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Why The City Might Be Your Best Bet (Part 2)

February 28, 2011 by  

Why The City Might Be Your Best Bet (Part 2)

Today, I’m continuing a two-part series on the Top 10 lies and half-truths about urban survival.

If you missed the first five last week , you can read it here.

There were several comments last week by people in rural areas who said that it was either their way or the highway, were QUITE angry that anyone would suggest that people living in the city might have ANY advantage over rural folks, and almost went so far as to say that city people didn’t have any chance of surviving in a populated area after a disaster.

Well, those people missed the point. The point isn’t to convince people living in rural areas to move into the city. It’s to get people, no matter where they live, to put a plan in place to increase their chances of surviving short-, medium- and long-term disasters right where they are. Or more to the point, right where they’re likely to be when a disaster happens.

For too long, rural folks have been telling prepared people living in cities that we’re all going to be killed by roving mobs of zombie-like gangs and looters after a disaster. In addition, they say that our only hope is to bug out to the country… or leave our friends, family and jobs and move to the country now.

That may be great if you want to and can pull it off, but the fact is that the majority of people in the United States will continue to cluster together in cities, so this is important information.

One commenter said that the “correct” answer is to start out in a rural area when a disaster happens and move back to the city after everyone has died off. That assumes that you get to pick the timing of the disaster. The simple fact is that disasters don’t ask you to confirm that you’re ready before they happen.

Since most people live in urban areas, most people will be in urban areas when a disaster happens. As a result, they need to have a primary or alternate plan to survive right where they are if they can’t relocate to a rural area — if they even want to. It’s just practical. It’s as practical as rural people having a plan in place to survive in their rural home if a disaster happens.

One of the factors that helps people take steps to get prepared is to know that their plans have a chance of working. If the only information out there for people living in cities is the B.S. that they have no chance of surviving, then they’re more likely to be apathetic and create a self-fulfilling prophecy. “Why prepare if nobody’s going to survive in the city anyhow?”

That’s one of the reasons why I developed the Urban Survival Course… to give friends and family a roadmap to follow to survive disasters in urban areas if they spend the majority of their time in areas that are “urban” enough to have sewer, water, gas and other shared utilities.

With that in mind, here are the next five lies, half truths and myths about cities after disasters:

  1. Everything in the city will be picked clean within days: This is partially true, but it only looks at a small piece of a bigger picture. Specifically, it is looking at the first several days after a catastrophic event. On a slow economic decline like what we’re in now, crime will go up (everywhere) but distribution continues. There will be regional breakdowns in distribution (gas and produce in some areas will last a few months) but most things will get to most places.

    We’ve got historical examples of this… most notably in Germany, Zimbabwe, Yugoslavia and Argentina.

    If you’re looking at a Katrina-type event, electromagnetic pulse (EMP), terrorist infrastructure attack, etc., things are different. Any stores that aren’t guarded by people willing to defend themselves against violent attacks will most likely get picked clean very quickly. But then a vacuum will form and, since nature hates a vacuum, it will get taken care of.

    Specifically, the need for food and supplies gets filled by black market vendors, looters and by enterprising people who figure out where supplies are and how to deliver them to a waiting group of wanting customers for a profit that outweighs the risk. Again, there is historical evidence for this. Namely: Berlin, Beirut and Buenos Aires. Clean water didn’t disappear in these scenarios… it just got more expensive. It’s simple supply and demand. As a note, if you don’t want to buy items from black market vendors and pay black market prices after a disaster, you’d better get prepared now.

    Remember all of those people who are going to “get out of Dodge” and “head for the hills”? Well, they aren’t going to be able to fit everything in their cars and they’re going to leave a lot behind. Some will tell their neighbors that they can have whatever they left. Some of these houses will quickly get taken over by squatters, like what happened recently in Argentina. And others will get picked to the bone by looters. In any case, all of the supplies that they couldn’t take with them will be left behind.

  2. There won’t be any parts available: Myth. Imagine if China did a cyber attack that knocked out the East Coast, West Coast and Texas power grids tomorrow. Now imagine next week you need a part for your Audi, Saab, Subaru, Hyundai or, God forbid, an eco-friendly hybrid. Are you more likely to be able to find new/salvaged parts in a rural area or in a city?

    I know… I know. That’s why everyone should have a vehicle with easy to find parts. The reality is that not everyone has and disasters don’t wait until everyone’s ready. But this also applies to other things as well:

    Even parts like thermistors and flame sensors for furnaces, orifices for heaters, ejectors for guns, primers for ammo, or light bulbs… there will not only be more initial supply in urban areas than in rural areas, it will be more likely that when supplies run out, there will be enough demand in a city for someone to focus on fabricating/manufacturing new ones — even if the manufacturing process is powered by hand or animal power.

  3. Medical supplies will be cleaned out immediately: Half-Truth. Medical supplies will most likely get wiped out soon after a disaster, but that only tells part of the story. To begin with, in a major disaster, medical supplies will get wiped out in rural areas too, so urban and rural areas are comparable here.

    Next, we need to look at distribution again. When some enterprising person/company DOES have medical supplies/drugs to distribute, they are going to want to do it as simply as possible, with as little risk as possible and with as much reward for their risk as possible. That means delivering one truck to a big population center rather than several trucks to smaller population centers.

  4. There won’t be any jobs in the city: Lie. There will always be jobs (legal) for people who are willing/able to do anything in a city. They may not pay as much as you’d like, and they may not be doing what you’d like to do, but there will always be jobs. It might also require you to have skills, a good attitude and a willingness to learn. People with bad attitudes and bad work habits probably will have a hard time finding jobs.

    If nobody will hire you for a “job,” you can find out what jobs people are having a hard time getting done and start doing those jobs for hire. (As a note, I spoke with three people in church on Sunday who are looking for jobs. They say that they’re willing to do “anything”, but there aren’t “any” jobs. Meanwhile, I looked on a local help-wanted website and there are 233 postings. This was just one site and since most jobs are filled by word-of-mouth, I can only assume that there are many more.

    In rural areas there actually may not be any jobs available. If you’ve only got 20 families within five miles of you, they may not even want you on their property unless they know you well, let alone talk with you about paying you to work.

  5. EVERYONE left in the city will be killed… and killed again!: Half Truth. Many will be killed — most from fighting within and between gangs. But the question remains whether the city will be more or less safe from violence than rural areas. If you get a nice isolated rural house where you can shoot your guns and can’t see or hear your neighbors, who’s going to answer you if you yell “help!” or “fire!”? The answer is nobody. It doesn’t mean that rural areas are bad — it just means that they’re not as perfect as people argue that they are. This is a big reason why towns and cities were formed in the first place.

    This belief also assumes that nobody learned anything after Katrina. It assumes that nobody will use any of the 60+ million guns purchased in the U.S. since Katrina to protect themselves or their neighbors. Finally, it assumes that all police forces will act like the New Orleans Police force did after Katrina.

    Folks, the world has changed. There are more gun-owners than ever, more of those gun owners are getting advanced training than ever, and there are more gun owners of all political colors who are willing and able to defend their family from violent attack than ever before.

    There will be anti-gun cities like Washington, D.C., and Chicago that are hard hit because of the exodus of gun owners who want to obey the law. But in areas where individuals can own firearms, armed uprisings by gangs and thugs just won’t be allowed to last very long. In addition to infighting and killing each other off, good people won’t stand for it. They’ll do fine as long as they keep attacking sheep, but as soon as they hit a sheepdog, a family of sheepdogs, or a neighborhood of sheepdogs, they’ll have trouble.

    Are there potential dangers in the form of gun control from the Federal Government? Absolutely. And they apply both to people living in rural and urban areas.

So, what’s the point of this Top 10 list? First, it’s to get people to realize that they need a plan to ride out disasters in whatever area they spend the most time. If you spend 80 percent of your time in the city, have a primary or alternate plan to “Survive In Place” in your city, remembering that long-term travel in a survival situation may be unproductive and more dangerous than staying put. This is especially true if your loved ones are separated and you can’t reunite and bug out until the roads are packed.

Second, it’s to provide a foundation for people living in cities who have been paralyzed in their preparations because of the common (Bravo Sierra) school of thought that they’ll just be killed and their stuff taken by highly organized and disciplined gangs of marauders after a disaster.

Don’t buy into the lie. Have a plan in place to survive wherever you spend the most time, no matter how much less than ideal you think it is.

Dr. David Eifrig Jr.

is the editor of two of Stansberry's best advisory services. One of his advisories, Retirement Millionaire, is a monthly letter showing readers how to live a millionaire lifestyle on less than you'd imagine possible. He travels around the U.S. looking for bargains, deals and great investment ideas. Already his average reader has saved $2,793 since 2008 (documented in each Retirement Millionaire issue). He also writes Retirement Trader, a bi-monthly advisory that explains simple techniques to make large, but very safe, gains in the stock and bond markets. This is a pure finance play and the reason Porter Stansberry loves having "Doc" on the team. Doc holds an MBA from Kellogg and has worked in arbitrage and trading groups with major Wall Street investment banks (Goldman Sachs). In 1995, he retired from the "Street," went to UNC-Chapel Hill for medical school and became an ophthalmologist. Now, in his latest "retirement," he joined Stansberry & Associates full-time to share with readers his experiences and ideas.

