The Fallacy Of Surviving In Place

Written by Kenneth D. Nunn

   Family home storage and surviving in place seems to be a rapidly growing trend of late. This is especially true since national figures, especially radio personalities such as Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Glenn Beck have started pushing the home storage concept in order to sale their sponsors products.

   However, the biggest boost to this thinking is the fact for the first time the U.S. Government is making it known, all be it not to vocally, that we are living in precarious times. In the last few weeks numerous articles have been printed stating the fact that the World is closer to another World War than any time since World War II. In recent months there have been numerous Congressional Committees taking testimony from various experts on the dangers inherent in the vulnerability of the power grid. It is not only in the U.S. where concern is growing but recently the U.K. seems to be recognizing the dangers the World is now facing.

   In an article by Ben Farmer titled:

   Britain Four Meals Away From Anarchy If Cyber Attack Takes Out Power Grid.

   In the article which outlined the dangers a failed power grid would present he stated the Defense Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said “Russia had been spying on the UK’s energy infrastructure and could cause thousands and thousands and thousands of deaths if it crippled the power supply”.

   The article continues quoting Julius Weitzdorfe who studies the problem at Cambridge University’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. “I think that is a risk that is very real in the UK and it’s also neglected and that sort of scenario could happen anytime, it could happen tomorrow,” Continuing he said: “A lot of people, including in the Government are absolutely unaware what it means, even if we lose electricity for only seven days.”

   Basically, what many people and governments are beginning to realize is there are any number of events that could lead to the destruction of the power grid which would destroy our infrastructure.

   This would in turn thrust the U.S. and the World back in time a hundred even two hundred years in time. This is not some tinfoil hat conspiracy theory this fact. If you have doubts, if you can’t believe me do a little research.

   What is the United States doing to prepare the citizens for these dangers? Nothing, at least very little. While the Congress, the military, FEMA, and Homeland Security all admit the dangers they have to be pushed. They are all afraid they will be ridiculed by the media.

   FEMA recommends that a family has enough food and water stored to last twenty-four hours. I would assume they are claiming the Government will be there to help after twenty-four hours. I think we all know this is being a little optimist. It is certainly possible for you and your family to survive without help for two or three days, maybe even a week, with what is on hand without much trouble. What I mean is that most everyone has a few groceries of some kind stashed in their home or apartment. Ironically, your food and water supply could easily be the source of your biggest and most dangerous problem.

   In the following article I will endeavor to explain why I believe surviving in place, long term, after a national catastrophic event is a concept that will not… cannot work.

Surviving in Place

   The question is can you and your family survive in place? Now let’s look at the facts.

   First of all, let’s make sure we are on the same page and understand what is meant by Surviving in Place.

   At the Preparing to Survive website, Facebook, magazine and books our definition for the phrase Surviving in Place is as follows:

   Surviving in Place: Voluntarily choosing to survive a catastrophic event in one’s home or in a bunker in close proximity to one’s home. This would be a situation where a family stockpiles food, water, and other supplies along with firearms and ammunition. They are assuming they can survive long term or at least until the situation returns to normal.

   For personal or localized disasters surviving in place is a great concept. In the right situation your home storage can be a life saver, there is little doubt about this. In case of a personal crisis for instance, as an example you lose your job, have an illness or financial failure something of that nature. Having food storage to fall back on will be great. Another example would be a localized natural disaster such as a fire, earthquake, hurricane, tornado or a flood. Having home food and water storage could prevent you and your family from facing an even worse crisis. That is unless the disaster destroys your supplies, or you are unable to get to them.

   Getting to your supplies in most cases is going to be the problem. In the event of any of these disaster, the areas affected will most often be evacuated. Sometimes this can be for a long period of time. Even if and when you are allowed back to your property chances are your supplies will have been destroyed.

   In case of a national Catastrophic Event man-made or natural, surviving in place simply will not work. In all probability with a national Catastrophic Event you would be facing a long-term survival situation. In a long-term survival situation surviving in place and living on your home storage is a concept that simply can't work. This concept is great for certain short-term survival situations. Everyone should practice it, but for long-term survival it simply cannot work. One of the main reasons it will not work is because everyone is not practicing it.

