Etiquette In Unknown Areas (How To Avoid Starting A Riot)

crowded street


This summer the team at SHTFSchool have been busy travelling and planning for a new range of courses. This is in addition to my routine and extensive travels for other work.  Today  I share a summary of some key things I’ve learnt in my travels on things to do (or not!) if you find yourself in a ‘new place’ or are unsure of what the social ‘norms’ of the area you are in may be. I hope it is of use and interest!

Remember, in these days of increasing ‘multiculturalism’ it is perfectly possible to get yourself into trouble breaking ‘cultural rules’ without travelling to a foreign country

The overarching consideration for this type of problem can easily be broken down into two categories. Deciding on a recommended course of action or displaying a behaviour can always be held up to this simple litmus test…

1) No harm can come from this… (Insert action)
2) No good can come from… (Insert action)

See how this applies in this list of top 10 things to consider below:

1. Be Observant

Breaking rules in other cultures can attract moderate to severe penalties. (Go to Deera Square in Saudi Arabia on a Friday afternoon to see a stark example). Due to the potential severity of punishment of what we may see as ‘slight’ or minor issues, the exquisite art of observation must come into play as early as possible. Scrutinize your surroundings and compare yourself to them and see in what ways you will/are ‘stand out’ and then take action to address those issues swiftly. No harm can come from being observant.

2. Keep Covered

This applies to men, but even more so to women. No harm can come from covering as much of the body as possible in an unknown area (See how the test works!?) If you feel you ever are realistically going to find yourself in such an ‘unknown’ situation we are illustrating, then make sure long sleeved trousers and tops are worn or are immediately available. Early observation should indicate if you need to cover your head. For shawls/scarves/head covers unless you KNOW the tribal identifiers (e.g. patterns and colour connotations on a shemagh) keep them as neutral and non-specific in style as possible. Your dapper blue cravat may look great at the cocktail bar in your tennis club but will probably cause you problems in South-Central LA.

3. Avoid Comments

Let’s face it, you are probably already ‘pinged’ by the locals or residents as being a stranger. Trying not to stand out will help, but an overheard comment (especially a negative or derogatory one), no matter how outstanding, strange, odd or degrading event you are commenting on is going to get you on people’s radar swiftly and not in a good way. No good can come from mentioning how ‘different’ these people are from you, or you are from these people.

4. Stick Within Your Gender

Do not attempt to engage, in any way, with members of the opposite sex. Full Stop (Period). Be as affronted at this advice as you want, but take it. No discussion is required. If you can’t follow it in this format you WILL be taught another way…

Also know this isn’t just about you. If you are introduced to a woman do not offer her your hand. Wait for her to offer. If you hold out your hand in simple politeness you may be forcing her to choose between insulting a guest (you) or touching a man she is not married to—either or both of which may be harshly punished for.

5. Steer Clear of Religious Buildings/Areas

In the absence of a professional guide, or clear acceptance of tourists, the odds of you breaking up a VERY significant rule are so off the scale it is not worth the risk.

6. Remain Clear Headed

Degenerating your ability to be observant, and cognitive ability to understand why you need to stick with these rules is a plan no good can come from… On this, please note, just because you see locals doing something doesn’t mean you can too…don’t get drunk or high in dangerous places. More strongly, NEVER alter your mental state except in a confirmed safe place.

7. Don’t Engage with ANY Solicitation

Do not give to beggars, do not feed the poor. From personal experience don’t stop the child running in to the road clearly in your line of sight (it’s bait for a trap you don’t want to be in). Don’t talk with prostitutes, even if you are ‘Just asking for directions’, avoid street vendors, touts, self declared taxi drivers… You get the idea.

If You Need Help, Ask Someone in a Public Facing Role or just ‘Back Up’ – Look for assistance from service staff, waiters, store owners etc. DO NOT stop random strangers in the street, and don’t stand in the street looking lost and/or bewildered. If you have ‘inadvertently’ found yourself in the wrong place, turn around and go back the way you came (Like if you ever accidentally take an express subway that doesn’t stop at 70th Street in New York City, but takes you straight to Harlem at 11pm at night, and you are translucent white, not American, and look like you just got a beating from Muay Thai class, get back on the Subway and head back the way you came…)

8. No Pictures

You’ve realized you may not be in tinsel town, so stop wandering around like a tourist. Unless you’re taking pictures of your teeth for dental record analysis later on, no good can come from getting in peoples way with a camera.

9. Don’t Display Wealth

If it’s shiny and possibly expensive looking stow it away or hide it. Dress down to the best of your ability.

