Strategic Relocation Guide: How To Position Yourself To Survive A Major TEOTWAWKI Event


Todd Savage
October 21st, 2014
Strategic Relocation

The following guide has been contributed by Todd Savage as the second part of the ‘Strategic Relocation Bugging Out: Dreams vs. Reality’ series.

Click to read Part I: The Gut Wrenching Reality: One of the Best Bug-Out Strategy Guides You’ll Ever Read

If you’ve ever wanted to know how a professional retreat consultant addresses the issue of safe and sustainable survival properties, then keep reading. Todd is the founder of Survival Retreat Consulting and most recently the Strategic Relocation For Sale By Owner web site where you can find nationwide listings for top-tier homestead and retreat properties.

Finding that perfect home or retreat can seem like a daunting task, but as you’ll see from the extensive guide below, it can be done quite efficiently if you take the right approach. Sure, you want water and a place to grow food, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As we saw in the first part of this series, there’s the dreamworld that’s been created by sensationalized and highly edited TV shows, and then there’s the gut wrenching reality of it. 

Each of us must approach our preparedness planning based on our own specific needs and circumstances and Todd lays out a very easy to use set of checklists and considerations. Before you relocate or drop tens of thousands of dollars for land in the middle of nowhere, take the time to read the guide below because it not only addresses what to look for in a property before an emergency happens, but how you’ll be using that property should the worst-case scenarios materialize.

If you have questions about your own strategic relocation contact Todd – he’s very approachable and always willing to help solve those uniquely challenging problems that you may run into. 

For additional information and insights from Todd Savage and relocation expert Joel Skousen visit the Strategic Relocation Briefings section of our web site.

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Bugging Out: Dreams vs. Reality [Part 2]
By Todd Savage | Strategic Relocation
Also Read Part I: The Gut Wrenching Reality

How to Position yourself to Survive a major TEOTWAWKI event

SR-logoMany folks believe that the crash will be an instant in time, and the world will fall apart in hours. That may be so for local or regional events, or if you’re at ground zero of an event, but it’s more likely that an event that affects the entire nation or world unfolds over time, from weeks to months, maybe over a year, as we are seeing with the possible Ebola ‘Pandemic’ unfolding. It started last year on December 6th, 2013, in the village of Meliandou, Guéckédou Prefecture, Guinea and NOT last week. Maybe a military bio weapon inside job, maybe not, but that won’t matter when you get the ‘fever’, will it?

Where will it be in the near future as it possibly mutates to an airborne strain and goes ‘viral’ during the winter, like a bad Britney Spears video? Nobody knows, but right now is the time to start thinking logically about getting yourself into position to deal with what may come, now or in the future.

Most of us have experienced what it’s like to be ‘out of position’, that empty feeling combined with a sharp pain deep in your gut when you know it’s already too late. Maybe it was the red and blue lights when you knew you should have slowed down, or the moment you realized you were never going to make it to your plane on-time, and of course the proverbial flat tire without a spare, jack or of course a lug nut wrench. Yes, we’ve all done it.

Let’s paint a picture with current events that will demonstrate the perfect storm catching you ‘out of position’.

It’s late January 2015, there are now several thousand cases in the larger cities like Los Angels, Dallas, Atlanta, New York City et cetera. FEMA finally decides that they must act, and the President orders a shut down and ‘preemptive isolation’ as they will call it of these cities. In reality Martial law has been declared with 25 mile no travel zones surrounding each city with all transportation stopped, except for approved food and supply shipments. Panic grips the nation as the sheeple realize that Ebola has now gone airborne, and mutated well past any ‘vaccine’ they may have created. Now smaller cities enact their own ‘self isolation’ blocking travel through on all roadways, leaving only the main US interstate system (in between major cities) for folks to flee and go ‘somewhere’.

The problem is that almost nobody knows where to go, and in haste will actually pack vehicles laden with furniture, TV’s, computers, family heirlooms and bring the interstates to a standstill. Then FEMA decides to order a full transportation shutdown, no air, ground or even sea travel allowed without inspections, permits and escorts, for any reason.

