Would Rural Areas Be Safer In A SHTF Situation?

Authored by Tom Chatham via Project Chesapeake,

In a situation where national infrastructure and life sustaining resources are suddenly cut off , population density will have a lot to do with how well you get by in the days following the crisis. When it happens, what you have on hand will likely be all you have to work with for an extended time. Those that lack supplies will seek out and take what they need in an increasingly hostile manner as time goes on. This is why being in a large city will likely be hazardous to your well being.



Very few will argue that being in a rural area when something catastrophic happens will greatly increase your chances of survival. A lower population density and more available natural resources to help you get by will make long term survival much easier. This is why so many people advocate heading for a rural area when something happens. The problem is unless you are already established in a rural area, survival will not necessarily be easier.

Leaving the city when supplies and infrastructure are shut down would work only up to a point. Rural areas are like anywhere else. They have infrastructure designed to service a certain number of people that normally live there. The housing, restaurants, roadways, water systems and grocery stores will only handle a small excess of people even in the best of times. When the city dwellers suddenly evacuate to the rural areas in mass, they will simply be taking many of their big city problems with them. They will likely find no housing, food supplies or other infrastructure they need to live.

Because of this many small towns will likely close their roads at some point and prevent entry to anyone who does not live there. They will suddenly realize their already finite resources will not be enough for themselves much less thousands of new people. This realization will likely come only after they have been inundated with strangers demanding supplies and housing. It is for this reason that rural dwellers should hope cities are locked down fairly quickly to prevent people from leaving.

When Henry Kaiser built a new shipyard in Richmond, Ca. in the 1940’s the town was suddenly overwhelmed with new workers. People lived in shoddy trailers they towed in, some slept in boarding houses in shifts and the schools ran three shifts a day. Eventually they built the new infrastructure they needed and life went on but this only happened because they were living in normal times when everything was working properly. Imagine an influx of people into a small town when supplies are already limited and likely to get worse as time goes on.

That is why it is essential that you establish yourself in a rural area before something happens. Simply hoping to show up following an event is no plan and will likely cause resentment by the locals when supplies run low.

Rural areas offer the opportunity to be much more self reliant than city spaces. This is the reason rural areas offer people a better chance to survive something like a grid down scenario. This is only true until the carrying capacity of the rural area is breached. That is when the city problems become rural problems. Simply moving a mass of unprepared people to another area with even less infrastructure will not solve the problem, it will only change the surroundings and create other problems.

There is an old saying that you never eat your seed stock. Self sufficient people know this because if they eat their seeds or butcher their breeding stock they will not have anything to raise the following year which will lead to eventual starvation or loss of future income. To an unprepared person that thinks food is produced in a factory, preserving seed stock makes no sense when they are hungry right now. They do not care about next year, they only care about today which is why they got into their situation in the first place. This is the type of situation that can doom a society if they lose the ability to produce future crops, even on a small scale.

Will rural areas be safer in a SHTF situation? Only if they can maintain order and protect the resources they have to insure long term sustainability of the community. Most communities are not prepared for this type of situation and will need a steep learning curve if they are to survive it. Many will likely not survive it.

Modern farming communities do not have the infrastructure to maintain themselves like many once did. Factory farming has moved much of the local production to central locations around the nation and few farmers produce their own seed locally. These and other modern systems will make it difficult for many farm communities to even care for their own much less thousands of new arrivals.

The only communities that are likely to survive in tact are the ones that are mostly self sufficient already and have a plan to maintain production and protect themselves from looters and overcrowding. Simply running to a rural area in a time of crisis is no cure all. Wherever you are, the key to survival will be advance preparation and a good plan.


dot.dot Wed, 01/24/2018 - 22:06 Permalink

The absence of negroes certainly enhances your chances of survival in any circumstance.

Most of my neighbors are livestock.  I like those demographics.

LetThemEatRand dot.dot Wed, 01/24/2018 - 22:11 Permalink

I can't help but point out that your user picture is of a movie character who wore a mask and strapped other white guys to the front of souped up vehicles after a major war.  In the movie, he used them as hostages during his brutal raids on other white communities who had resources he wanted, and all of this occurred outside of major cities.  And the movie character/your user picture is a white guy.  Just something to think about.