Most important point last!

10. Be Polite

Not witty, engaging, entertaining, fascinated, shocked, pious, or committed to ‘educating people’, or any other way you may think I mean by ‘Polite’. Out and out, genuinely polite. You are the odd one out, you are under scrutiny, anything going wrong WILL be seen as potentially your fault, so try not to do anything ‘wrong’ (even though you don’t know yet what wrong is) so be sincere and respectful in your actions until you’ve figured out what is going on…

These 10 simple measures will hopefully ‘buy you time’ to figure out how to best act and proceed in an area previously unknown to you. Getting into trouble in an unknown area is fraught with additional risks. Inciting a mob is a situation you will very likely never escape from.

Do you have any ‘rules’ you follow when you are in ‘unknown areas’…? Please comment below and share your experiences…

Guest Article – Seven Elements of Self-Defense by Rory Miller



Toby’s Note: While this article is written primarily as advice to Self Defense instructors, it should be noted serious students of Self Defense need to be studying and addressing all the points raised AND we highly recommend choosing their instructors in accordance with the advice given in this article.


There are seven things you must cover if you intend to teach self-defense. Failure in any of these areas will leave your student vulnerable.


1) Ethical and Legal Aspects of Force.

Self defense is a legal term, not a selection of physical skills. To teach physical self-defense without respect to self-defense law is as irresponsible as teaching someone to drive without teaching the rules of the road. Many of the systems we teach are either older than the legal concept of self-defense, derived from a military art without legal niceties, or invented by criminals.  As a rule, nice, peaceful, law-abiding people are crappy at designing functional combat systems. It is not hard to teach with respect to the law, most people’s instincts are fully in line with legal expectations. When one hears, “I’d rather be tried by twelve than carried by six” it is a sure sign of an instructor too lazy or too arrogant to do the research necessary to help the students avoid both of those options.


The law is the standard society will hold you to, but your internal ethics are the standards you will hold yourself to. There is always a moral dimension to any use of force and you will always be either the good guy or the bad guy in your own mind when the smoke has cleared.


That seems clear-cut, but it is not. Even the most necessary force often runs counter to the student’s social conditioning. Realistically, everything involved in self defense is breaking a law or, at minimum, a taboo. When you strike someone to defend yourself, even if the person is attacking you with a knife, you are committing the crime of assault (or battery, depending on how your local jurisdiction defines things.) Self-defense does not make the crime disappear, it makes it justified. Hitting someone is committing assault. Killing someone is intentional manslaughter. But even something as simple as setting boundaries is being rude to a stranger. Every last act that comprises self-defense are things most students have been taught never to do, or taught that bad people do them.


This social conditioning creates hesitation. It can get your students killed. One of your primary responsibilities as an instructor is to find your students glitches and work them out. It doesn’t matter how skilled a fighter you are if the small voice in the back of your head won’t let you act.


2) Violence Dynamics.

You must understand how crime and violence actually happen. Without this knowledge it is impossible to have a realistic and efficient defense. You will never meet a doctor who studied medicine and surgery but refused to study disease and injury. You will never meet a mechanic who practices with tools but has never looked at an engine. But it is endemic in martial arts and self-defense for instructors to have fifteen or more years of practice in “what to do if attacked by a bad guy” who have never spent a single day studying how bad guys attack. In any other field this would be considered literally insane and unforgivably negligent.


3) Avoidance, Escape and Evasion, De-escalation.

Your students must know it is okay NOT to fight and they must know how to NOT fight. It’s not enough to pay lip-service: “Always walk away if you can, but today we’re working on hitting people in the face…”  They must know it is the better (safer, more effective) thing to do. They must have the tools to avoid, escape or de-escalate violence, and they must practice those tools.


4) Counter assault.

Under the assumption that the students are smart enough to walk away from anything they see coming, it is axiomatic that they will be hit by something they didn’t expect. Or something they expected and were too arrogant to acknowledge. They need skills— simple, effective skills— trained to reflex speed to get past the sucker punch or ambush in one piece.


There are no perfect answers for counter-assault training, but there are some damn good ones. The technique itself must be efficient, have no decision tree (e.g. the technique is the same for right or left attacks, high or low, straight or circular, hand strikes or kicks, weapon or empty hand attacks), robust (meaning the technique still works even if done mostly wrong), and, ideally a “golden move” (prevents harm to you, injures the threat, betters your position, worsens the threat’s position or structure).


Proper operant conditioning can get the technique up to reflex speed.