Now is NOT the time to be out of position.

A Transportation shut down = the end of your chances to bug out early effectively. What will you do when the thugs show up? Is this picture below what you want to see as you beg to be allowed to pass the checkpoint and bug-out to your retreat? Good luck. Even worse, think you’ll be able to fight past these jackbooted goons with your family in tow? You’re wrong and you’re family will die alongside you in a vain attempt to ‘secure your freedom’.

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As we covered in Part I of The Bug-Out Plan, it’s important that you are prepared to leave early, once an event is identified as a possible threat. Remember, the farther your retreat, the earlier you must leave!

Now in Part II, we will cover in detail how to first decide where your location should be and then how to select the right property using a few basic criteria that all survival properties should have. Joel Skousen does an excellent job in his book ‘Strategic Relocation: North American Guide to Safe Places’, covering where these safe regions are in each state, and is perfect to use after you know the ‘why’ and ‘what’ you’re seeking to shelter yourself from.

The locale location is a very personal/individual selection based upon your own threat analysis and mitigation plans. However, one fact is universal when bugging out; You MUST have some sort of destination, where you know that fresh supplies and a new start are waiting. This is what we call ‘Being In Position’.

Before we cover basic criteria and how to secure your survival property / bug-out location, we need to understand what we’re up against here. The reality is that very few of us have a real understanding (combat veterans, maybe) of what life will be like after the lights go out.

What is life like in the middle of a civil war, socio economic crash or pandemic? I won’t profess to know, but realize that the woefully unprepared will be dead, and those that think they are prepared will be in for a hech of a journey, filled with massive psychological and physiological impacts which will govern their daily activities and decisions ultimately affecting their survival.

Foreign Invasion? Well, of Course.

In addition to dealing with ‘post collapse disorder’ (I’m sure Big Pharma would love to poison us with another pill for this), there is a good chance for a foreign occupation soon after. If you’re new to the Prepper world, and are on the fence about what may happen should we see a major event take place that affects the continental United States, do be warned that under no circumstances will another superpower let the opportunity pass to swiftly invade and create a stronghold by which to complete an occupation of this still great country.

Seriously, don’t stick your head in the sand. There is no reason to argue about who will actually invade and occupy us (although a joint Chinese/Russian ‘Peacekeeping Force’ will be a reasonable assumption), just know that it will happen and be prepared. Period. This may also affect your choice of locale for your bug out property.

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If you think this man is scary, wait until ‘President’ Hillary reaches down and unlocks the door to gun confiscation, using UN troops to quell a socio-economic collapse that was years in the making, in thanks to Obama for giving her health care legislation the nod. A nice bait and switch eh?

Every country falls, no need for a history lesson here and so will America. If it’s within your lifetime it’s really going to be bad, very bad. Worse than any book or movie can portray. Why? Because it’ll be your new reality, forget all the preps you purchased, even the property you built for survival, the fact is that of those that make it that far in prepping, half will not make the grade for one simple reason; Mental conditioning.

If you survive the initial lights out event and make it to your retreat, then you’ll need to be prepared to live as sustainably as possible, during a prolonged foreign occupation and subsequent guerrilla war.

The New World As We Know It

Everyone is focused on surviving TEOTWAWKI, when we need to prepare for what the new world will be like afterwards. You survive TEOTWAWKI by preparing your plans and making a successful bug out and subsequent journey to your survival retreat property. Then, all your preps and hard work pay off to help you THRIVE in the ‘New World As We Know It’ (NWAWKI).

No, it’s not meant to replace the pillar of the Prepper world acronym; ‘The End Of The World As We Know It’. As TEOTWAWKI is the event that facilitates the initial rapid change such as a socio economic crash via solar or man made EMP (nuclear), pandemic, foreign invasion or civil war in these ‘united States’; NWAWKI is actually the term for a society forever changed, never to return to pre-event status.

Do you think the world will return to ‘normal’ after hundreds of millions die worldwide from a pandemic like Ebola? Well, there will surely be some fine real estate to buy, for pennies on the dollar. But think about how many years it will take to restore food production operations, transportation and the economy after such an event?