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  • J.M.R.

    i’ll stay in the country.

    • Al Sieber

      I’ll second that.

      • Lastmanstanding

        As will I.

        • Dan az

          me to!Like I said before I hope all of the city dwellers stay put you may not find what your looking for out here!

          • Al Sieber

            You got that right Dan.

        • David Morris (Survival Dave)

          That’s great guys…that’s the whole point of this article and everything that I write about…to have a plan in place to survive where you spend the majority of your time, not where you think it might be ideal to ride out a survival situation.

          Y’all have a plan to Survive In Place and I suggest that people in urban areas have one too. What happens too often is that people who live in the cities hear guys like you say that they have ZERO chance of surviving even a slight hiccup and therefore they don’t do anything. I, on the other hand am on a mission to get as many people to take action to get prepared for short, medium, and long term disasters taking their current, non-ideal, circumstances into account.

          • Granny Mae

            David Morris,

            It only makes common sense to learn to survive where you are. I know of people that would surley die if you took them out of the city and out them in the country. My sister is one. I have incouraged her to prepare right where she is and to get her adult kids to do the same. I have no doubt that they will make it just fine because they know their area very well and also the people. Learning what they will need is the big thing as their needs are going to be different than mine being I am way out in the country. With her being in the city and her kids within a short distance I am sure they will help each other and they will be in touch with their friends and when they all band together they will probably do better than we do out in the country. What I find is an on going project is getting the survival storage right. It seems to be an on going thing. I did not give one single thought to putting aside some otc sinus meds. My family has a lot of problems with sinuses especially in the spring and of all the things I have put aside there was not the first packet of sinus medicine. Then my grandson came in the house with his head splitting and said granny I sure hope you have put away a lot of sinus meds. because we are sure going to need it ! Out of the mouths of babe’s! We try to thinlk of everything but there is no way it will ever be complete so we will just try to put away enough of other things so we can trade with someone else for what me need. I’m not afraid of the city coming to the country we will deal with that when it comes and as for our city friends they will deal also one way or another. Thanks for all the advice. It is people like you that think these things through and give the rest of us ideas on what to do that I give thanks to for helping others to survive if tshtf. Thanks for a good article.

          • JC

            We live in a city of 1 million 40 miles east of the Rockies.
            Theoretically hunting and fishing are available at all times.
            However we have not only laid in enough food and water for 90 days in the city, but sufficient means to retain it in the face of looting.
            Plan B is to withdraw to the woods / mountains where we are lucky enough to have friends with land and an RV there, also well supplied.
            In fact it is a withdrawal destination for a few like minded people we know.

            What no one can predict is the nature of a martial law situation and how long it would last, how severely restricted your movements would be and what course of action is the right one to take.
            Personally, if I see martial law coming down the pipe, I’m getting out of Dodge to where I can move and defend myself.

          • Mike Austin,TX

            After reading your articles I have radically changed my plan. It resolved two of the most basic difficulties I was tryiing to plan around. When to leave and how difficult it will be to get where I had planned on staying.
            I am now planning on fortifying in place with a couple of neighbors as part of a group. I can now spend more time and resources effectively on making my family prepared in place, for whatever happens.
            Since I am more familiar with who and what is around me, your advice makes very good sense.
            Thank you….

  • Dan

    I believe in the cities where government entitlements are a priority with most individuals there will be life threatening rioting and disorder but in a lot of cities I believe you will see a lot of people pulling together and working things out. What is to be feared by is a total crackdown and power grab by the government country wide. That would mean house to house searches for weapons and “extra” supplies to “share for the common good” and so on. Staying in place and being prepared to stay in place is always the best option. If you don’t stay in place means you are not prepared and don’t have any long term plans. “escaping to the country” with no supplies or limited supplies puts you much greater danger. I’m sure a lot of people think that moving to the country will allow them to farm and grow their own food not realizing that is takes time and a whole lot of hard work before the would see any benefit for doing so.
    Plus us country folks don’t have a lot to share to a mass infusion of ill prepared individuals and most of us country folks will defend our loved ones right to survive. Remember all our resources will be used to ensure our survival and we have our own share of aged and inform to take care of which would stretch our own resources to max.

    • Dan az

      Nicely put Dan!

    • mathilda

      you got that right!

    • David Morris (Survival Dave)

      Thank you, Dan. You’re obviously someone who gets it. You need to have a plan to survive wherever you spend the greatest amount of time.

      Nobody’s telling rural people that they should move to the city to prepare for disasters, even though there ARE some advantages to being in a city during a disaster.

      Again, you get it. You live in a rural area and therefore you have a plan to survive disasters in a rural environment.

      And you recognize that people from the city can’t move to rural areas and *instantly* get up to speed with a way of life that is completely different, from social norms to earning a living, to working the land.


  • Mick

    J.M.R. says:
    February 28, 2011 at 7:32 am
    i’ll stay in the country.

    J.M.R,,,,Me too….there is no way in hell that I would mix with the general degenerate urban metality.
    If people pay attention of the trouble plaguing this country

    They will realize that the [offensive word removed] disturbers come from big cities, the more people the more chaos, although things are getting worse around the rural areas i believe people still stick together for the good of us all if needed,

    • JR

      I have seen as much mental degeneration in rural areas of this country as I have seen in cities.

  • Mick

    Al Sieber says:
    February 28, 2011 at 7:46 am
    I’ll second that.

    ,You,,,,J.M.R and people with our frame of mind have to stick together or be run down by the loon living in the Urban areas.

    • Al Sieber

      Mick, I see city people out in the mountains near me and some of the time they’re lost and scared and I try to help them, the worst thing you can do is panic, cell phones don’t always work here.

      • Mick

        Al Sieber says:
        February 28, 2011 at 8:40 am
        Mick, I see city people out in the mountains near me and some of the time they’re lost and scared and I try to help them, the worst thing you can do is panic, cell phones don’t always work here.

        Al……..I believe it.
        If push comes to shove I truly believe that the rural folks will be able to cope on a much better level just because they have more common sense, too many city folks follow the majority on their way of life and thinking and sooner or later it will come back to bite them in the ass.

      • libertytrain

        Al, I’m in the mountains of NC and very few cell phones work right where I am and that any work at all is just recent. My point is how delirious people get even here when they get no cell service. What will happen in a real emergency – dependence on these type of items has gotten way too strong.

    • JC

      Al that is exactly right. I volunteer with a local Hunter Education group that teaches Firearms Safety, Survival and Conservation Ethics as well as Wilderness First aid. Panic is your worst enemy and lack of basic skills will get you dead quick!

  • Papa

    To put it simply, we all need to plan to survive where we feel the most comfortable and know the lay of the land. If that’s in a city, so be it. Take a page from the “Hurricane Survival Handbook” of folks in Florida. Once the storm has passed they quickly set up neighborhood “militias” of armed guards who block the roads and stand guard, waiting for their local government to get reorganized and start working once again. Until that happens they let no-one they don’t recognize in, while also gathering whatever supplies they can find and looking for friends and neighbors who might be missing. It usually takes about two days for all of this to become operational, and no-one is going to starve to death in a couple of days.

    This has been a good article with a lot of good information included…

    • Richard Pawley

      I’m afraid that the stores will be empty for several weeks once the unions begin rioting and looting and the army has to step in. I pointed out in my last book that 20,000 military are being trained to do the job but will that be enough? It won’t be just two days without food! What is coming is an economic storm, the collapse of the dollar (eventually,) big inflation first, and then eventually a collapse of all paper currencies around the world. Will this happen in the next 24 months as some believe or might it take most of the decade? I HAVE NO IDEA. I only know what God has revealed is coming and we have the clear evidence that it is so. Congress is still quibbling about spending cuts but so far they are trivial compared to what they are spending. We continue to spend what we don’t have, creating $70,000 MILLION DOLLARS every month out of thin air. Whether you call it Quantitative Easing, Monetizing the Debt, or counterfeiting, the result is the same, the devaluation of the dollar (big inflation) and food and fuel tripling in price. Of course they will blame it on something else but the real cause of the coming inflation is the spending of money we don’t have. Silver has gone from $3 an ounce to over $33 but you can’t eat it. If the stores are empty what you rather have, a silver dollar or a loaf of bread, a pound of spaghetti, a can of coffee, and a jar of spaghetti sauce. I’ve had vacuum packed coffee that was fine after ten years (stored in a cool dry place) and last week I used a jar of major brand spaghetti sauce in a glass jar (never in cans) that expired in 2004. It was fine. The spaghetti cost me .33 a pound a decade ago. I hope we have several years but no one can count on that! What do you have to lose by beginning to prepare? The worst that can happen if this all doesn’t happen as soon as is expected is that you will save a lot of money because of all the money Congress has squandered since 2006 is going to cause several hundred percent inflation. That is unavoidable because Americans will not stand for the cuts that would be necessary to avoid it. Americans are likely to shocked at how much inflation we have in just the next 12 months! I didn’t call my last book “THE LAST DAYS OF THE LATE GREAT UNITED STATES and the Great Famine that Followed” for the fun of it. Ignore all this at your own peril. Dum Spiro Spero!

