Thursday, February 23, 2012


I think I'm the the position of many out in the real world. I'm strapped for cash. Feeling the time crunch that I must do something soon or be caught up with the unprepared masses and get overrun. I'm also feeling the responsibility for my immediate and extended family whether they are preparing or not. It's a huge burden to bear when you have been raised to be the "man" of any situation that might affect you and your family.
That being said, I'm also a logical, common sense person. I approach things like this:
1. Look at the situation
2. Determine the problem
3. Find the solution
4. Implement the solution
I think this fits most of my generation who were raised by parents born before, during, or shortly after the Great Depression. A "can do" type of attitude that never finds a way to quit or give up.
I also have a fairly typical family makeup of people ranging from one year old to mid seventies with the majority being thirty to sixty and most being in good to excellent physical condition.
So let's look at the problem most of us are stuck in, the "imperfect retreat."
I think we can all agree that the generally accepted ideas of being hidden from view, off the main road, 100+ miles from heavily populated cities, etc, all are the best case scenarios but not something that many, if not most, of us can or will be able to attain.
First let's look at the situation: We own or are renting a home. Can we change our situation or not? If so, how drastically can we change it with what we have available to us right now. Most of us will find ourselves in one of two or three different situations. We can stay where we are, we can move a short distance to another place, or maybe combine with other family members at one of their homes, hopefully in a better situation than our own. Let's take each of those individually.
I won't go into all of the preparation requirements since those have been and are covered in greater detail that I could cover here. I mainly want to concentrate on the decision making processes and how to hopefully arrive at a suitable solution. So here we go.
First, staying where we are. In most cases, this is probably the worst and most difficult situation to make work. I personally could easily be caught in this situation and I don't look forward to trying to make it work but let's assume that is our only option. I know this is the case for many so let's make it work.
I'll take my situation as an example. I live on a main street in a small town of 2,500-3,500 population. What are my challenges? To me, first and foremost is security. The reason I put that first is that if I can't protect what I do, build, stash, grow, or otherwise prepare, then I've wasted my resources and time. So the first step is to honestly assess your situation based on what you expect to happen in a worst case scenario. Where are the threats most likely going to come from? What direction and in what form? Can you slow them down and/or stop them? What can you do to aid yourself in being able to accomplish these things? Fences? Gates? Window and door bars? Think through the situation based on your individual situation and resources.
You have to form some sort of defensive plan and come to some understanding of how successful you feel you can be, based on the number of people you will have helping defend the site. I would include some thoughts about quickly deploying traps, tanglefoot wire, or anything else to make you place not worth the effort in hopes that they will just move on to easier targets. By doing that you cause them to expend precious and sometimes irreplaceable energy, on someone other than you. By the time they finally return to you you might be even better prepared and they will be most likely less prepared and easier to deal with.
So in this situation, I feel defense will be extremely crucial. This will of course include multiple weapons and a large amount of ammunition to last through a siege type situation. You can take these thought and translate them on out to the logical end with the other supplies you will need to survive, such as food and water since you will most likely be very confined and unable to scrounge and forage safely for some period of time.
This situation will be extremely hard to survive with only a couple of people so you must work towards having as many as possible to help rotate the duties of keeping watch, preparing meals, sanitation, etc. My speculation would be that you would need to look at a 30-60 day siege until you will be able to begin to move somewhat freely and to get outside for other activities such as gardening or tending animals unless you can have those things attached to your main house through some protected passageway.
Obviously, this is a huge hill to climb to make this work in any populated area even in the suburbs. Can it work? Yes, I believe it can but you will have to be brutally honest with yourself and also prepared mentally and physically to do what will be necessary when the time comes. Remember, I'm a logical, common sense, realist.
Now let's look at the other two situations together since they are basically the same. I'm assuming that if you move to another family member's home then it would be at least farther from a populated area than the situation I've just described. Otherwise. it's then just a matter of which city home is the most defendable and then building on that together.
So assuming that the location you can move to on your own or to another family member's home is outside of a populated area to some degree, let's say 10-15 miles out into the country. So let's talk about the differences of the situations.
With the city situation I said security needs to be job one. With the semi-rural situation security is still job one but in very different ways. In the city, the house becomes your "fortress" and you build on that. In the semi-rural to rural situation the area around you becomes much more important to your security than in the city. This is because you have much more area to control the access to your home and therefore your supplies. Concentrate more on your avenues of approach. Where will the threats most likely come from? Are there main roads nearby? Are there any natural barriers that you can use like ridges, lake,s rivers, etc?
Again, I'll use my situation as an example. My choice has been to use my parents home as the gathering place for our family. It is approximately 15 miles from a population area of 30,000 people. It sits back off the road a short ways with good view from the house to the road and some wooded area and a pond 75 yards behind the house.
Again, in a defensive sense, this is not an extremely easy to defend area. However, there are many more things that you can do in this situation than in the city because you have room to maneuver. The downside of that is that you also have more area to watch and control.
