bug out locations

All posts tagged bug out locations

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By The Survival Place Blog

Ever wondered what makes the best Just In Case locations, for when the SHTF and you need somewhere away from all the inevitable trouble that will start happening? If so, you’re in the right place. We’re going to go through a few of the vital things you need to consider when choosing the location of your bolt hole.
It’s a critical decision that you need to get right now, as it will be too late after the event. All your preparation, investment, and work in build the perfect Just In Case place will be for nothing if you a) can’t get there and b) choose the wrong location. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.


Somewhere close

When a national emergency or worst case scenario occurs, you can bet on a few things; one of which is, the authorities will set up roadblocks and close major road arteries. And that’s going to cause anyone wanting to travel a lot of trouble just a few hours after the event. So your bolt hole’s ideal location has to be somewhere close to your current home – a place you can access within a few hours. Not only will it help you avoid roadblocks, but the smaller distance will reduce the number of potential incidents that you will encounter along the way.
Within walking distance

Ideally, you will want to choose a place that you can walk to. Within five days is your best bet – and given you will only be able to walk a maximum of 12 miles a day, that means your bolt home should be within 60 miles. Of course, the route you take will also be critical – are there enough places along the way to keep out of harm’s way? You should already know how to build a survival shelter, of course, but you’ll also need to have somewhere safe to set up at the end of every day.


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Near water

Finding a location with a natural supply of water is essential, and will save you a lot of work. Whether you are buying land to build a survival hut or plan to use public land, make sure you are within a reasonable distance of a natural spring, river, or lake. Not only is water vital for hydration, but you can also use it for sanitary purposes and power – all of which are going to increase your chances of survival.


Somewhere hidden

Finally, the sad truth is that in the event of a critical national emergency, there will be people out there willing to take whatever they find on their own – including your survival home. Therefore, the better hidden your Just in Case place, the less likely it is someone will see it. Avoid areas that are near well-travelled routes, and the more challenging it is to get to your location, the fewer people will find it. Don’t forget; it’s not just about blending your hut in with its surroundings. You’ll also need to find somewhere that hides much of the smoke and light from fires or smells from food.

This article published by The Survival Place BlogWhat Makes The Best Just In Case Place?


4 Foolish Mistakes People Make When Picking A 'Bug-Out' Location

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By Steve Coffman Off The Grid News

When choosing a location to “bug out” to, there are three very common mistakes people make, each of which could seriously compromise your survival plan, or even worse.

Don’t make these mistakes, and you’ll stand a much better chance of pulling through.

Mistake 1: Head for the hills!

Sure, we’ve all said it, either seriously or in jest. Things go south, we’ll fall back to the mountains and regroup. Especially for those in the western US, the mountains are this near-mythical stronghold full of resources and assets ripe for the picking, and somehow nearly perfectly secured against government intrusion. The reality is much more brutal. Unless you are already intimately familiar with where you want to go, are prepared to not be able to live off the land, and have supplies in place or can bring the bulk of your gear with you, this is a terrible choice.

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: 4 Foolish Mistakes People Make When Picking A ‘Bug-Out’ Location (LOTS Of People Do No. 2)

Gulfstream – Photo by Andre Wadman


By Michael Snyder – The American Dream

A lot of ultra-rich people are quietly preparing to “bug out” when the time comes.  They are buying survival properties, they are buying farms in far away countries and they are buying deep underground bunkers.  In fact, a prominent insider at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland says that “very powerful people are telling us they’re scared” and he shocked his audience when he revealed that he knows “hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand”.  So what do they know?  Why are so many of the super wealthy suddenly preparing bug out locations?  When the elite of the world start preparing for doomsday, that is a very troubling sign.  And right now the elite appear to be quietly preparing for disaster like never before.

The insider that I mentioned above is named Robert Johnson.  He is the president of the Institute of New Economic Thinking, and what he recently told a packed audience in Davos is making headlines all over the planet

With growing inequality and the civil unrest from Ferguson and the Occupy protests fresh in people’s mind, the world’s super rich are already preparing for the consequences. At a packed session in Davos, former hedge fund director Robert Johnson revealed that worried hedge fund managers were already planning their escapes. “I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway,” he said.

