Salt-N-Prepper: Prepping in the City

Jessica Hooley, author of the Salt N’ Prepper blog and contributor to the Army Navy Store Blog – PX Supply, advises that  if you are in a situation where you must stay in a city, your emergency preparedness plan must be different than those of suburban residents. She says, “If you live in a city and you’re a prepper, then buckle up. As a prepper you will have to work extra hard to make your emergency plan viable. And while I make no judgments on city dwellers, I must say – Move! For your own safety — Move! Move, move, move, move, move.”

Image courtesy of Salt-N-Prepper

Define Your Strategy

One of the biggest problems with cities are the fact that they aren’t self-sustaining. They rely on outer communities to supply them with food, water and often times electricity. The second biggest issue with cities is the space. Most homes. apartments, and condos don’t have the space needed to store supplies for 6 months to a year. And even if they did there is a severely high probability of civil unrest, leading to looting and robbery. In short — you need a plan. The three questions to ask yourself:

  • How long will we stay?
  • How will we get out?
  • Where will we go?

How long will we stay?

As I said before, in a city you must resign yourself to the fact that you will have to leave if the situation escalates to a point where you either have no supplies or your safety is in jeopardy. Decide with your family how long this period is going to be. After the power is out, the food is gone, and the shelves are empty in the grocery stores of all liquid – how much longer will you hold down the fort. Too short and you may have bugged out too soon. Too long and you risk the possibility of not being able to get out.

How will we get out?

Your exit strategy needs to be well planned out. Come up with a minimum of three routes out of the city. You’ve seen how a couple thousand people can shut down a road. Imagine the magnification of that situation when millions are out looking for food and water. You need to be able to navigate your way through the mess and be prepared to defend you and your family. I’ll go into further detail later.

Where will we go?

Once again, come up with a couple places as a destination if possible. Think of relatives out in the “boonies”. Anyone that you consider as being in a safe part of the world. If you don’t know anyone within a reasonable distance (you may run out of fuel) start thinking of areas that you could stay. Hotels. Camp spots. Some place to ride it out.

Other topics covered in the Cities – A Prepper’s Nightmare & Solutions post include: Making Connections Help those around you prepare.

Bug-Out Gear Although it may not seem like “gear” — a truck may likely be the most important bug-out necessity for someone in a big city.

Water If you are planning to stay in your house longer than a week after water is unavailable, you need to make storing water a big priority.

Food Storage The key to your food storage is making it secret. Get creative and bury it in your yard, if you must.

Lighting Tip: In most cities, homes are close together. When using evening lighting make sure to draw the shades.

Warmth Without electricity you may be in for some cold nights.

Weapons The terrible truth is that most places in this country where self-defense is needed most, it’s unavailable to law abiding citizens. Some other solutions: Pepper spray, Tasers, trip wires, a guard dog, fortifications.

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Comments (26)

  1. Geoff you are right as well, yes getting out of the city is a must. It will be pure kaos, looting,killing,etc..
    you would almost be up against everbody, lose, lose situation. You need to get some where where you can see them coming, and recognize the signs of friend or foe??
    guppy or shark as it where. Just remember the three most important letters D.T.A. ..(DON’T TRUST ANYONE)well who isn’t family and then you never know?


    Mister, I ain’t got a bigoted bone in my body. You don’t drop that axe I’ll blast you to hell as quick as I would a white man. Quoted from John Wayne…..Cahill US Marshall

  3. Guys, guys, guys. Can we please STOP with the ‘racist’ and ‘prejudice’ bull$#!t and move on. It’s obvious this argument cannot be decided in this thread. Everyone has opinions and that’s great. I get it. These posts belong on another thread on another site. NOT here. It was wrong for the initial off-thread comment to be made, which sparked this entire thing. Let’s see if we can re-direct this thing and go in the right direction. Here, I will start.

