SHTF in Rural Communities

Now it is not from my experience ,it is from other people stories, my relatives, some friends. It was hard, but it was not even close to urban chaos. They adapted and survived, most of them. People in rural mostly did not grow wheat prior SHTF, i think reason was because big agricultural companies did that, and as i understand it was cheaper to buy wheat from to grow it ( not too much sense in this maybe, but that what i ve been heard)

That changed when all started, people start to grow wheat, and corn. Same was with tobacco, nobody grow that here before , except big companies in company land, when SHTF started, people pretty soon realized if they had a land they can grow tobacco and trade it, it was pretty much valuable.Same with making alcohol.

Lot of things become rudimentary like in old times, main transport was horse, and horse cart.All machines stopped off course because fuel, but they still work on fields, they just move maybe 70 years back in some things. But all that changes did not affect them too much, they just changed some stuff to grow, like wheat, tobacco, corn, beans, potatoes etc.

Security things was much easier to maintain, i guess that comes from fact that village here is a small community of people who know each other pretty good, or in other cases most of them are relatives. They just keep it together, in good or bad. My opinion, man from rural community is just stronger (in any mean) than man from the city.

They did not had gang issues,they had some crime problems, but they dealt with that fast and brutal in most cases, they were tightly organized, and traditionally here folks in rural areas are armed and know how to use gun. They are tough guys here, even in perfectly normal times 🙂

They had a resources all around them, and they knew how to get them. Food from land, domestic animal (chickens, rabbits and cows mostly) hunting (boars and deers mostly), there s some great forests here so firewood was not problem neither. It was hard, but without starving, fighting with gangs and things like that.

Now this was not rule for every rural community, i know some villages were burned, all residents killed. But it was due to war, due to enemy armies fighting. If we talk about survival things, rural community or village did pretty good in SHTF( without gas, electricity,transport,news…collapse)

For example, in that time if you lived in rural communities, and had some connections to city, like some kind of trade rout, you could get lot of things for some basic food.

Signs of SHTF

Good question when did i figured that SHTF in city is started. I do not now for sure, but i think it was then when i saw that i can not leave the city, and when i saw some ordinary nice folks doing horrible things.Because important thing is to know, bad people, gang members, people who did horrible things, they did not came from other planet, they were with us all the time, some of them were criminals, some of them were normal people, they all just seen their chance when chaos started.

About organization in my house, it was not democracy at all, there was something like leader, smartest man i queses, he made some decisions about what to eat, and when, what we going to trade, what was safe and what not.But every member did something. Someone was better with fixing things than with shooting, someone else was great for trading, one of my relative was great for scouting, he use to be in special parachute unit in army 15 years before that, so he knew some things. So i think it is great idea to preparing as a group or family, so each member can learn some skills, more skills means better chances. It is not only about storing food and guns.

Why i believe it is gonna happen again? I ll try to explain situation in my country in present time. Well, economy is gone to hell, costs of living is constantly going up, there s sharp rising of crime, even during a day it is not safe to walk in areas of town where is no too many people, especially for females, gangs activity is higher then ever before.

There is a whole generation of young people without job, without any future, they see their chance in crime, gangs, drug business. They do not remember war, they have different picture about war and chaos. They actually wishing the chaos. Every football game is possible start of rioting. To have job is luck, even if you have it it is hard to live.

Every aspect of authority is corrupt, government, police, courts, health… You can sense feeling of rising rage. Situation is similar in most of the surrounding countries. I think some organized crime groups have much more members and will than police force.

I was not prepper prior this situation, so in many fields i did poor, but i can mention what was hard to get in the city. I mean everything was hard to get, but you just do not think about some things until you notice you need it, and then is probably too late. Now let me know, i am not making some survival list here, so i am not mentioning usual things like food, ammo, guns, hygiene etc.

Small precise tools, like tools to fix watch or lighter, flints for lighters, sewing tools,aluminum foil as a help for cooking, garbage bags heavy duty lot of , nylon tarps, containers all kinds (jars, plastic canisters…)ropes all kinds, Velcro tapes, duct tape , chains and locks, belts all kinds including those belts like truck drivers use for fixing the load- don t know word sorry 🙂 fabric bags (like bags for coffee), stuff to reinforce your windows and doors like metal plates, all kinds of tools.

If you ask me what tools, simple advice is: every tool that you need to take one ordinary house in parts, and to take that parts to your home, and every tool to fix stuff in your house.

