E-Mail 'Surviving in an Urban Environment- Part 5, by J.M.' To A Friend

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  1. J.M.,
    Great series so far! It has served as a great re-cap of the basics for long term preppers that get lost in the weeds of minutiae as well as good advice for those just starting out.

    In addition to the maintenance guy, don’t forget the trash guys! These guys know where EVERYTHING is in your neighborhood; urban or rural. Every alley, every backroad, what everyone has in their backyards; they see it everyday. We tip ours every Christmas and make sure we keep them happy. I have also made it a habit, no matter where I’ve lived, to pick one corner grocery or Mom&Pop store that I give all my business to for other than major grocery purchases. During an emergency, your loyalty and friendship with these people could make the difference if you need food or a gallon of gas.

    1. D.D. – Excellent point on establishing other relationships with people in the neighborhood. I might also include the mailman and the local beat cop(s) as people worth being on good terms with. If there are any (rational) homeless people that reside in your area it can’t hurt to give them a dollar or two once a week or so – since they’re around most of the time they might be able to warn you about any strangers or suspicious activity around your building.

  2. Harbor Freight often has “moving blankets” in large sizes on sale, and they are good as insulation, not just for furniture. There are other sources of surplus wool and other blankets as well.

    1. I also like the moving blankets, however…

      Be sure to test your skin against them before using them. One I had, purchased new, caused a terrible skin rash that took months to get rid of.

      It was the only one that did it. It was pure misery and I pitched it.

  3. One very tough issue is finding a tribe to join. I think it would be very difficult for a lone person to survive for very long if things got really bad. If you have friends who are preppers and can be trusted then it might be best to go with them. Some people, of course, would be needy and worthless.

    Hooking up with strangers runs the risk of meeting a psychopath who kills you in your sleep or when you are off guard.

    Even if you join a group, it is still important to make friends within the group who will defend you from attack or from being screwed by a clique. If bad things happen and paranoia sets in, you don’t want to be the automatic (and expendable ) suspect or regarded as a hostile spy/mole.

  4. Don – I agree, but the whole discussion around establishing solid relationships is a topic that would have taken as much space as the original article. If you’ve got some thoughts on the topic I’d encourage you to put something together and submit it to SurvivelBlog.com.

    1. Problem is JM is most people are set in their ways and could not be moved from it to save their life…So writing an article will just assuage somebody’s belief system or it will be blown off by those who disagree…So I’ve found its better to just throw out tidbits here and there and if people want to respond positively or negatively then its no skin off my back…

  5. lineman – I agree that a lot of folks are never going to change their ways, but I’ve also found that younger people can sometimes be influenced by a well-presented dialogue. I work with a lot of younger (relative to me) interns, and in the course of discussions on various non-work topics I’ve frequently heard them say something to the effect of ‘I read an article on so-and-so and it got me thinking’. That’s my goal when I write something – not to change anyone’s mind, but just to get them thinking about possibilities.

  6. I think the series is covering a lot of what people who are in urban environments need to be aware of, how to prepare, and the possibilities of what to do if you either decide to stay and ride out the situation, or if you need to plan to escape to a better place.

    Most of the major metro’s tend to have at least 2 major freeways running through them and in some cases, more than 2. There are usually several State Highways as well that provide a means to get out of the metro area.

    There are some metros that have more limited means for leaving, and the one that always come to mind for me, as I grew up out there was San Francisco. Being on a peninsula really limits your means of being able to leave easily. The same may be true for other coastal cities, even if they are not on a peninsula.

    If you are on the coast you’ll have in some cases many miles of city to go through before you get out of it, so unless you have a boat or know someone who does, getting out of the metro area could be difficult to extremely difficult. One example that comes to mind is the Los Angeles area where if you are in Santa Monica or Redondo Beach, trying to get out of the metro area could prove nearly impossible.

    I think the series of articles is doing a good job of providing lots of food for thought. Not only for those living in those areas, but for those of us that could be visiting friends or relatives in those areas when something happens. If you are visiting then you are at quite a disadvantage in some cases as you would not have everything available to you that you have at home.

    Definitely some good insights on the different travel/preparedness bags/packs you can keep in your car/truck for such instances. If you fly out to visit in a metro area, you could really be up a creek without a paddle.

    Overall, very good food for thought.

  7. Part 5 was GREAT!!!

    I lived through “Hurricane Elvis” in the early 2000’s in Memphis, Tennessee.

    We were stuck in a tower without power, or shower. Misery I tell you! And it was only for 8 days.

    We were on the 8th floor in the summer – hot and humid. My husband acquired 168 mosquito bites in the first night. And we had screens on our windows. He was so miserable I thought he was going to throw himself off of the balcony.

    Pack some citronella candles and bug spray. It can give you much needed relief until you can figure out an alternative solution.

  8. Power

    Battery banks using vehicle, or deep cycle marine batteries (boat batteries) can be used to provide a pretty decent source of emergency power and they’re silent. Having watched many of the store rushes prior to hurricanes, I didn’t see a lot of people hitting up the hardware store for boat and car batteries for emergency power. This would allow you to power some low power lights, charge your phone/tablets, and run some low-power fans as well. The batteries in your bank could be recharged using a vehicle with fuel in it, or you could use other batteries in their place. While there might be a gas shortage, vehicle batteries might be left sitting in the cars that the owners abandoned, or shiny new ones might sit unnoticed in auto parts stores.

    Steven Harris provides some solid guidance on battery banks here:


    I would also recommend investing the cash into his videos that give step-by-step instructions on building a battery bank, potential pitfalls and common questions. I built my first bank using his info and it’s pretty easy once you understand the basics.

    Plus you could load his videos up on a USB thumb drive and plug that into your phone via a micro-USB/type c/lightning adapter to USB adapter and have access to the videos for reference for when you need them for reference.

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