   One thing for sure in the immediate after math of an event the two biggest dangers we will face will be our fellow man and disease. These dangers will be a constant threat for at least six months and very likely much longer. These are the reasons we have chosen to get Out of Harm’s Way. These are the two things that you cannot fight.

   There are two reasons disease will rapidly spread throughout populated areas making surviving in place is a concept that can't work in a national Catastrophic Event.

• Sewage

• Water

– Sewage –

   You are probably surprised to see sewage listed as number one. In a Catastrophic Event sewage is the root of all evil. There are three things that the body requires, it has to have water, it has to have food, and it has to expel bodily waste. One of the most dangerous substances on this earth is human excrement. By dangerous I mean it in the sense that it is highly infectious.

   Throughout human history one of the leading causes of death is from disease spread in human feces. As a matter of fact, there are probably more people dying today from diseases resulting from oral feces contact than any other reason. Raw sewage is the reason the death toll is so high in under developed countries. Raw sewage or human and animal excrement are the carriers of the foodborne and waterborne diseases that are killing thousands of people.

   Having said this, I would like to make one point clear. These foodborne and waterborne diseases are usually not fatal to a healthy person. As a matter of fact, the CDC lists almost all of these diseases as being self-limiting. A healthy person who contracts one of these diseases will have diarrhea for four to six days and then be over it. The trouble begins when an unhealthy, under nourished person contracts one of these diseases, especially if they are very young or very old.

   Now, think what will happen if we have some type of national Catastrophic Event where we lose all or part of the power grid. Without electricity there will be no water pumped to your house. Without water you cannot flush the toilet. People will still have to use the toilet. So, what will be the answer? Most will get a bucket and use this. Now the question is where will the waste be dumped? Some people may dig a hole in their backyard and dump the waste; however, this will only work short term. The first rain fall will simply wash this waste into the drain ditches which drain into local streams. Then what about the people, without a yard, living in cities, or apartments?

   I know, some Folks that plan on surviving in place have these port-a-potty type toilet that use plastic bags. You use the toilet and then dispose of the bag. I usually get a blank stare when I ask where you dispose of the bag. You end up with the same problem. How will sewage from hospitals and nursing homes be disposed of? Before long sewage will be dumped at the curb, it will have to be, it is inevitable. Along with the sewage trash and garbage will begin to pile up on the street curbs. This garbage will attract rats... millions of rats.

   Once it is dumped in the curb where does it go, straight to the rivers and streams. This will eliminate any chance of using this water for drinking water. This is what has happened and is happening in the underdeveloped countries today. These people are forced into using these contaminated rivers and streams running through populated areas as a source of water; they have no choice. The same as people in the United States will have no choice. This will be especially true in large populated areas, which would include a large percent of the population. Unless you live in a remote area you will be forced to live in unsanitary conditions.

   Without a city supply of water, the citizens will be forced to use any water source they can find. These may be streams, rivers, lakes or ponds. In populated areas this will be deadly. This will start a domino effect, the more people that get food or waterborne disease the more it spreads. To add to the problem by this time many people will be weak from hunger and may have contracted other diseases.

   Without sanitary sewage disposal it is inevitable that in a short period of time, foodborne and waterborne diseases outbreaks will begin to appear. These outbreaks along with people's immune systems being weak from malnutrition will lead to many deaths.

   Once this begins, conditions will only worsen. Without any authority it will be only a matter of time before bodies will be left where they lay. Again, this will start in the cities. Rats will become a major problem. Without sewage disposal, with garbage piling up, and with corpses left where they fall rats will multiply by the millions. In a short time, plague will breakout. The results will be thousands more dying, causing a domino effect. With nothing to stop the spread, the plague will stop only when there are no more victims. Paints a bleak picture doesn't it?

   So, what are your options? Get you and your family Out Of Harm's Way.