5) Breaking the Freeze.

Well-trained and experienced operators still freeze, even if only to switch gears from patrol to combat mode. People freeze. It is natural. Some freeze in their minds, denying the attack is happening or trying to make a plan when there is no time for that. Some freeze chemically, getting such a dump of stress hormones that they are helpless. Many, especially in their first violent encounter, freeze because they do not know what will make things worse.


Your students need to understand that freezing exists, learn how to recognize when they are frozen and learn a method to break the freeze. It doesn’t matter how good they are at fighting if they stay frozen.


6) The Fight Itself.

Most training concentrates here and too many instructors believe that this is enough. But, obviously, you need to survive the sucker punch and break the freeze to even access this training. The good news, most things that are taught do work here.


The bad news, the circumstances under which those effective skills have to work will be completely different than what the student expects.


The student in the fight will not be the student that trained. In training, students are alert, sober, warmed up and stretched out, attentive and engaged, and not under the influence of adrenaline. Threats (bad guys) are not training partners. The threat is not trying to help you be a better person, does not care if you go to work tomorrow, and will be attacking you— fast, hard, up close and by surprise— not giving you predictable feeds to work on. And the fight happens in places with bad footing and lighting and improvised weapons and environmental hazards.


7) The Aftermath.

When the physical part of a self-defense situation is over, things are not over. There are potential legal, medical and psychological consequences as well as the possibility of retaliation. There is no consequence-free way to get involved in an intensely violent event, and the student unprepared to deal with the aftermath might bleed out, or say something that sends them to prison, or turn to drugs, alcohol or suicide. And that’s not a win.


Conclusion. All seven aspects are important, and they also affect each other. Working out your students’ ethics prevents freezes and also helps with the psychological aftermath. An event avoided has no injury, no paperwork and few internal issues. Students who have never heard “Everyone freezes” often interpret their own freezes as symptoms of cowardice and psychologically hammer themselves. Appropriate de-escalation or efficient hand-to-hand is impossible if one doesn’t recognize the dynamics of a particular act of violence. And a good counter-assault kicks in at the speed of nerve, giving you an edge before the stress hormones and freeze can even happen. All of these are important, and all work together.

To read more on these critical seven aspects you can read my book, Facing Violence


Survival Among Humans

TV news and internet are covered with headlines like „shocking, captured Iraqis beheaded“ or „they killing everyone on their way“ and „prisoners executed“ and similar.

And folks who watch and comment on the news and videos who still live in „normal“ world without this kind of crazyiness going on, are shocked of course.

First comments are that those people and groups who are doing that are animals and they need to be „bombed to stone age“, or „they are not deserving better anyway“ and then goes „they are all same there, let them kill each other“ and similar.

While I would definitely like to see that fanatics getting „eradicated“ there, there are more things that should be considered.

Most of the folks are not going to watch video of that violence, because it is too much for them (like this video that „promotes“ ISIS), they will change channel, or simply open the page with news from the „celebrity world“.

People do not want to watch or think about bad things, people want to forget that, and yes, at the end there comes again that famous „it cannot happen to us“ idea.

  • Do you really think that when (not if) SHTF events would be much different in your part of the world?
  • Do you think that when collapse happens, you and people around you in your town will be somehow able to organize food distribution, security and safety for residents, and all those criminals and sick bastards will somehow disappear, and there is going to be new better society?
  • Are you under the influence of movies and you think that good guys win almost always and that there is justice and sense in everything?

I hope you do not because I highly doubt anything like this is going to happen anywhere.

Forget good guys and bad guys. Prepared guys win, they can be good or bad, or both.

Problem is in the fact that simply too many people are waiting for S. to hit the fan so they can go out and play their own version of God. Just ask yourself this question: Who is more experienced living in place without any law, criminals or regular folks?

Criminals, sick folks, small Napoleons, guys who suddenly think that they have solution for building new society without including morale in story…

There are guys who wait for SHTF to go out and rule, to take your food, enslave you, recruit your older kids, or to take your wife maybe for fun.

Maybe how and when everything happens in your neighbourhood would be different when SHTF then in those news articles that we talking about, but lot of things gonna be the same, lot of people, not enough resources, and fight for power.

It is often hard to imagine for regular people how nasty other humans can become. If you have been to prison, war or deal a lot with criminals you know better.

And again, I am talking this from my own experience. Again.

One day I had job, family, car, restaurants, cinema, girlfriends, I was listening Guns n Roses and was angry about last album of Metallica. Life was nice and good to me, I had problems but they were in the range of am I lazy to go and rent video tape, or just spent afternoon reading something.

