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Saturday, November 21, 2009

How to Survive when you live in an apartment

I hear it all the time, "I live in an apartment, How can I prepare for survival".. Or "I live in an urban neighborhood"... Living in an apartment, Dorm, or urban neighborhood doesn't mean you can't be a survivalist, you just have to be smarter about your preparations.

Living in these areas DOES have unique challenges.. for instance storing 100 Gallons of unleaded fuel in an apartment is probably frowned upon by most landlords... Carting crates of ammunition from your SUV to your urban garage is probably not the brightest idea either, and I'd bet your insurance company would have hissy fits.

But even these settings are not impossible to deal with... you'll just have to do what I call "Pre-preparing".

Pre-preparing is simple once you get the hang of the concept.. it's storing the things you'll need to get the things you'll need. No this is not a Zen thing, it's just called "Beating the hordes to the punch".

For example... You get an early alert from a fellow prepper... You're ahead of the game (and crowds) already. Since you're smart, your BOV's (Opps, sorry, I meant "Your SUV's") are already at least half full of gas. You rush to the store with the empty Gas cans you bought (but didn't fill) and you have cash money on you to fill them up... You have the money because you DID NOT fill up the gas cans, and you DID NOT have to buy gas treatment for storage, nor did you have to rotate out old gas when you didn't need it.

This is but one example of "Pre-preparing". You bought empty plastic gas cans on sale and didn't fill em... therefore you could simply store them under the bed, in a closet or in the rafters of your garage. While your neighbors rush around lost, you're already filling up your cans.. by the time they realize they need fuel and start trying to find gas containers, you're back home working on something else... A REALLY smart survivalists would have already taped a 10 dollar bill to each can to be used when filling them in an emergency...

We ALL have problems with "Storage space". Even those of us that live "Way out" struggle with this problem. Stored fuel, stored water, stored food, etc, all take up a lot of space and most of this stuff is heavy... meaning it has to be stored on the floor (and floor space is "premium space". But what if your "Water supplies" consist of a few gallons of actual stored water, and a stack of clean collapsible water carriers? 20 of these 5 gallon collapsible containers fit in a very small space. When needed, you simply fill them... if the emergency passes without incident, empty them, let em dry, stack em back up out of the way. Be sure to fill your tub and sinks with water too after you fill the collapsible containers!

Of course, Most apartment dwellers like to get away from it all.. in most apartments and urban neighborhoods you'll find fishing equipment and Backpacking equipment... You can fit a lot of "camping equipment" in a modern back pack.

Packing stoves don't even cause a non-survivalist to raise an eyebrow.. yet they are tiny, easily stored in a pack and can be used for cooking and heat in an emergency.

What survivalist doesn't have friends that live in the country? It's not unusual for our city dwelling friends to leave their hunting rifle and some ammo in one of my gun safes. Heck, that's what friends are for.

Why build a "safe room" for bio-emergencies when you can simply store sheet plastic and duct tape in a shoe box or two? You can then use a common HEPA type air cleaner as your pressurization method when needed... plus you can run the HEPA cleaner in your apartment 24/7 and you get to breathe cleaner air during "normal times"... simply store a new filter "for emergencies". Precut your sheet plastic for the room(s) you want to seal, then you're ready! This even makes sense if you DON'T live in a city.

Don't have a lot of room for books and manuals? SO? You have a computer, and I guarantee every scrap of info you'd need in an emergency can be found on line (Or on your Rubicon CD). How many CD's and disks can you store on ONE book shelf... probably the combined knowledge of human-kind.

"But I need to power that computer"

Again, SO? Flexible solar panels are easily stored out of the way anywhere.. when you need power, simply unpack them and tape them to the windows of your apartment.. if you buy wisely, it'll look like you've simply tinted your apartment windows. Have a second battery added to your vehicle and make sure BOTH batteries are big deepcycles. When you need a deepcycle Battery in your apartment to run your computer, simply yank the second battery out of your SUV.. BAM! It's charged and ready to produce power for you! PLUS you get the added bonus of never having to worry about being stuck with a dead car battery in a dark parking lot.

Modern inverters are small, easily stored, and produce MORE than enough power for a computer... If you have a laptop, you get bonus points for "Pre-preparing". Combine the Solar panels, battery and the inverter and you have a small power company in your Apartment during the emergency.. just be careful about charging the battery.. you might want to stick it in a rubbermaid container and vent it outside during charging.

"Emergency lighting?"

Decorative candles, Decorative oil lamps, backpacking lanterns, etc (Light AND heat).. plus no one outside will know you have lights on, because you have solar panels taped to your windows :)

"Uhhhh, Security?"

Precut a few 2x4's and store em under the bed... in an emergency you can nail them into a "T" shape, nail a small piece of 2x4 to the floor a few feet from the door and then jam the "T" between the floorboard and the door... it takes a LOT to break down a door that's reinforced like this.

"Bio-gear?"

Rain suits and duct tape... Gasmasks are small.

If you DO have to leave the city.. do you know where the nearest U-haul rental place is? Or the nearest Home improvement store that sells trailers? Since you haven't bought one, you have the cash you saved on hand to buy one in an emergency before the sheeple know there is a problem, right?

