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By April 9, 2012 Read More →

Long Term Shelter and Post-Disaster Recovery Considerations!

Long Term Shelter and Post-Disaster Recovery Considerations

By Chris Watson (Redhorse_Ronin)

Hosted by Karen and Chris

Farm House

Farm House.

This past Friday, Karen and I tackled the subject of considerations for long term sheltering and looked at post-disaster recovery.  We based much of the conversation in Karen’s research for her upcoming book on disaster preparedness.

We opened up with Karen’s definition of long term shelters and the necessary sustainability features to look for or to develop.  We looked at the property options from various security viewpoints.  Water security, food security, transportation security, and physical security were just a few of the topics we covered.

We defined grid-dependence and advised doing a realistic assessment of your property’s dependence upon the power and support grid.  We discussed ways to mitigate or reduce your dependence upon the grid.  We talked about solar, geo-thermal, hydropower, passive thermal exchange, and wind as various energy alternatives.  We talked about the importance of the diversification of alternative energy sources.

We stressed RESEARCH as the most important part of your real estate preps, no matter if you are looking for or already have your long term shelter or BOL/BIL (Bug Out Land / Bug In Land) property.  We first talked about researching water quality and availability on the property in question.  We discussed the controversies surrounding water rights, especially out west.  We touched on the possible legal ramifications of non-permitted wells, ponds, channel diversions, and low head stream dams.

Then the subject of arability of the property was discovered and we had a knowledgeable caller from the chat room, Taladan, who provided some excellent points on micro-farming and the importance of researching your property’s government and industrial history.  We talked about soil health as the result of prior land use.

We discussed mineral rights, especially in eastern coal country.  We talked about the competing interests of big business and land owners with mineral rights.

We moved on to some financing and cost defraying options.  We mentioned credit unions, alternative finance options, and sub-divisions.  We discussed shared family property and the growing interest in colonies in the prepper movement.

We continued the show with some post-disaster and maintenance points.  We brought up the financial and environmental hazards of buying places to renovate.  We looked at beginning some small livestock operations.  We finished the show talking about health maintenance and emergency care training before the disaster strikes.

You can join us every Friday night at 9pm Eastern/8pm central at Join us as we discuss disaster management and how YOU can be more self-reliant when the world goes downstairs in a hand basket!

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23 Comments on "Long Term Shelter and Post-Disaster Recovery Considerations!"

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  1. Thomas Kemmett says:

    I live in a smaller outer ring suburb of Cleveland. The city has 37,000 people. I have talked with neighbors about setting up a small self defense force if the SHTF. Other than that, my home is basically indefensible. Although I do have an CAR-15 with about 2500 rounds. I have friend who live out in the country, if I can get there. Very good writing.

    • Chris Watson says:

      Thank you very much Mr. Kemmett.

    • concerned says:

      Just some advice…

      Don’t tell people what type of weapons you have and how much ammo you have… Just say your armed with ample ammo.. Even if people that don’t know you won’t care, it’s your so called friends that DO know you that you should be worried about…

      They will turn on you in a second…
      Take care..

  2. Jim says:

    I am fairly new to this . I am currently looking at property in Vermont. My plan is to construct a 30 ‘ circular concrete structure with a vaulted ceiling. Walls 12′ high and 18″ thick, double reinforced with rebar. The structure would be buried to the point that the apex of the ceiling would be on the surface. This leaves a space that is large and easily defined into spaces for living.I am a geothermal , solar , and generator installer so power , heat , cool should be no problem. I think this can be done relatively inexpensively. I am also looking at
    installing used shipping containers as more storage and living space. These seem to be inexpensive and plentiful. I would install them in a concrete vault , for structural protection and to leave space for mechanicals ( heat/cool . dehumidification, plumbing ,etc.) The plan would be to connect these to the main room via conduit.

    Any thoughts ?

    • Chris Watson says:

      First of all, Vermont is fairly progressive, so if you could make a green or LEED argument, you might get the permitting with some caveats from the local government. I would try to stay within the bounds of legality to save yourself grief and expense.

    • MCkallis says:

      A book called Mother Earth built a home that you are talking about. It will give you good details.

    • mobiaxis says:

      don’t know how concerned you are about defensibility, but an underground home is nothing but a trap if miscreants decide to lay seige (limited ingress/egress, limited visibility of approaching ‘visitors’, lack of defensive fire positions). Maybe you’re not concerned with lawlessness, but if you are, this is not a good option

    • alan sicurello says:

      If you are interested,I have the perfect place to be at crisis time. Has damn on year round creek with more than 1500 cfs and set up for hydro electric that will supply all your utilities plus for a greenhouse heat and lights. All with a nice home on 20 private forested acres in Idaho for sale.

