If you live in an urban or even suburban area, one of the first and most important decisions you will face in a disaster is whether to relocate to an emergency retreat or stay at home.
If your family is not at risk from exposure to biological, chemical, or nuclear agents, you may be better off staying at home.
Urban people tend to fare better by staying in town during emergencies, on their own turf where street sense matters. Additionally, manufactured goods are more readily available in town, even in a crisis.
Contrariwise, people who are used to living in the country tend to have a better knowledge of farmland and woods and how to use these resources, including hunting, raising livestock, agriculture, gardening, etc.
If you have been raised in the city, it is a dangerous illusion to believe that you can suddenly flee the city during an emergency and thrive in a farming community.
Staying at a suburban home during a disaster has several advantages.
One advantage is the convenient access to grocery stores, hardware stores, gas pumps, etc.
Though these businesses will be of little use once the shortages are in full swing after the disaster, this access can be very convenient when building an emergency supply of food, water, and supplies beforehand.
For example, you can keep empty gas cans at home and go fill them at the first sign of disaster, instead of storing gasoline at your home. That way there is no messing with gas treatment chemicals and no rotating old containers full of gasoline.
Staying at home means you don’t have to worry about taking all those supplies with you in an emergency, and it means that you will be there to protect your property from looters.
It means you will have access to your own bed, blankets, tools, and all the comforts that make it a home during the crisis.
Staying close to your close friends
By staying put you also have the advantage of having friends and neighbors available in case you need help.
Staying in your home during an emergency can also be an advantage if urban distribution centers receive the first government relief shipments of food and medicines.
A huge advantage to stocking up your home with emergency supplies and staying put is that you will be at or near home when the balloon goes up.
The man going to a retreat may not be able to reach his destination while you are comfortable at home.
If you decide to attempt to travel in the period of chaos following a large-scale disaster, you may get trapped in the gridlock which will occur on the highways heading out of the cities.
You run the inherent risk of becoming another refugee on the road, stranded and separated from both your home and your rural shelter.
You may then find yourself at the mercy of the throngs of frightened and angry people that are sure to clog the highways.
For these reasons, staying at home may be the prudent thing to do in the event of a short-lived, localized emergency.
But what if there is a chemical or biological attack which puts your family at risk of exposure?
What if an economic collapse brings rioting and looting on a massive scale?
We have seen what happens in the aftermath of hurricanes such as Katrina.
We have seen the violent riots that ensue in larger cities when the home town basketball team wins a game.
The violent aftermath of an economic collapse or pandemic will be unprecedented.
Long term disruption of the food distribution system will result in empty shelves at the grocery store. When that happens, people will have no choice but to evacuate the cities as supplies run out.
Refugees will swamp the residential areas in an ever-widening circle as the crisis expands.
Suburban neighborhoods will be overwhelmed and swallowed up as the waves of scavengers spread from the inner city outward, essentially stripping the countryside as they go.
They are going to be looking for food, and they are going to be looking for drugs.
The veneer of civilization is thin.
If you are prepared with an emergency stock of food and supplies in your suburban home, you have to face the fact that in a crisis people will kill you for what you have.
Don’t wait until it is too late and then decide to become part of the fleeing masses who are hopelessly trapped on the interstate with an empty tank of gas.