    If you want to get out of the City, you will need to leave EARLY, BOFORE the S really HTF. Traffic will most likely not allow an overland passenger vehicle to exit the city. You will be stuck and forced to live in the City unless you can get out on foot, or possibly motorcycle. If you really don’t want to be in the City to live out a SHTF scenario, get out NOW while you can if you think it is looming. Or, begin stockpiling an underground lair in the woods that you can get to and protect easily… and wait for the first signal of all Hell breaking loose. Then get the Hell out of there FAST! You may need to become an insider to get the information needed to make a decision like this in time. You will need to think about the best logical escape routes from where you will most likely be at the time. Like I said before, consider using off-road vehicles (boats, motorcycles) whenever possible. Your chances of escaping the City will be much greater in my opinion.

    Me, personally, I DON’T live in a large City for many reasons. I live on the edge of a smaller City in Oregon. I can get out REAL easy if needed. There are backroads everywhere that lead anywhere I would ever want or need to go.

  4. John you are not wrong, and don’t let anyone tell you any different. You are absolutely right about racist not meaning anything anymore, all that crap went out the window when Obama was elected (actually about ten yrs. earlier). I have heard a million times, they won’t let us cause we’re black..or we gonna get blamed cause we black, well there is a black President now and I know for a fact that it was not the black vote that did it.(no more excuses). We all had history class in what ever school we went to, some learned about racism some didn’t but we all know that our forefathers where slave owners or condoned it. But that was hundreds of years ago that part of our history is dead, so why keep bringing it up?
    When a race of people is conquered, then it is up to the conqueror to decide what happens to them,death,enslavement,prison..ETC..
    I know in the past black people suffered horrible atrocities, things so horrible you would have had to have been there to believe it. But that’s my point I was not there, and unless you are 100 years old +, neither where you. There are hundreds of races who have been mistreated look at the American Indian, A Primitive race we almost wiped out completely and in some cases did..The Jewish people over six million Murdered!..list goes on and on..and if your black and upset with what I wrote here than sorry, just my opinion.

  5. Colt1911-

    That’s my point. Jamal mentions his race as if it is a handicap when that can’t be further from the truth. Even if race is a factor in a SHTF scenario (which it wouldn’t be because nobody will trust any outsider, no matter who they are), I would rather be perceived less like a victim and more like a person to avoid.

    He so gratuitously proved my point about white’s being racist any time they disagree with a black male or female. Nothing that I said was racist. Not to mention, the word racist officially has no meaning anymore. Everything is “racist” when racist by definition is a person who believes their race to be superior to all others. The word Jamal is looking for is “prejudice.” Say I picked on a person because they were black, that would not make me a racist, it would make me prejudice. Now if I screamed, “white power,” that would make me a racist. It’s a distinct difference that no longer seems to matter. Anyway, that is a moot point. I can’t stand when I hear someone say that their minority status is a hindrance on their life. It is just not so. A black person doesn’t have to act 3x better than me, they don’t have to be 9x smarter than me, they don’t have to have 4x the amount of money as I; none of that is true. As a minority, my wife gets preferential treatment and she knows it. Does she try to abuse it? No. But she acknowledges it and feels it is very unfair. She sees how hard it is for me to excel as whenever I apply for anything, I compete with everybody but only am allotted designated spots for white people. This isn’t the case for anyone else. After I retired from the military, I went to apply for a local LE position. When I went in, they chuckled and told me that unless if I was a woman or a minority, not to hold my breath in hopes of getting a position. They said they can’t stop me from applying but there would have to be a lot of people die off over night in order for me to get a call back.

    That is in no way a “poor me,” either. It is to prove that there isn’t oppression against anyone but whites; specifically white males. But there’s nothing I can do about it and I just move on to the next stop in my life. I just can’t stand to hear someone say their life is so rough because they are [whatever skin color], when I was told what I mentioned above after I tried to apply for a position. I guess, however, stating facts makes me “racist.” It doesn’t bother me any. I know how I live my life and how far from a “racist” I really am. I’ll probably tell my buddy when I see him tomorrow that I was called a racist on the internet, his black ass will laugh pretty hard because he knows how NOT “racist” I really am.