But he didn’t stop there.

In a separate interview, Johnson admitted that “very powerful people are telling us they’re scared” and that the elite “see increasing evidence of social instability and violence”.  You can watch video of the entire interview below…


And Johnson is not the only one saying these things.

The following quote comes from the Mirror

His comments were backed up by Stewart Wallis, executive director of the New Economics Foundation, who when asked about the comments told CNBC Africa: “Getaway cars the airstrips in New Zealand and all that sort of thing, so basically a way to get off.  If they can get off, onto another planet, some of them would.”

Of course not all elitists are planning to jet off to the other side of the globe.

Some are planning to go deep underground when things hit the fan.

For example, there is an underground decommissioned missile silo in Kansas that has been transformed into luxury survival condos by a real estate developer.  The following is from a Wall Street Journal article about those condos…

The so-called Survival Condo complex boasts full and half-floor units that cost $1.5 million to $3 million each. The building can accommodate up to 75 people, and buyers include doctors, scientists and entrepreneurs, says developer Larry Hall.

Mr. Hall, who lives in a Denver suburb, bought his first missile-silo site in Kansas in 2008 and completed construction in December 2012. A year later, he says, the development had sold out. Work on the second security compound—the one where Mr. Allen bought a unit—is under way, and Mr. Hall says he is considering additional sites in Texas and elsewhere.

As former nuclear missile sites built under the supervision of the Army Corps of Engineers, the structures were originally designed to withstand a direct hit by a nuclear bomb. At ground level, they can be sealed up by two armored doors weighing 16,000 pounds each. Mr. Hall added sophisticated water and air-treatment facilities, state-of-the-art computer network technology and several alternate power generation capabilities.

Other wealthy individuals are turning their current homes into high tech security fortresses.

Those that are involved in providing these kinds of services have seen business absolutely soar in recent years…

Wealthy families across the country are shelling out millions to protect their loved ones from intruders, natural disasters or the apocalypse as home security goes increasingly sci-fi.

Companies that provide concerned homeowners with futuristic gadgets – and a priceless peace of mind – have revealed the growing demand of costly bunkers, passageways, panic rooms and recognition software.

Chris Pollack – president of Pollack+Partners, a design and construction adviser in Purchase, New York – told Forbes that, while security has always been important for the wealthiest clients, the spending on home security has noticeably grown in the past five years.

And the options available on the market are like something from a Bond film.

For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “Why Are So Many Wealthy People Building Futuristic High Tech Security Bunkers?

So why are all of these wealthy people so alarmed?

Well, the truth is that they can see what is happening.

They can see that millions of people are falling out of the middle class.  They can see that society is breaking down in thousands of different ways.  They can see that anger and frustration are rising to unprecedented levels.  And they can see that things are likely to boil over once the next major economic crisis strikes.

Even though the economy is still fairly stable for the moment, signs of increasing economic suffering are everywhere.  For example, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that homeless encampments are rapidly spreading throughout the Los Angeles area…

Over the last two years, street encampments have jumped their historic boundaries in downtown Los Angeles, lining freeways and filling underpasses from Echo Park to South Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a city-county agency, received 767 calls about street encampments in 2014, up 60% from the 479 in 2013.

We live at a time when almost everyone is getting poorer except for the elite.  The top 1 percent now have close to 50 percent of the wealth in the entire world, and each year wealth becomes even more concentrated in their hands.

The elite know that eventually a breaking point is going to come.  Those that are smart don’t want to be around when that happens.

And we got a few clues about what things might look like what that time comes from the recent “snow scare” in New York.  Frightened consumers wiped out supplies of bread, milk and eggs within just a few hours.  People started to take advantage of one another, even the journalists seemed like they were on the verge of panic, and virtually the entire city shut down.

All of this over just a few snowflakes.

So what is going to happen when we have a real crisis?

If the elite are preparing to bug out, it is hard to blame them.

I wouldn’t want to be right in the middle of a volcano when it erupts either.

Life is about to dramatically change, and signs of the coming storm are everywhere.

