Prepping No Matter What the Setting

By DAISY LUTHER | ORGANIC PREPPER | MARCH 15, 2013

There really are very few “perfect” locations for a prepper.  A very common excuse that some people give as to why they cannot prep is their current location.  People say, “Well, once we are able to get moved to our farm in two years I’ll start prepping hardcore.” Another favorite is “I’m saving the money for moving instead of using it for preps.” Or even worse, ”Oh, there is no point in prepping here, because if the SHTF I’ll be dead.”

Stop this kind of thinking RIGHT NOW!!!!!!

Sometimes, to borrow an old saying, you just have to bloom where you’re planted.

There are many things you can do to increase your preparedness wherever you happen to live.  Apartment dwellers at the top of a city high rise, folks in the middle of the desert, and people in HOA-ruled suburban lots all have to examine their situations, figure out their pros and cons, and work towards resolving what they can.  With some pre-planning, there is a lot you can overcome if you have the right mindset.  I suspect there are just as many (and probably far more) preppers living in the ‘burbs than there are living in perfect rural locations, with a lake, 10 acres of cultivated farmland in an off-grid house.

Money is tight all over.  It’s very easy for people to say, off-the-cuff, “Oh, you should move.”

But just picking up and moving isn’t that easy.  It took me nearly 4 years to be able to do that.  People have obligations and ties that some Joe-Blow on the internet shouting out advice can’t even begin to understand.  Some in the prepping community have a complete disconnect with the realities of everyday people.  There are reasons like:

  • Not enough money to leave
  • A good job (very hard to come by these days)
  • Family members in the area that you don’t want to abandon
  • No work opportunities where you want to go
  • Custody orders that require you to remain in a certain area
  • A spouse who is not on board
  • A house that won’t sell or with an upside-down mortgage

The list goes on and on.  There are as many reasons to remain in one place as there are people living in cities.  And yes, I could sit here and refute each and every reason a person has chosen to remain, but it wouldn’t do one bit of good.  People are sometimes alienated by the prepping movement when it seems that everything is black and white or like their personal decisions are somehow less valid than the decisions of some random person on the internet.

That’s why it’s important to take your current situation, warts and all, and work with it.  This doesn’t mean that you should abandon your plans for a better location some time in the future if such a move is warranted.  But it means that you shouldn’t put off important preparedness steps until after that move is made.

Assess Your Situation

You don’t know where to go if you don’t know where you are.  The first and most vital step is an honest assessment of your current situation.  The situation that you have right now, this very minute, not the one you will have in a month or in a year. Assess your needs regarding the following in a SHTF scenario or disaster:

  • Water
  • Sanitation
  • Food/Cooking
  • Heating
  • Security
  • Light

Once you know exactly where you are with these things, you can begin to look for solutions that will work for you, today.  Dig in and make a plan for the survival of your family.

And a little note to those who say, “It doesn’t matter, I’m in downtown Manhattan. I’ll die anyway.”

No, you won’t.  You won’t be that lucky. You will be absolutely thoroughly miserable, breathing foul unhealthy air.  You’ll be thirsty enough to drink unsanitary water, which will cause bowel issues to worsen problem #1.  You’ll be hungry, but not hungry enough that you die of starvation.  You will be at the mercy of thugs better armed than you.  And you won’t die, not right away.  You will live like I just described, and it will be horrible.  Look at the residents of Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy.  They didn’t die but they were absolutely miserable, they were terrified, they were eating from dumpsters,  and much of it could have been avoided with some basic preparedness.

Survival in a Population Dense Area

Before I relocated to my little cabin in the woods I lived in a very metropolitan area.  I was lucky in that I had 1/10th of an acre.  I did everything I could come up with to make my little house as sustainable as possible should the poop hit the oscillating device before I could get out.  A disaster in the city IS survivable.

I planted every inch of the back yard and grew enough food that the home-canned and frozen produce lasted until Christmas.  I stockpiled groceries.  I had plywood cut and pre-drilled to cover each window of the house. I had printed official looking quarantine signs to hang on the door of my house as a deterrent. I put together a little outdoor fireplace in the backyard behind my fence.  I got  a big dog.  I collected rainwater from downspouts at each corner of the house.  I purchased an antique oil heater in good working order, and stockpiled heating oil.  I had enough seeds to plant for the next 4 years.  I located nearby sources of water, wood, and nuts.  I got a wagon for hauling stuff if the transportation system was down.

In short, I did everything possible to make the best of a potentially terrible location.  It wasn’t perfect, but we would have outlasted most of the other people in our residential neighborhood and done so under the radar.