  6. John, I read your comment and I dont think your a racist.
    You are intelligent,well informed,direct and to the point.
    But racist no way!
    I am no racist but am wondering how many of those that commented are afro-american? I grew up as well in a low income inner city whatever you wanna call it. I had black friends all my life but not a one lasted my whole life?

  7. Unfortunately for Jamal the only people with 4×4 vehicles with 31inch or bigger tires are racist rednecks. So you pretty much are stuck in the city anyway…….Thsts better anyway easier for our racist government to do an ethnic cleansing with y’all rounded up.

  8. Easy guys. Let’s focus on helping each other prepare on this post. Everyone has their own viewpoints and opinions, and that’s what makes us all human biengs. After all, we all have a$$#0les too, right? Let’s face it… race/religion/whatever will not make a difference if the SHTF. It will be every man for himself. I can guarantee most everyone involved in this post will not care what a potential threat looks like; they will put a bullet in that threat regardless.

    Having said this, let’s talk about how to get out of the City if necessary. Of course, we all would love to have a fully-equipped Blackhawk Helicopter ready to take off at the drop of a hat. But let’s be real. Do yourselves a favor and either purchase or become intimate with a person who owns a reliable 4×4 vehicle if you haven’t already done so. It must have at least 31″ tall Heavy-Duty tires to clear obstacles, storage space for gear, and a large enough fuel tank to get you to your destination and beyond. This is your best realistic bet to get out of the City in a hurry. If you’re single and don’t have to worry about anyone else’s survival, get yourself a Dual-Sport motorcycle with the largest fuel tank available. You can get anywhere fast on these bikes; the only problem is you can’t take very much with you. If you live near a navigable waterway, equip a motorboat with large fuel tanks. This may be the ticket for successfully countering some scenarios anyway. The combination of a 4×4 truck, motorcycle strapped down in the bed, and boat attached together would be ideal and give you the best shot at survival in most scenarios. Of course, you will want to be heavily armed and well-trained if you run into any resistance and need to get out in a hurry. Also, learn how to use your brains and weapons as well as you can. There’s no replacement for common sense and ability.

  9. I have to say, I’m an urban prepper and I clicked through on this email to read the original blog post, but the comments are much more interesting!!!

    Jamal – interesting take on things. I also live in New York City, but there’s just no way I can organize my building the way you seem to have. I guess that’s the difference between renting in Manhattan and owning in Brooklyn. Luckily, I have been able to purchase land upstate (not gonna say where, exactly, just in case). I just have to figure out a plan that will get me up there before the thruway looks like it did during Woodstock again… and unfortunately, there just aren’t that many routes North. I suppose it will all come down to timing… But don’t worry, my friend – I promise I won’t shoot you if you come by in a hoodie!

    John – relax, my friend. There was nothing entitled or “poor me” about Jamal’s post and I don’t think he was “injecting race” into anything. After all, his original post was a well-worded reminder that there are alternatives to the typical prepper scenarios that most of us subscribe to. I took the last two sentences of his post as a good-natured jibe and also as a very real reminder of what happened to some black people who were stranded in New Orleans after Katrina. There were some very ugly incidents there where blacks trying to flee to safety were turned back at gunpoint and even shot simply for trying to escape into the “wrong” parish. Sorry, but I’m also white and I have to agree with Jamal – there’s still a lot of racism and prejudice in this country. I understand your viewpoint, but just because some African-Americans have had success in the media or sports, and you think Affirmative Action is unfair, doesn’t mean that discrimination and oppression no longer exist. Jamal is right – you’re confused. Think things through and remember that all human beings are individuals, not just members of a group, and judge every man on his own merits. Good luck!

  10. Wow, John. You seriously post a line like this “Blacks are given red carpet treatment and allowed access into educational programs and jobs when they haven’t even met the requirements to apply.” and then claim not to be racist?

    This is exactly why black men like me are prepping and training with firearms. When the feces hits the rotating blades, we don’t want to be at the mercy of people like you, with your f–d up resentments and pent up anger against us. Seek help, kid. We did nothing to you.

