moment and without warning. Whether the event is natural or man-made, it carries the potential to stir chaos. Many people feel that, for survival purposes, there’s no better place to be than a rural area. However, it’s not a feasible option for everyone. For one reason or another, a huge portion of the country’s citizens are stuck in densely-populated urban areas. Although this is one of the worst places you can be during an catastrophe, there are things you can do to protect yourself, your home and your family.


Stockpile Ammunition

The most dangerous aspect of living in the city during a crisis is people. When disaster strikes, there is no shortage of people who are willing and eager to take everything you have for themselves. This is why firearms are called “the great equalizer”. Even if someone is bigger and stronger than you, if you have a gun, those features are meaningless. However, you need ammunition to make it work. In the city, you’re going to need lots of it. It’s a good idea to keep an 9mm ammo box full of the appropriate rounds tucked away someplace safe and discreet.

Unfortunately, many states have imposed regulations that limit the types and quantities of ammunition you can purchase. That said, gun shows are still largely immune to these regulations, so consider attending ones in your area whenever possible. Plus, it presents an opportunity to learn new information and make some wonderful friends and allies.


Store Food

Of course, in any SHTF situation, you’re going to need a reliable source of food. Let’s face it, your local grocery store isn’t going to be receiving new stock, and venturing out into a lawless war zone isn’t something to make a habit of. Fortunately, it’s easy to stockpile a large supply of food storage even in a relatively small space. Stock up on things that keep well, such as dehydrated foods and canned goods. Keep them in a cool, dark and dry location, and preferably inside of tightly-sealed and pest-resistant food storage containers. Military MREs are another good option, and you can usually find them in bulk at military surplus shops.


Collect Medical Supplies

In a disaster, the likelihood of receiving emergency medical care is nil. Even in this situation, it’s important that you’re able to take care of yourself and your loved ones, so medical supplies are critical. Ideally, your stock should contain things like antibiotics, painkillers, a stitching kit, surgical tweezers, antiseptics, syringes, gauze, bandages, medical tape and anti-anaphylactics. Most of these things can be legally purchased by anyone from medical supply warehouses or pharmacies. Like with your food supply, keep these items in a cool, dark, dry and secure location.


Gather Essential Tools

There’s nothing like an emergency to remind you of the usefulness of certain tools. Indeed, many of them can even save your life. Some important tools to have on hand include a multi-tool or Swiss army knife, duct tape, rope, saws, screwdrivers, wrenches, a hammer, a hunting knife, files and flashlights. Any number of these objects can help you get out of a difficult situation and help keep important equipment operable.


Fuel and Batteries

In some bizarre twist of Murphy’s Law, it seems that large-scale emergencies nearly always come with a loss of electrical power that lasts for an indeterminate amount of time. This sort of event is more than just an inconvenience. More often than not, it’s the cause of civil upheaval. No electricity means no light, communications, water or heat. That’s why the person who can generate power has the advantage. It’s strongly recommended to maintain a store of batteries for radios and flashlights, and fuel for your generator, vehicle or gas-powered tools.


Hold Onto Your Valuables

The loss of electricity typical of serious emergencies also cuts off access to your bank account. Unfortunately, currency is still important in these situations, so it’s recommended to hold onto anything valuable you might have. Gold and silver coins, fine jewelry, gemstones and cash should be hidden away in case of such events. These can represent considerable purchasing and bargaining power later on.

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  1. I would also include fire extingishers and gas masks/oxygen breeathing devices. Maybe fire is not as much a threat as it’s portrayed in movies but if it becomes total chaos and we reach the tipping point of WROL firefighters will be unable to do their job and would be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of fires that will breakout.

    I haven’t seen this idea promoted but it might be a good idea to find other preppers in the city and band with them. Just as in certain parts of the country preppers are moving to the same area to provide mutual support. So too could city dwellers move in the same housing complexes and neighborhoods.

    • Carl Rooker says:

      Way too many people have this idea of fending off the end of the world by themselves. Many plan on shooting those who get close.

      You have the right idea. A group trying to accomplish a common goal has a much better chance, and far more resources than any individual.

