It is often said that preppers are a diverse group; that people who devote themselves to prepping come in all shapes and sizes. That’s probably true. In addition, not counting survivalists and Doomsday Preppers, there are three groups of preppers that are defined by the area they live in: rural (the ones who buy land in the middle of nowhere in order to live totally off the grid), suburban/yuppie preppers (people who live in the suburbs of a large city) and urban preppers (people who live in the city).
All three of these groups pretty much have the same goals: to prepare for the coming of any emergency and to reduce their dependence on government, big business as well as commercialism.
How they prep is different. Rural preppers, for example, usually will build several underground root cellars all over their property and keep it stocked with food and supplies. Many of them also possess a small arsenal of weapons and even have their own slang although most of it is military terms. They know that once an emergency hits, either no one is going to come and help them or they don’t want anyone to come and help them.
Urban preppers, despite rural preppers telling them to, have no intention of leaving their homes in the city. They live the principle of reduce, reuse, recycle and not because that’s what preppers do, but because due to their limits of space it’s what comes more naturally. They do their due diligence in prepping, but they also know that the cities will recover first so perhaps because of this factor and lack of space, they prep for the basic necessities such as food, water and shelter.
So after years of reading information fashioned more towards rural and suburban preppers, 2015 is the year that urban prepping will come into its own.
What makes this year so significant for urban preppers is that while many preppers imagine worse case scenarios and try to determine what emergency will hit as well as when it will hit them, urban preppers are already beginning to see an economic collapse.
In Philadelphia, like many large cities, government officials are pushing for gentrification in order to generate more money for their coffers and to rid themselves of taking any responsibility for crime, poverty and blight that have had a chokehold on inner cities for years.
That despite an unemployment rate of 7.1% and 26.3% of residents living below the poverty line, Philly has begun pushing out their low to middle class residents by making rents and the cost-of-living unaffordable; signed agreements with wealthy developers (which also included giving them millions of dollars in tax breaks) to build expensive homes in impoverished areas; move out retailers that catered to the average citizen in favor of high-end retailers that cater towards the rich, and raised sales tax within the city limits to a whopping 8% which is destroying the small business owner. This is what happens before the bottom falls out.
In Philadelphia, the unreliability of its elected officials that many residents see as corrupt and the back-room deals being made to lure the wealthy into a city that has failed their residents is a wake-up call to urban preppers. It’s just not happening here, but in New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington and Atlanta.
So for urban preppers there are some guidelines that will assist them for being prepared for the impending and total economic collapse that should be considered in addition to basic prepping.
- The end. Most preppers prep for the beginning of an emergency and how to survive after an emergency hits, but very few are prepared for the end. Now don’t get all morose. This isn’t a Walking Dead scenario where you’ll end your life before you get got. No. It’s about prepping once an emergency has either ended or you realize that things will never be the same.
Everything in life has a beginning and an ending. Prep for what’s going to happen once things begin to recover and urban environments will recover first. Before the collapse, you should have enough food and water to last you for five years. Pay down as much debt as you can and keep as much money as you can out of the bank. Find places to hide it in your home. Why? Because once the government and big businesses get back on their feet they’ll need money. They will come after anyone who owes them anything.
After a year or two you’ll have enough information to realize if things aren’t going to recover. Before that happens, and before a collapse, learn a skill that isn’t dependent on electricity or technology. Some of these skills may be medical training, construction, carpentry, sewing/knitting/crocheting, gardening (seed production and canning), education, and household product manufacturing (such as the making of cleaners, soaps, etc.). It’s also important to become proficient with manual tools such as a hammer, wrench, saw and screwdriver.
- Impersonal self-disclosure. It’s fine to have close relationships with people and family members, but when you prep for an emergency you want to be very careful about how much information you share with anyone who doesn’t live in your house.
Once an emergency hits people who chose not to prep will become desperate and may attempt to take what you have. These same trusted confidants may tell others about your supplies. Guard what is yours and, as hard as it may be, don’t brag about your endeavors on social media. Whether you share your supplies should be your decision and not someone else’s.
- Know thy neighbor. In urban areas you will find many people who have lived in the same area their entire lives. You will find even more who live in the same house that their parents and even grandparents were raised in. If either of these applies to you, this information will come of great use to you before, during and after the collapse.
People who have lived in one neighborhood during any significant period of time (usually one year or more) know most of what goes on in that neighborhood. The people who are problem neighbors now will be even more so once things crash.
It is important to do constant surveillance around your neighborhood and observe everything that is going on around you. If it eases your mind, put cameras up around your property, but remember that those same cameras may not work during an emergency so it’s important to depend on your eyes and your gut to warn you of any possible dangers that surround you.