  11. John – I appreciate your perspective, but I gotta tell you, the very fact that you felt obliged to jump down my throat just because I “brought race into a prepping forum” speaks volumes about both you and the racism you so vehemently deny. Not that you’re a racist, per se – but claiming that “race won’t be a factor” in a SHTF scenario is beyond naieve. As your berserk reactions to my posts indicate, race is still a factor in most other areas of American life, and it isn’t gonna magically disappear just because of a civil or natural disaster. As a white person, you have the privilege of not having to deal with race issues if you don’t want to. As a black man, I do not have that luxury. Wherever I go in America, the color of skin is always a potential issue. This is not some silly “poor me” scenario, as you misguidedly paint it, it’s a fact of life that all black folks have to live with in this country since the day that we’re born. We didn’t make these rules – whitefolks did. And please stop whining. Nothing is sadder than a whiteboy who posts a bunch of crazy racist nonsense and then cries when somebody points out that what he’s posting is racist. Now I’m not saying that you’re a racist – seems to me more like you’re just confused about some things and still kinda young, I hold out hope that you’ll figure things out eventually. I find that most decent folks – white, black or whatever, do in the end. But what I am saying is that you’ve got a lot of messed up and incorrect notions about black people and what our lives are like. Please don’t tell me what you think you “know” about my life or any black person’s life, for that matter. You don’t know a damn thing, son. I’m a 55 year old man and I don’t need some snot-nosed, mixed up, twenty something whiteboy telling me that I’ve never been oppressed. You haven’t lived what I’ve lived and haven’t seen what I’ve seen. You haven’t lived enough yet to ever presume to tell me about my own life. And I think you need to quit feeling sorry for yourself, recognize your own prejudices and foolish notions about black folks and overcome them. Also, I think you owe me an apology for presuming to tell me about my own life and experiences, son. If you’re a man, you’ll do the right thing. If not, then I know that I dealing with just another scared little boy who would rather cling to his prejudices than grow up. It’s on you, son.

  12. Apparently all I want to post won’t work so disregard my first message.

    I’m not sure if I’ll respond to any other replies from you, Jamal. I
    merely tried to tell you that your, “blacks are picked on” mentality
    was not necessary in a thread about the world ending. I tried to give
    you facts to spell out for you that not only are blacks NOT picked on,
    they are given preferential treatment and are the leaders of the entire
    pop culture that so many white kids try to emulate. I gave you
    legitimate examples how there is government mandated prejudice AGAINST
    white people. I tried to explain to you that the black community is
    constantly pointing the finger of racism at whites and you follow up by
    calling me a racist. So because you ignored everything I said and only
    responded by calling me a racist, responding to you seems pointless.
    You refuted in no mature manner and basically are acting like a kid on
    the playground. I’m sorry that you feel so oppressed as a black man
    but I know for a FACT that not only are you NOT oppressed, you have so
    many more opportunities than I have and current pop culture spotlights
    black men and women. I know there are black men and women out there
    that do know this and they don’t live their life shouting, “racist”
    every time someone disagrees with them. Good luck to you Jamal and I
    hope that you are eventually able to realize that a very very very
    small portion of white Americans are prejudice and most actually go out
    of their way to help out black men and women they come into contact
    with. <—- {And that is a documentd fact that does NOT go both ways. ;}

  13. Jamal,

    First of all, the other “John” who posted @June 3, 2012-10:25pm is not
    me (the initial John).

    Secondly, I LOVE how you take my “I was with you until” out of context
    and put words into my mouth. That didn’t mean, I was no longer with
    you because you are black; and you know it. That meant I was no longer
    with you because you had to bring race into a prepping forum. I
    understand in NO WAY do you have animosity towards anybody. I really
    like what you are doing with your complex and think it’s very neat.
    It’s just the whole, “poor me, I’m black” deal that makes me shake my
    head. In a SHTF scenario, is there going to be someone who becomes
    timid about a black person approaching them? Guaranteed. But most
    would be cautious around ANYONE coming towards them. Race won’t be an
    issue in SHTF because it will be everyone for themselves and groups of
    friends/acquaintances will form in bonds of trust (regardless of race)
    and all outsiders will not be welcomed (regardless of race). In all
    likelihood, race will be extremely irrelevant in a SHTF scenario
    because there will be predators of all kinds and trust won’t be common.