  3. Jim says:

    and a building permit would be questionable

  4. Jim says:

    I am looking at property in Vermont. I am planning to build a 30′ circular concrete structure with a vaulterd ceiling. The walls would be 12′ high and 18″ thick with double reinforced rebar. The entire structure would be buried with the apec of the ceiling being at the surface. This is a large space that can be easily defined into living space. I am an energy efficiceny contractor. I install spray foam , solar , geothermal and power , heat /cool , should not be a problem. I think this can be done relatively inexpensively.
    I am also looking at using shipping containers as extra living and storage space. The containers are inexpensive and plentiful and easily modified. I would install these in a concrete vault for structural purposes and to leave space for mechanicals ( heatinf /cooling . dehumid , plumbing , electrical.
    Looking for any feedback or advice.

  5. Jim says:

    Probably good advice Chris

  6. Jim says:

    mobiaxis you make a good point

    . I am looking to build in a rural area with a primary residence. The underground structure is a secondary structure, Likea very large safe room , with storage of food , water , and other neccesities. Also comfortable for living in should the need arise , I am just wondering about the ability of a group of lawless raider (?) to wait out someone for an extended period.

  7. Moby says:

    No need for them to wait anything out…there is no door made that can’t be breached, and being underground you will certainly need ventilation ports…a quart botlle of gasoline with a flaming rag in the neck and you will all be pouring out of your (single?) entrance in minutes, ready to be captured or shot at the whims of the attackers.  Read ‘Holding Your Own’ by Joe Nobody for a good guide to post SHTF home defense.  The truth is that most remote rural or wilderness bug-out locations are indefensible against a determined and organized group of marauders.  There was a reason that most pioneers in the American west clustered together in towns, many of the with ‘Fort’ something-or-another in the name, and that reason is mutual aid and defense…everything from help getting the hay in to defending against ‘Indian’ attacks.

    • Jim says:

      very good point

      The underground structure does offer protection from natural disasters , EMP or solar flares. It also makes a great place for storing food , mechanicals , and families. I do see what you mean , that some sort of above ground defenses are imperative.

  8. Chris Watson says:

    If I may weigh in, the question to ask is just how determined do you expect the opposition to be? Do you think that most run-of the mill criminals are committed enough to besiege you? If you think that is possible or probable, then securing food, water, and energy for extended periods are primary priorities.

    • Jim says:

      Well I don’t think we are talking zombie hoards…. I do think a hardened structure is a good idea. There will be obvious weak spots as mobius suggest. But I do not think there will be the kind of unified organized group capable of a sustained seige On the other hand , think what you might do to feed and protect your family in this type of a situation.

  9. mobiaxis says:

    Chris, that is actually my point – it actually wouldn’t take much determination to overwhelm most people’s defensive preps. No one knows what to expect, and I’m not even sure widespread and rampart lawlessness are as likely as many people seem to think, but if that is, in fact, the case, even having a house full of food, water and other supplies isn’t a solution – how long would you be able to last if the marauders cut your power, disabled your windmill or spray painted your solar PV? Without power, I think most folks would have a hard time staying indoors, but even a quick trip to the woodpile for fuel could expose one to a sniper. I think most people would be better off spending time developing relationships with neighbors and working out mutual aid pacts as opposed to making their house into a bunker. Of course, these are just MY opinions and only offered here to stimulate discussion.

    • Jim says:

      I think you are right. Long term survival would depend on a community . I just think stick built structures are too vulnerable to natural disasters and not easily defensable

  10. Jim says:

    I think the main point is protection and being prepared. Food and water are primary concerns. Then protecting your family and providing a space that is secure. Be prepared for the grid to go down. It is not in the best of shape anyway..

  11. rened says:

    I don’t see what’s wrong with a couple of acres, a tractor big enough to PTO a generator, a house of stone that would only need to be rerooved, and a well. You still need the will to defend, or surrender is inevitable. In that case you only need what you can carry. These  are two completely different situations. He wants to dig in, so what are the options in his area?

  12. Moby says:

    There is a recently published book called ‘Holding Your Ground’ that addresses exactly these security concerns.

    Two issues that are not addressed frequently enough when talking about preparing a secure ‘bug out’ location are: 
    1. Unless you are very stealthy, your preparations and stockpiles can make you MORE of an attractive target for those who are willing to use violence to get what they want.
    2. A well prepared ‘fortress’ can induce people to stay put, when the prudent thing might be to get out.  An overarching dilemma as institutions fail and society itself crashes around us is the uncertainty experienced by those concerned enough to try and plan ahead.  Of course no one knows exactly how things are going to turn out and one of the best strategies to cope with that is to remain flexible enough to always have several options available.  Once you commit to building and stocking a fortress, much of that flexibility goes away. There could come a time when it is fairly clear that you and your family may need to change locations, but refuse to seriously consider it due to the enormous basement stockpile of canned food, gold coins and ammunition.  Not only does it make it harder to leave it all behind, but the resources that went towards building and stocking your compound are now tied up in relatively illiquid investments.  

    Ii is important to understand that anything you can touch, taste or feel can be taken from you and is not *real* wealth.  REAL wealth consists of:
    1)  Skills, abilities and know how
    2). Access to (not necessarily ownership of) resources.
    3). A strong social network.
    None of the above can be taken from you at the point of a gun or by goverment decree, and combined with the wisdom to use them properly, will go much further towards the survival of one’s Self and one’s family than a pallet full of MREs and 2000rds of 5.56 ammo.