Survival in suburban area

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by turbohardtop, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. turbohardtop

    turbohardtop Monkey++

    A lot of post here tend to focus on people that have big lot of land to live off and stay hidden if necessary. What do you do if you do not own any land and live in a suburban area. What should one do to prepare for SHTF. What food to collect? And for how long?
  2. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Excellent question turbohardtop - and welcome to the forum.

    My opinion, and mine only, is the first thing to do is list the different types of emergencies that are likely in your area. Some emergencies might require bug out while others are survivable as bug in. I would divide the list into bug out and bug in scenarios.

    For the bug out, investigate possible/probably BO locations and routes, intermediate locations, and prepare your BOB.

    For bug in, your preps will be determined by your storage facilities, the security of your location and the security of your preps.

    I tend to look at food preps as I were unable to replenish my food stores for at least a month. Would I have what I needed to survive? If I had no electrical power, could my food preps survive and would I have what was needed for their preparation. Having 50 lbs of dried speghetti won't do me much good if I don't have the ability to boil water.

    Water - another important component. This is definately a space issue for stored bottled water.

    In your current environment, would you have sanitation facilities if you had no power? Would you have a place to empty a traditional "poop bucket"?

    There are so many variables involved it is difficult to advise you without some further generalized input from you.

    This is a great topic and I'm anxious for others to add some thoughts as my preps revolve around bugging in on my farm country homestead. Your issues and preps will be different from mine.
  3. turbohardtop

    turbohardtop Monkey++

    Thanks for the reply Righthand. For the last couple of years, I have started to collect stuff for SHTF scenario. I have enough ammo and FA, bought a Katadyn water filter, firestarters stuff, survival knives and saws. Then I thought, where would we go if things go bad. WE live in a neighbor hood that relies on public utilies. It would be tough if we lose water and electricity for an extended time.
  4. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

  5. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

  6. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Oops - two great minds with but a single thought!
  7. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Turbohardtop, welcome to the forum. Urban planning is something that is going to be unique to each individual. Do you have a yard big enough for a small garden? Do you have any other sources for water? Lets start with water sources. We have a lake right behind our house that in an emergency we could use for water (after filtered/boiled/etc.) but we also store quite a bit of water in the house. I purchased quite a few of the aquatainer 7 gallon water containers. They come with a spigot and store nicely. I believe I bought mine at Wal-Mart, but I am always looking for storage containers. I also keep a 55 gallon drum full of water in the garage. It doesn't take up that much space, but it is very heavy when full. I have heard that the rule of thumb for water use is a minimum of one gallon per person per day. That would be very restictive though, and I cannot see it being that low with basic hygene SOP's being followed.
    Camping & Hiking > Containers, Bladders and Jugs > 3+ Quarts > Reliance Aqua-Tainer - 7 Gallon
  8. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    Don't forget the water "storage" bult in to a u.s. suburban home (i.e. your 40-60 gallon water heater is full right now, it doesn't relieve you of storing more but its a potable start...( often thought of plumbing in a second;or third without hooking up the utilities, power or lp gas,just for the clean, contantly turned over storage capacity.A larger water filter like a british berkfeld would take care of rain water or pond water for a family,( I understand they are commonly used in "missions" inplaces like africa where water is particularly dangerous to aid workers
  9. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Next to water in importance has to be food. As to what kind, that will depend upon what your family's likes/dislikes are. My philosophy is just to buy extra of everything we currently use, that way it is not wasted. Instead of buying a can or two of soup, we buy several cases. Same with green beans, pinto beans, corn, etc. Our plan relies heavily on canned goods. We all like soups, and eat them regularly so I have cases of cans of soups put back also. While I do buy some items at Wal-Mart (recently my 16 yr. old saw the Campbell's Chunky line of soups on sale pretty cheap so she called me an asked if I wanted any so I told her to buy about 30 cans) I buy the majority of our canned goods at Sam's Club. A case of eight cans of Ranch Style Beans goes for about $4.88. Wolf brand Chili, stewed tomatoes, Green beans, Bush's Beans, Corn, Campbell's soups, Dinty Moore, etc. We buy it all by the case and store it for late use. Cases of Ramen Noodles and Maruchuan soups are really cheap and go a long way. My family gives me a hard time about my inventory, and watching rotation, but it is all with a wink and a nod. They know if something ever happens that we are going to be okay. It doesn't take a huge initial investment, just buy a little extra every time you go. It adds up. We also buy our rice, sugar and flour by the bigger bags and store them in larger containers. Buying in bulk is cheaper per unit. I also keep a case of bottled water, and soups in our vehicles just in case. The same is kept in my headquarters office. It doesn't cost much, and it comes in handy when you leave your lunch at the house.

    Start small, it adds up before you know it. Just be consistent.

    As far as refrigerated/frozen foods, if you have a generator even a small one you can be in a business for a good while. We recently found whole turkeys for $.50 a pound so I bought 14 turkeys. We try to keep our freezers full of food, and if the power went out we could run them on a generator and the fuel we have stored. With no generator it all goes to waste.

    Although living in an urban environment is not ideal, you can still get by with some careful planning. What type of climate do you live in, and what would you cook your food with, or warm your house with? Do you have a fireplace and nice supply of wood? Gas heater or stove? While we have a fireplace, when the power is out we get out the Coleman stove and don't miss a beat. I try to keep a nice supply of gas canisters for it also. For lighting I am going to suggest the oil lamps. I have the Coleman lights, but don't want to waste the gas on them when the lamp oil is cheaper. We have used them a few times, and I try and keep a nice supply of wicks on hand too. I had to break them out a couple of months ago when the storm got bad, but luckily we never lost power. Living in an urban enviroment I would limit the use of lights as much as possible, because when the power goes out people aren't always on their best behavior, and giving them a peek at what you have is not a good idea. I will let others chime in now because we all have our own unique situations, and what applies to me may not apply to all.

