In an Emergency, do I head for country or city?

Who would you want on your team?

The conventional wisdom is that if the system breaks down for reasons of economic collapse, or some sudden natural disaster, then the best place to be is the countryside, in a rural community with provisions and the means to grow more.

However a few folks on different discussion boards have been questioning that – wondering whether actually the city might be a better bet…..I have opened a discussion about that over in our forum.

Here are two views from the off-grid Facebook page:

Noreene Bailey-Treece says: I am in the country and would prefer to be there (in an Emergency. I have medical training. am used to going without so called vital services. i feel i would fare better at home in the country. As for shelters.. as a parent i would not take my children to one. there is too much risk and danger there for them. ie the superdome in New Orleans.
There needs to be a national system for placing a wrist band ID on all persons in the shelter. scannable. ability to preregisters your families information to speed up inprocessing at a shelter. that system would enable children to be tracked as also offenders, and allow red cross to verify for families trying to locate a loved one.
Large shelters need to have a system for sectioning people within the shelters, families with children, those requiring medical care, single men, into different sections with a color coded bracelet. the key is this all has to be set up ahead of time including the computer programs and familiarizing the public and emergency response personnel.

WRETHA: I would say wherever you are, city or country, you need to be prepared for short and long term disasters, have a supply of food and water, it doesn’t have to be a lot, most disasters are short term, if you are able to get by for at least 2 weeks without having to leave your home, then you are far ahead of the masses. Get foods that don’t require cooking or heating, canned foods, there are lots of rice and noodle dishes that are pre-made in packages that can be eaten right out of the package. It doesn’t cost much to buy up a few extra packages of food like this each week or each payday, shop at dollar stores to get good buys. Canned meats, chicken, turkey, ham, tuna… you can even get these in foil packs so they will not take up too much space.

Buy cheap bottled water and store these, if you can’t afford it, then recycle plastic soda bottles, just be sure you clean them well and add a few drops of plain chlorine bleach, honestly if you can afford to buy soda, you can afford to buy cheap bottled water, it doesn’t need to be the uber expensive water, look for store brands. These tend to take up more space, you can get creative where you store them, line them up in the back of your closet, under your bed…

As you are doing this, and it would be utterly irresponsible if you choose not to, you can be buying up other things that may be needed if you have to shelter in place, things like first aid-bandages, alcohol, aspirin, ibuprofen, tape… if you can afford it, invest in a good first aid kit.

There are lots more things to do to really be prepared, but if you will just START doing it, starting this payday, you will be much better off than if you didn’t do anything. Before anyone says “I can’t afford to do any of this…”, my response is how can you afford not to, do you really think the government is going to take care of you? Remember the last few natural disasters and what those people went though? Do you want to be in that boat?

Shop at the dollar stores to make your money go even farther, save your money for important things, do you really need to eat out at lunch? Bring your lunch to work and you will save lots of money. Cut down on your frivolous expenditures, do you really need every channel on cable or satellite? How much money can you save by getting a cheaper package, or perhaps cutting it off altogether? I know I’m asking tough things of you, but in a SHTF situation, when you are standing there with your world falling apart, will you be wishing you had watched another soap opera or will you be glad you purchased some food and water to get you though whatever problem you are facing…

But one person wrote on a survivalist chat room that the City might be where the best aid is:
…….. I’ve lived all of my life in major cities both East and West Coasts. I’ve lived through various disasters (winter storms, floods, power outages, hurricanes, large scale fires, earthquakes & riots). Life goes on. City living does not frighten me in the least.

One book that many recommend is John Wesley Rawles: The Ultimate Suburban Survivalist Guide: The Smartest Money Moves to Prepare for Any Crisis

Another contributer said the following: The scenarios that many people envision about the cities are what they see on the TV (always exaggerated by the 24 hr. news cycle) and hyperbolic disaster movies. Urban dwellers pull together to help one another in disasters just as rural dwellers do. Running for the hills or the countryside in disasters would be the last reseort, because we know there would be major gridlock and more than likely safer to stay put as long as our home is habitable. We hunker down and help one another.

I do believe that those is rural areas are more prepared to sustain themselves, because that is their way of life (hunting, gardening, farming, raising live stock canning & preserving food for the winter). City living is limited by the space available for such activities, but we do a little of those things. However LOTS of urban dwellers do prepare and store food and water. There needs to be more, of course, but it’s growing.

Truth is that services in city infrastructures do get restored as first priority because that is where the population, businesses & hospitals are centered for the most part. Of course it would greatly depend upon the nature and duration of the event, but I think the main thing that may draw people into the city would be the need for medical services…..”