Longer than any of us can imagine.

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Are you ready to turn back the clocks to the 1800’s for up to 10 years? Are you ready to literally sweat it out 12 hours a day just to eat? Sound far-fetched? No, it’s just time to refocus on the future, well past the crash.

Before beginning your search it’s very important to self assess your level of commitment to finding that safe haven. This does not entail how much money you have; this means do you have the ability to really make a positive change to your current situation. Do you understand what your personal threat analysis is, and the probability factor of these events taking place? And finally, are you willing to do something about them? This may seem easy, but for some it’s an overwhelming process, especially to those that may be new to the Prepping genre.

Don’t become overwhelmed.

Purchasing a retreat not only comes down to factual search criteria that can be easily vetted with a few spreadsheets, but requires a level of psychological preparedness before moving forward.

Threat Assessment

Not everyone will prepare for the same threats. Some folks think that a nuclear exchange is imminent, others a socio-economic collapse, maybe an EMP (Solar) or, a pandemic like Ebola.

Your threat assessment will help you decide to either relocate permanently to a rural homestead or acquire a bug out property. This list should encompass the full spectrum of threats (i.e., natural, economic, criminal, terrorist, and outright warfare and occupation).

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These reasons must be agreed upon by all family or group members to enable a successful property purchase and retrofit.

Everyone’s assessment will be different, and this information will directly impact the selected regions for your possible retreat location.

Rural Homestead or Bug Out Property?

What’s the difference between a rural homestead and a bug out property? The rural homestead is a part-time or full-time residence and is working year round, possibly with a caretaker involved while the owners are away in the big city. The bug out property is sealed shut, hidden and ready for activation upon arrival of the group members.

After you have completed the threat assessment, and understand distance and travel times now it’s time to decide; To live or not to live at your retreat? Both James Wesley Rawles and Joel Skousen highly recommend that you live full time at your retreat, and I concur. However, this is not feasible for most folks. If you’re blessed enough to have the capital to make this move and can obtain new employment or take your job with you (internet workers, small business owners, or retirees) then great! Have at it. But for the rest of the Preppers the bug out property is your best logical bet to make it through a major event.

It’s important to understand that having a safe haven will not fully mitigate any threat, but it will help you minimize those threats based upon the seven basic criteria, Locale, Location, Water, Energy, Food, Defense and Safe Storage of Supplies. Even millions of dollars will not fully mitigate all threats, but a few wise decisions during the retreat search can greatly enhance both the minimization of all basic threats as well as provide a higher level of ‘thriveability’. The ability to thrive and not just survive is paramount.

We all have seen Doomsday Preppers and other ‘reality’ shows portraying fellow well meaning Preppers racing to pack a basement full of preps into a trailer and bug out to the woods…

Stop the Madness!

They are already dead and don’t know it. Period.

A general rule of thumb is to have about 20% of the total preps at your home (along with the Bug Out Provisions) in the suburbs, to last about 3 months. Not that you would EVER stick around if the event was that long, but in the rare case when you were completely cut off and couldn’t leave for some reason, at least those preps are there to be used. If you can evacuate hastily, then those preps could be given away as charity, with a note left at the door. Probably best not to alert the neighbors of course, as they may want to tag along.

The other 80% of your preps should be at the destination property, with a few pre-positioned resupply cache spots along the intended bug-out route. The word ‘Intended’ is used very lightly, as that route will surely change and those supplies will be lost. How to pre-position caches along several routes will be covered in another article.

The point of a bug out property is to minimize as many immediate threats as possible, such as Dehydration, Starvation, Hypothermia and threats of violence. Bug out properties may be rudimentary and very functional but still must meet the seven primary criteria below.

Survival Property Key Criteria

The key elements of any retreat property search are;

Locale

Location

Water

Food

Energy

Defense

Safe Storage

After the retreat is built then you’ll need to properly stock it with Preps (pre-positioned supplies).

Retreat Locale

Before we dive into the fun side of the Survival Property search and criteria, the most important aspect to consider is the retreat locale. This single decision, normally the very first in the search, and in accordance with your threat assessment, will often be responsible for your long-term success and happiness.