Then BAM!

I suddenly realized that I am living among guys who are finding amusement in taking women and teenage girls to „rape prisons“, or kill for fun and not for survival. I suddenly realized that I was living all the time among whole bunch of weird sick folks who when SHTF just went out to have fun.

And yes, I heard and read many times „they are just different down there, they are all the same, let them kill each other, they are different“.

And I am sure that if tommorow SHTF in Sweden, there s gonna be folks who gonna write „oh, leave them, they are animals anyway, not like we here, they are different.“

It is the easy answer. It feels good to think like that.

But forget that, forget about image of „we are nice and decent folks here, and it is impossible to happen to us, these kind of atrocities“
Be prepared.

Whenever someone I know tells me about bad situation here something like „OH, it is gonna be OK, it is not gonna happen to us, situation will be better“ in that same moment I got strong urge to go out and buy more ammo.

Or whenever someone says to me „do not worry, we have system here, they gonna take care of everything“ I feel like I am gonna throw up.

Screw the system, you need to build your own system.

It is like people live in their own little pretty house. Outside you have monsters knocking on windows looking at the people inside but they look away. Facing reality is uncomfortable and most believe monsters never come in. Bad news is that closing your eyes does not make you invincible. You are just blind and more vulnerable.

Lesson here is, do not discount what you can learn from ongoing crisis half way around the world. I never expected people could turn into monsters all around me so fast, I adopted and survived, but you have chance today to understand this and be prepared for this.

More about this in my course and please add your comments below or join our discussion in the forum here.

Abuse of power or just the human side of authorities

I mentioned several times in last few days that we do not need to label everything, all that matters is what impact it can have on us.

What I meant is we do not need to know why something is happening right away but know something is going on and definitely we need to be prepared for results of that. Again like in all other articles I do not want to judge right or wrong here, just talk about some experiences and give you some things to maybe think about.

I read many times in comments and on different blogs and forums questions and speculations about what authorities gonna do when SHTF, or how police gonna react and what military gonna do. So there is a whole different set of options and opinions, but great majority of them are having the opinion based on mindset that they are used to. They think like before SHTF even though SHTF changes everything into real survival situation with whole different set of rules. And that makes big difference.

I had the idea to write about this because of the Chris Dorner case. Case is interesting because of many things. It shows what trouble one person can do (and now imagine many Chris Dorners start fighting authorities..) and also how authorities try to deal with the troublemaker.

If we are talking about police now, we can agree or disagree that police is there to serve and protect. That really depends on where you live of course. In some countries police are part of problem but in general we can say any authorities are here to make difference between order and chaos.

In case of Chris Dorner when they cornered him in small cabin they threw several “hot” tear grass grenades in his wood cabin to get him out. Many people think this was on purpose to set fire to cabin because these hot tear grass grenades are known to set things on fire. After having 4 of your colleagues killed most people not gonna be easy with the killer.

When people are under big emotional stress this is normal and in long term survival scenario that happens to everyone.

I wanna tell you one story from my SHTF time, it is about law abiding citizens and special police force.

First days of collapse are most chaotic in terms of panic and frightened people, so there is a picture of big number of people who do not know what to do, where to go, and what is gonna be. Looting everywhere, and when folks realize that nobody gonna punish them they just go wild.

One group of people (they all lived in same apartment building) choose to stay in, or to bug in speaking in survival terms. There were couple of days of chaos outside but nobody touched them in that building.

When things get more rough they choose to move in few apartments on same floor and stay together. Anyway after some two or three weeks there were some kind of peace outside. They were on watch on windows carefully checking what is going on, but they could not figure out anything.

Few hours later when dark start to fall they noticed group of some 30 policeman, with helmets, rifles and everything. Special police was still around and in first days after STHF they made weak attempts of putting riots down.

They moved in order and formation. Guys from the building were so happy to see them after weeks of rioting and chaos outside. They were first sign that things maybe get back to normal. They cheered and called them.

Police guys quickly stormed into the building and forced them out. They shoot them after quick search. After that they searched apartments for useful stuff. One of the guys who realized and ran for his life survived and told me his story. They were so quick and professorial in killing that most of the people did not even have time to ask for mercy.

Now what is the importance of this story?

Remember this: When SHTF, there are a guys with guns, and there are guys without guns. Everything else are just labels. Names like police, army, authority, government…
You can not think in the terms that we think today, it is dangerous.