But remember to keep it simple in prepping for city SHTF, I mean if you are planing to start generator unit in ruined city to have it like in good times,probably you gonna end up dead. It is much better to have solar batteries chargers and a lot rechargeable batteries. If you are storing things for trade in SHTF then store small things, batteries, candles, antibiotics, hand sanitizers, lighters etc. You are not be able to carry big things in city and look for trade.

Now my advice is: keep your storing and prepping as a secret, or keep it inside your group, family, friends if they preppers too. Do not just go around with attitude that the end is coming and i am prepared and stocked. They all going to remember you when they get hungry. Hungry people are desperate people.

My friend had small portable stove, maybe shoebox size, it used petroleum, gas, alcohol, had some kind of small pump installed on it, i remember it was made in Spain for Spanish army. It was very valuable thing.

Anything related to medicine was very valuable so go big with medicine. First i suggest educate as more as you can, i mean you can kill someone with wrong drug easily. Do not just go online and buy trauma kits or drug box,or whole list of antibiotics,first learn how to use it, it is maybe second most valuable knowledge in SHTF.

I think in order to survive this kind of situation man need some reasons, of course main reason was to stay alive, but without any other reason some people can easily turn to animals.

People needed hope, good news. Normal people in normal times usually do not understand importance of news, communications and things like that. It was some kind of information blackout, only few people had batteries for radio, so to at the time when information reaches you, it is probably completely useless and false.

It is strange feeling, when that situation is happening you have feeling it is end of the world, nobody cares, nobody knows for your suffering, that can kill your will for survival. So yes i think it is a great idea to have something to communicate with others, like CB or something like that, but again, keep it as as secret, not to mention to have correct information is very important and valuable.

Disposable Items

It is hard to tell what you are going to need in SHTF in your medical part of prepping. Easiest thing to say is that you gonna need everything, but actually it depends from your level of medical knowledge i guess.
for example:

  • Full reanimation kit- O2 bottles, respirator (O2 powered) suction unit (O2 powered), laryngoscopes, tubes, airways, BVM s, tube holders, drugs (atropine, adrenaline, dopamine…)
  • Body protection like masks (booth surgical and respirators), gowns, gloves (sterile and non sterile), lot of rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizers,paper sheets, delivery kits.
  • Wound care kit- all sterile gauzes, peans, tweezers, povidone, rivanole, staples, sutures, forceps, dressings, antibiotic creams…
    Vitamins, tablets and vials for injections.
  • Antibiotics full range, booth tabs and vials (Pennicilin, Gentamicin, Lincocin…) then full range iv fluids kit with NS and Glucosae, including IV systems, needles, syringes, IV catheters …
  • Children antibiotics, suspensions, together with antipyretics like Voltaren supositories.
  • Snake kits (horse serum), allergy shots (Urbason, Synopen…), urinal catheters…
  • Drugs like Furosemide, Novalgetol, Aminophyllin, Reglan, Ranitidin, (all vials), Albuterol (inhallant).

List is going more, but important is to choose what level you want to know, then find way to learn to use things on that level. You can not know everything. Maybe you gonna choose only to have powdered things for hydration instead of IV NS.

Whatever you choose to have, keep in mind that must be as more disposable as you can. For example paper instead of fabric, or sterile plastic tweezers instead of reusable. And again from my experience most of the problems were coming in the form of vomiting and diarrhea, due to bad water, or unknown food.

Typical Gang Members During SHTF

Because some personal reasons i ll focus more on gangs issue 🙂

It is very important to understand who is typical member of gang in SHTF. As i already said before, worst kind of people is in charge in SHTF. Usually they take lead, so you have then old criminals as a new gang leaders, of course you already figured they not gonna pay too much attention on moral issue or fair play.

In most parts of the world we already now in peace time have gangs, all kinds. In SHTF those gangs becoming something like private armies.
People joined them, it is easier to take stuff from other people then to find it on more “normal” way. So you gonna have normal folks who lost faith, lost strength, and for them it is only way to join gangs.

My point is to prepare you that in SHTF your first neighbor (who is now for example car salesman) may be very bad gang member.
It was much easier to be gang member.

Home Security

I already wrote about some basic home security during my SHTF.