So this guy is farily even handed, and probably just favords rural over urban to wait out a crisis. Another poster, argues convincingly that the city is a better bet:

“Well, let’s do a quick and dirty review one of the common scenarios discussed here–which is an EMP attack. The power goes out on the entire East coast and circuits are fried — so we’ll use New York City as an example. The common wisdom here states that within a week or two, panicked city residents will flee the city by the millions once the heat and water goes out. In the process of doing so, they will degrade from human beings into sadistic, self-centered beasts ready to murder and steal to survive. In addition, all police, military and emergency responders will abandon their posts to join in on the fun.

Now let’s examine how I think this scenario could really play out. The power goes out and most people stay right where they are since public transportation and most modern automobiles are inoperable anyway. I think there is a good chance that the grocery stores will remain open despite the fact there is no power (cash only though). (Most were open during the temporary outage 3 years ago–by candlelight). However, they would be faced with some serious problems which I think they have a good chance of mitigating. Food in those grocery stores will run out soon.

Within hours of such an event, other unaffected areas, realize what has occurred and what the crisis means to the millions that are affected. However, they can’t help everyone immediately and must prioritize their aid. The President calls in some favors and massive shipments of emergency food, water and medical supplies makes their way to the major eastern port cities–preventing food riots and large scale disorder. These supplies won’t make it to rural areas –but cities like New York, Boston and Philly. Included with these shipments will be communication devices and generators so that local law enforcement/military can communicate. Now, they may also send troops in with all that stuff but that may or not be a bad thing. In subsequent shipments, these cities will begin receiving replacement infrastructure and slowly very limited grid power will begin to return.

In other words, if they are still standing, big cities will be the first areas to receive aid in certain scenarios. On the other hand, I think that for a good while rural areas and small towns will be on their own–perhaps for months. Food and other resources will run out and ironically–I think people will make their way to where they can eat….the city.

Now, there are other disasters scenarios where getting out of the city may still be the best shot at survival – or not being in one to begin with. However, I think that *always* assuming that cities are the absolute worst places to be during a crisis is flawed.

What do you think?”

2 Responses

  1. WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS, I live in Denver. If the economy totally collapses you can’t stay in a place like Denver and you won’t be able to leave if you wait too long. Two million hungry people with guns is something you don’t want to experience. I was told by a retired CIA agent 5 months ago to watch for the signs of protests and looting across major cities that continue to get worse. He was referring to London’s riots at the time and this was pre- Occupy Wall Street, which is now in 145 cities world wide. When the music stops people will be glued to their TV’s like they were when they were watching Katrina victims. When the food and fuel shipments stop showing up at grocery stores it will be too late. The city you are in will have about 9 days (max) of provisions and after that it gets ugly. If you have never truly been hungry you won’t understand. At that point it will be dangerous to try and leave especially down major highways or interstates. People with guns will lie in wait for you. Small state militias will protect state borders against refugees. Small towns will set up protective zones against outsiders. If you have food, water and a warm place to live you will need to be able to defend it. The world can support 1 billion people without our big city support structure and we have more than 6 billion. So 5 billion people could be at risk. If you live within 30 miles of a major city the hungry refugees are coming your way. It may never happen, but people at the top are preparing for it and it comes up in conversation at parties and at work now everyday. WHEN? You may have less than 45 days. When it happens, it happens quickly. Cash and credit cards are worthless. Liquor, cigs, canned food, water, guns, ammo and medical supplies will be the new currencies. You will need to get away from the city and regroup with small communal communities that can depend on each other and defend themselves against raiders. Rent the old movie, Postman, with Kevin Costner. In the beginning travel state highways north quickly. After 3:00 am most rural areas are deserted and you can travel at high speeds. Change license plates as you head north. As you get near the Canadian border look for logging roads that reconnect to something else to get you across the border. The retired CIA person I spoke to said he knows he can make the border in 7 hours. Make your check list now and be ready to move in a low profile manner before people start thinking about what is really happening. You can always drive back lol right? Good Luck.

  2. I live in a small city of only about 20000, but the area has 70000 plus in the surrounding towns and farms. I would stay at my house. I see two things. First, I think the “big” one, civilization failing, is not going to happen quickly but slowly. In fact I think it has been happening for years. It may be happening faster now and may speed up in the future (or turn around). Any quick disaster will be of a more temporary nature. Either way, I think I would stay here. The two things I feel I need to do are food and food. I need to learn and do more food preservation and I would like to have enough solar power to run my freezer. Those are the main things. The freezer would keep me going for the first 6 months or so if things fail long term and keep my food from spoiling for a short haul. Heat is a non-issue even though it does freeze and snow here, I have warm clothes and shelter. Camping out would get old real quick, but one does what they must to survive. Long term? I think the city would empty some especially small ones like this one. Empty houses mean extra yards to raise chickens , goats and crops in. The handicap for most people would be knowing what to do if they stay put or move, either way. Interesting times are coming, it could be a curse or a blessing depending on what one makes of it.

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