If you read between lines on this website you also come to your own conclusions how you can make chances of your survival better if your group looks like official helpers. Of course do not use this for bad things.

There is nothing deep and philosophic in this story, police force are just bunch of guys with guns who are doing their job today, some of them are good people, some of them are bad people. They all just like us gonna choose what they gonna do when SHTF but when they are in big emotional stress or fight for their survival they might not be nice guys like before. Even if they try to be good they go around and anyone they see can be a Chris Dorner and in all chaos they do not know.

Guys who were hiding in the building were common law abiding folks, and they did not realize that SHTF and that rules had changed, actually rules were gone, so what was before did not matter much. Black can be white, bad can be good, or police force can be simple gang.

Really getting this mindset is also main point of my survival course. Yes, there are my list with supplies and survival guide but with interviews I want you to see how “not natural” it was. Yes, it feels like landing on different planet when society changes like that but if you want to survive you have to be able to be almost comfortable with this.

Now do not get me wrong, I am not saying that we all need to go out and not obey the law. Nothing like that. But when SHTF it is wrong to act like law abiding citizen just because you are used to. It just doesnt make sense and you have to question everything and everyone.

I had that “advantage” or “luck” seeing all that when SHTF, also I am living in what I call “unorganized” country so I am perfectly aware that police here even in “normal” times are armed guys who also work for people who pay more.

So all of my problems I am trying to solve by myself, no real help from authorities. Maybe in your world situation is different and you should be grateful for that. I am not saying that all cops are bad, in your country most cops are probably very good. Just keep in mind people who enforce law and order are humans too and when SHTF or in major disaster that is followed by long term survival situation they are living in new world too in which old rules do not mean much.

I know it is easy for me to say this because I have been in this situation but besides all “technical” or “logistical” aspects of prepping your mind has to be ready for the day when old labels, classification and rules are not working anymore. Only then you can make critical right decisions that can make your chance to survive better.

A few weeks ago we had one guy asking for refund of my course because it was too negative. Of course we gave refund no problem but it was a bit funny because I just talk about my experience.

I hope nobody reading this blog has to ever go through so dark times but if you only know how bad it can get by reading what I write or listening to interviews then this can already help and prepare you for worst case scenario and that is what matters.

Do not live life scared and paranoid like some survivalist do, but also really understand how bad things can get or you maybe have best organized food storage in your whole country but make mistake to invite the wrong guys over for dinner.

Next post is about another type of real survivalist again, I just wanted to write about this thing here because it is so important. How did you experience Chris Dorner case? What do you expect from authorities when SHTF?

Survival Shelter

1. Everything can be breaked, forced, overwhelmed

“Let them come, I will take down all of them”

Yep, eventually someone will come, and NO sometimes you can not take them down all. You need to accept fact that point of survival is to survive, not to die like hero in big gunfight. I prefer to be living sneaky person who is good at hiding, instead of dead brave hero.

No matter how much time and money you spent in making your shelter inpenetrable, everything can be broken and taken, it is just matter of time and enough force. We are talking here about ordinary people who do not have ex. rocket launch silo for shelter.

2. Your shelter can not look different than anything that surrounds it

No matter what kind of shelter we are talking about, be sure that it looks like anything else around it. What that means? There is no sense of doing things to your house in order to make it more secure and then to look very different from other houses in your neighbourhood.

If you want to improve your house security do it in way that nobody sees it from the outside. In other words if you are living in street where all of the houses are pretty much same in way of looking, same yards, lawns, fences etc. just look like everybody else.

This is like a swarm of fish who all look the same. Chances that you get picked out and eaten are smaller that way.

The first looted houses in your area show up, loot your own house and make it look like it was looted already. You do not want to be first house that looks abandoned and not last.


3. Improve your security the “invisible” way

Of course you need to improve your house security, but doing that with only high fences and alarm alone will not do the job.

Plan now in peaceful and “normal” times. If you have yard, plan and plant plants and trees. Go out with pen and paper, sit down and take some time. Think about planting some stuff in order to help you in some future time. Think about any possible scenario that can happen to you and your neighbourhood. Trees (big or fallen trees…) or some plants (garden) can hide some things, can be obstacles, can offer you some outpost for scouting things. Also some plants carefully planned can hide some emergency exit or entrance in/out out of your house.

Some things, usually bad things can happen (and things like that happened) by pure luck or bad luck, so sometimes just to have house that is not so clearly “visible” from street is great thing.

I mean lot of bad things happened just because something just looked interesting from the street, or something just caught attention.