It passed lot of years from that events so you may though my home defense is modern today, to be honest it is not. I like to keep things simple.
Right now i live in apartment building, fourth floor, so if SHTF again and caught me in the city what will i do. I ll wait week or two, i ll stay hidden. Then after the first period of panic is gone i ll try to get to my rural place.First period is marked with panic and chaos, everybody is trying to go somewhere, most of them will failed, roads are jammed. Best thing to do is stay hidden behind your door, heavily armed.

In first moments of SHTF, go out, leave lot of garbage outside your door (if you live in apartment building like me) smash your TV, your stereo, let passage outside your door looks like your apartment is robbed already, most of the apartment gonna look same like that, spill some red color, leave old clothes.

And wait.

In first days gangs not organized too good, probably most of them gonna think it is already robbed and abandoned. Maybe sounds stupid for you, but i ve seen that, it works. In other cases you have weapon and a lot of ammo.

You can set up some basic traps in passage outside, if you good with explosive devices you can set up some more sophisticated 🙂 After first period is gone, gangs will be more organized, they will be greater in numbers and more determined.

It is simple, first they gonna look for jewelery, LCD s,money and things like that, and if they see obstacle they just go away because there will be lot of other places without obstacles, later when they realize that real SHTF came, they will look for food, water, ammo, and they gonna try to destroy obstacles. So again, if you caught in city in SHTF, do not panic, stay focused, wait for the moment, and then of course leave the city. Where? Wherever you can, just leave.

Sorry guys there is no perfect home security in city SHTF, unless you have small army in your apartment. Get out and connect with family, friends and form a group.

What to carry? i guess you are not be able to carry a lot things with you, weapon, ammo, basic first aid kit, maybe food for a day. From all of this what i wrote, you can conclude that best thing is to have some hideout, some house close to your living place, place with all suplies, ammo, medical, food, water, friends. That is my plan, because my job i must be in city, but my real place in SHTF will be rural community. I hope.

I do not know how many of you is aware that in every city, every country and culture, there is considerable number of people who just waiting for some kind of collapse, some kind of chaos so they can start with robbing, killing and havoc. So if you counting on human kindness and help i suggest you to forget about that, you are not going to have too much friends, so do not prepare alone, have friends now. But choose wisely with who you are going to share your thougts about preparations and plans.

I have read some post from some guy, he states that he is not hiding fact that he is prepper from anybody. As soon as folks realizes what is happening,he gonna have visitors.

Getting MREs

In that time US air force had mission to drop food from airplanes from high altitudes as a part of the mission to help surrounded cities(not only mine)  there was not any kind of schedule, or right place to wait for them, it was matter of luck. I ll try to describe one waiting for MRE (it was not only MRE, but we called it, hunt for MRE )

At first real dark we took rifle (if you had it) or any kind of weapon, and go out, usually 3-4 men, never alone. Some 2-3 miles from my house there was hill, it used to be dense wood, but soon it was naked because need for firewood, so imagine bunch of people climbing on that hill, complete darkness, maybe 300-500 people every night, and waiting for the distant sound of airplane, it was matter of luck, i guess because they dropped that things from high altitude they just never know where they gonna go.

Funny thing was that few miles across that hill was another hill, on that another hill was enemy army, they usually shoot every half hour on our hill with PAT (anti aircraft cannon) in dark, without aiming, because they knew we are there. They could not see us, but i guess they did not need to see us, every time they hit someone.

On the other side, most of the folks were armed, we fight regularly between us on that hill, for better position behind some rock, or to get some pallete with parachute. It was regularly to see guy climbing with his buddies on pallets full of flour , loading his rifle with statement ” OK this is mine” If you and your friends had more fire power, you tried to convice him somehow 🙂

So if you had luck and plains dropped something useful right on that hill, you still mostly needed to fight for that.

I still remember everything from that MRE s , food, matches, sauces, salt, cookies…

Many many years later, after peace came, when i had MRE s again in hands, i just felt strange, i wanted to cry and laugh in same time.
Other important thing was with that airplanes missions, we just felt that we are not forgotten, that somewhere somebody thinks about us, sometimes that was more important than food.

How it all started

To make some things understandable i ll try to describe my street in that time, it was street in older part of town, all houses made from brick, small yards, usually with gardens, every yard had wall, brick or concrete, street was dead end street, maybe some 20 houses, not sure.
Neighborhood was nice, middle class, normal people, kids, cars, lawns…

When everything started due to advancing of enemy army, and occupation of some parts of town, population gone to maybe 50 000-60 000 citizen, not sure. Lines of separation between “us and them ” formed pretty soon as advance was stopped.

