Can You Survive a Long Term Disaster in the Suburbs?
Some say it can’t be done, surviving a long term SHTF situation in the suburbs. You must have land to plant crops, land to raise livestock, and woods to hunt. If you stay in the suburbs, your neighbors will be knocking down your door to get to your preps.
The hoards from the city will be at your gate in a day, you will not be able to defend yourself. And by no means even think about bugging out to the country, they will shoot you on site and they don’t have the resources. So, can you survive a long term SHTF situation in the suburbs? The simple answer is, YES!
In a Most Disaster Situation, You Are Better Off at Home
I have said it here and many smart preppers know that when the SHTF you are, in most cases, better off bugging in than bugging out. Unless you have property, you own or an agreement with someone who does, living off the land is not recommended. Most likely, the land you must resort to will be public land and you won’t be the only one trying to stake a claim. Now there is a distinct advantage to living on a homestead but that is not an option for millions of people.
Why do People Think Prepping is Crazy?
I have heard of folks who don’t prep just because they believe that it is futile when you live in the suburbs. I call bull. Don’t let the naysayers tell you that surviving long term disasters can’t be done in the suburbs. When you properly plan and prep there is no reason that you can’t make your suburban home your fortress.
What are the Suburbs?
The “suburbs” cover a lot of different regions and types of neighborhoods. There are the suburbs immediately outside large cities, there are the suburbs outside the immediate area but still within commuting distance to the city. So, when I say suburbs, I mean the neighborhoods outside the major metropolitan areas including the exurbs.
Urban – of city: relating to or belonging to a city (LA, Chicago, New York).
Suburban – relating to suburb: relating to, belonging to, or located in a suburb.
Exurb – a district outside of a city, especially a prosperous area beyond the suburbs.
Rural – outside city: found in or living in the country.
Prepper Storage Space Conundrum
Much of the advice I give on prepping in the suburbs rely heavily on the amount of storage space you have. It is paramount that a suburban prepper makes use of every nook and cranny they can. Basements, spare rooms, closets and climate-controlled attics for food and water storage. Garages, sheds, and barns for gear, equipment, and nonperishable supply storage. Make sure everything you store is well protected from pests, varmints, and insects.
Many preppers recommend off-site storage rental, but this would only work for gear in our opinion. Food and water will never survive unless your offsite storage facility is climate controlled. Unfortunately, in an SHTF situation, the climate control facility could lose power or become compromised in another fashion. In a worst-case scenario, travel may be reduced due to weather, roadblocks or thugs. If you can’t get to your supplies, then your effort was worthless.
Keep Your Prepping a Secret
The most important aspect of surviving in the burbs is keeping it to yourself. The fewer folks know, the better off you will be when the SHTF. Beware of prying eyes and open ears, don’t let landlords and HOA’s know what you are up to, they are, in our opinion, kind of like the .gov, best to avoid. Be aware of zoning laws and the public in general, many are very skeptical of someone who “preps”.
Do you have children? It is very common for children to pass on what they hear from their parents. Try to either keep them in the loop and explain the consequences of telling others or keep it away from them until they are old enough to understand.
Firearms are probably the one thing you will not want anyone knowing you have. There are many out there that would jump at the chance to turn in someone with a BB gun claiming terrorism. Remember, when you buy a gun, you are already on a list.
What Do I Need to Survive a Disaster in the Suburbs?
With any type of survival, there are four main things you will need, and they are all easily obtained by the suburban prepper.
Shelter – This one should already be covered if you are living in the burbs. Your home is your shelter and your main place for storage. Keep your home maintained properly and make any repairs that are needed, don’t be caught off guard. Having the headache of a repair during an SHTF only adds to the stress.
Food – The biggest issue with this prep, is storage space. Make use of every space you have, buy food in bulk and repackage foods to fit in smaller spaces. Don’t think you don’t have enough land to grow food, you would be surprised what you can grow in a small space. A fair amount of vegetables can be grown in raised beds or container gardening.
Water – One of the most important preps you can have. Water for drinking, washing and prepping food will take up a lot of space, and it’s heavy. Again, in small spaces, stashing your water in small containers such as soda bottles and store-bought water bottles are a good choice. Larger containers are nice but they are bulky and heavy. A good option that can fit in small areas fairly well are the 3.5 gallon WaterBrick Containers.
Security – Security includes the weapons you will use to defend yourself, the community and network of others for which you rely on. Communications also could fall under communications. Having a backup to your cell phones is a must when trying to secure your area of operation. Check out our article on SHTF communication options.
Always keep an emergency radio on hand to monitor outside activity, news and weather reports.
What kind of Skills are Best for Suburban Survival?
- Gardening in small spaces
- Filtering water from questionable sources
- Scavenging when all others have bugged out
- Siphoning gas from abandoned vehicles
- Repairing anything and everything
- Lock picking to get to those resources left behind by others
- Bartering and negotiating to get things you don’t have in your preps
- Medical knowledge in case of accidents and health issues (very important)
So, Can You Survive a Disaster in the Suburbs?
There is no doubt that having property to bug out to, or better yet, having a homestead to live on is the best option. But this is not an option for most. Unless your residence is in immediate danger such as flooding, fires etc. I believe that you are far more likely to survive if you prep smart and stay put.
The fact is, most preppers are currently living in populations that are not in a rural area. It is very possible to survive a long-term disaster in the suburbs. Don’t let the negativity stop you from prepping. Your family’s safety is much more important than any stigma that a snowflake may have toward you as a prepper.