   If you have chosen to survive in place, you will be unable to store an adequate water supply. Your only option will be to chemically treat raw water from some source in a populated area, if there is one. This is a fact. If you are in a populated area, you will for sure not have a safe supply of water.

   Most experts agree that a person will require a minimum of three gallons of water per day. This is for drinking, cooking and sanitary needs. For a family of four this calculates out to be; 12 gallons per day; 84 gallons a week or 360 gallons a month. If you are storing water in 55-gallon drums, then for a family of four that would require 6.5 drums of water per month or 19.5 drums for three months’ supply. That will require a lot of storage space.

   I know your probably thinking you wouldn't need that much potable water, which may be true. However, when we have an event you will not have municipal water, this means you will have to have water stored not only for to drink but also for washing and others uses. So, even if you conserve and cut in half that is a lot of water to keep stored. Remember this amount of water is just for three months and four people. Now carry that out to six months or a year. Just think a year's supply of water for a family of four would require 78, 55-gallon barrels of water.

   It is obvious in a long-term survival situation it will be impossible to store enough water to last you and your family or Group.

   Now your other option will be to get raw water from a stream or river running through a populated area. That is if there happen to be one close. In most populated areas the best you will be able to do will be a canal, ditch or park pond. Would you really want to give this water to your family, even after treating it? Especially after the condition thing will be in after a few weeks.

   If you are surviving in place and all of the power is out, you will have no city water supply. With no water supply to flush the toilet. You will be unable to use any raw water source. All-natural sources of water in the area will become contaminated by sewage run off in a very short period of time. This is a fact. There will be no alternate supply of water.

– Gangs –

   When a Catastrophic Event occurs, there will be numerous consequences, unless you are in the immediate area, I feel one of our biggest problems will be gangs.

   One thing for sure in the immediate after math of an event the two biggest and most immediate dangers we will face will be our fellow man and disease. These dangers will be a constant threat for at least six months and very likely much longer. These are the reasons we have chosen to get Out of Harm’s Way. These are the two things that you cannot fight.

   As for your fellow man you will be vastly outnumbered and out gunned. Just consider the number of people whose only means of surviving will be in forming gangs. Think of the number of homeless present in society today. Now couple that with the thousands and in larger populated areas tens of thousands that will be left stranded in a strange city and in some case country. These will be people who were caught in a strange city on a business trip, traveling through, on vacation, and at the airport. What will these people do? What are their options? The only option they have will be to band together. They have nothing, so their only option will be to loot and get what they want. They will have to become predators. in order to survive. They will have no choice. There will be no one or no organization to help the, no Red Cross, no salvation Army and no City, State or Federal Government agencies to help them.

   If you are in or near a town or city of any size, then there will be hundreds if not thousands of people forced to join gangs. These people will first meet where ever they are forced to seek shelter during the event. Once the immediate danger is over then these stranded and homeless people will begin to congregate on the streets, in parks are where ever in convenience. In any group such as these will be leaders who will soon emerge and take command. These leaders will point out the advantage of their numbers.

   When the U.S. suffers a national Catastrophic Event it will open the door for gangs. Gangs will begin by taking over apartment complexes, then entire neighborhoods, then cities and spread from there. There will be no authorities, nothing to stop them. The inevitable result of this is anarchy.

   There will be no choice, there will be no one to operate these facilities, there will be no way to operate without electricity, water of food. Millions will have to be released. Many of these will be harden criminals.

   At first it will start with looting. Initially their targets will be hospitals, pharmacies, and liquor stores. They will want the drugs and liquor. This has been proven time and again. Stores will be ransacked, windows broken; everything not useable will be destroyed, looters will feed on the moment, mob mentality will rule.

   The police and other authorities will quickly become overwhelmed and abounded their post, they will have no choice they will be outnumbered and out gunned, have no communication, no transportation and no hope of help on the way. This has happened before with small localized disasters and will happen again. Many with their drug supply cut off will begin to break into drug stores and hospitals taking what drugs they want. This will go on for the first few days, maybe even a week.