  14. All I can say is, WOW. I am sure glad I signed up for this site to get information about prepping. BUT, this is the state of our country and mankind, not about the good for the whole, but all about poor me. I am going to start prepping for a race war.

  15. For the record, John, the building I live in contains white, black, hispanic and asian families. And we’re all organizing TOGETHER. But don’t let that get in the way of your racist assumptions about “the black community”. LOL

  16. Whatever you, say, John. But your rant revealed a whole lot more about your own racism than it did my very practical advice to other black preppers. Look, son, I served my country in uniform and I met all kinds of folks of all races and types – most good, and a few not so good. I don’t hate anybody. All I’m saying is that, in my experience, when you’re black in America, you have to be twice as good and three times as careful if you want to survive – and that ain’t gonna change if the SHTF. If, like you said, country folk aren’t gonna wanna share their supplies with ANYBODY, then as a black man, I’m gonna have to assume that goes double for me. Sorry, but that’s just the country we live in – and if you don’t think so, just look at what happened after Katrina.

    Interesting that you were “with me” till I revealed I was black, and then that became an excuse for you to rant and rave about everything from affirmative action to Obama to George Zimmerman and how “there is nobody more racist and prejudice [sic] than the black community” and any other racist absurdity that came into your head. Look, son, I’m sorry you didn’t get your scholarship, but that had nothing to do with me or the black community. See, we don’t “inject race into every situation” – YOU do. And your crazy rant pretty much proved my point – thanks for reminding us all that racism is alive and well, even in the prepper community.

  17. I was thinking the same thing John, glad someone said it. It is getting real deep since Oblamem got elected. At least the Obama and Holder problem is fixing to come to a screeching halt come November.

  18. Wow Jamal.

    I was with you up until, “[…] we black folks […].” Do you realize how irrelevant race is to this conversation? When you consider ANYBODY living in the country, they live there for a reason. I wouldn’t expect them to be welcoming to ANYBODY, including whites, blacks, or even a truck load of perfect 10 models in bikinis. They live where they live because they prefer to be removed from today’s stressful society and they wouldn’t be welcoming to anyone trying to come live off of their life’s preparations. I live in the suburbs and could never totally remove myself from society. However, my dream home is on a bunch of land that I have all to myself and only a few minutes down the road from a suburban town. But race? Come on, man. Over the last 6 years of my life, I have realized that there is NOBODY more racist and prejudice than the black community. You have to bring race into everything, listen to yourself. If you don’t want to be seen as a potential threat, don’t dress and act like one. I wouldn’t walk into a bank with a ski mask on. Why would you throw your hood up and creep slow when you are approaching a rural home if you are not a threat? Dressing the part of a potential threat in a SHTF scenario applies to everyone, not just blacks. You want to talk about, “limited resources” and no, “protection [by] the law?” How about the fact that affirmative action has placed men and women into police officer positions even though they failed the entrance test, just because of their skin color. Go google Dayton, OH PD hiring and read about how they were forced to hire men who scored below 50% (failed) on their entrance exams because of the color of their skin. I was medically retired from the mil and I am now back in college full time while in my mid 20’s. There was only one scholarship I was eligible for. If I was black, there are over 28 grants and scholarships I would have been able to apply for. Yea, such “limited resources.” As a white man who used to be the “white boy” in the crowd because I chose to almost exclusively hang out with my black friends and co workers, I was able to see the difference between a single black man and how they change once in a group of blacks. In today’s society, as is evident in the fallout of the Trayvon Martin case, all white people are apparently racist. I have had friends and family, along with myself when applying to grad school, affected by racism where a black person with less qualification than them or I was accepted for promotion or acceptance into an education program. When white’s apply for a job, we are limited to the number of slots allowed for ‘us’ while blacks aren’t restricted in employment at all. As far as your claim about not being supported by the law, I watched as white Ted Nugent (who is an idiot for what he said) made a non explicit claim about how he would react to Obama’s reelection and he was investigated by the secret service. Meanwhile, the New Black Panther Party committed voter intimidation back in 2008 and then put out a bounty on Zimmerman and not a charge was filed. So if you think your life is so ‘bad’ and are unsupported in America, I would gladly trade places with you. At least I wouldn’t have to worry if an employer has too many of ‘my kind’ already employed and I am exempt from the law. You are so oblivious and racial it is pathetic.