      • JR

        What a cheap way to advertise a book. The reasoning brought forward in your book is so full of half truth and misconception no wonder it can be found in the bargain bin at Ollie’s for a buck. That’s where I found my copy and although I either keep good books or donate unwanted books to the library, that was one I very distinctly remember throwing into the trash…..where it belongs.

    • David Morris (Survival Dave)

      Thanks, Papa. Even though many people hate the city and think that it’s a horrible place to ride out a disaster, reality dictates that most people will be in urban areas when disasters happen.

      The phenomenon that you mention about small militias forming is called “Spontaneous Order” and it happens after EVERY disaster. If the phrase sounds familiar, it might be because John Stossel talked about it a few weeks ago when he was talking about private vs. government solutions to problems.

      In short, when mass chaos erupts, people spontaneously try to fill the void with order. City-haters have no problems envisioning evil, ruthless, cannibal, gangs creating order out of chaos and taking everyone out but, for some reason, don’t think that anyone else will do the same. Fortunately, history tells a different story.

  • Carlucci

    I remember what happened here where I live right before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck. The local news media scared so many sheeple, exhorting them to “get out of town!!!”, that there were massive traffic jams on all the major freeways and highways. There was an enormous bumper-to-bumper traffic jam on both sides of a thoroughfare close to my house that is situated between two main freeways. Being a native to my city where we’ve had our fair share of storms over the years, I thought “What are all these crazy people doing?”

    With the heat index, it felt like over 100 degrees outside. Many people (children and elderly) died on those congested freeways trying to get out of town. They ran out of gas just sitting there idling, and then ran out of water. The ones who wanted to turn around and come home were trapped, as the state highway department had shut down all the exits.

    I envy the people who live in the country, but for now that is not an option for me. I live in the ‘burbs and know all of my neighbors. I’ll keep adding to my supplies. WTSHTF, I’ll do what I did in 2005 – batten down the hatches, and lock and load.

    • Carlucci

      P.S. Both Katrina and Rita “turned around” and missed my city. Sure wish “Himmacane” Ike would have done likewise.

      • Granny Mae


        I know exactly what you mean about the hurricanes. I can remember many years ago now that we were being advised to evacuate for a hurricane too and so I got my immediate family together and we planned an alturnative route to our destination. Someone asked me why would I do that and I told them I was not about to be stuck on the free way in all that trafic. There is always some idiot that is going to take off with no gas or a car that doesn’t run properly or someone trying to pull a trailer with everything he owns packed in it! No thanks ! We planned a route using all the back roads and arrived at our destination in a couple of hours while friends of ours took the free way and that is where they sat out the hurricane ! They were stuck in an over crowded car for three days and only made it 75 miles from home on the interstate with no way to turn around and no rest area close by! I guess now they know why I planned an alternate route! We also took our alturnate route back home safe and sound also and made it home before they did ! Sometimes you can tell people something and they will listen and other times you are talking into the wind !

  • dannysteel

    It appears from what I’m reading that Dave Morris is primarily focused on teaching “urban” survival more than rural survival. I can relate to that thinking, and I applaud him for his efforts on teaching this. However, I tend to believe that “survival” capabilities are just as important to all,(assuming “all” are concerned of course)which is more than likely not most of the population, or until it’s too late to do anything much. I guess my point here is, why is there such little concern about this to folks living in rural areas? Is he saying it won’t be as much of a concern or problem? In case, I think this is all very real and very probable in the near future. All of the “signs” are in place for this to happen if we just take a moment to see them. Unfortuately, I think most won’t, and those who do, the government will probably step in to “strong arm” their efforts.

    • David Morris (Survival Dave)

      Hey Danny,

      Those are a great set of questions you posed. Let me address each of them.

      1. Why so little concern about rural people? Time and space…basically, I am limited about how much I can write per article. You can read two years of past articles at if you would like. Don’t take my lack of writing about rural people as a lack of concern. My parents live in a rural area, and I make sure that the “how-to” articles that I write will benefit them.

      That is kind of like looking at a book on primitive fire making and wondering why it has so little concern for how to find water. Nothing wrong with that criticism at all, by the way…I’ve just decided to help a completely ignored group of people.

      My focus happens to be on teaching people to develop a survival plan that takes into account the reality of where they currently live and spend the majority of their time. For most people, like myself, my wife, and our boys, that is in an urban area. City-dwellers were almost completely written off as near term casualties in survival situations before I began bringing up the pertinent facts and history showing that cities have been survivable throughout history.

      As a note, hundreds of people have contacted me over the years and told me that they live in rural areas and that almost all of what I’ve written about is beneficial for them as well.

      2. Will rural areas not be as much of a problem? No. Rural areas will just have different problems. Trauma survival rates are higher in cities, but that’s because crime and accident rates are higher and emergency personnel get more practice and specialized tools.

      During the Great Depression, rural people who were more self-sufficient did much better than city people did. But a few years into it, as specialized components and machinery started to wear out and break down, there wasn’t enough demand in rural areas for people to make replacements. In the cities, on the other hand, any time there was a great demand for an item in a localized area, market forces caused entrepreneurs to invest the money necessary to create workable solutions.

      The point is that there’s no categorically PERFECT place, and time is potentially so short that *most* people are better off figuring out a plan to survive where they are TODAY rather than where they’d like to be in a year or two.

      • libertytrain

        David – seems to me you are trying to enlighten folks on what they can do to try and stave off as many problems as they can. The bottom line is no matter where you are it’s going to be very hard, very difficult, and what one can do to make it a bit easier, particularly in the interim of shock from losing all one is accustomed to having access to.
        Thanks for your articles, they are indeed enlightening to say the least.

      • David Morris (Survival Dave)

        I’ve got to apologize…earlier today I posted the wrong link to the site where my article archive is. Here’s the correct one:

  • Mick

    Carlucci says:
    February 28, 2011 at 8:17 am

    I envy the people who live in the country, but for now that is not an option for me. I live in the ‘burbs and know all of my neighbors. I’ll keep adding to my supplies. WTSHTF, I’ll do what I did in 2005 – batten down the hatches, and lock and load.

    Carlucci …I feel for you not having the choice to live where you would feel the most comfortable.We were in your boots a fews years back, had to live around the city because that’s where our job was but got out of there as fast as we could once retired,,,,,,,

    • http://?? Joe H.

      My wife and I are planning on doing just that as soon as she decides to retire. right now we live about 4.5 miles from where she works. Makes it so cheap for her to drive to work!! She has to carry a computer back and forth or she would ride a bike!!

  • http://Yahoo Scooter Orsburn

    You urbanites can try to rationalize the truth away , but you KNOW , deep down , rural people have a 98 % better chance of survival than
    urbanites ! in an across the board disaster, ‘City People” will die
    of thier own Garbage before any other destructive force can harm them.
    …Fact !

    • David Morris (Survival Dave)


      I understand your strong emotions, and I used to feel the same way, but after studying actual history and current survival situations around the globe, I found out that I was wrong and that *PREPARED* people who live in urban areas have a very high survivability rate.

      The mistake that I made was thinking that the difference in survivability was where people lived. It’s not. It’s how prepared they are. Unprepared people are screwed in the city AND in rural areas. Prepared people have a much better chance of surviving in cities AND rural areas. It just so happens that urban areas have a higher percentage of people who aren’t prepared and who think that just-in-time inventories will always provide their every need.

    • JR

      I believe this is a misconception and mostly wishful thinking.
      Fact is that the more rural you are the more isolated and alone you are. And all you guns and ammo will do NOTHING against a determined foe.
      Every fortress on this planet has eventually fallen to the siege…it only depends how determined the people are. Yes rural people have it easier to go hunt and fish and raise they’re own food BUT, to do any of that you will have to move around and as soon as you do that you are vulnerable. All your preparations will not help you against someone…maybe even the guy up the road… shooting you in the back.
      In essence, urban people have a big positive, they can and will band together and close off the neighborhoods. And by doing that have a lot more people available for the different functions needed to effectively cope with an disaster then the isolated rural folks that will barricade them self and live in fear never having enough people and resources to survive a prolonged event. There was a reason our ancestors came together in cities in the first place, to attract and use the resources and ingenuity of the people. And although there are some unwanted elements I do believe that cities will get rid of them fast. Anyone who believes that it is only the rural people that are prepared and only the rural people that own guns and ammunition and know how to defend them self or know how to survive needs to have his/her head examined. I remember someone telling me that nobody in a city knows how to make a fire and cook if the gas goes out…and I laughed out loud….there is MORE camping and outdoor equipment in use by people living in the cities then by people living rural……remember. city people have only one main way to go out and experience the nature…and that is going out to parks and camping…most rural folks I know (and I lived rural for most of my live) don’t even own a tent, sleeping bag or know how to use a camping stove.
      Russia during the collapse has shown that cities survived with ease but rural areas barely hung on.