I hope that you are getting prepared for what is about to hit us while you still can.

This article first appeared at The American Dream: What Do They Know? Why Are So Many Of The Super Wealthy Preparing Bug Out Locations?

About the author:

Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Florida law school and he worked as an attorney in the heart of Washington D.C. for a number of years.

Today, Michael is best known for his work as the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The American Dream

Read his new book The Beginning of the



By Ken Jorgustin

Think about this… you live either in the city or in the densely populated metroplex of suburbia immediately surrounding the city. One afternoon while you are at work, the power goes out.

You don’t think much of it at first, but after an hour or so, you discover that the power outage is not just localized to your vicinity, but instead it appears that the entire city is ‘dark’, and you’re hearing that it might be very widespread…

What do you do?

The boss tells everyone to go home, there’s nothing more that can be done that day — see you tomorrow — go home.

You head out and into a mass of snarled traffic, as the traffic lights are out and EVERYONE is heading home because of the blackout. You finally make it home in 2 hours – a drive that normally takes you just 30 minutes – and you discover that your spouse had just made it home moments earlier.

You start to talk about what has happened.

You remember that you have a portable battery powered AM/FM Shortwave Radio in your preps. You turn it on and notice that you cannot find any FM stations at all, but you do find several AM stations which are broadcasting emergency news and information, and they say they’re running on generator backup power.

They are reporting that the power outage is apparently VERY wide spread and is affecting regions well beyond your region. No one seems to know how bad, or why…

It seems that (based on emergency radio reports) a significant portion of the country is under a blackout. Reports are sketchy.

What do you do? Would you BUG OUT?

Here are a few thoughts:

If I discovered that the blackout was very widespread, this would indicate that the cause and chain reaction is very significant – potentially long lasting, leading to the possibility that the grid may be down for much more than a fairly short period of time. If the cause is suspected to be one which is potentially more catastrophic than otherwise, and if I lived in a densely populated region which could become dangerous — I would likely activate my bug-out plan.

Reason being: Any widespread blackout as hypothesized in this scenario will likely take a long time to get back online – and that is assuming that there has been relatively little damage to the infrastructure. Worse yet (possibly much worse), if it turns out that this widespread blackout is the result of an attack (EMP, major X-flare, or otherwise,) and/or a serious event which has damaged key EHV transformers on the grid, it means that our world is about to change in a very big way…

I would (under those suspected circumstances) definitely leave the area if I lived in or near the city. I would leave because IF the event turned out to be long lasting, I could become trapped in a rapidly deteriorating socially chaotic and very dangerous environment as desperate people begin to do desperate things when their food, water, gas, and supplies run out.

I have an advantage though because I know that most people will be initially paralyzed with indecision. Their normalcy bias will keep them waiting for the lights to come back on. This will be the golden opportunity time to get out. Before the SHTF. The ‘safe’ window of opportunity will be short lived however.

So here is the question, “It’s time to bug out, but where will you go?”

I ask the question with the hope that you will ask yourself that question (BEFORE the disaster). Asking yourself that question AFTER the disaster may prove to be too late to make a wise decision.

Communication systems will mostly be down and offline. If you haven’t planned for it ahead of time, you really may not have much of a clue what to do, where to go, or if you even should go.

Well, here are a few ideas…

First of all, be sure to always have a quantity of cash on hand, so that during an emergency and the time immediately following a disaster when others may be scrambling to procure items which they need (ATM’s offline and/or electronic transactions are not functioning), you will have the cash to pay for last minute items or services. Consider the scenario I just described… If you are en-route on a bug-out away from the city, and you need to stay at a motel — paying with cash will ensure that you get a room, assuming there’s room. Almost everyone uses electronic currency today – so if that system crashes (even temporarily), those with cash will have a better chance of procuring last minute items or services (for awhile).

The key to the bug-out will be to get to a location that is far enough away from the densely populated city region or metropolis such that you stand a better chance of avoiding the resulting chaos (if there is to be chaos) – better safe than sorry – you can always return back home if it’s a false alarm. Have you planned on where you would go? How you would feed yourself? If you’re considering relatives who live out in the country – will they be okay with you showing up at their door?