Just because you can't have "one of something" where you live doesn't mean you shouldn't save up the money to buy one. One of my friends has this mind-set and we had the following conversation:

"I don't have anyplace to park a yard trailer"

(Me) "So do you have the money to buy one if you need it?"
(Him) "No.. Why should I? I can't buy one, I don't have a place to put it"
(Me) "But you think you might need one if you have to bug out?"
(Him) "Yeah, but I can't buy one... I don't have a place to put it"
(Me) "So save the MONEY and buy one when you need it! Go ahead and mentally pick one out and put the correct hitch and wiring harness on your truck NOW... then save the money so you can buy the trailer when you need it."

(Sometimes my friends can be dense)

You should know already "what" you need for survival purposes... if you live where you can't have some of those items then you should know where you can get them quickly in an emergency and have the purchase price already saved up for it.

We have items on our "Wish list" also, but you can modify a wish list to your situation.. simply make a list of what you need. Look that list over and see if you can get Some parts of the items you need now (The gas can example above). Then shop around near home and see who carries the items you'll need in an emergency... note down their price, store location and the item's location in the store...

IE: "Coleman fuel", "Jack's Camping supply", "Isle 3, bottom shelf", "$4.00"

Now put the list in an envelope and stick 5 bux in there with it for the Coleman fuel.

While you are making your survival supply list, keep these things in mind... Keep SMALL BILLS with the list. This way you'll have close to exact change if the store's computers are down... also presenting exact change in small bills reduces the temptation of the store owner to price-gouge you... if the item costs 45 bux (Plus tax) and you hand him 5 tens, yer close enough to the actual price that you didn't get hurt. If you produce a 100 dollar bill, you potentially won't get change, and the store owner may have just mentally marked the price up.

ALWAYS have TWO places on your list that sells what you need in case one place is closed, sold out, or whatever... our list actually has four places listed for some of the items we may need (Which includes a bobcat front end loader)

Make an ORDERED list!

Make your emergency purchases in a smart manner.. you need Gas first, THEN you can go get the bulk cans at the grocery store (People hit gas and groceries first in an emergency, and you need to beat the crowds), THEN you need to pick up the trailer(AND a tarp, bungie cords and a good lock!), THEN go get the other bulky items you'll need and put them under the tarp in the trailer... THEN go home and load up and get outta dodge.

That scenario may not work for you exactly, but you get the general idea.. it does no good to get the genset before you have a way to haul it, and it does no good to go to the gas station and grocery store when those places are already stripped clean.

Think about your situation

I'm not saying that Urban or Apartment dwelling is a permanent solution.. it is not. But you can find many ways to survive for WEEKS even in the city.

In other articles I have stated that the only reason to be in the city is to make more money. If you make more money, you can afford a "vacation home" in the country. If you're in the city and barely making ends meet, then you need to SERIOUSLY reevaluate your reasons for being there! It may not be what you want to hear, but it IS the truth.

If you're here at Prepare to Survive in California, chances are good you have like minded friends that will help you out. If they are within 200 miles of you and have a nice retreat or homestead, ask if you can preposition some stuff with them.  Don't be a leech... make it worth their while to store your stuff for you, their storage space is probably already limited too. If you plan to go to their house in an emergency, it's only fair that you help pay for some of the retreat maintenance and improvements.. after all, YOU aren't having to buy a retreat, or hook up alternate power, or buy water filters, or fix roofs.. so you should offer to help keep the retreat in order and help with making it a better place to be when TSHTF.

If they don't have the physical space to store your stuff, put it in a "U-Store" storage facility nearby their house.... be sure to add "Bolt cutters" to your list of things to get in case the storage facility is abandoned and you have to cut a lock off the gate to get to your storage area.

If the cost of renting a storage facility, or the security of a storage facility bothers you, offer to help your friends build a storage building for BOTH family's supplies on their land. If you assume that rent on a storage facility is 35 bux a month, then you can help pay for a BIG CHUNK of a good storage building on their land for what it would cost you to rent a facility for two years.... You both get something valuable out of the deal, BOTH of you are saving money!

If you put money into someone else's home or retreat, REMEMBER that it is THEIR home. They've offered to provide you with a safe place should TSHTF, but if things go sour, don't get into money arguments over who paid for what... You've basically been renting a retreat in case something happens... if the thought of this makes you angry, then think about your insurance bill... you rented protection from the insurance company, but if they cancel your policy, their responsibility to you is over. Simply go get the supplies that belong to you and store them somewhere else, all you've lost is the same amount of money you'd have lost renting a storage locker for the same amount of time. However, Choose your friends wisely and this will never be a problem.

Pre-preparing strategies can give you that edge you need to survive while those around you flap their arms and run in circles. It can help you get out of the city to your retreat (uhhh scuz me, "Vacation Home in the Country"). It takes some thought and planing, but it DOES save you money while you prepare and allows you to gather the equipment you need to have the edge on the crowds.

Oh yea, get out of the house and practice....something....anything which will help you and your family when The Shit Hits The Fan.

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