   Then these gang members will start to get hungry, there will be no food, no potable water, stores will have run out of supplies. These will begin to get desperate; they will be panicked and mad at everyone except the people they have connected with.

   These scenarios seem a little drastic to you? Think about it; think what has happen in the past. There were Gangs and looting almost immediately after the recent hurricanes. Just spend a few minutes thinking about what will happen in the large cities when there is no electricity, no food or clean water, and no communication? Think what will happen when there is no authority. This will also spread to the smaller cities and towns, it will just take a little longer.

   You will not be able to fight these gangs. You will be out-numbered and out-gunned. As things get out of hand the police will leave town. The National Guard and Armed Forces will be used to protect the government. That is the few that will be willing to serve, most will leave and go to protect their families. You, your family, and your Group will be left to take care of yourselves. Think what your city, town and neighborhood will be like after a few weeks or months of this. Is this something you want to put your family through?

   The obvious question is what we can do to protect ourselves from these gangs. The fact is if you have chosen to survive in place and you are in a populated location then you can’t protect yourself or your family. You will simply be overrun by gangs. When you look at the situation you will be faced with it quickly becomes obvious you cannot protect your family from these gangs. You will simply be over run, there will be many more of the bad Guys than good Guys. The only way you and your family can survive long term after an event is to have prepared in advance. You must have selected an isolated location where you have cached supplies. You must leave the populated area and make your way to your evacuation point as soon as possible. Evacuate to a safe point and wait for these gangs to consume themselves. This may take six months or six years, but they will eventually kill themselves off.

   Sounds radical, think this scenario is impossible? Who knows, you want to bet your families lives against it?

– Food –

   I don't believe the people of the world, especially people of the United States will be able to survive what our Grandparents survived during the Depression.

   When the Great Depression hit in 1929 the United States and the world was a rural society. People had high morals. Most lived on a farm or at least raised a garden. Most had livestock to butcher. There were few people that didn't raise chickens. Almost everyone preserved at least some of the food they raised. Many preserved all their food. Most knew how to hunt and fish, providing a large part of their food. Many made most of their clothing, even their quilts and blankets. Although many had them they could live without automobiles, telephones, and electricity. Most family members lived in close proximity to one another. They helped each other by working together. Everyone knew and could trust their neighbors, they didn't mind helping and working with them. In other words, people were pretty well self-subsisting.

   Today we live in a completely different world. Today we live in a dog eat dog world where everyone is out for their own good. Morals are about as low as they can go and still be a civilized country. The vast majority of people now live in an urban society. There are very few that could be self-sustaining. How many people do you know that grow a garden? I know a lot of folks in the country continue to raise gardens. However, in reality this would be a very small part of the population. How many people living in populated areas know how to hunt and fish? How many people would know how to preserve food, make their own clothing, or butcher their own meat?

   You may be surprised to learn that according to the government, most cities and urban areas have only a three-day supply of food and water. This includes food as well as water stored in warehouses as well as on store shelves.

   How would most people react if the supermarket shelves were empty? How would most people react if they had to do without an automobile, electricity, telephone, or even a T.V. not to mention a computer? How many of your neighbors do you know by name, how many do you know really well? What about your extended family do they live close? What will be the reaction of most people when there isn't any gas for their car? What will be the reaction of most people when their cell phone is not working? What will be the reaction of most people when there is no electricity?

   Many of us have watched movies such as Escape from New York or other movies about anarchy in populated areas. I actually think conditions will, in a lot of ways be worse than these movies portray. The one thing these movies fail to show is food. Where will these gangs get food? Supermarket shelves would be bare in a matter of days in the event of a national Catastrophic Event. There will be no trucks arriving with new supplies, for that matter there will be no new supplies being shipped or grown.

   Now consider this, in all actuality recent disasters such Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria although bad were relatively small events when you consider what can happen in a national Catastrophic Event. These hurricanes affected only a small part of the country. What is going to happen if we have a nationwide event that affects the whole country?

