Preppers come from all walks of life and all different locations. In any area there are perceived advantages and disadvantages. In these next series of articles I’ll be discussing these basic locations and some of the advantages and disadvantages that they have.
In this first article I’ll be discussing the possibilities of the City, but I feel I should define a little what “city” entails. For the purposes of this article a city has virtually no open grassland of significant size and most residents live in condos or apartments with very little to no yard. There will be parks, but that will be it. Within some cities they may have old neighborhoods that have been swallowed up and still remain that have yards, but they will be few. So that definition established let’s talk about the possible advantages of living in the city as a prepper.
- People – If you are the community Prepper type and believe that people will/can band together and survive you are in the best place for it. In some cities hundreds could live in a single square block that can be drawn upon.
- Aid – If it is a relatively short SHTF situation you will receive any aid that is available first, while people further out will have to wait longer.
- Stores/Warehouses – There are many, many stores in which to find items of need in a SHTF situation. Whether your able to barter, buy, or scavenge there are likely many stores within a mile or so of your location to find what you need. Cities are also where the bulk of the warehouses are located before being distributed to the stores. There are of course more people to go after those goods though.
- Water – This one is dependent on your city. Many cities were built along a natural water way, but how close you live to it is the question. Some cities have canals that run through at places while others are all pipes underground, but there can be an advantage if a water source is close.
The list for advantages is kind of short, but are potentially powerful advantages, people organizing for better defense and/or offense can be a game changer for many. If it gets bad enough that people are in open conflict with others for food the people with numbers will have the advantage. Getting any aid available sooner can also be a great advantage, especially if you are dealing with a chronic health problem. One thing people will need in a SHTF disaster is stuff, be it food and water, or sleeping bags and tarps, having many stores and warehouses available close by can be advantageous. So what are some of the disadvantages a city would have for a prepper?
- People – Yes this was my leading advantage also. Looked at through a different lens the more people you have in an area the more chances you have for gangs and other criminal activities developing. The more people you have the more mouths you have to feed and clothe also. While a group can help provide security in a city, it can be a daunting task to keep it together and happy.
- Water – Yes, this is another one that is also on the advantages list. The reason it is a disadvantage is because of the cleanliness of the water. While there are cities that have canals that run through it where you can get water it will likely be extremely dirty water. There will be viruses, parasites, and all manner of chemicals in the water. Unless you have a way of removing all of that, the water may be more dangerous than the people. For the cities that have no above ground running water you will find it difficult to locate water after a couple of weeks.
- Hunting – In a SHTF disaster that is lengthy hunting/trapping can be a good supplement for your food. Most cities aren’t teaming with wildlife though so hunting will be difficult. Cities do have a large quantity of rodents, which means trapping may be possible, but they will go quick in a city of hungry people.
- Garbage – People produce approximately 5 pounds of garbage each day. In normal times that will get picked up and disposed of, but if the grid is down and no one is working, it will sit around. Most disease outbreaks after a disaster is attributed with dirty conditions, and in a small city with 1 million people that is a lot of dirty. In a city with 2 million or more…….garbage up to your eyeballs. If it is burned the toxic cloud it produces can also be deadly.
- Heat/Air – If you live in a city you likely will not have a fireplace to heat with and even if you do have a wood burning fireplace you will have the unlikely task of finding wood. Depending on the city, keeping cool will also be a problem. Cities are always as much as 5 Degs F warmer than the rural areas around it. If the temp is 100, it could be 105 in the city.
- Cooking – You will require some kind of fuel to generate heat to cook with and in a city that may be difficult to find. Even if you are successful in catching something to eat, you will need to cook it for it to be safe to eat. If you burn garbage the toxic fumes it may put off could be worse than the rat meat uncooked.
- Death – In a SHTF disaster with a duration, death will become a way of life for the people. The smell will be everywhere, along with flies and the disease that comes with rotting flesh. The estimates for survival in a long-term situation is not good for most and will be high.
- Gardening – Cities have been referred to as the “concrete jungle” since I was a kid and while I haven’t been to every city in America, I have been to several and this statement fits them nicely. With all of the asphalt and concrete that gives cities this name there is very little dirt left. In many cities the only open ground is in parks, or medians of a road or highway. Most people also do not have a yard; all this together means that without ground to plant in a garden will be hard to develop. While some people can and will have small gardens on porches, balconies, or even a building roof, they will not be big enough to sustain someone that needs most of their food to come from the garden.
- Fire – In a tightly packed city with people trying to stay warm and cook with open flame major fires are unavoidable. A fire in a city without running water, fire fighters, and equipment will be deadly and devastating. The only option will be to let it run its course and see what’s left afterward.
- Traffic – If your plan is to Bug-Out then you better have a quick trigger on that thumb to say “load up and let’s go”. If you wait too long there is a strong possibility that the roads will be a mess, and getting out all but impossible. You could walk out, but since most ways out of a city are on the streets that are full of stalled cars and frustrated people, you walking by with a full pack may not go so well.
- Foraging – There is a reason cities have been referred to as concrete jungles….their mostly concreate and steel. This doesn’t leave many areas where wild edibles can grow.
I have read about urban survivalists that believe they can forage and survive in a city setting just as well as someone in a more rural setting. While it may be possible it will certainly be an uphill challenge with the amount of factors working against you. Humans are very adaptable creatures though and some can and will survive in a cities. If you have other advantages or disadvantages or disagree with one of mine, please leave a comment.
Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.