Photo by Eric Ward via Wikimedia Commons
Some families and individuals living in a suburban area may feel they cannot properly prepare for a disaster because they do not have acres of land, or even a safe haven some miles from the city. Some may even feel trapped. Although there are, certain disadvantages to living in an urban environment if disaster strikes the disadvantages would not be considered life threatening. There are however, rules for prepping if you live in suburbia, rules that will ensure you can survive a disaster. The rules generally speaking, are not disaster specific but it will be noted when one is specifically for a certain crisis, otherwise assume you would follow the general guidelines regardless of the catastrophe.
Rule Number 1
From a security standpoint do not divulge how well prepared you are to anyone but your immediate family
This rule will cause some debate because people generally want to include others in their lives for various reasons but there are certain things you must keep to yourself. Some preppers have meetings where everyone lays out their plans and discusses techniques, what they have stockpiled and what they need. This is a learning process for many of those new to prepping and frankly many people new to prepping do not have their heart in it. They may feel it is a fad, or the thing to do because their friends pressured them and so on. In other words, they are not really preparing, but just going through the motions. People just naturally assume that bad things happen to other people. They will not get the message until it is too late. It is very difficult for some people to understand that the biggest enemy during a crisis is other human beings. A young couple with small children will do whatever it takes to provide for their children, and this includes taking from you. Never underestimate desperate parents.
It is not this article’s intent to discourage networking with other preppers but to emphasis the need for security. Trusted friends and allies are essential to survival but it is important for you to realize that when disaster does strike you may only have yourself and family to rely on. Just be careful about advertising how well prepared you really are. Telling everyone, you have silver and gold buried for bartering is only inviting trouble. Your friends may not pose any risks, but they will drop a comment here and there or their children will and soon everyone knows where to find resources during a crisis.
Rule Number 2
Prepare for the threats that are most likely to happen
Nuclear, chemical or biological attacks are a very real possibility in large metropolitan areas. If you cannot flee the area you will need duct tape and plastic to seal your home from the outside air, but not to the point where you suffocate yourself. Having a basement is ideal where you can get below ground level. You want to put as many obstacles between you and the blast or dispersal area as possible. Attacks of this type may very well come without warning, so make sure you have ample tape and plastic and even protective suits if that is economically feasible.
Rule Number 3
Do not stockpile your supplies in one place
Cache supplies in various underground locations in your yard or even in some outbuildings. If you are robbed or your home is damaged you can lose all of your supplies. You will need backup resources. Do not cache supplies in commercial storage facilities. You may not be able to retrieve your supplies during a crisis and commercial buildings are prime targets for looters especially self-storage buildings.
Rule Number 4
Prepare an evacuation plan
Do not convince yourself that you will never have to evacuate because you will not be able to if you have not prepared. Evacuation is a very real possibility. There may be extensive damage to your home or there are air borne contaminates or nuclear fallout in the area, which means you, must leave. Make sure you have the means to transport your supplies even it if it is just backpacks. You cannot leave empty handed.
Rule Number 5
Information is crucial before, during and after disaster strikes. So make sure you have the equipment to stay informed such as ham radios, Citizen band Radios (CB) and even two-way radios. You want to be able to monitor traffic from emergency responders and ham radio operators. Ham radios are used during disasters to rely information nation and even worldwide in some cases. Ham radios have extended ranges. Be careful about using the radios for other than monitoring because if you are transmitting, your location can be determined by triangulation of the radio signal. If you are in a situation where you have to evade others do not transmit but simply monitor your communication devices.
Rule Number 6
Do not wait for your local government to help you
Depending on the magnitude of the crisis, your local and even the federal government will go into self-preservation mode and it can be weeks or even longer before they will be of any help.
Rule Number 7
Avoid getting caught up in protest or demonstrations
Society in the short term will go through some changes during a crisis and yet overall it will remain the same. You will find that after just a few days some people will be demanding changes from their leaders and some may even begin marching and protesting. This is counterproductive; your time needs to be spent surviving and planning for long-term sustainability in the event the crisis is for an extended period. There will be plenty of time for complaining and affixing blame later.
Rule Number 8
Plan for home defense
Every occupied home will be a target as well as unoccupied ones during a disaster. Most serious preppers would probably consider home security a number one priority and it is a priority, but getting a bunker or siege mentality is not beneficial. You cannot barricade yourself in your home to the point you have created a death trap if there is a fire or someone does break in and the intruder is between you and the exit. You do need to have a plan, a common sense approach to home defense that includes an escape plan. Consider firearms, and having the tools and materials such as plywood sheets on hand to secure windows and any glass openings.
Remember your biggest threat is other humans in the community and not the government. If you believe an army will show up to take over your home and confiscate your possessions there is simply not enough firepower you can amass that would stop them, so planning for that type of invasion is futile.
You are protecting your home from looters and others living in your city and not from some shadow government waiting on a crisis so they can march into your town. You will also be defending your family and possessions from neighbors that have turned to violence in the name of providing for their families.
Rule Number 9
It is never been a matter of if but simply a matter of when
A crisis will strike and in all likelihood, it will be the one you least expected. However, as stated earlier supplies, tools and materials are not necessarily disaster specific. Always prepare with shelter, water, fire/energy and food as your priorities because you cannot survive any crisis without them. Once the priorities are met then you can get more specific in your planning.
Considerations and Obstacles Facing Preppers Living in Suburbia
Living in a suburban area means you probably do not have space for a sizable garden so developing a sustainable food source would be difficult. However, you can grow virtually any vegetable using hydroponics, which is growing foods without using soil as a growing medium.
Because you cannot rely on your environment to provide you with a food or water source in the early stages you will need a substantial amount of food and water. If you lived in a rural area you would have rivers, streams and lakes and land for growing foods and you could hunt and fish to supplement your food supplies.
Proximity to other people is a disadvantage in urban areas. Friends’, neighbors and strangers can pose a risk to you and your family. The risks increase the longer the crisis goes on.
Having to commute to work and schools may mean you are more exposed to the crisis. You may be at work when disaster strikes so additional planning is required. You will need to have rendezvous points for family members if an attack happens during the school and workday. Ensure you know what the emergency plans are at your children’s schools. Are there areas where the children would be at other than at the school during a crisis, emergency shelters and so forth?
Carry an emergency survival bag in all of your vehicles with several days’ worth of food and water for you and your children. If an attack comes while you are at work and you rush to pick up your children at school you may be delayed because of the crisis and you have to be prepared to shelter in your vehicle until you can make it home. Make sure everyone is aware of this contingency plan.
PREP NOW AND PREP HARD!