Shelter In Place

Sheltering in place, it's a prepper basic. For those of you who may be new to prepping, or debating about your current living arrangements, let's talk about what to keep in mind.

First and foremost, me, there's no plan better than the shelter in place plan. Most bug out plans put you in the status of refugee. That is never a good position to be in. Think about it for a minute. Even in the BEST case scenario for bugging out, with days worth of warning and a large vehicle, you're still very limited in what you can take to survive. How much food can you really fit in your bug out vehicle? If it's well packed rice and beans, maybe a month's worth, MRE's, maybe a few weeks worth; canned goods, you might have 2 weeks of food in the car. Plus water, there's a basic. How much water do you really think you can pack in that vehicle? 1 week's worth of drinking water? 2 weeks? If you haven't found a place to settle by the time all that runs out.. then what? Hope the Red Cross is headed your way? Hope your friends and family can provide for you? Risky propositions. But! Calamity, there are always going to be situations where leaving is safer than staying. Yes, yes there are, but I really think you should try to push it as far as you can to stay in place.

Know the hazards for your area.

If fires are the main hazard, put some fire prevention practices into use. There are metal roofing systems and fire resistant soffits available that can help greatly reduce the chances of your shelter going up in a giant bonfire.

Clear cut the area around your house, and have adequate water storage on site to do some basic fire fighting. Rain water collection into some really basic cisterns or tanks would go a long way towards dousing your vital living structures if a fire was headed your way. Instead of planning to run at the first sign of smoke, plan to fight to save your hard work and survival gear.

If earthquakes are your main hurdle, planning to leave already puts you behind the ball, because no one gets warning for that shit. You have a MUCH better chance of making to the other side of an earthquake alive and with food and water if you plan your shelter appropriately. Build, or rebuild, your house to the maximum standards for earthquake resistance. A properly engineered structure does not necessarily have to be extremely strong or expensive. It has to be properly designed to withstand the seismic effects while sustaining an acceptable level of damage.

Tornadoes? Build a safe room, re-enforced to withstand the winds and debris and make sure all your supplies are in there. Losing your couch is ok, loosing a years worth of food is not so cool. Digging a storm shelter can be a cheap and doable project.

Sheltering in place keeps you near your life support systems.

Prepare Yourself People panic because they do not know what to do next. If you are prepared for a crisis, you will know what to do next. However, you may be caught up in civil unrest and it may force you to evacuate your community. You may have to relocate within your own city if evacuation to a safe haven outside the city is not possible.

You cannot become trapped on the upper floors of an apartment building. You may experience power disruptions and once you lose electricity, the stairwells and hallways become ambush points. Find a vacant apartment at ground level, and take it over for the time being. You need to be at ground level to escape if looters or others set fire to your building or otherwise make it too dangerous to live there. You need a quick escape route. If the crisis is, city or countrywide many will have already fled so there will be resources you can use for the time being.

Push heavy furniture against entry points and tape or nail nylon or canvas tarps, sheets of plastic or blankets over all windows to slow down an intruder long enough for you to escape. Do not barricade yourself to the point you do not have a way to escape however. You may not be able to stop a determined intruder but you can slow one down enough for you to get away. Unless you are specifically targeted, some if not most looters will move on to an easier target if they meet resistance, so make it difficult for them.

Having emergency supplies means you would not need to venture out, and even if you did, you may find most of the stores are closed or have been looted.

Some Interesting Facts about Riots and Looting

According to eyewitnesses and from police records, food items are the last to be looted during civil unrest (rioting). Drugs specifically pain killers, diapers, alcohol and tobacco products are the first to go and then weapons and ammunition. Food remained on the shelves in some cases untouched for three days or longer during major riots. After four or five days, people begin trying to steal gasoline and even generators along with vehicles. After a few days of venting frustration at the government, rioters will find others to vilify thus, excusing their actions. Retailers and bankers will be next and after four or five days into the civil unrest, you are next on the list.

Protect Yourself

Stay off the streets particularly at night and if you have to venture out do not go near commercial areas because that is where looting and other criminal activity will be most active. Ideally, you will know your neighborhood so you do not become trapped in dead end alleyways, and you know where all the dead end or cul-de-sac streets are.

When traveling or evacuating make sure you map out your routes so you do not have to use pedestrian walkways on bridges and that you avoid tunnels and overpasses, as well, to keep from becoming trapped.

Civil Unrest

Prepare for civil unrest just as if you would for any disaster, have adequate supplies of water, food and other essentials and always keep the possibility of evacuation in mind. Make sure every member of the family has a backpack with survival essentials. You may have to leave on foot so prepare for this possibility as well. Successful evacuations only happen if you prepare and leave before there is a mass exodus from the city.

You can't bug out with your garden, staying in place means you can have fresh food as long as you can keep it alive and growing, and food for next year if you save the seeds. You can't bug out with your rain water collection. If you shelter in place you'll have fresh water, the smallest rain water barrels will give you 50 gallons of water that only needs a bit of filtering to be drinkable. Once you have the basic system in place, you can scale up quickly and relatively cheaply if need be. Books, a years worth of canned goods, tools, relationships, all of these things will be left behind if you have to leave. Plan to stay, and your plans for survival get easier, not harder.