Be sure to have things ready in your storage to reinforce your house. Things like steel bars, steel plates, plywood, bags (for sand bags). Look now around your living place and think what you could use for reinforcment when SHTF. For example I used steel covers from sewage openings to reinforce our house.

4. First make your self uninteresting

When you think how to make your home the perfect shelter, first think about how to remove any possible reason for somebody to check it, to attack it.

Today in this time be “usual”. Do not give anybody reason to pay you visit when SHTF. That means of course to hide that you are prepper and that you have interesting things inside your house when SHTF. People are acting on one way today, when SHTF yor first neighbor or your colleague from work may remember you that you mention few times that you have good storage and plenty food for any case. Keep low profile.

Think about any possible scenario that can happen in your area. Nuclear plant? Military base? Infectious diseases outbreak? Think in that terms and obtain some signs. Depending what scenario is gonna happen good thing is to have some original signs like: unexploded devices, infectious desease, or chemical hazard or similar.

5. To go in and out

To have one hidden enterance and exit is must have. In SHTF scenario people might not have food, but time to watch surroundings. Prepare for fact that you are not going to use your normal way in house, your door or gate. You must have one exit that is not visible from the outside of the house. Point is that you can go in and out of the house in order to do things, or to evacuate and that people on the street can not see you.

Think what is the best option for your house and for you. For example simple hole from one of the back rooms reinforced inside with bags and hidden outside with plants. For apartment one of the ideas to use windows and neighbourhood apartment to go out and in.

Reasons are multiple: People are gonna scout and check if your house is empty, how many of you are inside, what kind of things you are taking in and out, or simple evacuation.

This all does not mean that you have to now make hole in your wall. But good idea is to think about this now, and have plan where to make this thing when times are here, or to simply plant some trees and plants on correct place now. Or to check now on your neighbouring apartment and figure what is safest route, and what aparment probably gonna be empty. Point is to plan today and take right steps.

6. Have things ready and practice

Think today how you can collect water from roof, try it few times and see how it works because you gonna save time when need really comes. Rainwater is usally also good for your plants you keep so it might not be bad idea to collect some now.

Just try to collect water during the rain with some barels pipes putten in your drainage and filter it. Practice safest, most silent and quickest way.

Have things ready and think about anything possible scenario that can happen to you and your house. Keep in mind you are more vulnerable outside of house than inside, so if you have more inside of house you have to go out less.

Think and try some things today. If you never broke through wall with big hammer you might not have security googles to protect your eyes from flying stones.

7. Out of the sight house

Yes, but again you need to make it out of the sight. Eventually you gonna need to defend it. But as more as you delay that moment it is better for you. I am not finding too much use in term “distant house” from city, or far from the most frequented road in the city. In city everything is close, and to have house in real densly populated area in city can be better than to have it in more peaceful neighbourhood in city. It is matter of attraction again. It is more peaceful in “eye of the storm” then in more rich and nice city neighbourhood when SHTF. Especially if you make yourself not interesting.

A “ghetto” area in which families of gang members live can be more protected and safe than nice suburb that the gangs go in to hunt for resources.

8. Understand your priorities and understand your chances

Your priority is your life. So everything else comes after that. Do not think about your house like about something that cannot be left behind sometimes. If you find your self in situation that you must leave your house, just leave it. Come back again later if you can and continue. Have some place inside your house, safe and hidden where you can put valuable things and run.

I know what I speak about. If I could turn back time I should have left before I was trapped in city.

A guy who I knew left his house several times because people who searched it, and looked for valuable things. His urban survival shelter was just apartment but he had good scouting position right under the roof of his house where he could lay down and look out of small gap under the roof.

Whenever he saw them coming he run and hide in neighboring graveyard. Once he spent two days and nights there while guys drink his alcohol inside his house. He had small hidden chamber under his floor where he kept his small storage. After they left he just came back. He survived. He said he felt really safe in one of the family tombs where he hided. Later he made jokes that guy who saved his life is dead for almost 100 years.

He just did not had chance in fight with the guys who came to his place, but was smart enough to know it.


Shelter in urban environment is about low profile, many ways of hidden exit and entry and also being in the right area of your city. A good urban survival shelter does not have to be strongest fortress, it can be the one with the best overview and escape routes (like the guy who hided on the graveyard), the one that looks least desirable, the one that people do not see as shelter.

Flexible and creative way of thinking and looking like everyone else while thinking different can save your life in finding the right shelter, like in most survival things.

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.

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 .