If you have relatives or friends that live in a potentially safer area away from densely populated regions, you may bring it up in conversation sometime and question whether they would be willing to have you show up at their door should such a circumstance or evacuation come to pass. The point is to think about an evacuation and where you would go.

Be sure that you have enough fuel for your vehicle to get wherever you plan to go. Always keep your gas tank nearly topped off. Never go below half a tank – get in the habit of keeping it full. Consider keeping extra fuel stored safely in proper gas cans at home, so that you could bring it with you should you ever need to hit the road. Keep at least a 72-hour kit in your vehicle – enough food and water for 3-days.

Have several hotel/motel choices picked out, away from the city, and have maps (and know how to get there without GPS). It will be very important to know routes that avoid major freeways as they may become clogged. Know the back-roads to your destination. Have cash to pay for your stay. If the disaster scenario is repairable and relatively short lived, you can simply return home later. If the disaster turns into a nightmare scenario SHTF, you will be safer than you otherwise would have been, as the social chaos back home will be unfolding in a very bad way as people become hungry and desperate.

The objective within this article is not about listing the things and preparations that you may need (this site is filled with suggestions in other articles), but to encourage YOU to think about it. Do you have what you need? If you had to, where would you go? Would you go? What are the criteria for bugging out?

Know the roads and routes to bug out.

There are lots and lots of ducks to get in a row while considering…Continue Reading at Modern Survival Blog: Its Time To BUG OUT But Where Will You Go?


By Ken Jorgustin

As I type this from my folding chair while sitting under the awning looking out over thousands of acres of reds and yellows of Autumn mixed with the greens of spruce and pine, across the peaks and notches of the Presidential Range of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, I am awestruck by its beauty…
While thinking of a post for this evening, I decided to reflect on what it is that so many of us are looking for… the peace and serenity of living somewhere not so chaotic, busy, and artificial.

In my location, right now, it is almost unnaturally quiet, calm, and surreal… and I say that in comparison to where it is that most of us live. In contrast, what I am experiencing is actually very natural, and is the real world, the real thing.

While on this fact finding mission, I discover the stark contrasts in ways of life, especially as compared with our modern way of life.

Perhaps if I grew up living out here, in places like this, I would take it more for granted and it would seem less awesome. But the fact is that most of us have grown up in either mid-large towns, suburbia, or even the city – and have little in common with the real rural way of life, and the experience of its simple and natural beauty.

The challenge, of course, (to living away from the population centers) is survival. We are programmed to use our mainstream skills to work in the same main stream, to use paper or electronic credits to buy and take on loans for the things we need in order to live in the population centers, and we never know or learn the real skills of survival, the skills and know-how of self-sufficiency.

It is true that except for the hard-core, even rural living requires the ability to earn a living; however it requires much less, if we are willing to live a way of life that is less consumptive and more practical.

It is something to consider.

As I’ve gotten older (still closer to 50 than 60), I’ve become more aware of the risks that we face, especially the risks to do with our current financial system (debt based) which has seemingly reached or nearly reached a point of no return – where it must collapse or reset. My instinct tells me that when this happens, it has the potential to be quite destructive to our current modern way of life. The world has never before seen so much debt-based artificial wealth, and there has never before been such a disparity between the very rich and the rest of us.

This is not going to end well.

So as I enjoy the serenity of life in the boonies, my opinion solidifies even more-so; that is, I believe that some day perhaps soon, most of us will be forced to make do with much less. The question is… how many people will be able to deal with it, and what will happen next…Modern Survival Blog

Are you prepared?





By David Spero

Choosing a retreat location is the hardest thing you must do, because there are so many variables, issues, and choices to make.

Furthermore, many of your choices are far from clear-cut.  They depend on things uniquely to do with you, your circumstances, and to do with the areas you are considering, and require you to make difficult value judgments where a choice for something might then impact on your ability to also optimize some other important feature.

This all makes it difficult for you, and of course, difficult for those of us who try to write on the topic too!  But write we do; indeed this article means we now have over 90,000 words already published about choosing a retreat location (more than a full-sized book), and there’s plenty more still to write.