The locale should fit you as well. Questions such as; Who are you? What are your beliefs? What activities do you enjoy? Are you single? Married? Children? How old are they now? Does the locale offer all that the children may need as they grow up? And of course the most important question, “is the locale of ‘like-minded’ people?” Will you want to get to know and work with these locals hand-in-hand to build a new town after the collapse?

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We are not talking about joining the local Militia (Leaderless Resistance cells are key, never join a group, ever). What we are talking about is purchasing a property with a ‘No Regrets’ platform. This means if TEOTWAWKI happens that the property serves the needs of its’ inhabitants, but if you end up on your front porch 25 years from now sipping tea with your significant other holding hands watching the sunset over the mountains, you’ll have no regrets!

These are but a few of the real questions that you need to ask yourself before even thinking about where to purchase that retreat property. Sound silly? No, these are not off the wall questions, as from them come the wise answers to your long-term happiness.

Location and Vulnerability Test

The actual property location within the locale will be very important. Joel Skousen recommends being about 5 miles from a small town and 2 miles off the main road. This is an excellent base to work from, however, remember that many properties will be missed if this is a non-negotiable criterion. From my experience the actual town will dictate these distances, as well as the subject property’s attributes. For example, in some places in the American Redoubt, if you follow the 5/2 rule, you’ll be standing in the National Forest. That’s not all bad of course, but please allow the actual town and its’ characteristics/demographics create the rule for you on distance and location from the city limits.

This is where you’ll want to turn back to your original Threat Assessment, in order to screen the final properties on your list through a Vulnerability test.

How does each property stand up to the threats you wish to shield yourself from? Is the property within the Red or Yellow risk zones? Such risks may be too close to a main road, Fields of Fire are limited due to the terrain, a disproportionate amount of low lying land near a water source and a risk for flooding, maybe the property lacks a secondary source of water as a back-up or simply cannot sustain renewable energy and food production levels set due to north facing slopes and rocky terrain. The list can go on forever, but only you can make the final determination of the properties worthiness.

Examples of Vulnerability Factors (very basic list for examples only)

Red Zone (EXTREME)

  1. Wells over 600 feet deep or very low static level in comparison to depth
  2. Well production under 1 gallon per minute (1440 gallons per day)
  3. Water must be hauled in and stored (like outside Flagstaff, AZ)
  4. Rural Parcels smaller than 1 acre and/or neighbors very close
  5. Rural large tract subdivisions with restrictive CC&R’s
  6. Locales with wood burning restrictions for heat (like outside Missoula, MT)
  7. Very steep and unusable terrain (unless that’s on your list for defensibility)
  8. Only Northern exposure

Yellow Zone (High) Possibly Mitigated

  1. Community Water system (needs a private well drilled after purchase)
  2. No basement
  3. Direct access from main roads with lack of cover/concealment
  4. Direct visual from main roads (county)
  5. The property is very heavily wooded with Fields of Fire issues

Green Zone (Medium) Typical rural property issues;

  1. On-Grid and needs a full alternative energy system w/ backup installed
  2. Lacks a garden and greenhouse
  3. Water source is not gravity fed
  4. Little or no secure storage or safe room(s)

The bottom line is that a property with a Red zone risk attribute should be discarded. Yellow zone risk factors may well be able to be mitigated with physical changes to the property or dwelling and Green zone attributes are typical upgrades that will be necessary to bring the property to a self-sufficient status.

Too Far Out? Having worked with many clients in the American Redoubt, those that chose to put fear aside as they worked with to complete their retreat search and acquisition are the happiest. The few that didn’t purchased properties so far out in the boonies that over half have since sold them and moved closer to small towns in their chosen locale. It’s almost impossible to survive and thrive at the same time, without a small community to integrate into and create a new and simpler life.

Overlooked Threats

There is one threat that retreat owners almost always overlooked, and is the number one killer of rural homes; FIRE.

Wildland and Structural fires, statistically speaking, are the number one threat, both now and during TEOTWAWKI.