   In the case of a nationwide Catastrophic Event it is my belief that the only way home storage and surviving in place could work is if everyone is practicing it. You know as well as I do that this will never be the case. So, I repeat, it is my contention that home storage will not work.

   My reasoning behind this statement is simple; people will do anything to get food and water for themselves and especially for their family. If I have a horde of food and water and your family is going without, one way or another you will get some of my food and water. I may give you food and water or you may take it, one way or the other you will get food and water for you family, that is as long as there is food and water available.

   Let's be realistic, there are probably no more than three or four people in your neighborhood that have adequate home storage. By adequate I mean enough to last their family even three months or more. Now let's suppose there are 250 people in your neighborhood. If you started doling out food and water you would have to give food and water to everyone, you couldn't pick and choose. How long would your supply last then, a month or so, let's look at this and figure it out. First, it may surprise you how fast people are going to get desperate. Most people have only two or three days’ supply of real food in their homes. Of course, most will have a good supply of what I would call snack foods, peanut butter, chips, candy, cookies, and etc. These could sustain a family a few more days. After that there will be no food available. Let us be generous and say it is a couple weeks before people begin to really get nervous, desperate and scared. People will know you have food and water stored, believe me they will know.

   Now these people with hungry kids start coming around asking for food and water. Suppose you start doling out food and water. Before long word is out that you are handing out food and water, then there is a line from your door. Figuring a couple weeks before people get desperate, your food and water storage will last no more than two or three weeks. People will be at your door until you are out of food and water. At this point not only will your neighbors be out of food and water, but now you and your family will be without food and water. To be realistic it would be difficult controlling people that come to you for food and water. Some will try and take it all. How far are you willing to go in order to protect your family's food supply?

   Now let us assume you decide that you are not going to give anyone food. You are going to take care of your family. Sooner or later, if the neighbors don't already know it, they will figure out you have food and water. What then, you know they will be coming and asking for food, and then as they get more desperate they will start demanding food and water. What then, are you going to be willing to kill to keep your food and water? It will come to that; it is the basic instinct of survival.

   Having come to the inevitable conclusion that sooner or later you will have to kill to protect your food and water supply, are you willing to do this? I don't know about you, but I would kill if forced to kill in order to protect my family. Having said this, I will do everything I can to keep from having to kill, especially someone trying to get food for their family. In their place I would undoubtedly do the same thing.

   History supports what you have just read. When people are starving they will do anything for food. In a starving situation people have been forced to eat cats, dogs, bugs and yes, there are cases where people have even turned to cannibalism in order to survive. Do you really think that your starving neighbors and especially marauding gangs are going to leave you alone? There is no way they want know you have food. You won’t be able to fight them off, there will dozens if not hundreds of them and only one or two, or maybe even five or six of you. It is a losing situation.

Possible Scenario:

   Now with all of this in mind let’s look at a likely scenario. Let’s assume you and your family which consist of yourself, your wife, a teenage son and daughter and two other kids under say ten years old. You your wife along with your teenage son are avid hunters and shooters.

   Along with your family your brother-in-law and his family consisting of a wife two teenage sons and younger daughter will move in with your family when an event occurs. Like your family your sister’s family are all avid hunters and shooters.

   When you pool all of your firearms you were pleasantly surprised to discover that you had a small armory. This consisted of two AR-15 along with almost a thousand rounds of ammunition with a number of fifty round clips. You have a 30 – 30 Marlin lever action with 250 rounds of ammunition, A 12 gauge Remington model 870 with a little over a hundred rounds, a model 1100 Remington 20 gauge with almost a hundred rounds, a Remington Model 700 30-06 with 75 rounds, a 308 Winchester with a hundred 50 rounds, three Ruger 10-22’s with about 2,000 rounds of ammunition, two Coly 1911 45’s with about a hundred rounds and two Browning Camper UFX pistoles 22’s.

   You feel pretty good you have what you think is enough firepower to hold off a small arm.

