In the event of civil unrest, societal collapse, or times of disaster there will undoubtedly be a number of threats that the population will be forced to deal with. It is absolutely impossible to accurately predict what the threats will be. What I am confident about is that regardless of the cause of unrest or collapse or what the disaster is, the result will be widespread threats to the population and could take the form of utility outages, food shortages, martial law, or bank runs. I am also confident that pain and suffering can be mitigated by prior planning and action. Probably the single greatest advantage to planning now to respond to these threats is that most preparations can be made far in advance of any unrest, collapse, or disaster and that many of the preparations that are made for social unrest or societal collapse can also be used to protect a home during a natural or manmade disaster as well.
Every area has its own unique elements that must be kept in mind and the best way to approach this is through the use of population zones which are based on the density of the population in the local area. Population density zones are broken down into urban, suburban, rural, mountain, desert, and coastal zones. Special considerations should be given to each zone as follows:
Urban – The urban area is likely to be the one that is most desired to be avoided during the difficult times of unrest and disaster. There is a higher probability of martial law being implemented but at the same time, due to the population density, the urban area is most likely going to be the center of any assistance activity that is available. The obvious question is, I have made preparations so that I do not have to rely on others for assistance so why would I need to put myself in this position? My response to this would be that in difficult times, those are seen never getting any sort of assistance are likely going to be targets because it is obvious they have a great amount of resources at their disposal. Even if getting assistance is a facade, it may be imperative to maintaining the persona of being in the same state of need as everyone else. This brings up another benefit that lends itself nicely to the urban landscape and that is the “grey man” theory or the theory that a person that acts and looks the same as everyone else must not be any different from the rest of the population.
Special planning considerations will need to be kept in mind when evaluating egress routes from urban areas. Some concerns regarding urban routes include tunnels that go under bodies of water or underground, bridges that are part of the route that could be damaged or blocked, and areas where damaged buildings could be blocking the roads.
Suburban – I see suburban areas as being a potentially dangerous area. The reason that I say this is that many suburban residents feel comfortable where they are and will choose to stay right where they are (bug in) if something were to happen. At the same time, those that are trying to get out of the urban areas will be moving into or through the suburban areas. Concurrently, anyone who might be trying to move from the outlying areas to the urban areas to seek assistance or to rendezvous with family will be moving through the suburbs also. It is a result of all this activity that creates such a dangerous suburban environment in my opinion. In such a tumultuous time, it seems reasonable that desperate citizens that are in transition in these areas might target suburban residents as sources of food, shelter, weapons, or other supplies/life support items.
Rural – There are many advantages to a rural environment but there are also some disadvantages. It is advantageous to live in the rural environment in the event of chaos and unrest because there is not often rioting and in fact, this type of activity is almost nonexistent in the rural areas. Rural houses tend to be spread further apart from each other which creates additional stand-off space from each other making rural homes easier to defend and see when people are approaching. Because of this same distance from “civilization” rural homes could be targeted by thieves, murderers, hordes of rogue hungry wanderers, and other generally terrible types which most would consider a disadvantage. The rural environment also generally has fewer law enforcement officers that are required to cover larger territories than their suburban and urban counterparts which makes them more likely to be overwhelmed during tough times. Fire and emergency medical personnel in rural areas are often primarily volunteer forces which may significantly reduce if not completely eliminate their availability in times of unrest or disaster.
Mountain – The mountainous regions can offer a tactical advantage for defending oneself in times of civil unrest. It is much easier to defend yourself from the high ground against an opposing force on the lower ground in comparison to fighting a force on the higher ground from a lower point. There is a concern with bad weather and mountainous terrain. In the event of heavy rain or snowfall, it can be very difficult or even impossible to get up or down mountain roads as a result of mud slides, slippery conditions, or washouts. Fallen trees can also make a mountain road unusable as a result of a complete obstruction. Another concern
Desert – A common characteristic of desert areas is that they are often found in low-lying areas and are therefore prone to flash floods. As a result of this risk, residents in a desert region should consider maintaining a supply of sandbags to facilitate a faster response in the event of a flash flood. The advantage to the desert environment is a lower propensity for the roving band of outlaws AKA “golden horde” in the event of societal collapse because of the lower population density and fewer resources available to sustain life.
Coastal – One of the unique environmental circumstances that residents of a coastal region have to be concerned with is the threat of hurricanes and tsunamis. Sandbags can be placed to protect your home from flooding if it is located in a low-lying area but as part of your evacuation plans you should also know the minimum distance that you will need to move inland in order to evade the dangers of a tsunami. Another concern for coastal residents is if unrest or collapse were to occur and rioters were to move in a manner that would block coastal residents egress from their homes, they may need to plan to escape the region via the water.
Preparations that every person should make for their shelter regardless of where they live:
- Designate a safe room. An ideal location for a safe room will be in the middle of the house and it should not have any exterior doors or windows and will also only ideally have one interior door. If it is not possible to have a safe room on the interior of your home, the second best option is a room along an exterior wall that does not have an exterior door or window. Most people think of a safe room as being a place to go in the event of a storm, which is true, but it is also a good location for a family to fall back to if there is a home invasion and they are all able to make it there.
- Have enough exterior grade plywood on hand to completely cover every exterior window and door in the dwelling. Unless all of your pieces are pre-cut, you should also keep a circular saw handy. The one alibi to keep in mind with this option is that if you lose power you will need a generator in order to make the saw work.
- Keep an ample quantity of exterior grade deck screws on hand to attach the plywood securely to your dwelling outside of the exterior doors and windows.
- Store contractor grade plastic sheeting and duct tape in enough quantity to completely seal around the interior side of all exterior doors, windows, and vents.
- A razor knife or utility blade should also be kept in close proximity to the plastic sheeting and duct tape so that you have an easy way to cut the sheeting and duct tape. Also have plenty of replacement blades for your cutting implement.
- Store at least some sandbags at your home regardless of whether you are in a flood plain or not. While sandbags are excellent for deterring flooding, they are also great for use as a barricade or shielding from ballistic projectiles.
*Disclaimer – Ensure to consult all local laws, codes, and regulations before taking any action to secure, harden, or fortify your home or any other structure whether it be due to civil unrest, societal collapse, natural disaster, or the zombie apocalypse.
Don’t forget to help fill in the blanks or enhance some of the points that were already made by making a comment of your own in the comments section below.
- Survivalist congressman advocates preparedness, says likelihood of civil unrest is ‘high probability’ (sgtreport.com)
- When The Music Stops – How America’s Cities May Explode In Violence (thedailysheeple.com)
- 9 Steps to Take Now to Prepare for the Perfect Storm of Civil Unrest (activistpost.com)