Survive in Place – Seven savvy DIY tips


Old-school peppers are all about getting away from cities and living in the boonies. They exhort us to knuckle down and learn the old ways of hunting, fishing, cleansing, cooking and powering. And at Self-Reliance Central, we’re all for possessing these skills. That’s why we give you lots of neat tips about surviving in the wild or on the go.

But let’s get real. Most of us want to stay in our homes and will only leave if there’s an army marching up the road, a plague arriving in the mail, or a natural disaster sweeps us out.

For most of us our jobs require us to live in the cities or sprawling suburbs. So you need to know how to survive in place.

There are few basics. Start stockpiling basics like water, long shelf-life food supplies, first aid, firearms and ammunition. Get to know your neighbors better. Who knows, after a while you may find several who are “like-minded.” When the SHTF, it will be essential to organize your neighbors who are also electing to survive in place versus those bugging out to friends or family members who live in the country. Some new type peppers call these groups ‘tribes’ but that suggests it’s them against the rest of us. In an emergency it’s better to be kind and co-operative although we must always ‘trust and verify.’

Here are some basics if you’re equipping yourself for a scenario where you feel threatened and want to jack up the safety features of your urban or suburban home.
1. Fortify Entry Points: A security company can install devices such as a motion detecting alarm system. Just having a sign on your property warning that an alarm company is monitoring your property it is a great deterrent against burglars. With today’s technology, inexpensive video camera systems can be installed to monitor your property from the safety of your home’s interior. Have a generator or solar powered source to run the lights when the power goes. Illumination is your friend!

Also consider replacing all of your exterior doors with sturdy steel doors and steel frames. Extra deadbolts and third party door stoppers such as the Door Devil allow you to beef up your existing doors and frames. Companies such as 3M and The Door Sentinel provide anti-shatter adhesive films you apply over windows and glass doors.

Tip: Having ¾ inch plywood pre-cut and stored in your garage may be a prudent proactive step to fortify your windows and provide an additional deterrent. (It’s also good in storms.) Another method would be to unhinge interior doors and use 3-inch sheet rock screws to secure them in front of your windows on the interior of your house. This would not stop bullets, but would make break-ins very difficult.
2. Adequate Personnel: Double up with extended family members and like-minded friends. In a collapse scenario, you will not be able to maintain a steady 24/7 vigil looking outside or patrolling your property. Having two or three other families with able-bodied adults, each trained in firearms will be key. You can get by with a bare minimum of four adults but six is ideal.
Tip: If doubling up, make sure to double up your food and water supplies!
3. Panic Room: Every well-fortified home that can spare the space should have a panic room. Panic rooms should not only be secure against people who break-in, but depending upon your floor plan, provide the ability to escape into a hidden crawl space and away from the property. For maximum security, upgrade the entry point into your panic room with steel doors and frames. In non-emergency times this is a perfect place to store your emergency resources.

Tip: In addition to 24-36 hours of food and water, loaded firearms, bullion and packed bug out bags should be kept here. If you’re alone in an apartment, your food needs go down and you can easily store a few days worth in one of those stools with a lid that lids off.
4. Sandbags: There is a reason why our military still uses sandbags to this day. Sandbags

By Danninja (Own work)[CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
make great, inexpensive ballistic barriers to have on hand. Sandbags are very inexpensive and can be purchased at any hardware store or local Army Navy store. Sandbags should be used to reinforce the walls from which you plan to man and potentially defend your home. Consider having several yards of sand delivered and placed in your backyard. You can hide the sand in plain sight by easily building a large sandbox out of four eight foot long railroad ties fashioned into a box. If you do this, make sure you rake it often, or secure some black landscaping fabric to cover your sandbox and keep out weeds, and two 4×8 sheets of wood or vinyl lattice to keep the fabric from blowing away and to deter neighborhood cats from using your sandbox as a litter box.

Tip: Filling sandbags efficiently requires two people, one to hold the bags open and tie them off, and the other to shovel the sand. Use a sand shovel with a pointed tip.

5. Fireproofing: In a crisis, you can’t count on anyone showing up (or even answering the phone) when you dial 9-1-1. Prepare ahead to prevent or suppress fires yourself. If you are looking to build a home, consider a sprinkler system. If your home is in need of shingles, consider a fireproof or fire-retardant type.

Total Prepper Move: Upgrading your home with a fireproof metal roof has the added advantage of obtaining free run off when it rains, creating a relatively clean source of drinking water that can be captured by converting downspouts to fill rain barrels. A spray nozzle and 100’ of landscaper-grade garden hose (not cheap vinyl hose) can allow you to fight small fires before they get out of hand.

Reality Check: Buy additional fire extinguishers and place them throughout your house and in your cars or a shed so you can access them from outside as well as inside.

6. Neighborhood Watch: Organize a neighborhood watch. If you and your neighbors are already accustomed to collecting each other’s mail or taking care of pets while on vacation, then perhaps you should discuss starting a neighborhood watch.

Tip: Don’t forget the importance of Operational Security, or what the military calls OPSEC. Never put all your cards on the table when discussing your food stores, firearms, and other preparations with your neighbors until you are 100% positive they are of like-mind.

7. Communication: Having functioning communication equipment is key to alerting team members to pending trouble. CB radios and walkie-talkies are two great options.

Tip: Consider taking a class to get an amateur radio operators (Ham) license. Ham radios are great for allowing you to stay in touch with others far away, to monitor for news updates, etc.