Sure, we all can think about and plan for a raging firefight with UN forces, but the reality is that a simple kitchen fire or slash pile burn that gets out of control will bring disaster upon you and your family, destroying the home and all of your preps. This is why two key improvements are a MUST to consider during your retreat search.

  1. Firefighting capability (Wildland, Structural and Tactical)
  2. Safe room storage construction (theft and fireproof)

These improvements don’t have to be in place when looking for a home or property, but the MUST be able to be constructed and/or retrofitted to minimize these overlooked threats.

Firefighting Capability Checklist

Water: Regardless of how good the well is it’ll never keep up with firefighting requirements. A cistern must hold a minimum of 2500 gallons, however, this should be sized based upon the exact design requirements and what systems are in use. For a Wildland system alone, a minimum of 20,000 gallons (or more) may be needed since there may be a point where you’ll turn on the sprinklers and evacuate the property. Foam and gel systems that cover the home are now on the market and use minimal water, but are expensive though. There are no drawbacks to having massive amounts of water in reserve on the property, as it can be used for domestic use once filtered.

Energy: First, any electrical system running the water/foam pumps must be run off a dedicated generator system, and located away from the home with buried lines, even if the property is on the grid. Why? Electrical power will be compromised during a fire. The tanks should be buried and the generator located in a small fireproof, concrete shed if possible. If the pumps don’t have electricity, you’re out of luck.

Wildland Firefighting: Of all the fire threats, this is on of the scariest. A house fire is preventable and can be minimized and stopped if caught early. A wildland fire is very dangerous, unpredictable and very hard to fight, as they can grow is size exponentially and require hundreds or thousands of firefighters depending upon the terrain and weather. Choosing a location that is not susceptible to large wild fires is a good choice when looking for a locale. One tactic is to have either preset (buried) sprinklers, or the ability to deploy them around the defensible space on the property, as well as lines that spray the home. Having a steel roof will help immensely, and any retreat should be upgraded as soon as possible after purchase.

Structural: Many structural fires in rural areas are caused by carelessness with wood stoves or cooking stoves and that the owner panicked and fled, instead of using tools to fight the fire such as a fire extinguisher or a fire resistant blanket. For about $100.00 you can save your home. More importantly, having several pre-connected interior fire hoses (similar to what you see in high rises and hotels) are a great way to fight a fire in a tactical situation, or when you know that the volunteer department is not close by. Remember that a fire can double in size every two minutes, so time is of the essence.

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Tactical: There may be a possibility of utilizing the Wildland sprinklers prepositioned around the property to confuse and delay an attacker, and the internal systems to stop a fire caused by such threat.

Safe Room Storage:  All of your preps MUST be stored in a fireproof concrete, reinforced room(s). Call it a safe room, bunker, shelter, the name matters not, but it must prevent theft and fire at a minimum.

Vacant Land or Home?

Everyone has a different idea of what constitutes the perfect property. The most important advice for this part of the search is to remember that the land can really never be changed. Sure, a bulldozer, an excavator and other heavy equipment can do wonders to a property, but you can’t buy a year round stream at Home Depot.

The land must meet your criteria, since it will dictate how self-sufficient your property will ultimately become. For many, money is an option, and the budget is fairly low. The best advice is to find the best land in your price range, period. Don’t overbuy and put yourself in a position where the land robs you of the capital that otherwise would have been used to make improvements and bring it to its’ highest and best use, Prepper style of course.

For those that have the capital and/or skill sets to build the retreat of their dreams, great, then the land will surely win. But, those that must or want to purchase a home the search instantly becomes harder.

We have all seen the perfect home, sitting in the worst location on land that was nowhere near close to qualifying as a sustainable property. Yes, the home is very important, but one day you’ll wake up and regret that beautiful home if the property as a whole won’t sustain you and your family or group.

What to look for in your future Safe Haven

Now that the locale has been identified and you’ve decided on vacant land or a rural homestead comes the fun part, the criteria that will provide you the ability to become self-sufficient before, during and after the collapse. First, all property should have good sun exposure, hopefully Southern, of course then we can work on the big four.

