Tents and Trailers
If your house is uninhabitable or condemned due to an earthquake, hurricane or other disaster, you can pitch a tent in the back yard. This allows you to stay in close proximity to your survival stash and be physically present to protect your belongings from possible looters. You’ll also have access to clothes, pots and pans, and all sorts of other stuff in your house that you will need after an actual disaster strikes.
A step up from a tent (in both creature comforts and budget) is a trailer or RV. Pop the top on your trailer and you’ve got most of the comforts of home. An RV will allow you not only comfort, but mobility, which is great if you decided to evacuate in the case of a flood or hurricane. With a well-stocked camper or RV, you’ll have beds with mattresses, a propane stove, food, cooking utensils, water hookup, etc. (See our prior section on RVs as bug out vehicles.)
When bad weather or another disaster strikes, home isn’t the only option. Think of those folks working on Wilshire Blvd. in LA during the riots. Were they better off running to their cars and trying to drive through the riot or staying right there on the 18th floor, high above the riots? Certainly Captain Dave would want to have been at home protecting his family, but you need to weigh the benefits versus the risk. (That’s one reason survival planning should involve the entire family.)
In many offices, you’ll have a water cooler, vending machines, microwave, coffee maker, TV, and phone service. Plus, power lines are underground, so they’re protected from both the elements and rioters.
In a large building, you can count on a security force that will probably be smart enough to lock the doors and take some action to prevent access to the building by a crowd. If you think the building is being overrun by rioters, pull the fire alarm. This will result in all the elevators being recalled to the lobby and they won’t run again until they are reset. It takes a serious looter to climb more than five or six flights of stairs.
On your floor or in your suite, bar the door, check your personal weapon and, if there are enough people present, assign some people to stand guard. If you are alone on the floor, or there are invaders in the building, look for a good hiding place. Captain Dave’s favorite: hiding in the space above a drop ceiling.
Shopping centers, fast food restaurants and other public buildings also may offer some protection in natural disasters, but they could also be targets for looting, so you will want to avoid them. And while you may be buddies with the guy at the local gun store, his place will be on top of the list for gangs to loot, followed by electronics and furniture stores. You don’t want to be there when that happens, unless you are prepared to support him in a pitched battle with well-armed gang members, some of whom may have had military or paramilitary training.