      • http://?? Joe H.

        Sorry , but I have to disagree with you there. We live in a town and almost all our friends live rural which is the reason we want to move when we retire. All our friends camp and some even have RVs to do so. We have bags, camp stove, rods reels, guns, ammo, food for camping or survival, water filter, and I even can build a solar still, did so when I was about 15! (At that time I lived rural) I would bet you I have just about as much camping/survival gear as any of your big city dwelling friends!! Probably MORE!!


    Survival is a mindset with prepartation built in. The strong will survive and the weak will not. That’s the way it has always worked with all life forms. Makes sense to me to work at being a survivor

    • Lastmanstanding

      God bless you Danny…that is how the planet works. It is that simple.

      More need to pay attention.

    • Granny Mae


      You got it right ! We will all survive as long as we are prepared.

      • http://?? Joe H.

        Granny Mae,
        One other thing the person needs is the WILL to survive!! There are a lot of people that THINK they have the will, and there are many that will tell you if it came to it they could pull the trigger on a man if threatened but they really don’t know till they have to! I know I can as I have in the past and would do it again if put into that situation!! You can’t depend on others to protect you in a crisis!

  • elwo

    Couldn’t hire me to move to the city. Living in the country…have 10 neighbors within 3/4 of a mile…woods behind me….4 ponds all around…and every neighbor, like me, has a big-@ss dog, plenty of guns/ammo and know how to use them. We also share….caring….an old fashioned genuine concern for each other and the safety of all. God bless America…more than ever.

    • Granny Mae


      I was born and raised in the city and when I got married my husband moved me to a little town and always talked about moving to the country. I always said he would move by himself because I was not going out in the sticks where there wasn’t anyone to talk to for miles down the road ! Well he finally got me to agree to move out but I made him promise me that if I didn’t like it he would move me right back to the city! Shortly before we moved I began to have problems with a neighbor. They were new to the neighborhood and were troublemakers from the start. A week before we moved I nearly killed the SOB next door! It was 2 in the morning and he came home drunk and with the houses being not more than a drive way apart and our bedroom right there, you can imagine how I felt when he got out of his car drunk and started shouting wake up neighbor ! I woke up and had my husbands gun in my hand and was trying to get the window open! I was going to shoot that jerk right through the screen ! I couldn’t get the window open and for some reason just didn’t want to break the window ! My husband woke and took the gun away from me then opened the window and told the neighbor to get his a-s in the house and go to bed or he was going to give me back the gun and let me take care of things !!! It’s funny when I think about it today but it wasn’t then. I moved to the country gladly! The first night out in the country I dreamed the neighbors built a house next door to us and I came out of the bed just a cussing ! My husband has laughed about that to this day. The neighbors were real scum bags. Their kids took spray cans and wrote dirty words all over the back of our garage and numerous other things. Anyway I moved to the country and within two weeks I knew my neighbors for miles around. They all had watched us build our house and stopped in to introduce themselves and offer to help. They came by regularly and invited us to functions they had at church or their farms etc. I knew more of my neighbors in the country than I ever did in the city ! I am happy where I am and will survive right here. I’m going no where.

      • Granny Mae

        I live in the country and love it. If I go back to the city I’m afraid I would probably kill someone !!!

    • Cawmun Cents

      Not disparaging the love for the country life Elwo..but depending on how close you live to urban areas with lots of different people,you may have cause for alarm.You see….when people become desparate,who knows what they are capable of?If you have ten thousand rounds of ammunition,but one hundred thousand assail you….you will be overcome.You may have to repel one small attempt to take your supplies or many large ones….in which case is it worth your effort to defend what you have against such an onslaught?One can never be sure of these things.A lot of assumptions are made before rational dialogue is attained.The logical answer to any question posed by this article is…Hard tellin’ not knowin’.But I say viva country living!

  • David

    In the near future, America will get into a nuclear missile exchange with Russia (Ezekiel 39:6 and Jeremiah 25:32-33) and up to one-fourth

  • Mick

    elwo says:
    February 28, 2011 at 9:35 am
    Couldn’t hire me to move to the city. Living in the country…have 10 neighbors within 3/4 of a mile…woods behind me….4 ponds all around…and every neighbor, like me, has a big-@ss dog, plenty of guns/ammo and know how to use them. We also share….caring….an old fashioned genuine concern for each other and the safety of all. God bless America…more than ever.
    Good for you elwo,I would love to have you as a neighbor.although where I live 3/4 of the population is armed as well and won’t hesitate to defend themselves and neighborhood, if we don’t protect ourselves who in the hell will do it for us ? OBAMA nad crew ????????

    • Granny Mae


      Looks to me like Obama is the one to antagonize the situations with his union thugs so don’t look to him for protection. He wants to keep things stired up and come election time he will declare martial law and then we will all be in deep doodoo !

  • David

    Sometime in the future, America will get into a nuclear missile exchange with Russia (Ezekiel 39:6 and Jeremiah 25:32-33) and at least one-quarter of our people will die in this exchange, especially in the cities (Revelation 6:8).

    • Christin

      Yes, God warns His people of the birth pains and impending dangers of this time in Matthew 24:6-7 (and Mark 13:7-8) “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the sufferings.” before Jesus’ return…

      It also says to leave the cities and head for the hills… in Matthew 24:16-17, “the let those who are in Judea” [insert your city/town here] “flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not to go down to take what is in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle.” [warns to not get your possessions or take up your work again, but to get out]…

      All these articles from having a plan of action from David Morris or food storage and medical prepareness by Peggy Layton are to help all of us to think ahead and prepare beit in the city or the country… good job… thank you very much.

      • David Morris (Survival Dave)

        Hey Christin,

        Matthew 24:16-17 is a verse that Christians living in cities need to wrestle with.

        When they do, they need to keep in mind that Matthew provided a “when” to “head for the hills” in the verse before the one you quoted.

        In Matthew 24:15, he says, “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel–let the reader understand–”

        Many believe that the abomination that causes desolation happened when the Romans took Jerusalem (in Judea) in 70 A.D. and it would have definitely been prudent for people to leave the city then the Romans were approaching.

        Before anyone starts getting all uppity, I bring these points up as points to consider…not as points of certainty.

        But what about people who abandoned all of their financial responsibilities before Y2K and other supposed end-of-life events because of this verse?

        In any case, unless you live in a city and you’re sure that your city is going to be destroyed within the next few days, doesn’t it make more sense to start putting a plan into place to survive right where you currently spend the most time in case a disaster happens in the near future?

        • Christin

          David Morris,
          Thanks for the explanation of the “abomination” in verse 15… I wasn’t quite sure what that was, but your explanation works. Sounds like a take over of some kind.

          I have lived in the suburbs most of my life… near the country not too far from the city… I would consider myself a suburbanite, but more rural than urban. I have never lived in the city. We have put a plan of action into place to ‘head for the hills’ before the “crisis” arrives. Last year we built a small country house on some acreage and planted an orchard and grew fruits and vegetables in raised beds to relearn gardening. We have plenty of room to make a much larger garden and I’m going to re-learn to can food. We are also storing food, water, soaps, paper products, and medical supplies. We have been going to the country for over a year and have quickly made friends. My spouse says it is time and we will make the permanent move this spring. It is peaceful in the country and it is great to “lie down in green pastures” and stand “beside the still waters” to “restore my soul.”

          The world is coming unglued and Bible prophesy is being played out before our very eyes. It is so strange to watch, even a bit sad in a way… that we have failed as people to get it right.

          God bless you for being an encourager and helping others to have a plan to weather the coming storms where ever they may live.

          • David Morris (Survival Dave)

            Right on, Christin! I forsee some long weekends at your country house (if you don’t live there full time already) waiting to see how events shake out. We’re in crazy, crazy times.



    • David Morris (Survival Dave)

      Thanks, for your service, Bob :)

    • Lastmanstanding

      Thank you also Bob.

    • Granny Mae

      BOB REIN,

      I agree with the others. Thanks for your service especially in law enforcement. That is a difficult job. You see the worst of people all the time and I can immagine after a while it is hard to separate yourself from all that. We don’t tell our police officers that we appreciate them and all they do so here is my thanks to you and all of your fellow officers everywhere. Good thing I never shot that neighbor huh? It wasn’t much of a worry back then as I was like 20 years old and didn’t have the first clue on how to shoot a gun. Infact the gun I found out wasn’t loaded ! My husband asked me what I thought I was going to do with an unloaded gun? Through my tears I shouted I guess I would throw the damn thing at him ! One day I will have to tell my kids that story.

    • Tim

      I was mugged in Harare (Zimbabwe) some years back. The nicked my bread leaving me with wallet, watch etc. People end up breaking the law because the new laws that used to get pumped out daily were untenable. Manditory Food prices meant that when things were doubling people went bust selling below cost or had to do black market.