I guess then they decided to conquer it with long siege, starvation or something like that. Whatever reason was , it resulted with lot of people in condition of constant shelling, sniper fire, no distribution of any kind of goods, no authority or anything else that means civilization.

Very soon things started to go down, people realizes that everybody is potential enemy, so if anybody thinks there was some feeling of union in trouble or something like that, no sorry.

Some folks realizes that they can not survive alone, without weapon in that new world. In my case some family members came from other parts of town, from their houses to my house, because they did not feel safe there, some of them bring weapon, some bring some food,some did not bring anything.

Now when i remember, i think maybe we needed 15 days to realize that is not gonna be war like war in some other . Houses gets cold without heating, people slowly realizes it is gonna be fight for life, every single day. Like every normal city in world we had stores, markets and malls, but trust me, folks just break and take everything in day or two. And that s it.

Some order on storages and granaries was maintained, but pretty soon we realized that it was not order, gangs just take it. Anyway soon we found our neighbor and his family killed, and robed, nobody knew anything but i guess that was one more awake call, maybe half of the people in street were armed, rifles, pistols, different things.

So we formed something like watch or guard at the street entrance, we roll over burned car as barricade, few men always guarded there.Even then we never were sure is our first neighbor going to attack us, or he ll be friendly. So we barricade our street from outsiders and put some kind of guard, or watch, but we also barricade our houses from everyone, you can say that was very loose alliance between neighbors.

We used what we had, with constant shelling there was a lot ruins from where we used rocks, pieces of metal plates or anything to make house harder to penetrate. My weapon was AK 47, folding stock. Lot of the people asked me is it good? Is it better then…? I don t think that s right question, you see many years after that SHTF i had and used for some time m16 ( i think it was M16 A1) and i found it much better than AK47, but in case of another SHTF i going to have Kalashnikov again. Reason is simple, most of the people here use that rifle, that caliber. Same with pistol and same with everything else.

Keep it simple and ordinary.

Strength is in the numbers!

One man survivor?
I just say it on beginning- from my experience no way, or very hard, not in the city SHTF.

You know i watched on You tube few months ago great documentary about urban SHTF survival, i think guy is ex special force or something like that, i remember he shows how he crossing river with rope, hiding in ruined building, entering hospital and how he taking fuel from abandoned gas station so he can start electrical power unit in empty hospital ,later he is making some fuel from something… and things like that.I can not remember his name or name of show.

I mean guy is OK, he is doing some smart things, he is good. But what about other people in that town? It is OK if the city abandoned and you are alone in town, but chances are more that is gonna be crowded with desperate people, hungry, ready for everything.

You know i have seen a lot of shootings, but i never met Rambo, i never seen guy who killed 8 bad guys with three bullets from rifle. Some thing just did not worked, yes i ve seen some bad guys, lone wolfs, good armed, trained, and most of them finished shot from the back from some ordinary hungry folks.

So, from my experience be close with your family, or choose wisely your friends, share your prepping in normal times with them, because when SHTF come, they probably gonna be your group, your best defense. I don t know how things works in wilderness but in town SHTF your group is everything, it can be you family, your friends.

Do you think that s only you gonna have great idea to take fuel from abandoned gas station,or weapon from ruined police station, no, lot of guys gonna have same idea, probably you gonna have to fight for that, what is your chance for fight if you are alone? You can say that s you going to have everything because you are prepping for years, but sooner or later you gonna have to fight for resources, or defend your own.
You know i was pretty smart guy in that time (i think i am still) but in the time when i am figured that i need to go out and take things,because everything falling apart, i was too late, really smart people already took everything 🙂

If you really stays with one man survival in city SHTF, i suggests that you need to be invisible, dig in somewhere with lot of food and guns, and try to be invisible, and hope it is not going to last.

On the other hand, worst panic is in first few weeks of SHTF, when most of the people can not understand what is going on, most stupid deaths happened then, so again it is up to you, stay home with what you got and wait to see what s going on, or go out and risk life to acquire things .

What did we eat?

Not too many types of food, most popular was some kind of local pancakes, to prepare them you needed water, hand full of flour and local herbs, i don t know type of herb, but i am pretty sure it was cow food.It did not require cooking oil, and it needed few minutes on fire to be ready, feeling was like you are eating dusty carpet 🙂

To explain it simply, it was grass, we just use small amounts of flour and water to keep that grass together.
We eat that when we did not anything else.