Property Attributes and Criteria

There are four distinct and primary property aspects that must be considered which all work towards the goal of becoming self-sufficient;

Abundant year round water + Alternative Energy + Sustainable Food Production =  a property worth Defending.

It’s that simple.

Water

This attribute, like oxygen to live, must be number one, every time. Secondary water is most critical and should be sought after. Not everyone will end up with this attribute, but keeping it on the top of the list, no matter the budget, is paramount.

Most rural properties will have either drilled water well or a hand dug well with a cistern. A few will utilize surface water such as a creek/stream/brook and sometimes spring fed ponds or lakes for the domestic water source.

Hydro Power: If you find a property in your price range that has the ability to install hydroelectric power, and it meets all the other criteria on the list, BUY IT. Hydropower is the most sought after power source for most Preppers, although it generates less power each hour, it creates this power 24 hours a day. Plus, you may be able to divert part of the penstock water flow for a gravity fed system for the home, and use the tailwater from the hydro system to feed a stocked pond.

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Surface Water vs Well Water: Gravity fed spring or diverted stream water into a cistern storage tank is perfect if your budget is constrained. It’s better to have a year round surface water source (in an area of deep wells) as you can save cash for building the home or safe storage facility, by simply hauling and filtering the water (never haul water from off site); even integrate it into an Earthship or other alternative building style along with rain catchment.

Wells:  A shallow well (under 400 feet is best) that produces over 2-3 gallons per minute will be sufficient for almost all retreats. An artesian flowing well is very sought after and should be highly coveted if found.

Community Systems: Although much less acceptable, some properties have a small community water system fed from large producing wells nearby. These are done primarily due to the local well depths, sometimes 700 to over 1000 feet deep, and at cost over $30.00 a foot, it’s sometimes cheaper to hook up to the local private water district. It’s ok to buy these properties if you plan to drill a well at some point, or have secondary year round water. Even a large pond filled with seasonal run off would work if done properly for emergency water and firefighting, coupled with rain catchment for very conservative homes or retreats.

No matter how spectacular the property, make sure there is some type of primary water available. Most vacant land will not have a well drilled by the seller, so be sure to check neighboring parcels for the depths of those completed wells and speak with the neighbors and a local driller before completing the purchase. This information will at least give an idea of what to expect.

Energy

After your property is purchased and you have ensured a year round water source has been completed, the power must go on.

For many Preppers they narrow the property search right away to only off the grid type properties. This is a mistake. Very few buyers find a fully functioning and ready to go retreat. Why? Because, alternative energy is not and will not be very popular with the mainstream crowd for sometime due to the lack of education about the viability of the systems.

Today, especially in the past 48 months the advances in technology and manufacturing of Solar Cells, Nickel Iron Batteries and upgraded charge control equipment have brought the prices down considerably to the point that its economically feasible to be completely off the power grid, which is the point of being a Prepper, right? Does it really matter what the pay back time is on an alternative energy system is when the lights really go out?

Most retreats will have Solar power with some sort of generator backup source (gas, diesel, propane) and on rare occasions will have hydropower. No matter the power source the batteries will be the heart and soul of the system. Most folks will use a lead acid battery that is susceptible to discharge issues and freezing, and they last between 8 and 20 years. By far the best batteries were invented by Edison over a century ago and are made of Nickel-Iron. They last upwards of 30 years or 11,000 cycles. These US made batteries are from Iron Edison. Be sure to check them out, they are well worth the extra soon to be worthless fiat currency.

Food

In many retreat areas in the world, other than the tropical regions, year round food production can be a real threat to the life of a Prepper. During a major TEOTWAWKI event, fresh meat from wild animals will quickly become scarce for several years, combined with the lack of live enzymes from nutrient dense fresh garden foods will only increase the death toll from sickness that could have been prevented or cured by healthy immune systems.