   You Guys choose your house to survive in because yours is aa brick house with a metal roof, has a cellar with a couple windows set at about ground level where your brothers did not. Your house is also located about ten miles out of town back off the main road, so you shouldn’t have to worry about gangs.

   You have stockpiled 150 gallons of water in 30-gallon plastic barrels. You have a ten by ten-foot room stacked with canned foods. These supplies should last you indefinitely or until everything gets back to normal. The only problem you see is water. Then you figure when you get low on water, if this last that long you can go out and get some more from a stream just down the road.

   You are feeling pretty confident you Guy’s will be able to handle any thing that comes along.

   Time goes by but soon the inevitable happens, the U.S. is attacked with HEMPs. As feared all electoral power is lost. Your brother’s family moves in with you and your family. As expected all goes well. The only trouble occurred on the fourth day when Mr. Smith, a neighbor down the road approached your house and asked for food for his family. As planned you refused explaining you didn’t have enough for your family.

   On the sixth day Mr. Smith returned, this time with two other neighbors. This time demanding food. Again, you refused to give him any food. They left very anger promising to gather more neighbors and return to get the food. Saying it is only right that you and your family share your food.

   You Guys decide, in light of the threats that the safest thing to do would be for you all to move into the cellar and post a watch. That night someone took a couple shoots at your house. No one was hurt, but thankfully you had had the forethought to sleep in the cellar. Now the decision was made to stay in the cellar from now on with a watch posted upstairs. About now you were also getting worried about water. It was taking a lot more water than had been figured. You figured there was at the most two more days of water. What then?

   The next afternoon you heard a lot of gun fire coming from outside. From what you were able to see it looked as if a gang had attacked the neighbors that were watching your house. It was easy to see the Gang had won.

   Shortly there after two men approached your house and demanded you and your family come out. Of course, you had refused. A short time there after sporadic rifle started hitting the house. You returned sporadic fire from the cellar. In that it was unsafe to be upstairs you did not have a good vision of fire. You couldn’t tell what was going on.

   Occasionally someone would yell out for you to come out. Now the family was starting to come apart, nerves were beginning to get the best of everyone. It was to the point where water had to be carefully rationed. You figured one more day of water at the most. You were at your wit’s end, you don’t know what to do.

   Just before dark a man yells out, “This is your last chance, come out or we will burn you out.”

   What to do now. Your family, including your Brother-in-law are beyond reasoning. They want to go out, but you know the gang outside would only shoot you.

   As it gets darker everyone is starting to panic. Then it happens a Molotov cocktail comes flying through one of the window followed by one through the other window. No more troubles, your problems are solved.

   Sounds pretty grim right? This in many ways is exactly how it would happen. Let’s break this scenario.

   1. Bringing in your sister’s family. This seems to be the smart thing to do. You actually bring in four more people who know how to use firearms. They bring their weapons and ammunition. The problem being more people requires more supplies, food, water and etc. Obviously, a catch 22 situation.

   2. Confined space, this will be a problem. You get kids in a confined for any length of time, especially without, computers, cell phones or T.V. and it will not be a pleasant environment for anyone.

   3. Once a dangerous situation begins, the smart thing to do will be to move everyone into the cellar. People on the outside could easily shoot through a window and in houses not constructed with brick can easily shoot through the walls. Only choice move to the cellar.

   4. Restricted field of vision and field of fire. With any cellar there will definitely be restricted vision. Usually, there may be only a couple small windows located at about ground level. From inside they are usually about head high.

   5. Restricted exits. Most have only one entrance and exit. Once you are in the cellar an adversary could easily enter your house and bar the entrance and exit. You would be trapped.

   6. Trapped, under siege, you are at the adversaries’ mercy. They know where you are at all times. They on the other hand are free to move around. Now all they have to do is wait you out or burn you out.

   The fact of the matter is, when you look at all the variables, you can come to only one conclusion you cannot survive in place. The only option you have is to get your family Out of Harm's Way. This will mean evacuating, going to a predetermined location with supplies cached, in an isolated location.

Copyright © 2018 Kenneth D. Nunn

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