July 26, 2015 at 1:13 am #42687
I’m interested in how others here view locations in terms of good or bad come a long term SHTF scenario. I have always been one who absorbed the minutia of where I happen to be and these days when I go somewhere I am always viewing it from the perspective of a prepper.
What got me thinking about starting this thread is this morning I went down to the property my son is buying in the far Southern part of the State. He is getting a lot of land (25 acres) for not a lot of money ($55,000) and the land is pretty flat by Vermont standards which is all good, but in my eyes I see endless forest and no ability to grow food or have animals in its present state. There are a couple cleared acres where power lines cut through on one side of the property but even that would take a lot of work to make useful. The house won’t be visible from the road or by any neighbors which is not a positive. Individual families in isolated settings will be very vulnerable come SHTF. He’ll be on septic and well water which is good. I’ll buy him a hand pump for the well. On the plus side, I see the town as a great location….in Libertarian Blue Vermont vs Socialist Blue Massachusetts where he is now, in a low population rural community vs a small city where he is now, and mostly a working class town. Normally people see more affluent communities as being more desirable but in my prepper’s eyes, I see the opposite. Affluent people do not have useful skills at near the level that working class people do. Affluent folks are used to having others do for them whereas working class folks are used to doing for themselves. You rarely see veggie gardens and fruit trees in the yards of affluent neighborhoods. You frequently see it in working class areas. Affluent folks have show horses. Working class people in rural areas often have a couple beef cows, chickens, sheep, or goats. What will be his nearest neighbor has a well tended veggie garden and a small engine repair business being run out of a shop on the property. There are two gun dealers running their business out of their home within a mile of his property. There are a handful of small farms nearby. A couple small lakes/large ponds too. The general area is good. When driving down a road in rural areas and I see small signs at the end of a driveway advertising some kind of service (cordwood, engine repair, selling eggs or maple syrup etc), I see working class people trying to make ends meet in ways that make the community more resilient. Does the area have enough farmland relative to the population? Are there lakes and ponds from which ice can be harvested in the winter? How removed from large population centers is the area? Another factor I observe is whether there is a lot of growth in an area. If yes, that isn’t a good thing in that it means lots of new people who aren’t part of the fabric of the community. Slow growth is OK because a community can absorb folks slowly without changing much. Too much growth too fast can create us vs them tensions, which come SHTF would get in the way of the community working together.
I observe lots of things. What kinds of things do others here observe?July 26, 2015 at 11:18 pm #42703
I don’t know MB. It sort of sounds like what JWRawles would call Golden Horde country. I notice you didn’t say anything about water. Any lakes streams rivers nearby. The only good thing you can say about where I am is its on the other side of the Hudson River. The bridges would be the first to be blocked in a mass exodus from the east coast.July 27, 2015 at 10:49 am #42709
I follow your thinking but I guess I’m slipping because I’m sporadic in applying my analytical prepping skills. Selfishly driven I suppose. Will this help me? No, then move on. Yes, then give it further examination. In 1979 I thought I wanted to be a back to nature homesteader type. I looked at everything through that lens. I moved away from that idea only to come full circle back to it, now under the concept of preparing for hardship, or how to make hardships less burdensome. I’m less anxious then a year ago when my preps were lacking in key areas so I’m not as driven.July 27, 2015 at 1:50 pm #42717
Brulen, there are a couple nearby small lakes/large ponds. I haven’t walked the entire property but I am not aware of anything more than seasonal streams on it. Not a big issue though being he’ll have a well and I’ll get a good quality hand pump added to it. Water is one thing folks in the Northeast have in perpetual abundance. For me personally I have a pond on my property in addition to a deep well w/hand pump.
You hit on the biggest risk for folks in Northern New England (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine), the BoWash hordes. It is something I have thought about long and hard. For folks from other countries, BoWash is the Boston to Washington, DC megalopolis which has about 45 million people in what is a 400 or so mile long urban zone. The issue of the bridges is a good one. There are not very many that cross the Hudson and they could quickly become choke points. The Boston to NYC part of BoWash is of course on the East side of the Hudson. Metro Boston people are oriented to NH & ME and that’s where many would head. NYC & CT folks are more oriented to VT. NYC folks are also oriented to NY State and Pennsylvania but they’ve got to be able to cross the Hudson in order to get there. There are several major routes into NH (& subsequently Maine) from Metro Boston, and numerous well known secondary roads. The NYC & CT folks almost exclusively use only two routes to get to VT, and one of them (I87 coming up the Hudson Valley) requires they first cross to the west side of the Hudson. The other (I91) that comes up the Connecticut River Valley on the VT side of the NH-VT border is how the CT crowd comes up. There are extremely few paved roads coming into VT from MA otherwise. I live on the Western side of VT, as will my son, and so we’re a good distance from the I91 corridor. Come a SHTF that causes folks to flee the cities, I’m thinking that we’ll get a lot of CT folks and folks from Western MA making their way north into VT but that the NYC folks are going to have a tough time getting anywhere. Some will follow the route that CT folks take, but most will attempt crossing the Hudson. Some of those that do cross it will head to VT (which requires crossing back over to the East side again) but many will head elsewhere into NY State and towards PA.
I’m hoping it is the dead of winter when it happens because the BoWash crowd will more likely be trying to make their way south then. Few would have the clothes or equipment to be able to get very far trudging through snow. In any weather, lesser routes are easily blocked by dropping trees. I’m also hoping it isn’t the weekend when SHTF happens given how many tourists from Southern New England (MA, CT, RI), NYC, & NJ come to Northern New England during the tourist seasons (summer-autumn-winter).