This article can be considered as a follow on from several other articles that directly or obliquely consider the choice between an in-town or out-in-the-country type location.  See, for example, our two-part series, Identifying Good Towns and The Robustness of a Town’s Services, plus articles such as Where to Locate Within a Town, The Importance of Good Nearby Neighbors and Will Your Nearby Town Thrive, Survive or Fail.

In this article we identify some of the respective good and bad points associated with living either in a rural area far from other people, or in a more concentrated population cluster such as a small town.  You can decide on the relative importance of these things, we simply offer them up for your consideration.

Positive Aspects of Town Living

  • You become a member of a local community, and with a group of people in the town, can select your friends and fellow community members from a larger group of people to choose from
  • If the town groups together constructively, there is better mutual security – ‘safety in numbers’ and with help closer at hand in an emergency
  • Probably have some community services such as medical, law enforcement, fire, water, sewer
  • Probably have businesses providing all sorts of commercial services – eg electrical and mechanical maintenance, plumbing, etc
  • Most places you need to go to will be within walking distance
  • A group of people in one location aids effective trading – buying, selling, exchanging, bartering

Negative Aspects of Town Living

  • It is harder to quality control your neighbors (and their neighbors, too) and you are more impacted by them and their actions
  • Some locals may pose present threats, others may become troublesome WTSHTF
  • An unknown number of people will be truly prepared, and an unknown but greater number may become dependent on you WTSHTF
  • A greater population density and more frequent interactions with other people makes it easier for epidemics to spread
  • A town is unlikely to be self-sufficient for food, and unlikely to be able to become so in the future (too many people, too little land)
  • You have much less privacy of any type in a town
  • The desirability to be discreet about your resources and capabilities and the lack of privacy will pose problems, for example, with antenna arrays, making your dwelling structure bullet proof, etc
  • Smaller sized lots make it more difficult to use them for many different purposes
  • Land prices are higher, limiting the amount of land you can buy in a town
  • Land taxes are probably higher than in the country too
  • Local city bylaws are probably going to be more restrictive in many respects (some possibly unexpected).  In particular, you can forget any opportunity to use firearms for any purpose on your town lot, and may have major restrictions on the fuel you can store
  • City laws (and laws in general) may be more aggressively enforced with a city police force and less ability to do things unobserved
  • A town’s services may fail WTSHTF and make the town less viable without the services than the countryside would be (never having the services in the first place).  For example, most country folk have their own septic systems, what do townsfolk do when their town sewer system fails?
  • You probably can’t hunt or fish or raise livestock on your town property; even if you could, just how much game do you expect to find in your back yard?
  • Might not even be allowed/able to collect rainwater from your roof.  Where else/how else would you get water in a town?
  • Less space for solar arrays, probably no chance of hydro, probably little/no chance of wind power
  • Impractical to consider activities that generate significant noise or smells
  • Towns are more likely to organize formal food sharing (ie confiscation) type programs in an emergency.  They have an additional level of government (city govt) and a significant concentration of people needing food.

Positive Aspects of Rural Living

  • Free of direct/immediate issues from neighbors, who are probably sufficiently distant to give you much greater privacy and to have less mutual impacts on what you and they do
  • Lower population density and fewer interactions with other people reduce the spread of epidemics
  • Your neighbors (and you too) are all more likely to be already self-sufficient in terms of food production
  • You may even have a chance to start growing food surpluses to trade with others
  • Because everyone was not relying on city services (eg water, sewer) to start with, WTSHTF you will all be less impacted
  • Land prices are lower – you can buy more land for the same money as less land in a town would cost
  • Land taxes are probably lower than in the city too
  • More land gives you more space for everything, and a greater amount of land spreads your risk of unexpected events over a broader area, hopefully making such events less impactful
  • With more space, costing less money, and more private, you can set up all sorts of things ranging from private gun ranges to antenna arrays to more extensive cultivation of many different crops to safety and privacy zones
  • You have the space for extensive solar arrays, might possibly be able to implement a micro-hydro system, and maybe add a wind turbine too
  • You can consider activities that are noisy or smelly or in some other way would be too attention-getting or objectionable in town (eg methane gas generation from cow dung)
  • You’re more likely to have a solution already in place for water
  • Fewer (or no) restrictions on hunting and fishing and livestock raising on your land
  • Easier to build structures with non-standard construction eg for fire-proof and ballistic protection and to erect obstacles against vehicular assault
  • Less likely to have as much county government interference as city folks do with both city and county government, and more able to live your life discreetly
  • Larger lots allow for inefficient but beneficial land uses such as forestry and harvesting trees for both construction materials and firewood/energy