    Good luck and glad to have you aboard.
  10. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Worst case scenario is living in a small apartment well up in a high rise, no balcony. Water is your first problem. Second is shelter. bug in, no problem with that. bug out, you need a place to go. Third is food, that has been mentioned.

    FWIW, the worst case of a small apartment calls for gettin' outa dodge. There is a series of posts on bug out planning in an urban environment here -
    and here -

    and a slew of other stuff in the Back to Basics section on the front page, including some relevant scoop on close in and far out suburban areas.

    Ask a question here, and you'll get more answers than you can stand along with some diversions along the way. Welcome aboard, Turbo.
  11. Cephus

    Cephus Monkey+++ Founding Member

    You guys give great advise I love it ,I'd like to ask if it's city water then the pressure wouldn't go away at first so why not use the tube (if ya had one) for storage and in most high rises doesn't the water come from a tank on the roof or upper floor .
    I'd fill every container I had .
    Now I don't know much about the city life ,I only ever lived in one once .
  12. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Living in my own little slice of "Lower Sloburbia", I can say that the water pressure most certainly CAN simply 'go away', leaving us dry. No warning.
    I keep those blue Water Cubes filled and stored too, along with other containers - about two months worth without undue hardship.
    I've begun gathering info on local water table conditions and depth, and am looking into having a well drilled. Water is my greatest weak point at the moment.
  13. turbohardtop

    turbohardtop Monkey++

    Thanks everyone. Lots of information here to absorb. The hard part for me I think is to get my wife to buy into the idea of storing food and water for a time in need. Where we live, we do not get bad weather much. We are too far from the coast to stock pile food for hurricanes.
  14. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Sell her on the idea of saving gas by buying more than enough for tomorrow each trip.
  15. turbohardtop

    turbohardtop Monkey++

    Well, we live about 5 minutes from a large grocery chain. She buys fresh food every other day. We do not consume much canned food or vegies. I have opened her to what have happened during Katrina and imagine that 100 fold. She is more open to the idea now but still not 100% supportive. My other concern is, how much water can I store? How long can we expect to survive without running water. How much canned food is necessary? I do have a shed where I can start storing some fuel for a generator. How big of a generator is sufficent? Thanks again.
  16. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Fresh is good, but if SHTF, you can't count on it. So far as how much to store, you need to evaluate that for your needs and wants. How long do you think the crisis will last? Plan on that plus 50% is my personal rule. You should not plan on eating high off the hog when the deal goes down, so canned is the (one way, anyway) way to fly.

    Water storage is in the same catagory, how little can you get by on? There is a thread somewhere on the forum that goes into water storage in depth, can't find it right off. Don't plan on regular showers if you have to carry the water, it'll get right tedious, right quickly.

    How big a gennie is also one of those "it depends" items. Add up wattage of the things you must or want to have power for (reefer, lights, electric blanket, computer, whatever) and get a gennie that will do 150% of that. You'll need to know if the loads are 220 or 110 volts as well. Don't forget that motor (reefer, fans, furnace, etc.) starting loads are significantly higher than running loads. Sales literature will give you the fuel consumption rate, and you can store fuel to accomodate your selected machine and duration. From where I sit, the idea is get by with as little as you can in the way of power, too many lights and running A/C units would attract too much attention in a suburban or urban environment. (Up here, no problem, everyone has a gennie. We lose power now and again.)

    No matter what you are storing, rotate the stock. One of these days, you'll get into the back of the pantry and find something that expired 5 years ago. Not good to find it too late. Put another way, eat canned now and then for practice. You can rotate the fuel easily by putting it in the car and getting the cans refilled.

  17. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I was raised on a ranch about 20 miles from town so we always bought in bulk whenever we went grocery shopping, it came natural to us. Not to mention we had all of the fresh beef on the hoof we could ever want.

    The next time somehting happens it might not be weather related. When my wife became pregnant with our youngest daughter, she was on bed rest for most of the last five months or so since she had previa placenta. With me working 6 -7 days a week, and 60-70 hours a week I didn't really have much time to shop, so we used what we already had. Not to mention that with two children born within two years of each other my wife missed a lot of work and it cost us a ton of $$$$$. Utilizing the food we already had, meant we didn't have to dip in to our reserve to get by. Now you will still have to buy items that have a short shelf life such as bread and milk (even though we buy and freeze those too) but most of your food essentials can be stored for long periods of time and the supply of such can get you by during difficult times. It is always good to be prepared. You never know when something bad can happen. There is an old thread somewhere within the archives of the monkey where we talked about the food supply being something like three days. Every grocery store is restocked during every business day, I know I managed one of them years ago as a part time job. If something happens, how long do you think food will still be available in that store? Not to mention if there is anything left, is it what you need, and will you be able to buy enough to get by? Grocery stores will not be a place you will want to go during a state of panic. It is nice to have the peace and mind knowing that you and your family are safe, secure, and not going to run out of food for the next week, or the next month and be at the mercy of the gov.

    You can store as much water as you have room and ability to store. Start out small with a few jugs. Keep in mind the plastic milk jugs will break down and leak after a period of time. They also need to be cleaned with bleach before used as potable water storage. How much canned food? Well as much as you can afford, store, and use. That is harder to determine since you have to decide what your and your family's personal needs are. I agree with Ghrit, the generator size depends upon what you want to do with it.
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