We need to define a few terms that I hope you'll come to use: cover, concealment, and camouflage.

Cover provides you with just that: a certain amount of protection (depending on materials used) from small-arms fire up to the dam-dam (artillery). Cover places that material between you and the aggressor to protect you from bullets, spears, etc. Examples are walls, foxholes with sandbags, or log piles.

Concealment, on the other hand, shields you from view, but doesn't necessarily provide you with physical protection from attackers. Examples here are thick hedges, bushes, or screens (such as for a duck blind). You can have both: a sandbagged fighting position (FP) with a hedge having its top running the length of the front parapet and slightly above it, obscuring the FP from view. The hedge could also serve as camouflage of its own physical merit.

Camouflage is the art of blending men or materials with the surroundings: a disguise. The camouflage should be dictated by season, terrain, climate, and whether an urban or rural environment. Obviously if you're in downtown Chicago, you may be noticed wearing BDU's and camo'd up and decked with small cut tree branches akin to the Swamp Thing. You may also wish to reconsider walking around as a one-man forest with artificial leaves in the dead of winter. The object is to blend into your surroundings as called upon by the moment/time of the year.

All three factors can complement and mutually support one another: a protective masonry retaining wall (cover) behind some thick bushes (concealment) with happy flowerbeds in between the bushes. You'll have to take time to carefully spec out what features your property has and what you'll need to add or detract. Remember this rule: do not permit your attacker to be able to use the FP against you in such fashion.

Now let's cover windows. You can put a stop to this by covering the exterior of the windows with wire mesh. I strongly recommend 2''x 3'' rectangular wire-mesh/re-wire; either galvanized or coated, the heavier the gauge the better. The wire doesn't obscure any view and can accommodate your muzzle for a firing port (on movable windows that open). The wire will help deflect rocks, grenades, and Molotov's, the latter, I must say from experience being very bad. A intruder can throw a log through it to pave the way for entry, but the wire can buy you the time to deal with him first.

Wire that doesn't match your house can be painted with all-weather paint for metal using a brush or roller. You can pre-measure your pieces and then attach them to the casing or the house with those U-shaped nails that electricians use. The more the merrier, at the farthest edges all around to negate a pry-bar. I strongly recommend this way, as screws can be unscrewed. Very important: make sure there's space between the window and the wire, to allow some give for the marauder's projectile. You may have to build it up on all sides with 2''x 4''s to provide that space, but it beats a barbeque.

Walk your property. Note down and commit to memory every critical distance and feature: front door to front gate, length and breadth of ground, dead space, and possible places for attacker cover and concealment. Have your whole family participate and make it a group endeavor, taking special care to teach the kids the ''why'' part. Assign each family member/cohabitant an area of responsibility to defend. ''Repetition promotes a good follow-through,'' and ''How you train is how you'll fight.'' Sound and true advice.

Training and emergency drills for your family will cut down on the confusion should anything occur; repetition could be the deciding, winning factor for your family's engagement. I also highly recommend Motorola's, one for each family member. Teach them good commo and radio discipline and how to keep it short and sweet (KISS principle in effect). Keep it simple.

If you're in an area and State that you can do it, fence off your property and put a securable gate on it. The fence can be supported/strengthened by blending natural and man-made defenses that will prevent or slow vehicles from entering a point other than the gate. The gate is exactly where I want them. Channel your attacker. Funnel him into the areas he will be vulnerable to you. Make sure to post signs inside of your fence about 10' back and visible everywhere: No Trespassing/Keep Out/Private Property.

If you can swing it, run the aforementioned rewire all around the fence on the outside (if it's split-rail and post). Cut stumps with their roots still attached make excellent ''buffers'' for the outside of your fence. Space these about 10' outward. When snowfall comes, they won't be able to be used as ''Evel Knievel'' ramps.

With electronic sensors and surveillance you'll have to tailor your system to fit your needs also taking budget, geographic location, and climate into account. Here in Montana IR sensors aren't too effective with steady temperatures of -20 F, not to mention if an EMP ever occurs. If you have such a system, I recommend hooking them to an internal chime in your bedroom and not into lights. If the intruder enters the property, the lights will let him know you're alerted and light his way for him. He's already trespassing on posted property with dubious intentions; hopefully the ''Castle Doctrine'' applies to your state. Better to localize him to the sensor he tripped, alert your family quietly, grab your Night Vison Google's, and deal with him.

I'm sure many of you have my mindset: preferring the Lensatic Tritium compass to the GPS-gadget.

Here's a low-budget alert system for you: 15-20lb-test nylon line, eye hooks, and cup hooks for a tripwire perimeter. Secure one end stationary, and the free-running end tie to a bunch of aluminum cans with pebbles in them. You can cover the whole perimeter of the house. Just make sure you shield the cans from moisture and wind as much as possible. Know where they are: you should practice walking around your house in the dark and knowing by feel how to avoid tripping them.

Remember with all of this, training for each and every member of your household is vital; with this training will come good feelings of confidence that will help quell fear and panic if an emergency arises. It is good to train as a team. Success brings family bonding and will help each of you develop confidence in one another, as well. May it never have to be put into action, I wish for you. Have a great day!

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