In reply to by dot.dot

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 dot.dot Wed, 01/24/2018 - 22:23 Permalink

Oh BS! I plan on surviving! No way am I giving up! I don't care if I have to eat pigeons, rats, squirrels, cattails, heck even possum or raccoon (but possum and raccoon have to be disgusting). With a few basic ingredients I can make anything taste good.

Survival starts with your mental attitude. No fucking way am I going to quit and roll over. No way in hell.

In reply to by dot.dot

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 hedgeless_horseman Wed, 01/24/2018 - 22:29 Permalink

Oh those would be fine eating, my reference about being disgusting was about possum and raccoon. Apparently if you don't dress them properly and get out the musk sac, well . . . it is my understanding you have to get that out and that soaking the meat in brine and then buttermilk can help with the flavor. I am not an expert, only watched videos on dressing them and cooking them.

Plenty of squirrels and pigeons in my area and I know where the pigeons roost around sunset. Always good to have an airgun on hand for small game. Quiet.

In reply to by hedgeless_horseman

Bemused Observer HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Wed, 01/24/2018 - 23:21 Permalink

I don't know if it's really worthwhile to be squeamish in a true survival situation. Honestly, in that case, pretty much any animal you eat has a good chance of being full of chemicals...those animals will be hungry, and will be eating garbage and all sorts of unsavory things out there before you shoot 'em. God only knows what their last meal may have been...it may turn out to be yours as well.

Certain animals, like raccoons, may not be safe to eat at all. Between rabies and the fact that they will eat ANYTHING they find in the garbage it may be best to avoid them as food...but they will likely be the most common 'wildlife' in most suburbs, so people will be eating them, and getting very sick.

Eating your friend is probably safer. You have some idea of what's been going into him, and, if you have steely nerves, you can even throw a little extra adobo into his rations, get a jump on things, just in case...

In reply to by HRH of Aquitaine 2.0

Eyes Opened MsCreant Thu, 01/25/2018 - 04:04 Permalink

Andy's ALWAYS punning...

Thats what the VW stands for ...

Very Witty.... 😏



BTW ... having to reset default comment  sorting to oldest first EVERY time I make a comment is getting old...

As is being returned to page 1 of the comments after commenting on page 6....


In reply to by MsCreant

FredFlintstone Eyes Opened Thu, 01/25/2018 - 09:39 Permalink

yes, I liked the old days when we could at least get 300 posts per page, should be 500 now that the site gets more activity. You set up your preferences once and you were good to go. I used to use the "new comments" link as it would take you to the comment unless there were more than 300 comments. Now that feature is basically useless.

Maybe they have a programmer they got off of Craigslist doing the site improvements and he will eventually get around to it.

In reply to by Eyes Opened

dot.dot HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Wed, 01/24/2018 - 22:34 Permalink

I don't plan on quitting either.  Just being realistic.  The people who survive will be the ruthless scumbags who have no qualms about killing people.

How hard would it be to setup a firing position and wait for somebody to come out of his house and just blow him away at the first chance?  Whamo.  He just got himself a cool log cabin w/ a basement full of provisions and a hot wife.

Unless you are bugging out w/ a large group capable of defending what is yours (and stealing what is not) you will not survive in the long term

In reply to by HRH of Aquitaine 2.0

Bemused Observer HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Wed, 01/24/2018 - 22:58 Permalink

That's right, and I'd add that in a serious food shortage situation, anyone who is with me and dies first will be eaten. I'll be decent about it, won't just gnaw on your skull like some sort of barbarian, but I will take your meaty bits. And, just for the record, anyone who is with me, and I die first, is free to do the same. (But for the love of God, don't eat the liver! Don't even handle it, just get under it with a shovel and flip it far into the bushes...that fucker is hazardous waste.)

Bon appetit!

In reply to by HRH of Aquitaine 2.0

MsCreant dot.dot Wed, 01/24/2018 - 22:29 Permalink

We really are damned. 

Kunstler in The Long Emergency talks about not so much a power on/off situation, but brown outs, restoration, black outs, restoration, and we get used to it as normal. It will most likely not be a dramatic crisis, but a long, grinding, gradual one with dramatic flare ups. Kind of like the ones we see in South America, or Africa, or Europe, or Detroit, or border-towns, or LA, or Chicago, or, er, uh....

In reply to by dot.dot