Negative Aspects of Rural Living

  • Your nearest neighbors are probably too far away to be able to provide immediate urgent assistance in an emergency
  • Even communicating with neighbors may become difficult if cell phones and landlines fail
  • Might not have high-speed internet and state of the art cell-phone and data service
  • Although neighbors are far and few, you are more dependent on additional people to manage and secure a larger lot than you are in a town
  • There is probably less of a community spirit, and a smaller potential community anyway, at least within a few hours walk/bicycle/horse ride
  • There is a lack of convenient local services.
  • Nothing will be a short walk away, and if liquid fueled internal combustion powered vehicles become impractical in the future, distances will become a major problem

Towns Aren’t All Bad

Wow – looking at the imbalance between the pluses and minuses of town and rural life would seem to suggest that everyone should choose a rural location for their retreat.

But not all the bullet points are of equal importance, and you need to do more than just count bullet points.  You need to decide which are the most important factors for you, and whether you can minimize the negatives that inevitably are associated with any set of positives.

We provide considerable more detail on the brief bullet points we offer above in other articles on these topics.  We linked, above, to some of our other articles about town vs country living, and you can also visit our complete collection of retreat location themed articles here.


The difficult art of choosing an ideal location for your retreat involves trading off the pluses and minuses of each issue you need to consider.

To help you understand and evaluate the consequences of your choices, we’ve listed almost 50 different factors to consider when trying to select between a town or rural retreat location. – Code Green Prep

The proximity of fire and paramedic services is an important consideration when evaluating potential towns for your retreat.

The proximity of fire and paramedic services is an important consideration when evaluating potential towns for your retreat.

By David Spero

This is the second part of a two-part article about choosing an appropriate town to live in as a retreat location.  If you’ve arrived directly here from a search engine or website link, you might wish to read the first part ‘Identifying Good Towns‘ before then continuing on to read this second part.

When you’re choosing a rural retreat, you have little expectation of having much in the way of utilities available at the retreat.  Ideally you might be able to get some electricity run to the property, but that is about all.  But when you’re in a town, you have a much greater expectation of available services.  Furthermore, depending on the robustness of the services, the town – and its other, less well prepared residents – may be able to cope with a collapse of society to a better or worse extent.

There are several key services a town may provide its citizens, or, if not directly providing, may provide the focal point to encourage some outside provider to participate.

The most important services would be water, sewer, electricity, gas, phone, internet, and transportation.  Let’s briefly consider each of these.


Does the town provide water or does each house have to make its own arrangements?  If the town does provide water, does it require electricity for any part of the process?

If the water comes from a stream/river/reservoirs ‘up there’ and is gravity fed all the way to your tap, then that is hopefully (but not definitely) able to continue operating if the power fails.  But if the water comes up from a well, then goes through a processing plant, you have electric motors driving the pumps to lift the water from the well, to send it through the processing plant, and then on to your house.

If the town does provide water, are you able to also store rainwater on your property, or dig your own well, too?


Smaller towns probably require everyone to use septic tanks, and that’s a very robust solution.  If you buy a property with an existing septic system, we’d consider extending it, and then pumping it more regularly than needed, so if society collapses, you’ve got a good many years out of your system before it needs to be attended to in the future.

There are different types of septic systems.  Some are gravity fed, others need pumps to distribute the sewage.  Ideally you’d want to have a system that does not require electricity to operate.  Not only does this reduce your dependence on electricity, it is one less thing to go wrong and need maintaining.  If you do have an electric system, it would be ideal if you had a holding tank that could be filled and then the pump activated to process/distribute the contents on an occasional basis – that way you could run your generator briefly to power the pump once a day or whatever, rather than needing power 24/7.