      The problem is like loosing your virginity, the first time is difficult but it gets easier from there. In Zimbabwe you broke laws when you got up in the morning so what was a little black market currency dealing when everyone was doing it? The lines were blurred into loads of grey areas with a smidgeon of white and black. So worse offences became fairly comon,,,,,,,,,,

  • Rennie

    No doubt will be first priority (New Orleans in Katrina vs. outlying areas just as destroyed), and in reality, transportation is likely to be by foot, so yes, everyone is better off (pending further disaster) to stay in the familiar and work together with people they know. Urban people dropping into rural or wilderness areas would face starvation/exposure issues even if they had no hostilities to deal with unless they have wilderness training or relatives/friends they can depend on. Lack of medication/medical facilities would be a survival threat for anyone in need of regular treatment/medical services. I would hope that setting up a bargaining system between manufacturing facilities, as simple as aspirin for socks or crude agricultural equipment, would get trade and transport established quickly. An area such as the Mohawk Valley of NY once mined, refineded and cast it’s own iron/steel, turning out all the hand tools, agricultural and milling machinery it required for the waterpowered textile industries. The quickest way to put such goods back into production would be reverse engineering antiquities now in museums or private collections, mass production would require an urban population drawing on people who still have manufacturing/machining skills. I know it sounds fantastical, but the sooner raw and manufactured goods were being moved by muscle or waterpower around the state the faster we could recover from the worst case scenarios. Getting local agriculture back into production (instead of shipping milk making butter or cheese, during 1816 “The year without a summer” cheese supplied most of America’s protein, while people ate passenger pigeons in place of domestic poultry that died, sheep were the most common form of livestock and many died from pnuemonia after being sheared). I friend of mine forwarded the Eisenhower speech warning of the military industrial complex, and how we should be more focused on making plowshares than swords, and he missed my point that as long as we make NEITHER, subjugation could just be a matter of time, all our plowshares are being made in mexico or China. So, personally rural areas provide me my best options, because I live here, urban people expecting what they get in the city have a hard time adjusting to rural life in normal conditions.

  • Gordon in Texas


    Again I applaud your guide to surviving in the city during and after a disastrous event changes our lives. You are providing people with knowledge that may save their lives. But, again, you’re assuming that things will get back to “normal” in a timely fashion.

    You assume that distribution will resume within weeks; not months. Our present distribution system does not allow stores to stock more than a few days of food. An EMP will disrupt our systems of distribution and order for months and months. When Hurricane Ike hit us we were without electricity for over 2 weeks and had to drive for an hour to get gasoline, water and other needed items. That was under “ideal” conditions. We had transportation, money and the damaged areas were local and not state or country wide. Coastal areas of the US will probably be the first re-supplied with, most likely, foreign aid. And beware of strangers bearing gifts. This will be a perfect opportunity for the U.N. to move in and “restore” order.

    You assume that gangs will be killing each other and not aligning themselves to prey upon the public. Gangs are barbaric but have been known to join together and organize when situations dictate. Will those in the cities—especially those who are unarmed due to their states’ laws—be able to defend themselves against gangs that “bond” together for a common cause? Probably not. Even those who are well-armed will not be able to defend their homes from gangs who are more experienced in performing violent acts against others. The gangs will also leave an area after it has been decimated and move on to greener pastures.

    I believe that the last thing that people are going to worry about during and immediately after a disastrous event will be jobs. Those that can provide a skill will be sought after and barter systems will kick in. Rural people generally will not need “jobs” to survive. Most already have skills and rural communities will know who to go to for this or that. The job market will re-establish itself AFTER order has been restored. If an EMP is the event, forget about computer, communication or any other skills that require electricity and software. Learn skills that will help you survive.

    Last, many people in urban areas will be killed or die off due to lack of utilities, roving gangs, lack of food and clean water, and what ever. Those who do survive may wish that they did not if they don’t have the necessary skills and mental attitude to survive, which in today’s entitlement society is extremely rare. Me? I tend to prepare for a worse-case situation and hope that it never happens. Therefore, if TSHTF, I plan to leave my urban home and head out to our well-prepared retreat in a very rural setting.

    • David Morris (Survival Dave)

      Hey Gordon, great comments again!

      Again, there is no assumption of when general distribution will resume. Local “distribution” began within hours in New Orleans after Katrina. The same economics that allowed almost 75% of pot users to continue their habits uninterrupted will allow other commodities to be distributed as well. The prices will reflect the laws of supply and demand and may not be as low as people would like, but items WILL be available.

      On gangs suddenly becoming masters of organization, discipline, and small unit tactics, I have to disagree. The actions that you’re suggesting are much more likely from an organized outside military force than an internal gang.

      Looking back at New Orleans, pre-Katrina, your thoughts about police disarming citizens and not criminals is partially correct. There were some shocking stories about people getting their guns confiscated. But there were also communities that armed themselves and became safe and stable micro-environments.

      I caution you not to ignore the 10s of millions of guns and tens of millions of defensive firearms classes that people have taken since then AND the several states that have passed laws specifically prohibiting firearm confiscation during a state of emergency. Many of these tens of millions have taken action because of their fear of a breakdown in civil order and they have taken tangible steps to prepare themselves. The US has changed since Katrina. It SHOULD cause you to sleep a little better at night :)

      Do you REALLY think it’s more likely that gangs will join up and organize quicker, more effectively, and with less in-fighting than groups of individuals, families, and neighbors?

      And yes…many people in urban areas WHO CHOOSE TO REMAIN UNPREPARED will be killed or die off due to lack of utilities, gangs, water, food, heat, shelter, sickness, & injury. Why focus on them and not on the remnant of people who DO choose to prepare themselves and their families?

      If you think that EVERYONE in a city is a mindless lemming who’s going to die, then are you saying that current and former military, firemen, police, other law enforcement, other first responders, and other switched on people are also mindless lemmings who are going to die? Is there, perhaps, a slight chance that these good people with skills and preparations in place MIGHT be able to stabilize micro-environments that expand into stable neighborhoods and cities? Is there a chance that they won’t lay down and give up as soon as they see a gang member spraying and praying?

      History says yes.

      • Gordon in Texas

        Points well taken David. The State of Texas and others have good laws concerning gun ownership and the people in those states appreciate that. But trying to organize a neighborhood “protection group” is a little different than organizing a neighborhood watch. Watching for illegal activity is one thing; organizing a group of gun owners to defend a block, street, or entire neighborhood is another. I’m not sure where one would train and I’m sure the police would find it difficult to accept a group (no matter how well-intentioned) that will use lethal force to defend their neighborhoods if all went South. Unless a neighborhood group has a well-trained leader, they are no better than a gang. Are there organizations that train or provide leadership skills in this area? Closest thing I can think of would be a militia. Have you polled any law enforcement members about this?

        • David Morris (Survival Dave)

          Hey Gordon,

          I’ve talked with several LEO about neighborhood security programs after disaster, but haven’t done a formal poll.

          There’s two sides to this that I’ll share with you. The bad side is that the last poll of it’s kind that I’ve seen showed that only half of Sheriffs in the country supported the individual right to own firearms for self defense purposes.

          The other side is that the LEO that I have talked with have been very supportive of neighborhoods joining together in a mutual aid capacity to defend one another when life and not just property are at stake.

          There is almost no support for vigilantism…and with good reason since vigilantism breaks down into anarchy fairly quickly.

          It’s also valuable to remember that most neighborhoods have at least one law enforcement, military, FBI, or other first responder family within them. While these people are trying to keep the peace, they’re going to want to know that their families are being watched over and are likely to be thankful to anyone who does just that.

    • Gordon in Texas

      One more thing that I didn’t mention: Banding together—whether it’s in the country or in an urban setting—will be essential in surviving. David mentions this and it is sound advice. As he said, that’s why cities were formed in the first place. If you don’t know your neighbors, you should. Get to know who you can depend on, who has special skills (doctor, mechanic, dentist, etc.), who will need assistance (medical or otherwise), who is also doing their survival planning, and who will bring down a group. You and your neighbors can share a lot of information without giving out vital information that only you and your family need to know.

  • s c

    Most of the comments here are good and right. So I don’t forget, I want to add that it shouldn’t come as a surprise that ultraliberals DON’T seem to be interested in this topic (hmmmmm).
    Many years ago, I was told that when the economy is on the verge of going down the toilet, government is an obvious liability and the world seems to be in full self-destruct mode, ‘if you can’t get in or out of the area where you live in 15 minutes or less, you’re living in the WRONG place.’
    Not only is this idea true, it should be OBVIOUS to anyone who cares about their family, themselves and their friends. The “rest” will have to learn the HARD way.
    Ultraliberals, I think it’s safe to say, deserve exactly what it is that they “WANT.”

    • Dan az

      Hey sc
      Good points! I would like to add that if you have loved ones in the city working that they should have an alternative route like back roads to get home as soon as the power goes off or if communications are shut down.There is always another way to get out of dodge but you need to plan ahead and without phones they must know how long it will take and where to go looking for them and have a place to meet if there is a problem.