The Priorities

Let’s take a look at each of the major challenges that we face in a SHTF situation.  Obviously different disasters offer different challenges.  These lists aren’t meant to be comprehensive.  They are meant to be a starting point to get your wheels turning on how you and your family can best survive, exactly where you’re planted right now.

Water

You can only survive for 3 days without water (and you’ll be weak and suffering way before that) so that should put water preparedness at the very top of your list.  Some ideas:  1 month supply of drinking water stored (plan on a gallon per day, per person and pet), non-electric water filtration system (with spare filters), buckets along with a sled or wheel barrow depending on the season for transporting water, a water catchment system, water purification supplies (bleach, pool shock, tablets), system for catching gray water to be reused for flushing, washing, etc.

Sanitation

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New York, it was reported that people were defecating and urinating in the hallways of apartment buildings once the sewer system stopped working.  Lack of sanitation is not only unpleasant, but it spreads disease.  Some ideas: portapotty, buckets lined with heavy duty trash bags, kitty litter, water for flushing if you have septic, learn how to shut off the main valve so that city sewage cannot back up into your house or apartment, supplies to build an outhouse, lime, baby wipes,antibacterial wipes, white vinegar, bleach,  hand sanitizer, extra toilet paper.

Food/Cooking

Most preppers have a food supply, but have you considered how you’re going to prepare all those beans if your stove doesn’t work?  Some ideas: Minimum of 1 month of food for each family member and pet;  alternative cooking methods indoors like a fondue pot, a woodstove, propane stove, or fireplace; outdoor cooking methods like a barbecue (beware of tantalizing smells and hungry neighbors), outdoor fireplace or firepit, rocket stove, or sun oven; and foods that don’t require cooking or heating.

 Heating

This depends upon your climate and the time of year that disaster strikes.  Prioritize accordingly.  Some ideas: wood stove, fireplace, oil heater, kerosene heater, propane heater, coal heater; non-tech ideas like  arctic sleeping bags, winter clothes and accessories, covers for windows, segregating one room to heat.

Security

In a disaster situation, the risk of potentially violent civil unrest always goes up.  We used a two-fold approach of trying to avoid conflict by keeping a low profile, but being ready to deal with it if it couldn’t be avoided.  Some ideas:  personal defense items (this will vary depending on your location, the laws there, and whether or not you intend to follow those laws), secure heavy doors with reinforced frames, plywood or gridwork to cover the windows, keeping lights off or low, thorny plants around the perimeter of your house and yard, hardening access points, a big dog, an alarm system, and visual deterrents such as warning signs and quarantine signs.

Light

Don’t underestimate the value of light in a dark world.  Most city dwellers don’t consider exactly how dark the night can be without streetlights and lights from houses.  Emotionally, having a bit of light can help soothe frazzled children (or adults) and help the night seem a little less scary.  Use caution that your light cannot be seen from the outside – like moths to a flame, people will be drawn to the only brightly lit house on the street.  Some ideas: Solar garden lights, candles, kerosene lights, oil lights, flashlights, headlamps, battery operated LED lights, solar camping lanterns.

 Make a Plan

So, if you’re reading this and you’ve been putting off preparedness due to your location, what’s your plan?

If you’ve been feeling disheartened by all the folks grimly telling you that your home is a death trap, what can you do over the weekend to improve your chances, right where you are?

And if you are fortunate enough to be in an ideal location, please share your ideas about overcoming some of these difficulties in a less than perfect place on the map. As a community, we can all help one another solve problems that could otherwise seem insurmountable.

United States East Coast kneels before Sandy

Large portions of the most important cities woke up to darkness on second day of storm.

By JENNIFER PELTZ | AP | OCTOBER 30, 2012

Much of New York was plunged into darkness Monday by a superstorm that overflowed the city’s historic waterfront, flooded the financial district and subway tunnels and cut power to hundreds of thousands of people.

The city had shut its mass transit system, schools, the stock exchange and Broadway and ordered hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to leave home to get out of the way of the superstorm Sandy as it zeroed in on the nation’s largest city.

Residents spent much of the day trying to salvage normal routines, jogging and snapping pictures of the water while officials warned the worst of the storm had not hit.

By evening, a record 13-foot storm surge was threatening Manhattan’s southern tip, howling winds had left a crane hanging from a high-rise and utilities deliberately darkened part of downtown Manhattan to avoid storm damage.

“It’s really a complete ghost town now,” said Stephen Weisbrot, from a powerless 10th-floor apartment in lower Manhattan.

Water lapped over the seawall in Battery Park City, flooding rail yards, subway tracks, tunnels and roads. Rescue workers floated bright orange rafts down flooded downtown streets, while police officers rolled slowly down the street with loudspeakers telling people to go home.