If the town does provide sewer services, you should again understand what happens if the power fails.  Maybe you want to have your own septic system (if you are allowed, of course) even though the town provides a sewer service.


English: mechanical energy is converted into a...Some towns and counties have their own PUDs that provide electricity to the community.   That is maybe nice, but largely irrelevant; what is more important is where does whatever utility provider you will be relying on for electricity get their electricity from?

Ideally, they have a hydro-electric power station all of their own, that provides all their power and more besides (which they sell on to other utility companies).  Less ideally, they buy hydro-electric power from some other company.  Very unusually, they might have their own nuclear power generating facility.  Still less ideally, they generate their own power, but from oil, gas, or coal.  Least ideally, they just buy power as a commodity on the open market from whoever, wherever, they can get power from.

The reason for the variation in desirability is the degree of independence/dependence this gives the utility.  If they buy power from somewhere else, then when the grid goes down, they’ll be out of luck and so too will you.  If they generate their own power from oil/gas/coal, then they’ll again be out of luck as soon as their supply of fuel is exhausted (and that could be in as short a time as a few days, even less with natural gas coming straight from a pipeline).

If they contract with another nearby utility to take some of their spare hydro-power, then that may possibly continue, although we’d expect to see the state or federal government take control of any surplus power generating and repurpose it as they see fit.  Of course, if the national grid fails, then the nearby utility could hopefully still provide power to your utility and wouldn’t have other competing utilities across the country competing for the power.

If the utility has their own hydro-power, then that will hopefully continue more or less intact, at least until such stage as the turbines can no longer be maintained.  That option gives you the best chance of ongoing electricity.


Natural gas is great stuff, and for the foreseeable future is likely to be the cheapest energy source available in much of North America.  If your town has natural gas available, you are fortunate, and should make full use of it during normal times.

But in a Level 2/3 situation, we expect that the natural gas pipelines will quickly fail.  They rely on computer controlled switching and pumping, so if the computers fail or the electricity fails at any point from well head to your home, the gas supply will either massively degrade or fail too.

So you can’t rely on gas in an emergency, but you can enjoy it during the good times.


It would be really nice if your town had its own ‘central office’ or telephone exchange.  That way, even if the broader telephone network fails, maybe your local central office can continue working and can provide phone communications within your local town.  The older fashioned it is, the better.  Wires strung on poles (or underground), and stepper/rotary switches in the exchange would be our idea of perfection.

Of course, you’ll also want cell phone service too, and hopefully with fast data, but that’s something for modern-day living while society continues to function, and will quickly fail when society fails.


Of course you want internet service for the present, and equally of course you have to expect to lose it when society fails.


If your town has bus service, then it is too big!  You want to be able to walk from where you would live to the downtown area, and to anywhere else you’re likely to want to go in the town, too.

Ideally your town is also fairly flat, so you can not only walk, you can also cycle.

One thing that would be nice is proximity to a rail line.  When we look at the history of this and other countries, we are struck by the fact that trains preceded cars.  Of course, part of the reason is that steam locomotives were developed before internal combustion powered vehicles, but another part of the reason is that train transportation is incredibly efficient in terms of energy consumption and a great way of moving large quantities of people and things, long distances.

Our guess is that if we see a long-term Level 3 disaster, train service will be restored much sooner than road service.  Does that mean you should include a fully restored coal or wood burning steam loco, a couple of carriages and a couple of freight wagons as part of your preps?  If you can, we’d urge you to – become a new ‘railroad baron’ in the new world that would follow. :)

Back to what is achievable and relevant for most of us, suffice it to simply say that it would be nice but not essential to be either on or close to a rail line that is currently in use and not slated for closure in the foreseeable future.

As for road transportation, the town should ideally be on a secondary road and it would be better if it were on a spur rather than a throughway that has more traffic on it.  If it is on a throughway, it would be helpful if there were some hills on one side of the town that would act as a geographical barrier in the future, and another town reasonably readily reachable on the non-barrier side.