This leads us to the next task; how to grow this fresh food in the winter? For those that are able to bring alternative power of some kind to the retreat, then growing food is as easy as pie, well sort of. Construction of a standard or walipini style greenhouse heated by either a wood stove, wood fired boiler or a rocket mass stove is best. Then simply use LED grow lights and you’re off and running. In addition, the property should meet your own specific needs relating to animal production, from grazing pasture to ponds stocked with fish, the sky is the limit.

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One last note of sustainable food production; A rural homestead, up and running, with food production already in place when the crash happens will be a valuable asset. Arriving at a sealed bug out property, with only dehydrated food and a properly stored seed bank, will be a major task to get up and running knowing that it could be up to three months to the first harvest. If it’s winter, the greenhouse will need to be constructed or taken out of mothballs, so to speak, and the seeds started, while trying to maintain proper heat either in the greenhouse, or the home, bunker, et cetera and provide the light needed. No small task, even for those of us that grow year round, it’s a challenge.

Defense

Now that we have a property with abundant Water, alternative Energy creation and sustainable Food production we can talk about defending the assets you have in place. There is no way to cover actual defensive plans as they are specific to the actual property, location et cetera, but we’ll cover a few areas that most overlook. It’s not all about guns and ammo; it’s more about food and billeting.

First though, understanding what it takes to really defend a property all comes down to one nasty aspect; the willingness of the defender to take another human life. There is no need to push out our chests and spew macho talk, we all agree that protecting our family is what we are called to do, and we plan to do it, hence our genre of Prepping. However, if you’ve never seen combat or been involved in a life threatening situation that resulted in the loss of life to someone, in front of your eyes, then seek out somebody that has. We should seek out those with knowledge in areas we lack in to help us prepare, and this is an important area to gain knowledge in. No amount of preparation can teach you the ‘gravity of the moment’ you’re looking at a threat through a rifle optic with your finger on the trigger, but it may help.

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Moving on. What to expect once you make it to the retreat and everyone is settled in may be different than you think. Here are a few thoughts and tips on overall defense of the property.

  1. OP/LP posts must be manned 24 hours a day.
    1. Don’t forget about tactical communications
  1. Manned posts will take more retreat members to cover the property 24/7
    1. Make friends with neighbors and have a mini-local plan w/ them.
  1. You must feed these members, whether they are original retreat members or they were hired on after the collapse.
    1. Over build your food production systems
  1. Store, pre-build or retrofit for extra billeting such as;
    1. GP Tents or Yurts
    2. Extra rooms in the retreat
    3. Personal shelters w/ appropriate weather sleeping gear
    4. Sanitation: privy and/or larger septic system
  1. Group Standard Equipment (thanks to JWR)
    1. Buy or require members to have standard
      1. Camouflage patterns on clothes and gear
        1. Identifying marker (day and night)
    2. Weapons that take the same
      1. Caliber and Magazines
    3. Night vision and Thermal devices
    4. Medical
      1. Initial Ballistic Trauma kits (Quik Clot, et ceterta)
  1. Caffeine
    1. Yes, forget to store and rotate coffee beans, or buy them in bulk as the hordes empty the shelves? I hope not. You’ll need them!

When searching for the right parcel of land or rural homestead, if you put the defensibility factor first, there is a good chance that the property will not be very self-sufficient. Living on the top of a mountain top, in a fire look out, sounds really cool and defensible, and it surely is, but the year round stream for hydro power and secondary water is not going to appear out of the air and the rocky terrain will not grow your food, so choose wisely.

Simply remember that a property with water, alternative energy and food production is worthy of defending. Talk to any combat veteran and they’ll tell you that almost any specific area or property can be defended, it’s just a matter of personnel and equipment, and at what cost.

As a retreat owner, this equates to: Do you have enough friends now, or can you make enough friends in the locale, and can you feed and billet them all? A very simplistic task on paper, but a logistical nightmare to implement in real time.

After your purchase and getting to know the property enough to where you can walk it in the dark, you’ll then be in a position to really sit down and think through a realistic plan of engagement for defensive operations. If you can afford it, and the property is big enough, seek professional help from those with actual combat experience to help you design your defensive plans.