      • Granny Mae

        Dan az,

        I can think of a lot of things to do in a time of disaster except one thing. What do we do when our kids and grand kids are in school and we can’t get to them? What is a good plan for them? Does anyone have a good idea? I have no idea what to tell my granson to do if there is a major disaster !

        • Granny Mae

          The way in and out of that school parking lot is a disaster itself so I can imagine by the time we could get to the school to get him we probably wouldn’t be able to get near the school. Another problem is that within a four block area there are four schools. Elementary, intermediate, middle, and high school. Every road to the schools are connected in some way so the trafic would be unreal ! The only thing I can think of would be to have him walk out to a certain point and make arrangements to pick him up there !

          • David Morris (Survival Dave)

            Hi Granny Mae,

            That’s a great question, and one that I devote a good amount of time to in the early part of the course.

            It gets very complicated when you start adding in variables like distance, what type of disaster, the particular administration you’re dealing with, etc.

            But it’s vital because this is one of the roadblocks that people with kids will have to overcome before they can even attempt to get out of Dodge.

            There’s no magic bullet, but it IS a common problem for people who have kids who live in blizzard areas and here are some ideas. Many schools require backup or even tertiary people for pickup during blizzards, so this concept isn’t “way out there.”

            Each will be good solutions for some people and not good for others.:

            1. Give a friend who lives close to the school written permission to pick up your child. Do whatever is necessary to make your particular school happy.

            2. Find out what frequency(s) the school’s radios operate on and get a set that will operate on the same frequencies.

            3. Have your child carry a GMRS radio and tell them to turn it on to a particular channel in the event of an emergency. You’ll have to check the batteries often.

            4. If your child has a cell phone, tell them NOT to call their friends if a disaster happens. If calling doesn’t work, try texting.

            5. Get as many of the cell numbers for teachers and in-school land line numbers as you can.

            Remember, the school’s concern is NOT your particular child. It is getting through the current event while controlling as many factors as possible and making sure that EVERY single student is taken care of.

            So, if the circumstances warrant, you may need to tell your child to go through a window or run out a door if time is critical. This is in direct conflict with the school’s mission of keeping track of every student, so you’re going to have to weigh the potential benefits vs. the potential costs.

          • Dan az

            Hey Granny
            Like Dave said it depends on allot of things one being age,What I would add to what he said is if they have a cell phone then they have a GPS signal that you can hone in on.You would know better than I what your surroundings are and what plans to make.Knowing you here I would say you wouldn’t have a problem with telling the school what you would expect from them.Am I right?Here I have a 5 yr old grandson that I would go get with a quad taking the back roads or over country side.The thing that I worry about is if the power and communications go down I will need to move quick.I hope you take the time and make a plan where to meet if something does go down.I hope this helps calm you.

    • JR

      You really can’t say that, unless you have your head in the sand.
      I know people that you would call ultra liberals and communists and yet,
      They are prepared, they have water and food stored, they have weapons and munition and they are getting organized and learn how to defend them self. Why? Not because they fear a simple natural catastrophic event, not because they fear the government will come and get them, simply because they fear the extremists on the right that push for an armed revolution will get enough momentum to start one. They are hell bend to survive and defend them self not against drug pushers, criminals, government, but right wing extremists….and one thing I can tell you, this movement seems to grow quite steady.

      • Dan az

        well jr I hope you feel safe with them because I dont know to many that went into to service they just ran the other way.

        • Granny Mae

          A Men !

        • http://?? Joe H.

          Dan az
          Canada used to be full of them!!!

      • JC

        Right wing extremists? Now there’s a term that’s been WAY overused by the hysterical left. How about the “Americans” who might want to restore the Republic. Real communists should definately live in fear fear of those as they have a track record for killing said commies.

        • Dan az

          A big Amen to that!

  • Alan Cooper

    ?? My question is: if Electric power is shout off for a period of time, AND solar panels are needed to produce electricity, how can one build/install them in a apt or condo setting with relative ease, as space/area to put them, and a way to switch out electric panels is needed. Also, Off The Grid advertises “Grow one acre of garden on a 1/4 acre of space”. Is that’s why farther out suburbia or rural towns are suggested??? Please respond with your thoughts. [keeping in mind that availability of gasoline comes into play too]

    • Dan az

      you need just a few things to make power and some knowledge of wiring to make it happen try reading Home Power they are to liberal for me and are now mostly for the sell back group but they do have allot of info there.They are on the internet or magazines if you can check out their earliest mags when they where for those that live off the grid an not just suppply the grid.And for your question on growing try elevated boxes in layers to get more in less space.

      • Al Sieber

        I get the same magazine, good info.

    • Granny Mae

      My son was telling me that he found a place on line that tells how to use the solar powered yard lites to make solar pannels for use in other things. I guess you wire them in series or something. You might want to check it out. Also you can use a grill for cooking or a camp stove. I used a camp stove when I was young and we didn’t have our kitchen finished yet, just have some ventilation. Also there are things called inverters that you might check into. I have no idea how they work. I leave that to my husband and my sons.

  • Suzanne

    Dear David,
    I totally understand what you are saying. I’m in the burbs of Houston and am preparing to “survive in place”. Bugging out is a last-resort type scenario.
    I agree that being in a distribution hub is a plus.
    In a big city, we fully expect the “entitlement class” to burn down their own neighborhoods first, then fan out to loot stores and middle class neighborhoods. The majority of such thugs will die in the first week as homeowners defend their property. After that, the smarter thugs will bond together to form syndicates… assuming the local drug gangs don’t already. I also think that a lot of people in subdivisions will likely form watch groups for mutual protection.

    • Gordon in Texas


      I also live in the burbs of Houston (SE, just outside of the city limits) and I don’t think I’d want to be anywhere near the city if push came to shove. I’d like to think that my neighbors would form a neighborhood protection group but many of them are obama supporters and are totally dependent (physically and mentally) on government agencies for their peace of mind. They are not prepared for anything. I know of only two neighbors that I can depend on to watch my six. Not a good percentage. It would have to be a major event for us to leave the home that we’ve personalized and holds so many wonderful memories but if we had to, we’d leave for the country.

      Watch groups work well when everyone is well fed. What happens when the food runs out and they find that one of the neighbors actually prepared for such an event and has food, water, etc.? My planning doesn’t include feeding the neighbors.

      • Carlucci

        Hey Suzanne & Gordon – I live in the ‘burbs of Houston, too – near Katy. Great to see you both on this blog – !

    • Granny Mae


      I didn’t think about it before but you are right about the people that are gov. dependant burning down their neighborhoods. It happened in Detroit Michigan back in the 50′s I could never understand what posessed people to do such things. They burn houses , cars, and businesses and for what? Just in a frenzy. The best of luck to you and yours.

  • Kim

    Actually, Mr. Morris has a good point about cities. There are some very distinct advantages to being in a city. Shelter is a good one and lots of food to be picked up in the first few days. If you can set up a good area where you can maintain control and keep the bad guys out, then you have a good, short term means of survival and possibly even a long term one.

    I’m country though so I’ll stay out there but for either the city or the country you’ll need a plan and a good one, determined by where you are and how long the disaster or whatever happened is gonna last.

  • independant thinker

    This just in.

    There have been three more quakes since. 3.2, 3.4, and 3.8 as of 7:00 Monday morning.

  • Macawma

    I’m really glad to see this series of articles. Just wish the majority of people would read this, not pooh-pooh it as just more doomsday jargon, and get their families prepared “just in case”. I have worried for a while that we country folks would get an onslaught of city people, hungry, needing shelter, water, and safety. It does worry my mind to have to turn anyone away, especially any children, which I really couldn’t do, but we are prepared as best we can for our families and can’t take the multitudes. Again, I fear for our livestock as we won’t physically be able to defend all 3500+ acres. It’s a very scary scenario which isn’t just going to go away. We must all do what we can to prepare for the worst.

  • 45caliber

    I think David Morris should be listened to and obeyed. Then I’ll have a lot less problem out in the country …

    • Dan az

      45 I’m sure there will be strays!

    • David Morris (Survival Dave)

      Hey 45Caliber…I’ll say it again, the point of this article and almost everything that I write is how vital it is to have a plan in place to survive where you spend the majority of your time, not where you think it might be ideal to ride out a survival situation.

      You have a plan to Survive In Place and I suggest that people in urban areas have one too.

      What happens too often is that people who live in the cities hear guys like you say that they have ZERO chance of surviving even a slight hiccup and therefore they don’t do anything. This creates more refugees and more victims.

      I, on the other hand am on a mission to get as many people to take action to get prepared for short, medium, and long term disasters taking their current, non-ideal, circumstances into account.