In that situation you have to make the terrain and surrounding situation work for you by constructing traps, digging ant-vehicular ditches, digging concealed fighting positions in various places to allow as much movement between them as concealed as possible, etc. There are many good available information sources on the Internet for accomplishing these things. Be inventive and read, read, read.
Have a good stock of sandbags and the sand needed to fill them on hand. Many of these final preparations will be done once everyone has assembled. Everyone will be anxious and will need something to keep them busy so put that energy to work. But have the plan laid out in advance and ready to implement. This is absolutely critical. If you don't have it laid out you will be flailing around and losing the confidence of all the others that are depending on you to lead them.
Again, approach things in a realistic and honest manner. The people that you will most likely be having to deal with will not be trained in the arts of stealth and [militarily precise] attack, so just put yourself in the average person's shoes that will be trying to rob you. Doing that makes it pretty easy to understand where you will most need to protect and focus your attention.
Being removed by a few miles from a populated area will most likely buy you some time unless you are on a major thoroughfare between two populated areas where people might be traveling from one city to another. If you are in a direction not directly toward another city that will buy you a little additional time before you have to confront the hordes leaving the city. Maybe a couple of extra days which could be extremely significant in your final preparations. Take advantage of that delay, as it very well could save countless lives.
Now that I've got you thinking through some possibilities, then let's look at some of the other issues that I an many others will have to deal with.
We see the term OPSEC used all over the place these days. Basically what that means is keeping quiet and staying as hidden as possible. In the city that's almost impossible. Hordes will be going from house to house looking for the easy targets. (So, as we discussed we're going to make it hard for them.)
Let's take a generator for example. How do we run a generator when everyone else has no power without saying very loudly "COME TO MY HOUSE!" This is something that will have to be thought out and planned for in advance. My plans are to bury my generator in a root cellar of sorts with a well-muffled [but fully externally-vented] exhaust pipe. This could be done in or out of the city to hide what you have. The area could also serve many other uses to include as a root cellar and storage for all types of things. [JWR Adds: A Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector is a must!] If done in the right way it could possibly even be hidden enough to avoid being found by all but the most observant looter. You can apply this concept to many other things too.
I try to use items that can be easily hidden and/or moved if needed to another location. A good example of that is portable solar panels for charging batteries. It will cost you a bit more up front but they are also easier to hide and, if necessary, to move. Further, if you have to bug out you can grab one or two to take with you. Nothing is permanent.
This does require some planning but again the cost is mostly in labor as far as the preparation goes. That is my mindset, spend as little money as possible but get as prepared as possible.
All of the aforementioned thought processes can be and should be applied to the entire gamut of preparing. It does not matter what area it is, the process is still the same, observe the problem, identify the problem, weight the alternatives, find a solution to the problem, and apply the solution.
One final note that I think is probably the most important of any of this. This is all about one thing in the end, SURVIVAL--continuing to exist on the planet. Hopefully with some semblance of our existing comforts--at least with the basics.
That being said, once you have whatever preparations you have in place at you perfect or imperfect retreat, what's left?
What's left is the assurance of your continued survival. You absolutely must have a plan B, C, D, and so on, to keep you and your family surviving. I'm in the process of doing all that I have mentioned above. Are my preparations complete? Absolutely not. But one thing that is very high on my priority list is the ability implement those contingency plans.
My additional planning goes something like this. I figure [that in a worst case] at some point I will be forced from my retreat. What then? Well, if you haven't planned for that eventuality then you become one of the dispossessed horde. So what should you do to avoid this?
First, you should never, ever store all of your supplies at your central retreat location. Depending on the situation, store enough to get through the initial siege. More in the city and less in the rural area. Establish caches, preferably buried or at some reasonably secure, hidden location. Notice that "caches" is plural. Don't place one cache with any certainty that it won't be found. Also, when you do place them be sure not to follow any recognizable pattern. Also be sure that numerous trustworthy people in your family are aware of the locations in case something happens to you. You could also, as time and situation permit, dig some larger "foxholes" for temporary shelter and cover to move to and avoid being caught by the hordes. It gives you a place for a hasty retreat and also a place to fight from if that is necessary or just a place to hide until things blow over and you can return to your retreat.
Next, think about what you will need to store in the caches. When you are initially forced to leave your retreat you will mainly need water, guns, ammunition, fire starting equipment and possibly shelter related items. Some non-cook foods would be helpful too. This cache needs to be reasonably close by and easy to get to to resupply you with what you had to leave behind at the retreat.
The remaining caches can be more fully stocked in the hopes that you will find another shelter to move into until such time as you can eventually return and retake your retreat.
Even in the city you can find somewhere to bury a small cache of items like this to keep you equipped and on the move to the next cache, then the next cache, etc. It takes a little planning but not a huge outlay of resources. But again there some outlay in the form of labor. If nothing ever happens you dig them up and use the items for daily use. Nothing lost but lots gained if they are ever needed in extremis.
As I said at the start, this was not meant to be all-inclusive. My intent was to get you thinking, and to possibly help those in situations like mine--where I realize that I cannot put my family in the "perfect retreat" situation. What I can do though is give them the chance, with some luck and God's help, to survive.

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