Speaking about herbs, people used a lot garlic and  lavender as substitute for antibiotics, pine was popular as a antiseptic and of course camomile.

Mre s and cans were luxuries, we acquired cans mostly trough trade. Rice was popular to had, i ques one reason was because it easy to prepare it.
Who owned some kind of garden was in advance, i remember green salads mostly from gardens, to protect that gardens was another problem, but that is theme for another post i quess.

It was matter of whole new thinking, for example if you manage to get somewhere tomatoes, and happened to had some sugar in house, than probably you gonna make kind of marmalade from that, or sauce, call it as you like, and put it in jars.
Most popular kind of can was corned beef because few reasons, it was meat to eat of course, it had a lot of fat in that can, when we eat meat, we used that fat and can as a lamp (add a lace and bottle cap, melt fat)
As i said mostly it was a matter of improvisation,like to make small portable stove from pressure cooker, simply with hammer nails and saw we made two openings, one for smoke and one for wood, we attached some pipe on smoke opening, so basically we had small portable stove, we could carry that in bag, or backpack, if we going somewhere on day, we could quickly cook something on that, and warm our self.
Of course it looked funny, we cough because smoke all the time, but it worked, and it was portable.
We also made stove from the bigger cans, also portable.

A Way Out

Yes, there were few possible ways out of the town. First let mi notice if i had recognize what is coming, i would run away from town for sure, no matter where. Some signs were there, i did not notice them. From this point of view i was fool because i did not figure what is going to happen.
During the SHTF one way out from the town was that you pay to local gang leader huge amount in foreign currency (i guess now something like 15 000- 20 000 $, for us here it is fortune) to get you out of the city.I ve heard for agreements that people gave everything what they had, , jewelery, guns, everything.; They had power and connections to do that, to smuggle you through enemy lines, but; as i remember probability that they ll take your money and just shoot you was very high, i think chance for success; was something like 50%. Not good number if we talking about life 🙂

But yes there were cases of success that i heard later. Other way was to use another smuggling route to get out of the city, that other way was through mountain, it was used sometimes to take some wounded defenders out , on the horses, also it was one of the ways to get things from the other city, some 50 miles long trip, depends from the weather and enemy movements it usually takes 5-10 days.

It was not any kind of road or path, just big mountain standing between two cities, there is narrow “passage” between enemy lines, maybe 1 mile or something like that. So it was a real art to get there and back, with all hard environment , mines, hostilities and absence of any order.
Situation in other town was slightly better, so you could bring some useful things home, maybe.

But it was so hard and dangerous that probably worth only to mention here as way out. I took that trip once, in January, i think it was something like -15 C , freezing wind, blizzards, it was like swimming through snow, not to mention that nobody had clue where exactly mines and other traps were.

I was a city guy, i liked to watch snow from warm room, or on idyllic postcards for new year 🙂 But to walk many miles in deep snow at freezing temperatures, in military boots made probably for dry weather only, and to eat snow ( yes, i made that mistake ) it was nightmare. Local myth was that if you going to take that trip, you need to have sugar and few liters of alcohol, during the trip we mixed alcohol and sugar and drink that, it suppose to gave us energy for long walk on freezing temperature. To be honest, sounds ridiculous, i finished that trip, not sure is it because that mix, i know that most of the time on that trip i was half drunk and walked like zombie.

Sometimes people took that trip only to try to get some specific medicine. I remember also few times some of international aid workers, or some foreign news reporters tried to sneak into the town, or be smuggled in to the town, because help or interesting story i guess.

Also i met two foreign soldiers, mercenaries,(i think from UK) i did not have clue how they came in city, but i know that they “worked” with sniper weapon for those who payed more. Urban legend about them was that when they take position to shoot, they did not move several hours, and that the eat only chocolate bars when they are “on job” I don t know is this make any sense 🙂

In one occasion i spoke with them, nice guys, i think for them it was a job like any other job, they did not even look like “tough guys”
International red cross tried few times to get in to the town with food, but mostly unsuccessful, even when they get in it was in such small amounts, it did not mean anything.

Again rumors raged, there was a stories that some folks go through the sewage systems, and manage to get out, do not know for sure is it a true, it was a system about 100 years old, combined with newer sections, so it looked like labyrinth to me. I think now i would be great idea to have map, blueprints of that 🙂