      • Lastmanstanding

        Dave. Thanks for all your advice. It will benefit many. Having spent alot of time in the back country of the rocky mts. (alone!) one of the single biggest things to remember is to “breathe!” Take a minute to calm and get control of yourself. (Saying a short prayer also helps…) Making one smart decision initially may be the key to surviving. God bless you…

  • http://AlternativeMedicines AutumnGal

    David, I always find something in your articles that will help me/us to be better prepared, if only renforcing something I’ve read before. Because we’re talking about people, there’s an adage I learned from previous sales training; “Some Will, Some Won’t, So What”. Sadly that has never been more accurate than with this topic. City or country, human behavior (as a whole) doesn’t change much and I’ve lived in both places, (including the boonies:). People usually find what they’re looking for and there are some great people in both places with a lot of savvy who are as closed mouthed and protective of their own as the next person. (It’s called “survival” for a reason:)
    I’ve been very concerned tho about those planning on “taking to the hills” when something happens and assuming they could just “move in” on someone’s property! I’ve heard people say they would “make friends with church people” if/when. However there is a “code of ethics” and dishonesty may be the most dangerous behavior anyone can adapt. Anyway, you are helping people in both places to know what to do if they want TO know and that is very important to us all! This is no time for anyone to kipe a top dog attitude because one never knows when that person for which you feel great scorn, just might be the very person you will need in a crisis situation!
    I’ve read your book and found tons of important info for ALL types of situations, including things like an accidental chemical spill. If you live in the city or country, it’s important to know where the railroads are in your area too.
    A brother drilled it through my head, “Ignorance will get you killed”. So rather than us as readers attacking each other, it would be more benificial to share and encourage each other and learn restraint and respect. Good habits for all kinds of circumstances.

    • David Morris (Survival Dave)

      Thanks, AutumnGal,

      I’m very happy that you learned from the course and I hope you never need to use the lessons to stay alive. You’re right on on not attacking each other, and I apologize if I did, but if people continue to classify their fellow man who lives in cities as nothing more than objects for target practice, I will correct them.

  • Jason

    I live in the ‘burbs of a major metropolitan area. I think survival in place is the way to go in most circumstances. However, the author didn’t touch on the one issue that WOULD have me packing for the hills, and that is government/military confiscation of guns under some kind of enacted Martial Law.

    If a scenario like that happened, it is common sense that the house to house sweeps would START in the urban centers and fan out, ENDING in the rural areas and forest land. Living in an urban environment, I can contend with defending my family and property in a disaster, but it would be suicide to try to fight back one house at a time to a military/police enacted confiscation. The only option in that case, is concede firearms, or not be there when they come (ie: bug-out).

    Any other recomendations? This is the BIGGEST drawback to staying in a urban environment over Rural that I can see.

  • http://none John

    Its good to make plans. Just remember one thing. Most planning assumes the government is your friend and is trying to keep things going. Remember that the one thing you will need most is water. Specially in a city where the government can cut your water supplies and there is not much you can do about it. Secondary is food, but also in the city they can prevent the distribution of food into a city as they desire. Under those conditions the gangs will probably die just as fast as the organized communities though it may make the gangs just bit worse than normal. Outside a city your problem is power to keep water flowing, and seeds to keep producing food. Without power and water you have neither and without some means of making or getting spare parts you have the same situation over time. Its also harder for government to prevent movement outside of major cities. So its possible to forage for a bit longer outside the cities.

    What does all that mean? It means the most important piece of information in making a plan to survive in place or any other way, is how you think the people in charge are going to act in the immediate future. No plan can survive if the key starting premise is false. For example do you think the government or help (from whatever source) can get to you within a week? 30 Days? 6 Months? How long do you have to prepare for and how much can I spend to get there? Second you have to ask yourself a very hard question. What am I prepared to do to keep me and mine safe? Believe me, safe is a purely relative term under these conditions and not everyone is able to do what might be necessary.

    Now last, I spent 30+ years in the military and attended west point. It is my belief from what I have seen going on during that time and what I have heard, that those currently in charge of the government would rather kill 80-90% of the population of this country and those left they believe would conform to what they want to have happen. They can bring in folks from more compliant countries to get factories and other facilities back in operation, so they dont believe they need us. Those currently in charge at the federal level(obama administration) want a one world government based on socialism/marxism/communism and are determined to achieve those ends. And dont think I mean just democrats, it flows across the parties both republican and democrat. Second not every state government has those same goals, but some do. So in some cases you might get state aid that is not trying to kill you and in others they will be working with the feds. If there is another major disaster it will probably be country wide and they will most certainly make their move. I wont speculate on what MIGHT happen. I believe you have to prepare for no help at all for at least 6 months to a year. Second, beware of military units of any type cutting off the cities. Make sure your group or community has access to HAM radio equipment or can receive short wave broadcasts. Once they cut off your city, your only way to survive without 6 months to a years worth of supplies will be to attack and drive away those units, and keep doing so till every city can function again. So you better learn what to do. They can kill the largest number of people by isolating the cities first and cutting off the water and food till people in them cant resist being eliminated. Almost half of our population is in the major cities. Therefore the rural areas will be the last places they move against. That just gives them a bit more time is all. Unless the people of this country stand up quickly in this situation the country will die. That is where I think things are heading, I hope I’m wrong though the things I’ve had to do in the military tell me I’m right about what is coming. So make sure you at least consider it as a possibility in whatever plans you try to make. A war is coming folks and it is unlikely to be civilized in any way. I wish you all luck, and if you don’t yet know who Jesus is, you better find out while there is still some time to do so.

    • David Morris (Survival Dave)

      Good and valid points, John. I approach the issue from a slightly different angle.

      1. Survival in any situation is about the fundamentals: fire, water, shelter, food and then medical and security. Arm your city for siege warfare and skip the fundamentals and you’re in trouble.

      2. Looking at a disaster as an insurgency operation where the event is the “attacker”, the best way to rebuild is to have the counter-insurgency approach. Create stable micro environments, support them, and support their growth. This is completely different than the current top-down approach that didn’t work after Katrina.

      3. The best way to encourage success is to have as many stable micro-environments as possible, and the best way to do that is to have as many individuals and families start or continue getting prepared.

      4. The hardest step in this whole process is the first step. If it is something simple, measurable, achievable, and tangible, like buying more of the food that you already eat, then it’s more likely that people will take the first step. If the first thing they read is that the government is going to kill or allow 80-90% of the population to die, why prepare?

      I’m not saying that you’re incorrect by any stretch of the immagination, but I am saying that some conversations encourage people to continue preparing and others make people feel helpless. It’s like throwing gasoline on a match. It SHOULD work since there’s fuel, air, and heat, but the match gets snuffed out.

      My mission is to help as many people as possible get burning desire to be more self reliant as quickly as possible, and that’s why I didn’t go down the “we’re all going to die” path. There are a lot of regional disasters (flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, localized terrorist attacks, accidents) and family disasters (loss of a job, depression from the death of a loved one) that cause people to benefit from their survival preparations in addition to MAJOR end-of-the-country events.

  • TP

    David, I am glad you are encouraging those in the metropolis areas to survive in inclimate conditions. I read “Lights Out” and got a lot of points out of it that I didn’t consider before, but a lot of the gory details could have been left out. I do think there will be a strong element of looting and chaos in the densly populated areas. I have seen people turn into something worse than animals during storms. Imagine if an EMP occured over the US and the gas and groceries began to trickle or even halt. It would get very ugly. But the people in those places need to be prepared for anything that might occur. One of my stronger reasons for relocating to a more rural area is to get out of sight of the most powerful government agency in the US- FEMA. Thee first thing they would do is to confiscate our protection-guns. I still want to thank you though for giving advice to those who live in those very populated areas as most of them will have to find a way to survive in the element they are in. TP



    • libertytrain

      Sally, click on the word “here” in the second paragraph. It’s a link to take you to the first article.

  • newspooner

    Isaiah 5:8

  • http://com i41

    In the city there will be plenty of rats,cats, and dogs to roast. Indians and orientals will be having a cook off every day. When the Veitnamese moved in up in ND. the first thing we noticed there wasn’t any barking dogs and cats roaming around, great for quiet neighbhorhoods. But one area the if there isn’t any power, what is going to pump water thru the lines and water is needed for any cluster of people to survive. No fuel so people can not flew to open areas, just have to pile the dead and start burning bodies to prevent diseases. As food costs and as fuel costs are climbing every few days by 10-30 cents a gallon, the soros socialist communist/marxists are closing in on the desired goal with Onumnutts at the head of the union supporting idoits. Peole had better start moving out in the government land and squatting since it is taxpayers land anyway. Also start cleaning out the illegals by what ever expediant methods available, and that means all illegals.

  • BRAD3000

    I have your book ‘Urban Survival Guide’ and it should be on everyones shelves without fail. Period.

    Theres one thing that separates the city dwellers from rural inhabitants and its not just the city pop densities but something more dangerous – its hi-rise apt buildings! If a major SHTF event occurs taking out power and water supplies, then being on the 15floor without water for drinking and cooking after a month, is going to force people to leave sooner or later. It would be very hard to carry enough water – 1gal/person per day up 15 floors or even 5 floors once the roof tanks ran out. Showers/baths & flushing etc would not be possible after a tine so eventually hygene would suffer and then apt building become death traps.
    Did I mention garbage building up ?