Geography and travel routes is definitely something folks should be cognizant of.July 27, 2015 at 1:57 pm #42718
74, I’m just wired to observe the minutia wherever I am, and was curious as to what others focus on in this regard.July 27, 2015 at 3:15 pm #42723
When I’m looking at a property, I always try to determine the defensive qualities and capabilities. As is, and what could be accomplished.July 27, 2015 at 7:19 pm #42726
74, what do you look at in that regard? I know that for most people isolation is not the best scenario and that distance from major population centers is of paramount importance but beyond that I am not especially knowledgeable in looking at specific properties.July 27, 2015 at 7:46 pm #42727
I would say most importantly location location location. The best property in the world won’t help if surrounded by the masses. I prefer rural locations rather than utterly out in the sticks. The geography where I live may be a little different but our BOL is near a small community. Most of the property in the community is houses on acreage. Some of the smaller properties are 5-10 acres. The community is about 15 or 20 minutes from town but it is a small country town. Most of the folks in this area are country people and are pretty self sufficient. It puts us close enough to town where we could get supplies if needed but far enough out that most people passing through will never venture into our neck of the woods. As far as property goes, it really depends on how you intend to eek out your living in SHTF. There are benefits and draw backs to heavily wooded areas, hard to work the land but hides your location. Of course having close dense cover also allows someone to get closer to you before you see them. Our location is a mix of forest with one large pasture. It allows for a large garden or raising livestock if we so choose. The old saying one is none and 2 is one comes to mind when it comes to water. We have a spring fed creek as well as active springs and a pond to compliment our well. I would recommend adding a pond on the property if it were me. It provides water, attracts wildlife and gives you a place to store live fish.July 27, 2015 at 11:51 pm #42732
First let me state I’m not trained by the military or in defensive structures. But I was trained to evaluate structures for other purposes and I think I understand the basics although there are numerous factors.
As Matt said location, location.
How close are the building structures to each other and what construction type. Will all the buildings be occupied by friends and team or by someone else. What are the views from the structures? Are there open views 360 degrees or are there sections blocked from view. Can the blocked views be mitigated by outliers in separate covered locations. Do the approaches provide potential natural or man made locations of cover and or concealment. Does the property provide any height advantages, either structures or hills. Is there potential for concealed escape from the structure and property. Is there potential for pre-positioned fighting fortifications.
Looking at a structure’s exterior wall and roof construction is helpful. A building’s resistance to fire not surprisingly follows closely to resistance to bullet penetration (with the exemption of metal non combustibles buildings. However an all metal building would be excellent against arson and adjacent structure fires). Concrete fire resistant buildings are best, heavy masonry buildings would be my second choice with non combustible metal construction third. Unfortunately most modern homes are frame construction, the poorest possibility, but also the easiest to modify with concealed escape openings in exterior walls or other types of interior fortifications. After SHTF entire suburban neighborhoods will be destroyed by fire jumping from one house to another. Buildings separated by 100’t can ignite other buildings located near by. Without water there will be no stopping fires.
Woods are areas that can conceal both invaders and or preppers. Wooded areas are excellent places to set traps, ambushes and conceal escape routes. It’s paramount to be in place before an adversary approaches or all advantages are lost.
As Malgus and others have said, ground can not be held forever. Therefor withdrawal capabilities are a necessary requirement.July 28, 2015 at 1:04 pm #42748
matt76, I agree location is paramount. For reasons unknown to me, man-made ponds are very popular in the area where I live. I have a pretty good sized one with brown trout, bullheads, snapping turtles, frogs and such. It is fed off of a small stream that comes through my property. Additionally there is a river behind the houses across the road. I am not well versed yet on the land my son is buying in this regard, but in terms of water it is not as good a set up as mine. It is more rural however.
74, your comments are helpful. Other than locational aspects (which are huge), I hadn’t given the specific defensive features of property such as you describe as much thought as I should. I have excellent open field of fire with my home, but my son’s future home being in the woods won’t. I have a metal roof and it is a log home which are both pluses too. On the fire hazard, even homes such as mine that have extensive lawn areas and distance from other homes will have fire hazards post-SHTF. It won’t take long for those extensive lawns to become fields subject to field fires. No matter how good a home may be in all these regards however, sooner or later you will have to leave the house. We can’t lose sight of that. That is where consideration of the larger neighborhood needs to be dialed in. I did see that part when buying my property. We’re in a small valley with very limited road access into it, all of which are easily blocked with downed trees. The forest is thick enough, stony enough, and non-flat enough that there is no way vehicles could get in other than by road. Folks could hike in through the forests, but there are much easier pickings elsewhere, at least for an initial period.July 28, 2015 at 3:49 pm #42757
I keep analyzing my location and sometimes I discover an exposure I hadn’t perceived in the past. I haven’t had the extra cash for sand bags or a place to store them and the sand, but yesterday I decided that my retaining wall in the front yard constructed of cement style pavers, would make excellent fortifications. Inside the house and around different parts of the property. So I reasoned that many of my neighbors will have pavers that will be available should the situation arise that they are needed.
Additionally as I drive around I’m looking at potential temporary fall back locations that I could use in an emergency BO. Not homes but commercial buildings and other structures that will be mostly unoccupied.July 28, 2015 at 11:19 pm #42774
Good thinking on the pavers. I am now reminded that I have a full cube of bricks in the garage that I salvaged from an old sidewalk, plus I have maybe twice that in the form of the new sidewalks.
I don’t have a fallback position though. Maybe that’s something I should give some thought to, but my wife is not capable of huffing it anywhere outside of the immediate neighborhood. We are where we are come what may.
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