Safe Storage of Supplies

Finally, the property and/or the home must have options for secure storage of supplies; otherwise, what’s the point in bugging out to a great retreat with nothing left after a theft or fire? It’s not imperative to have the best soil for building basements, however, it certainly costs much less to make improvements without boulders of granite, but it can be done.

I’m a proponent of having two separate storage facilities, one underground, built to be fire, flood and theft proof, outside the home along with a safe room(s) in the home for easy access. Joel Skousen is a master of this area and has written a fantastic book called the Secure Home, and should be consulted whenever ready to make such improvements.

In Conclusion

It’s time to get you and your family into ‘Position’ to survive. Stay within your financial means to find, secure and stock a rural homestead or bug out property that is within reach of your current location based upon a realistic capability to reach that point in a worst-case scenario.

Owning a survival property is an attainable goal to strive for so work hard, think and act decisively so your family will survive the coming collapse.

If you have questions about finding a retreat property please contact Todd Savage atstrategicrelocationgroup@gmail.com or call 406-241-1795.

3 Responses to “Strategic Relocation Guide: How To Position Yourself To Survive A Major TEOTWAWKI Event”

  1. Adrian Says:

    If you own the property, there is still a paper trail of where you are if you’re trying to hide from martial law or a foreign occupation. What do you think of a well scouted and well hidden “squat” bug out location in public land or national forrest? Hidden from aerial view and thermal imaging?

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  2. Terry Says:

    there are a number of comments i could make on this reasonably good 2-part article. one is that even a good supply of properly stored seeds is no guarantee of survival. growing food is partly an art conditioned by annual variations in growing conditions, and partly a science based in what we have learned about soil changes caused by the act of growing itself – let alone “outside” influences. any prepper who wants to survive by growing food over the long haul should be growing veggies in the back yard or on the high-rise deck, or in the apartment window now. those lessons are fairly transferable, but are not best learned when your life depends on getting it right the first year and each of the next five. that goes double for learning to properly select and save seed, and for raising meat sustainably.

    also, i am opposed to the off-grid electricity generation scenario; it’s just not sustainable over the long term, therefore imo a waste of precious dollars. if money is no object, no harm in investing in solar, wind, or water energy systems. but if money matters, it’s better to put it into low tech: wood burning cook stoves that can heat the house, too, along with water (piped back into the house water system); a hand pump for the water well that is or easily can be plumbed into the house system; a basic greenhouse with a rocket stove to provide under-bed warmth (which can extend the growing season, but not necessarily make it year-round); planting a food forest for a perennial, low or no input backup food supply (that marauders probably wouldn’t even recognize as food); a good cold room made on the old european model that will hold storage produce through both hot and cold periods of the year; the purchase of best-quality hand-powered tools to fell and process wood into heating and building material, to maintain the vegetable garden and harvest and preserve produce, and to care for and slaughter farmed meat. i do not invest in hydroponics or indoor growing lights or any such technology that depends on continuing electricity. sustainability is low tech, and low tech can enhance your current life, as it does mine.

    in general, i’m not trying to anticipate what will cause the lights to go out, nor am i trying to figure out how to keep the lights on when the world ends. also, while i can defend my place, i am not building a fortress, but a resilient system that will continue once the marauders (or government agents) have come, taken, and moved on – because there’s a good chance that no group can hold off all comers indefinitely. i want to be prepared for even that: a stiff resistance may be counterproductive at some point, while a bending willow may survive.

    in short, i am building an ark that can sustain my family for 100 years whether the the world ends or not, without needing to define a “lights out” scenario. imo, anything less is a short-term response (and perhaps a tragically mis-directed response, if the world ends in an unanticipated way) that would merely postpone my family’s death.

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  3. John Says:

    This is a great post. My dad and I run FatherSonPreppers.com.
    I wanted to point out that if you set yourself up for an obviously armed defense(watch towers etc.) you can and most likely will attract much more attention. I would say that its much more likely for 3 people to survive than for 30 in that they could move around and hide. But I will concede that if you have a well armed and fed army you might also do very well.

    Any way I wanted to say that my Dad and I both like your site and we wish you well.

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