Other Types of Services

The preceding services were all to do with ‘things’.  How about also some services to do with people.  For example, police, fire, and medical.

Let’s consider those types of services too.


We’re in two minds if having a city police department is a good thing or not.  Many smaller towns contract either with the country sheriff, or alternatively, with another nearby town or city.

This can save a great deal of money compared to the cost of having to establish their own department, and also gives the town access to ‘surge’ strength and a share of things that it would otherwise have to create entirely.  For example, instead of needing its own bomb department or SWAT team, it would have access to such things maintained by the law enforcement agency the town contracted with.  Even things like detectives might not be needed on a full-time basis by a small town, and so being able to get ‘half’ a detective is an efficient way of proceeding.

On the other hand, in a small town, the police are more directly accountable to the people they serve.  Hopefully most officers live in the town, whereas if you’re contracting with a larger county or city department, maybe none of the officers live in the town, so rather than reflecting the town’s values in their approach to policing, they’re imposing their outside values.

At what size does it make economic sense for a town to have its own police department?  That’s hard to say.  A town of 1000 – 2000 will almost always find it better value to contract from a larger department; and perhaps we can stop at that point, because if your town is much bigger than 2,000 people, we suggest it is starting to become less desirable because it is becoming ‘too big’.

While it is nice to have your own police department in your own town, the smaller the town, the greater the probable cost of this ‘luxury’ item, and/or the more aggressive the police department may be in ticketing people for violations so as to pay their way and protect their jobs.


Many small towns will have a volunteer fire brigade, and might call volunteers by something as simple as a siren that sounds in the middle of the town.

The problem with this arrangement is that it adds several minutes to the time it takes to get a fire truck to your property and fighting your fire, and if you’ve ever seen a fire take hold of a property, you’ll know that several minutes can mean the difference between a salvageable fire and needing to tear down the ruins and rebuild from scratch.

On the other hand, of course, your retreat property should not be a fire risk to start with.  You should build the exterior of it from a fireproof material; that’s not to say that your interior won’t be at potential risk of fire, but if all the fire can burn are interior furnishings, it won’t run away so severely, and if you have some decent hoses and water pressure, you can probably slow if not completely stop the fire until/before help arrives.

Insurance rates will probably be higher if you have a volunteer fire department.  But land taxes may be more if you have to pay for a full-time fire department.  Prevention is better than cure, though, so we’d prefer to pay a bit more for at least a core basic full-time fire department, but don’t consider it too serious a downcheck if the town doesn’t have one.


There are several things to consider under the medical heading.  Where would the nearest paramedics come from in an emergency, and then where would they take you after they’d arrived – ie, where is the nearest hospital?

Some towns have regional medical centers in them.  This is an enormous plus for a town, because you not only have the building and resources, you have the medical staff too.  In a crisis, your town will have an abundance of medical professionals residing within it.

Remember that with a stroke your chance of survival diminishes by about 10% for each minute it takes for paramedics to get to you and restart your breathing.  You want to have paramedic service in the town or not far out of it if at all possible.


If you have, or plan to have, school age children, the presence of local schools will of course be an important factor to consider.  Even if you don’t have children, a town with decent education standards is more likely to have decent people than a town which places little importance on that.

On a related subject, have a look at the demographics of the town – its ‘age pyramid’.  You want a town with a reasonable share of younger people, rather than one comprising predominantly middle-aged and older people.  Without young people, the town has no rejuvenation and no future.


If attending church is something you wish to do, you’ll want to see the choice of churches that might be available to you in the town and its immediate surroundings.

Some people might suggest you can get a feeling for the ‘soul’ of a town by its churches, that may also be true, although it might be hard to evaluate short of spending time attending several churches to form your own direct impressions.


This was the second part of a two-part article about choosing an appropriate town to live in as a retreat location.  If you’ve not already done so, we suggest you also read the first part of the article – ‘Identifying Good Towns‘.

A logical next point in your research would be our article ‘Where to Locate Within a Town‘. – Code Green Prep