      To the loners I point out that the person they shoot might be the doctor that could have saved their child’s life.

  2. josephh Hyde says:

    For a perspective on “City Survival” from one who did it for a year when TSHTF Iin the ’90’s go here:

    You may be glad you did!

    Not from ‘a Christian perspective’ at all, but valuable none the less.

  3. Don’t neglect preparing for city water & sewer not functioning. The existing water in water towers is going to disappear quickly, & when the sewers stop flowing, sanitation will quickly become a major challenge.

    I wish someone would write about how to handle guard duty in a neighborhood where houses are 50-100 ft apart, & the concealment between homes are limited, & hardly any cover places. &/or guarding one’s apartment in an apartment building. I’ve read some things, but I just don’t know how to plan for our neighborhood of single-family homes a block off the US business hwy. We’re 3 blocks from a low income senior & disabled housing neighborhood.

    • wandakate says:

      As Dan said in his comment being with people and like-minded neighbors is very important. However, finding a community like that (a real prepper community) is like finding a needle in a haystack. I’ve tried to locate one for a few years and nothing has come up. Power is in numbers and having all your eggs in one basket will be helpful in time of need.

      • Carl Rooker says:

        Nothing can solve this problem like immediate necesity. Plan on how to draw them together when it happens, and how to use the resources they already have available. You might be surprised at what can be accomplished.

    • Jim Moore says:

      Hey Red, I feel your angst about lack of good info on guarding a neighborhood home. My personal thoughts on an active group and defense of a site is that it takes about 12 people for around the clock 24/7 guarding of one place like a home long term. I’ve given it a lot of thought as well as had debates with others and I just can’t see how any less people can comfortably protect a place long term. So, collaboration is important. Consolidation may be key also. Now, whether to gather people now or wait until after a disaster happens is still something I am considering and unsure about for several reasons.
      I have read several good prepper fiction works where they have defended an urban subdivided neighborhood setting. They almost always collaborate with others quickly for guarding the whole area with road blocks and roving guards or abandon their homes for more remote sites that are more easily securable.

      • A min of 12 people using collaboration & consolidation? We don’t even have 12 people on our block that I’d trust w/ a gun -one couple have a reputation for getting drunk often. Also have a 91 yr old widower who’d probably not strong enough, but is a WW 2 vet & probably has a few guns in his house.

        I read one fictional story of 2 couples & a 13 yr old boy who successfully guarded a farmhouse, barn & mobile home, but they had the advantage of only one entrance to the farm yard from the road. They used a system of 1-2 guards on duty 24/7, & using a radio to communicate from the barn to the farmhouse, in case the guard on duty needed to call for help.

        The 299 Days series tells how a small town on a pennisula guarded the community -but again, they had only one road going into the town & pennisula, although they also had to guard along the shoreline.

        • Larry Thomas says:

          Harbor Freight has cheap wireless ‘driveway’ alarm units for less than $15 (on sale) that really work great. It is in 2 parts.. one for the driveway (tree, pole) and the other mobile unit for inside your home) & has a high or low setting, using common batteries and alerts up to 400 feet. I was skeptical, but now have two. A better one (Mighty Mule) is at our Home Depot for $60, but it’s nice to have a bunch of cheap ones for all access points. High winds (moving tree limbs) and squirrels will set it off occasionally. They also have small portable gas generators (on sale for $89) that could be used for fans and electronics (800 rated/900 max watts); that would save using the big generators for everything and would conserve fuel. One other item that comes in handy in the city is a high quality pellet gun that could be used to keep the noise down hunting for small game, etc. Some are powerful enough for limited home protection for someone not comfortable with the firearms ‘kick’. I believe in a wide range of options to fit a situation.

    • Chris Ray says:

      I have touched on how to handle city guard duty, but I think you’ve given me an idea for next weeks article.

      Thanks Red.