“Now it’s really turning into something,” said Brian Damianakes, taking shelter in an ATM vestibule and watching a trash can blow down the street in Battery Park before the storm surge.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the surge was expected to recede by midnight, after exceeding an original expectation of 11 feet.

“We knew that this was going to be a very dangerous storm, and the storm has met our expectations,” he said. “This is a once-in-a-long-time storm.”

About 670,000 customers were without power late Monday in the city and suburban Westchester County.

“This will be one for the record books,” said John Miksad, senior vice president for electric operations at ConEdison. “This will be the largest storm-related outage in our history.”

Because a customer is defined as an individual meter, the actual number of people affected is probably much higher.

It could be several days to a week before all residents who lost power during the storm get their lights back, Miksad said.

Shortly after the massive storm made landfall in southern New Jersey, Consolidated Edison cut power deliberately to about 6,500 customers in downtown Manhattan to avert further damage. Soon, huge swaths of the city went dark.

After a backup generator failed, New York University’s Tisch Hospital began evacuating more than 200 patients to other facilities, including 20 babies from neonatal intensive care, some of them on respirators operating on battery power.

Without power, the hospital had no elevator service, meaning patients had to be carefully carried down staircases and outside into the weather. Gusts of wind blew their blankets as nurses held IVs and other equipment.

Late Monday, an explosion at a substation at 14th Street and FDR Drive contributed to the outages. No one was injured, and ConEd did not know whether the explosion was caused by flooding or by flying debris.

The underground power lines that deliver electricity to much of New York City are much less vulnerable to outages than overhead lines because they aren’t exposed to wind and falling trees or branches. But when damaged, they are harder to repair because the equipment is more difficult to access.

If substations are flooded while in operation, the equipment will fail and need to be replaced. If they are shut down in advance, workers can more quickly power up the machinery and restore service after floodwaters have receded.

Earlier Monday, another 1 million customers lost power in New York City, the northern suburbs and coastal Long Island, where floodwaters swamped cars, downed trees and put neighborhoods under water.

The storm had only killed one New York City resident by Monday night, a man who died when a tree fell on his home in the Flushing section of Queens.

The rains and howling winds, some believed to reach more than 95 mph, left a crane hanging off a luxury high-rise in midtown Manhattan, causing the evacuation of hundreds from a posh hotel and other buildings. Inspectors were climbing 74 flights of stairs to examine the crane hanging from the $1.5 billion building.

The facade of a four-story Manhattan building in the Chelsea neighborhood crumbled and collapsed suddenly, leaving the lights, couches, cabinets and desks inside visible from the street. No one was hurt, although some of the falling debris hit a car.

On coastal Long Island, floodwaters swamped cars, downed trees and put neighborhoods under water as beachfronts and fishing villages bore the brunt of the storm. A police car was lost rescuing 14 people from the popular resort Fire Island.

The city shut all three of its airports, its subways, schools, stock exchanges, Broadway theaters and closed several bridges and tunnels throughout the day as the weather worsened.

On Tuesday, the New York Stock Exchange was to be closed again – the first time it’s been closed for two consecutive days due to weather since 1888, when a blizzard struck the city.

Earlier, some New Yorkers defiantly soldiered on, trying to salvage normal routines and refusing to evacuate, as the mayor ordered 375,000 in low-lying areas to do.

Tanja Stewart and her 7-year-old son, Finn, came from their home in Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood to admire the white caps on the Hudson, Finn wearing a pair of binoculars around his neck. “I really wanted to see some big waves,” he said.

Keith Reilly posed in an Irish soccer jersey for a picture above the rising waters of New York Harbor with the Statue of Liberty in the background.

“This is not so bad right now,” said the 25-year-old Reilly.

On Long Island, floodwaters had begun to deluge some low-lying towns. Cars floated along the streets of Long Beach and flooding consumed several blocks south of the bay, residents said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, holding a news conference on Long Island where the lights flickered and his mike went in and out, said most of the National Guards deployed to the New York City area would go to Long Island.

Anoush Vargas drove with her husband, Michael to the famed Jones Beach Monday morning, only to find it covered by water.

“We have no more beach. It’s gone,” she said, shaking her head as she watched the waves go under the boardwalk.

Associated Press writers Karen Matthews, Colleen Long and Deepti Hajela in New York, Larry Neumeister, Frank Eltman and Meghan Barr on Long Island, and Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Md., contributed to this report.

New York’s Police State Total Surveillance System

RUSSIA TODAY | JULY 31, 2012

The New York Police Department already has thousands of cameras aimed all over the island of Manhattan, but this literal surveillance state is about to be brought up a notch. The NYPD is teaming up with Microsoft to track action across the city.