    This page is about so much more and you had to bring race into it. I am so bothered by that attitude that I had to say something. Blacks are given red carpet treatment and allowed access into educational programs and jobs when they haven’t even met the requirements to apply. I have never experienced more racism than when I would spend time with all of my black friends that I was stationed with in Okinawa. If we walked passed a white kid wearing a hunting camo t-shirt, he was a “racist.” No one is more racist than the black community and it took me many years of uncomfortable friendships to accept that. Don’t ever try to say that you have such a hard life as a black man. White people are always called out as racists yet nobody talks about race more than the black community. Open your eyes and stop being so biased……

  19. @Jamal X – Sounds like you and your fellow city preppers have got it together, and I hope your not discriminated against when your out and about while “searching” for supplies – don’t wear a hoodie 😉

    I’m a prepper in a small city, population as of 2010: 26,550, that’s still alot of people but I think my bugin/bugout plans are in order but if all rational plans fail I have guns..and alot of ammo! I hate to say it may come down to every person for themselves 🙁

  20. Silas. no offense, but it always seems like people who talk about how difficult it is to organize “the average city apartment building” are folks who don’t actually live in one. I do, and have for over 20 years. Like a lot of folks in Brooklyn I’m a homeowner who lives in a co-op. We’ve got twelve units in our building and it was surprisingly easy to convince every unit-owner of the virtues of converting our building to a green-roof, building a chicken coop and run, and going partially solar (we actually sell some of the energy we generate back to the city). Most preppers are far too oriented towards total doomsday, SHTF, WORL situations, which are far, far less likely to occur than more likely disaster scenarios – where the rule of law may be briefly absent, but will be restored eventually. Meanwhile, the real challenge won’t necessarily be security and looting (I was around for the ’77 blackout here in NYC, and I don’t remember many private residences being looted. Lots of stores, but no homes that I can think of). No, the real challenge will be the absence of city services – power, water, garbage collection, etc. That’s what we’re prepping for. We’ve already installed a backup generator in our building to augment our solar battery and looking for more ways to become self-sufficient in the city. Because, let’s face it, if the S ever does hit the F, we black folks don’t expect to get a very kindly welcome from all the white preppers out in the country who will probably shoot us as “looters” just because we’re wearing a hoodie. Besides, we’ve been surviving in a hostile environment, with limited resources and without the protection of the law, ever since we came to this country. The rest of y’all are just playing catch up.

  21. Leo, the typical cross section of humanity living in the average city apartment building will tell you why it would be so difficult to ‘organize’ the group into a fortress idea. You have extremes of personality types, from workaholics to lazy bums, and most wouldn’t care for the prepping idea until the event actually hit, picking up on the ‘view’ of preppers as presented by the media as ‘kooks’ or ‘odd’ people. Still worth the effort though, it might work occasionally.
    My book covers the 4 B’s of prepping: Basics, Beans, Bullion and Bullets.

    Click the name.

  22. Living in a city during the “doomsday” poses plenty of uniqe problems like those addressed above, But one thing that I always fail to see in blogs about city life and “doomsday” is why experts always tell people to bug out instead of stand there ground and become a fortress with their neighboors.
    An aprtment building with a flat roof has access to the sun for plants in masses, plenty of tubs to fill with water multple egress spots and a shared stock of food items from apparment pantries could help you and your neighboors make it through the rough patch. To each there own and may we never need the tactics that we all share.

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