    • Red is right on sewer and water. For sewer consider a couple five gallon buckets (you can borrow your toilet seat from your non flushing toilet) and a few bales of wood chips for compost. Some thick mill trash bags for temperary storage of waste until you can safely (dangerous people) and creatively deposit you compost. That way you don’t waste water on sewage treatment. Concerning water just fill empty two liter pop bottles with the water you are drinking now, store them in a closet by stacking layers with a piece of plywood inbetween them. A Coleman propane stove for cooking will run for about two-two and one half hours on a 1lb. cylinder on high heat. So a 20 lb. cylinder will run on high for about 40-50 hours. You can cook a one pot meal in one half hour in a small pressure cooker. That is a lot of cooking if you use your fuel wisely. Bon Apetite!

      • Chris Ray says:

        your suggestions on taking care of sewage are good for a family. But in densely populated areas, you have to worry about how your neighbors handle it as well. If the lights go out and water stops flowing, you’ll want to not flush, and tell your neighbors how to handle things as well.

      • mariowen says:

        Have you read the book The Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins? It will be a big help. However, if you live in the city, you better have a way to dispose of it. If all your neighbors used heavy mil garbage bags to keep the manure in, it would be a help – not perfect – but better than nothing. You might be the one needed to supply the bags! Here is another thing to store, but it might be the difference between having a workable solution and not having one. Always a 5 gallon bucket with a lid/seat for them. It is a small item to store and well, well worth it. The hardest thing about it is to store the wood shavings. That could be monumental if you lived in a city apartment. If you lived in a single family home or had a yard, you could manage it. There are so many ways to hide bales and bags of sawdust or shavings.

  4. Jim Moore says:

    Great Post, thank you Lee and Chris!

  5. Great article – thanks for sharing the info.
    Some other things to consider;
    – check out freeze dried food, nutrition and taste are not impaired by the process. Try some in advance with your children too – make sure they’ll eat it and trying it in advance helps them to accept the food when its a real emergency.
    – some good rope or paracord can help you in a multitude of ways
    – check out solar power battery chargers & power packs; you can recharge your batteries even if you’re off the grid!

    • Rev. Dr. Michael E Harris says:

      I read yesterday about dehydrating frozen foods. The article made sense, but cautioned that they probably will not last as long as freeze dried foods. Using frozen, store-brand foods is much easier than using fresh. I am not going to try it, but someone in this discussion might have a good dehydrator and would like to try it.

      • mariowen says:

        I have dehydrated lots of frozen vegetables and it works fine. It is not going to last as long as freeze dried stuff, but it compacts down nicely so you can store a lot more stuff in a smaller space. So if space is an issue, it is a good idea. Then it can be stored in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and it will last even longer. Easy to do and good for things like stews and such.

      • Chris Ray says:

        Research has shown me that food dehydrated at home will last 2-5 years.

  6. Rev. Dr. Michael E Harris says:

    This is where CERT training becomes helpful.

    I do have a comment about valuables. I keep cash and coin in several stashes. I have $50 in coin–mostly quarters. I have folding money totaling $1,200 in a handful of stashes.

    • I do the same w/ my ammo -hidden in 4 different places -which greatly reduces the chances of all of it being stolen.

  7. Loren Wright says:

    Don’t forget to stock pile many gallon jugs of PURIFIED water. Purified water won’t grow algae while in storage. They are cheap and can be bought on a budget one at a time at places like Wal-Mart. (Wal-Mart is also a good place to buy inexpensive survival food buckets) Also try to have a source of non-potable water for cleaning and flushing. A rain barrel or water cistern on your roof are good options if possible.

  8. Great post and comments! TY

  9. mariowen says:

    If I lived in the city, here is what I think I might do. If I had any friends who are like-minded and live out of the city but at a distance that I could cover in a breakdown of things, I would make arrangements with them to come to their house with the agreement that I would help with security, food, ammo, etc. I would, at this time – right now – be helping them to get the maximum stockpiles of whatever we came up with needing. I would be there now to help around the place and become a valuable part of their home life. I would bring dinners over…you get the picture. It might not be a bad idea to have a back up location – just in case…I would never know what will transpire and I would want to cover all my bases. The most important thing is to be able to completely trust them 100%. It might be the difference between living and dying. Now I would want to be sure that the distance wasn’t so far that I could walk it with whatever I was taking with me when I left my own place. So much to think about, but pre-planning is the only way to survive in most situations. Flying by the seat of my pants might cost me dearly.

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