    As I see it, the time to egress the city is early in the process when the roads are passible looters are still ransacking the stores and not focused on you and what you have got. This assumes obviously that you have a 2nd location to fall back to…

    Just MHO and thanks dor the bandwidth

  • GregD

    As is so often the case, it’s about basics and common sense first.
    I’m focused on the most likely disaster, a financial and
    economic decline that happens over a few more quarters or a year or so. Then drags on. A depression.
    Maybe with a drama like a bond market blow up or a run on the dollar. perhaps some banks closing. Like what happened in Argentina. And is going on right now, increasing in the US. It’s not about Armegeddon, it’s about surviving in reduced circumstances. In common financial panics/later depressions, crime, inflation and unemployment go way up. There are shortages. As time grinds on it gets worse.
    To prepare for this, #1 you have to have income. . And you have to have a place cheap enough that you can survive on severely reduced income. Move in with family. Or friends. “hobby” job might become your only job. If people you care about, or you yourself lose a job, or your pension, you are going to need to double up with other people, find a garage or spare bedroom to sleep in, and have some meager income to have food and rent money in reduced circumstances. This is not about city or country, pistols or rifles, but work, friends, family and common sense. Where they and you live. Everybody likes to argue about hypothetical extreme situations, city vs country, etc but not one person in 20 has the common sense, relationships juice or money saved to survive a job layoff. If folks would just focuse on hiding a few hundred or a few thousand in small bills, hidden well, having pepper spray and or a gun, again hidden well, a place to go with friends or famiily if a particular city or part of a city gets really bad, a plan to survive dirt cheap, get some kind of job, they would be miles ahead. Most middle class Americans lose the good job, lose the house, run out of unemployment, and end up homeless and on the streets about 2 years and $200k later. They never rent a cheap place, sell the house, get a crappy job. Until it’s too late.
    Not smart.
    If I got sick or my business tanked badly, I would live in my van or a cheap camper or bootleg a little room into my shop. Maybe take in a roomie at my apartment, or rent a room. This is prep job one. Have the basics. I’ve got the 9mm in the high speed gun safe.
    some cash and silver well hidden, (but not enough of them )
    I’m working on storing, canning, building my food storage and prep skills. Not MRE’s, etc but stuff you can crack open, add to some pasta when there’s company. Got to clean up, so I can have guests !
    Do I worry about the government, real social breakdown, shortages?
    Sure. But first things first. Like saving a little more money. Getting in better shape. Keeping relationships and mental health up.
    Good luck to us all. Stick together, help and ask for help,
    use your talents. Live poor save money.

  • Tulsajudoka

    Great article, I really appreciate the information. I too live in the city, however during the recent snow storm in Tulsa that shut the city down as far as public services, most of the city pulled together to help each other. Whether it was helping a neighbor shovel the drive or get their medicine or whatever was needed. A lot is going to depend on people keeping a cool head where ever they live city or country. We cannot afford to panic in such a situation. Everyone will have to take a deep breath and use their heads. We also have a lot of people in the city that are trained on firearms and are accostomed to using their camping gear. We did that in 2007 during the month long power outages due to the ice storm. We can survive if we use the common sense God gave us. He will be with us whatever happens cause he loves us

    • libertytrain

      I think your comments are excellent. I do think Dave is understanding that things may not be quite as calm in the event of an unknown disaster of the type he is inferring. Panic may very well ensue in a situation where weather is not the factor but a disaster of unknown proportions where the variables will be up for grabs. I certainly hope that people will be patient and tolerant and still help each other out.

      • David Morris (Survival Dave)

        Absolutely, libertytrain.

        Many people look at what happened after Katrina and extrapolate out assumptions that any disaster in the future will definitely be worse.

        There were a few factors that were somewhat unique to Katrina that made it seem so bad:

        1. Gangs used the hurricane and subsequent levy break to eliminate competing gangs. They planned this in advance and were ready to come out shooting as soon as the hurricane passed.

        2. The entitlement mentality is more pervasive in New Orleans than in most major cities in the US. I’d say it’s bad everywhere, but it was/is horrible in New Orleans. There are lots of good people down there, including friends and relatives of mine, but there are way too many people who think that they shouldn’t have to work to get anything.

        3. Government corruption was accepted in New Orleans. This was a top-down problem that caused a lack of respect, discipline, and trust among law enforcement and between citizens and law enforcement.

        4. The media did NO fact checking. They reported every sensational story they heard…especially in the shelters. From cannibalism to killing babies, every rumor got spread to the rest of the country as fact. Things WERE bad, but not nearly as bad as reported. The problem with this is that the extreme false stories are what got imprinted in most people’s minds, and those false stories became the foundation for many people’s preparations. As time has gone on, the facts about what really happened are fading away, but the negative emotions about what the media said happened are getting stronger in many people’s memories.

        In any case, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how calm or violent things will be. It will vary from city to city, neighborhood to neighborhood, and probably even block to block.

        • libertytrain

          Dave, excellent points. And I think you are absolutely correct: “In any case, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how calm or violent things will be. It will vary from city to city, neighborhood to neighborhood, and probably even block to block.”
          Now, I have to go clean more containers and gather more water. Sadly.

  • mark

    I live in the downtown area of a major city (city pop. 800,000). To live in a city you have to be tolerate of other peoples: race, ethnic, sexual orientation, political and religious views so we really do not want you red-neck, intolerate, selfesh conservatives in our cities. Please stay in your red-neck back woods country and we wil stay in our vibrant tolerate cities. Thank You.

    • sofa

      your tolerance is brilliant

  • The ‘American’

    Those of you who choose to stay in the cities, or have no alternative, I do sincerly hope you each have some sort of personal plan that will serve the common good in the event of a sudden disaster. Keep in mind, at that point, it becomes the ‘real world’. Without going into any LOOOONG disssssertation, I only have this to say; look around you and size up your current environment, and make a ‘real world’ evaluation in the event of a potentially bad situation. My last thoughts to you are God Bless, I truly wish you the best of luck. If I should survive in my own chosen environment away from the city, which is probably a little better than 50/50, I will meet up with what is left of you city folks when the disaster has past.

  • Robert

    Most of us live in cities so It’s a good idea to plan as best we can. I live on the outskirts of a small city and think I have a pretty good setup. I’ve been following David’s writing for a while and he has a lot of good ideas that will help people do the best they can.

  • s c

    Call me fickle, but as long as some people are determined to live out their fantasies at our expense, the least they could do is to move to Beijing, Moscow, Havana or possibly Mexico City.
    After there’s not many things more powerful than putting your money [your true character, that is] where your mouth is. So, when do America’s socialists, communists, fascists and progressives leave America for their utopias? We’ll always be able to communicate via the internet. Have a nice trip, folks. Scram!

  • Tim

    Well well….. I think we have to dig into recent scenarios. We keep thinking nuclear holocaust from the fear in the ’60s and Holly Wood films. We know now with more accurate guidance systems the nukes needed are much smaller as the problem was just hitting a city so the idea was make it big!

    Those big nukes made Urban survival a non real issue for most. What is the current issue are the small tactical nukes that take out key installations and infrastructure. So we need contingency plans for anyone that doesn’t glow.

    I am an EX Zimbabwean. My Grandmother lived through the whole German socio economic melt down after WW1 told to me many times. Being more modern etc I didn’t think it could happen to my family but started around me in the form of corrupt socialism in the mid to late ’90s. Insidiously a few years on 30% inflation and drying up of Govt projects. The succour of the elite was dissapearing and services were collapsing. The land issue was the spike in the canon and accelerated what was happening already, the last golden goose was culled. Power, roads, water and $ became increasingly hard to deal with. Inflation went past 100% fairly soon. Cycling to work as there was no petrol. Storing water in large tanks (those were hard to get) growing food in gardens. Candles, solar recharging units, barter trade. Neighbours were wonderful, you had to help each other out. One had a borehole, another a decent genset and we supplied petrol, we could get our tanks topped up…….

    Life was very hard but we survived. I see it coming in various degrees around the world. You need a dual plan. One to hole up and stay put. With things like a tsunami this is not always wise so you need a second plan:- 5min evacuation. GTFO grab and go, where to should be chosen in advance.

    You have to have a 72hr kit with water, food and lights. Try to use kit that has standard batteries as there is flexibility in rechargables and batteries from kids toys. There are many “kits” but take the time to do a motion study journal of your family for a week then find what you need to put in your kit. Medicine etc.

    Long term, work now on securing your property. Storage tanks for water, water filters,,,, Store goods for 3 months if your budget allows it and turn over your stores so the older kit is consumed and replaced.

  • Siobhan

    We lived many years in the country and were very self-sufficient until my husband had two heart attacks and nearly died. We now find it necessary to live in a small city near hospital and medical help. We are prepared to survive and thrive in any event. Not everyone is able to live in the country. Elderly sometimes find the city a bit more stable for their needs, I know we did.


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