Make sure your views of the streets or alleyways aren’t blocked by shrubs or trees. Invest in steel doors and repair any windows that don’t lock or aren’t secured. If you have a small yard or a porch, put a fence around it and place cowbells on the gate to let you know when someone has breached your perimeter.
- X marks the spot. Always map out, either on paper or in your mind, routes to take if you need to get home from another destination. There should be one regular route and at least two alternative routes.
Keep in mind that getting back home by car may not be an option. If it’s available, plan for the possibility of having to take public transportation. That means that you carry on you whatever fare you will need and this means carrying either exact change, a transportation card that has enough money loaded on it to get you back home or tokens.
It may be necessary for you to travel on foot. When planning your route, don’t memorize street names, but markers; things that stand out such as a business or a property that sticks out. Other markers are parks, trees, statues and even telephone wires that have sneakers hanging from them.
Go over these routes with everyone who lives in your house and stick to these routes no matter what.
- There will be a quiz on Monday. In accordance with federal law, every city must have an emergency preparedness plan in place. Many cities also offer free workshops to help you prepare. Philadelphia has all of that plus more. You can register to get just about any alert on both your cell phone as well as in an email, volunteer to help first responders and attend meetings and conferences also for free. In order to know what to do or if something is happening, you must know the city’s plans like the back of your hand. To learn about all of this and more, if you live in Philly, please go to: http://oem.readyphiladelphia.org/. If you live in another city, this information should be available on their website.
You can also get more information on a federal level by visiting the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) website at http://www.fema.gov/.
It’s important, as an urban dweller, to be 100% informed of anything that’s going on and to know what to do when it happens.
- What’s it worth to you? One of the most important guidelines is this one. Regardless as to whether or not this nation’s currency is any good during or after an emergency, you never want to give away or lend it out. You certainly don’t want anyone knowing that you have any money at all. There will be things that may even have more value than money. There are the obvious things: food, water, ammunition, weapons and shelter. No matter what, you have to be careful how much of that you can part with. It would be smart to never part with any of it unless you figured in the amount you can trade or sell while you were prepping. There are also things that most people don’t think of buying in abundance while they prep that has value. These things are: first aid supplies, foil, garbage bags, plastic grocery bags, wire hangers, matches, lighters, dryer lint, diapers, baby wipes, spices, nuts, candles, feminine products, toothpaste, candy, toothbrushes, soap, pantyhose, old newspapers/magazines, and packets of soy sauce/duck sauce/ketchup/mustard/hot sauce/taco sauce/honey.
No matter what, never part with your cigarettes, alcohol or anything else you need to have for medicinal purposes. The more of these little items that you have, the more bargaining power you’ll have.
- Knowledge is the key. Any information that you read about prepping will tell you that the essentials (food, water, shelter) are the most important thing and that’s correct. You will need these things in order to physically survive.
Even before any of that can take place, it is knowledge that is the key to not only prepping, but actually surviving. The more you know about possible scenarios, what the government is saying (and not saying), ways to prep (and not prep), and anything that is going on with the environment the better off you’re going to be. Use this time to absorb as much information as you can.
Familiarize yourself with news websites such as CNN, MSNBC, The Christian Science Monitor, and the National Weather Service. Other useful websites is the White House’s Briefing Room (http://www.whitehouse.gov), the Environmental News Network (http://www.enn.com/), and Emergency Management (http://www.emergencymgmt.com/).
There is a lot of information out there on ways to prep, but only you can decide which ways are the best for you.
- It’s a conspiracy, I tell ya. Conspiracy theorists love the possible conflict and drama that can accompany pending doom. If they get just a whiff of a new thought or possible danger, these theorists will attack it as if they are a bunch of piranhas going after an injured whale.
The point of conspiracy theories is that there is a push to invoke panic, make up facts or data as they see fit in order to find a scapegoat; that the facts are really allegations and it breeds paranoia.
A conspiracy theorist likes to convince people that all the facts are being hidden and that you shouldn’t trust anyone, but ask yourself why you should trust them?
A conspiracy theory will not help you prep or become a better prepper. If anything, it will derail you into false beliefs and prevent you from being prepared.
In the 1960s there was a popular saying in Philadelphia that kids liked to use when someone was trying to spread gossip or rumors, “speak what you know and testify to what you see.” Don’t depend on anyone to convince you of anything. Gather your facts and observe the trends as well as what is going on around you. Put your trust in that as well as your own voice.
Leave the conspiracy theorists alone to do what they do best: convince themselves that their own self-righteousness and falsehoods will keep them warm at night. Remember, a conspiracy theory and theorists are an enemy to the prepper.