When the SHTF how well do you think your neighborhood would cope?
There is no such thing as a one-man-army, which means your ultimate survival through a crisis depends on the support of the like-minded people you have around you, as well as the supplies and resources you have within reach. Today, we're going to run through what it takes to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your neighborhood, but remember that nowhere is perfect and every situation will require its own plan to ensure your safety during a crisis.
First you need to identify the most common threats you expect to experience in your location. Look into the history of your area and do your research on what is most likely to happen. In western USA earthquakes and fires are the most likely natural disasters, while in the south it's hurricanes and tornadoes. Out east you face hurricanes and potential snow storms, while in the north it's extreme cold weather combined with blizzards. In all of your planning you need to ensure you have the right gear in your supplies and kits that will help you cater to all of these disasters. In addition to this, make sure your home isn't within a flood zone, which you can check via the Flood Smart website.
Importance of Location
If you live in a rural area you may believe you're golden, but in actual fact the fallout of a disaster on a small town can have a far larger impact. Rural townships are usually the last to receive aid supplies and support in the aftermath of a crisis, so build this into your survival planning. Plan to have at least two months supply of food, water and energy if you live in a rural location. Population density also plays a role, too many neighbors without adequate resources will put unnecessary stress on your own when the SHTF but if you're tucked away in a secluded cabin in the woods you have no one you can rely on -- help may be too far away when you really do need it.
Replenishing your supplies
Next seek out any alternative sources for food and water. Is there a stream running through your property or a river that cuts through your neighborhood? If not, could you dig down to the underground aquifers and tap a well? Think about what would happen if your local council shuts off the water supply. A nearby source of water puts less stress on your stored resources, and you won't have to share when your neighbors come knocking. On a similar note look for any room you have locally to plant fruit bearing trees, berry bushes or a vegetable garden, to help you survive in a sustainable fashion, not just living off your supplies. Are there any farmlands nearby, that could help to augment your food supply?
Once you're confident you've got food and water supply secured, get a handful of topographical maps of your area and plan out at least three separate evacuation routes. Look over each route and practice driving it, making note of any bottle necks or infrastructure that may prove troublesome when you're escaping your home. Are there any bridges you need to cross, or highways that may become a parking lot? You should also map out the closest general store, hospital, gas station and police station along each route and know how to get to each, so you're not worrying about directions when a situation calls for haste. You can also use these topographical maps to map out any defensive weak points in your neighborhood. Look for the primary entry and exit points marauders could use to gain access, as well as spots like adjacent forestry that gives intruders an easy path into your home.
Targets in your area
Situational awareness involves being aware of any dangerous targets you may have in your neighborhood. Unfortunately terrorism is a major part of the world we live in and you should take adequate measures if you stay near anything that could be a target. Living near a military base, a major tourist attraction, or even downstream from a dam may alter the preparations you need to make when it comes to evacuation. Hazmat concerns are a very valid danger, and trains move hazardous materials every day, so check to see how far your home is from the tracks, as well as refineries, nuclear plants and even chemical plants to make preparations following any fallout or accidents.
Build a community
Our final recommendation when it comes to building a strong neighborhood is to form friendships and a community so you have people you can rely on when the SHTF. Unfortunately, building a group of people who take prepping seriously can be tough to achieve when you are first getting started, so look to see if your area has a neighborhood watch program. If not, set one up because it's a familiar and respectable group that you can recruit your neighbors for without raising any suspicion. Soon your troops will be able to see their neighborhood from a tactical standpoint, and you'll also likely attract the interest of like-minded individuals who you can work with to put more serious neighborhood survival plans in place. The larger your team the greater area you can defend, but your success here really comes from knowing the layout of your neighborhood inside and out so you can put defenses in place where they will have the greatest effect.
When infrastructure falls in a crisis you may find you can no longer rely on the authorities to keep your neighborhood safe, and citizens are now on their own in defending themselves. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your location will be key to your survival, and so long as you have ample supplies, the ability to buffer your reserves with locally sourced food and water and a strong group that can help keep your family safe - you'll be in the best possible position to survive no matter what disaster comes.