By Brad Allen from LiveReady.co
There is an unfortunate reality that the complexity of modern society leaves us vulnerable to disruptions of our food, power, water, medical, and communications systems. These disruptions can occur quickly and from a variety of threats, many of which are difficult to imagine given the tranquility we have come to enjoy living in this country. Logic would suggest that our governments would be getting better assisting citizens during difficult times but tighter local, state, and national budgets limit what can be done. Most of us have come to resent the bureaucracy that is synonymous with government resulting in some critical decisions being made a glacial pace.
When a crisis does occur, common management theories describe the process that assess the threats, evaluate alternatives, and then implement plans that attempt to minimize the threats but when you are dealing with people that are scared, hurt, or threatened, logic and procedures do not always win out. Our families safety is instinctual but reading many articles that discuss emergency preparedness there is the assumption that we are starting from a common set of circumstances. The truth is each emergency has a number of variables that need to be considered before we can create and implement a plan but creating a general classification is necessary to start to build a plan.
There are two primary strategies and two primary environments, bugging in or out and rural or urban location. Each of these four options have a different advantages and threats so logically each prepper can design a strategy based upon your location or objectives
Live Ready Emergency Matrix
|Urban Location||Priority: Security-Create hidden storage locations
-Cover windows–Water collection, purificationKey Item: Gun / taser /mace
Wild Card: Fresh water
|Priority: Mobility– 3 Alternative destinations- Bug out bag- Water
Key Item: Dirt bike-motorcycle
Wild Card: Martial Law
|Rural Location||Priority: Preserve Advantages-Secure property / boundaries-Store food/ammo/water/ fuel in varied locations- Mask activities such as sounds and smells of habitat.
Key Item: Solar power/batteries
Wild Card: Electricity
|Priority: Communications-Develop network of resources.-Find hot spots, safe spots-Travel back roads
-UV water purification system
Key Item: Bug-out-Bag
Wild Card: Weather
This model shows that each of the four choices can serve as the baseline for strategies around food, water, medical needs, and communications. Breaking down each option clearly shows how unique advantages can be created.
In 1990, 40% of the world lived in urban areas but that number grew to 50% in 2010. Estimates suggest that by 2030 60% of the global population will live in a city. The reasons are obvious, better hospitals, less travel, professional sports teams but what about when a crisis happens and all those people compete for resources? Many would argue that being in a city during a crisis is the worst place to be but for many people they need to stay where they are and make do. News events have shown how dangerous scared people can be especially in large numbers. If you are going to bug-in in an urban location you need to have a plan to secure your items and protect yourself. The key tactics for urban-bugging in include:
-Dead bolts on all doors and windows
-Surveillance cameras if possible
-Secret locations within property to secure supplies
-Map out neighborhood to identify water, fuel, food, and secondary location if needed.
-Freeze dried food
-Gun / taser / mace
Cities were designed for convenience not self-sufficiency. Everything in a city is brought in when it is needed; there is little long-term storage. Water is processed and dependent upon electricity so finding secondary sources or water or purifying unconventional sources may become necessary. It is important to remember that after only a few days a city can become lawless and then it will become militarized. Many people will attempt to leave so if you are going to ride out the storm you want to be invisible to those around you if possible. Looting, traffic jams, violence, and darkness must be addressed so securing your location is the priority that supports all other strategies.
Urban Location-Bugging Out
As stated a city in crisis is not a safe place to be but you will not be the only one with the desire to get out as quickly as possible. Many cities offer a variety of exits but as seen with hurricane Katrina road and bridge infrastructure can be quickly compromised reducing your options. In this scenario the priorities change to the following:
-Careful packing of what you are going to take
-Your destination, make sure you have pre-positioned supplies
-Maps . GPS/ lighting
When you are escaping to your next location you need to stay focused on the fact that the majority of people around you will not be prepared and therefore not civil or logical. Again, people in crisis are dangerous so you movements need to be carefully executed. While this is not a suggestion that everyone can take advantage of a motorcycle, ideally a dirt bike or four-wheelers are great option to take you that first 20 miles out of a city. Motorcycles are smaller than a car and can be stored in many places. Fuel economy is much better than most cars and bikes can be configured with saddlebags to accommodate nominal supplies. Dirt bikes are also not restricted to paved roads which will help you separate from the clogged interstates where even a simple traffic accident can snarl traffic for miles. Again planning is the key to success, as you need a destination and a plan. If martial law is implemented your movements will be highly limited so evaluate scenarios as to when your mobility will be best and then commit to the destination.
Rural Location-Bugging In
As someone who was raised in New England I am most comfortable with my rural location and bugging in. Water is usually plentiful and early in a crisis you will have the luxury of not trying to move allowing you to focus on securing the property and assessing the situation. As with any bugging in scenario security is critical as within a few days those that have not planned will begin to seek those that have prepared.
-Secure property, make it appear vacant
-Bury resources in varied locations
-No noise, no gas generators
-Limit smells especially when cooking
-Limit lights on at night, black out windows
-Don’t secure all items in one location
-Have decoy stashes of small quantities of food or ammo
-If you have the skill set up trip wires or other boundary deterrents
If you have visitors you can either fight or mislead those that try to take your supplies. If your plan on fighting, please remember that those coming for you will likely fight back and as time goes on the survival of the fittest means your adversaries will be formidable. If you choose to avoid violence then deception is your best strategy and your behaviors need to mask the supplies you have at all times. No noise, smell, light, or unsecured assets. A good solar generator is a must as it is silent and can also serve as a battery unit to store energy. While there will be a comfort in staying in familiar surroundings few homes were build for these types of scenarios. Lots of windows, poor quality doors, and conventional construction materials will do little when someone has a shotgun, fire, or equipment to smoke you out of your property.
Rural Location-Bugging Out
In the final scenario you have the benefit of fewer people so the risk of civil unrest may be easier to avoid however distance between resources may be significant. If you have fuel or other desirable equipment and you are on the move you risk exposing your advantages to a larger number of people. Movement may be necessary however pre-staging supplies in different locations will give you the advantage of choices for your destination. Key priority: Communications
-Move only to areas that have been pre-cleared of threats
-Use routes that minimize exposure to main roads / other people
-Minimize supplies you take from location to location if possible
-Choose your network of partners carefully and confirm they are equally committed to the partnership
-Water and fuel need to be with you at all times
-Well stocked bug-out-bag with medical supplies
Being mobile is both an advantage and a risk during an emergency. If you are familiar with the territory it is a major benefit as you can navigate around unforeseen obstacles and inventory resources. A reliable vehicle, adequate fuel, and world-class bug-out-bag are a must. Regional weather and seasons may play a major part in your decision to move. If you live in a cold weather climate your source of heat is critical as a campfire is a calling card you may not want. Don’t forget protective items as you will be required to potentially defend yourself at anytime should someone want what you have.