Later this week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to come forth with more details about a new surveillance project the head of the NYPD hinted at last week. In conjunction with engineers at Microsoft, the NYPD will unleash an advanced “domestic awareness system” that will combine its already extensive city-wide surveillance system with law enforcement’s established databases in order to track the moves of suspected terrorists.

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly first commented on the program over the weekend at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, but those close to the project have failed to extrapolate much further other than on the basics. So far little is known about the Domain Awareness System, but an unearthed Public Security Privacy Guidelines memo dated back to 2009 details some of what is to be expected.

According to the memorandum, the Domain Awareness System is designed to implement “technology deployed in public spaces as part of the counterterrorism program” of the NYPD, and will work in tandem with the closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) already used by the force, as well as license plate readers “and other domain awareness devices, as appropriate.”

Currently there are reported no fewer than 3,000 CCTVs operated by the NYPD on just lower Manhattan

In the 2009 memo, the statement of purpose that outlines the need for the NYPD’s latest initiative says that the domain awareness system is designed to facilitate the observation of terrorist activity, aid in the detection and deterring of terrorist attacks, reduce incident response time and “create a common technological infrastructure to support the integration of new security technology.”

The statement continues to confirm that the system will be operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will not target persons “solely because of actual or perceived race, color, religion or creed,” which the memo insists is operating procedure for all NYPD activities. A recent scandal uncovered by the Associated Press has already revealed that the NYPD has been engaged in surveillance missions outside of their jurisdiction, however, going as far as New Orleans, New Jersey and abroad to stake out American Muslims, including college students. Both Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly have defended this practice.

Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Founding Construction of Ground Zero Mosque

Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Co-owns Fox News

Raw Story

The second largest shareholder in News Corp. — the parent company of Fox News — has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to causes linked to the imam planning to build a Muslim community center and mosque near Ground Zero in Manhattan, says a report from Yahoo!News.

According to the report from Yahoo!’s John Cook, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who owns seven percent of News Corp., “has directly funded [Imam Feisal Abdul] Rauf’s projects to the tune of more than $300,000.”

Cook reports that Prince Al-Waleed’s personal charity, the Kingdom Foundation, donated $305,000 to Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow, a project sponsored by two of Rauf’s initiatives, the American Society for Muslim Advancement and the Cordoba Initiative, which is building the Manhattan mosque.

That Fox News’ second-largest shareholder, after Rupert Murdoch, has financial links to the “Ground Zero mosque” will be seen as ironic by critics of the news network, who have watched with chagrin as the network’s talking heads attempt to link the mosque to radical Islamism.

Last week, Daily Show host Jon Stewart lambasted Fox panelist Eric Bolling’s attempt to link the Cordoba Initiative to Hamas and Iran. Stewart used News Corp.’s connections to Prince Al-Waleed, and the prince’s connections to the Carlyle Group and Osama bin Laden to make a tongue-in-cheek argument that Fox News may be a “terrorist command center.”

“Stewart didn’t need to take all those steps to make the connection,” Cook writes.

Cook also reports that Prince Al-Waleed has in the past funded a number of Islamic organizations that have been maligned by Fox News commentators:

Al-Waleed donated $500,000 to the Council on American-Islamic Relations — which has been repeatedly denounced on Fox News’s air by Geller and others as a terror group — in 2002. Indeed, Rauf’s “numerous ties to CAIR” alone have been cited by the mosque’s opponents as a justification for imputing terrorist sympathies to him, yet few people seem to be asking whether Murdoch’s extensive multi-billion business collaboration with the man who funds both Rauf and CAIR merits investigation or concern.

Other beneficiaries of Al-Waleed’s largess include the Islamic Development Bank, a project designed to “foster the economic development and social progress of [Muslims] in accordance with the principles of Shari’ah.” The IDB funds the construction of mosques around the world, and has been implicated by frequent Fox News guest Stephen Schwartz in an attempt to spread radical Wahhabism (a fundamentalist branch of Islam) throughout the United States.

Cook notes that it was none other than News Corp.’s New York Post that reported on Prince Al-Waleed’s donation to Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow. He reports that Fox News had no comment for his article, and emails to the prince’s Kingdom Foundation were not returned.

Prince Al-Waleed owns an estimated $2.5-billion-worth of News Corp. Majority shareholder Rupert Murdoch recently took a stake in the prince’s Middle East-based media conglomerate, Rotana Group. Murdoch and Prince Al-Waleed are reportedly working on launching an Arabic news network that will compete with existing pan-Arabic networks Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.