Unfortunately, the word ‘prepper‘ is now attached to several negative stereotypes and may conjure up images of camo-clad, gun slinging, bunker dwelling folks. This stereotype has been over-hyped in the media and in television shows such as National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers, and has led many to denounce the prepper movement as “crazy”. In reality, preppers are merely trying to make sure they know what to do in every possible scenario ranging from a power-outage, to losing your job, to an earthquake, all likely occurrences that unfortunately often catch many families unprepared. And in fact, prepping isn’t just for those who live in log cabins and trailers out in the middle of nowhere, many preppers are average people who live in urban centers where they lead regular lives and work hard to provide for their families. These preparedness minded individuals go by many names: urban preppers, light preppers, or apartment preppers, but these preppers all share 3 basic challenges that comes with prepping in the city. 1) Storage space: A concern of many preppers is having an ample supply of water and non-perishable foodand even FEMA advocates having a small stockpile of supplies. According to the site, you should store at least 1 gallon of water per person for 3 days. This is mean that each person would have ⅓ of a gallon or about 1.2 liters per day. For drinking this may be enough, but when you consider that you also need water cook with, brush your teeth, wash your hands, etc. you would need a considerable amount more to survive comfortably. Similary with food, FEMA advocates having a 3 day supply of non-perishable food but Hurricane Sandy and other disasters have proven that having a supply for a week or more is a much better idea. In smaller apartments, storage space can definitely be an issue especially with larger families. Even for a family of 4, storing around 6 gallons of water plus 84 meal rations for a week takes up a lot of space. Urban preppers thus need to be creative with storage space and make use of compact foodstuffs.
2) Violence: Unfortunately disaster scenarios tend to bring out the worst in people and looting can break out in both homes and stores. In Hurricane Sandy 41 people were arrested for fights at gas lines, and looting was common throughout the city. Urban preppers who are concerned with protecting their families and property should take up some sort of defensive martial art such as krav maga, to better prepare themselves for angry crowds.
3) Escape: When a disaster strikes, whether man-made or natural, one of the first things to do is flee the scene to safety or to some pre-determined bug out location. This begins with escaping your apartment, home, or office. For rural preppers this can be as easy as loading everyone into the car, but those in cities may face a different set of obstacles. First of all, living several stories means that you should have abackup evacuation plan for when the stairs are unsafe. Second of all, traffic in the city and road closures may make escape extremely difficult. Lastly, if living in an area only accessible by bridges, having analternate route out an be crucial for survival.
We can see that urban preppers have some unique challenges but all 3 can be overcome with training and the right supplies. Living in a city can offer many benefits to preppers, better jobs, schools, entertainment, etc. and the obstacles shouldn’t discourage those from trying the urban life. So no matter where you are, stay prepared and know that you’re not crazy for thinking about your life and the survival of your loved ones.