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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Lessons Learned from Katrina

Possibly the best real life Urban Survival example, since the Great Depression, that we can draw lessons learned from is Hurricane Katrina and aftermath of this devastating storm on the greater New Orleans area.

The aftermath killed almost 1,500 people; flooded 80 percent of the city; 70 percent of all occupied housing was damaged; and, over 150 billion in total damages.

These are my observations.

Alot of people died needlessly. They waited too long. Granted they received misleading information from the local government and the local/state government were way too slow in communicating the scope of the impending disaster to the population. People and government just did not have a plan. So the Lesson Learned here is that YOU must have a plan. It must rely on your ability to read indicators. It must rely on your ability to execute. If you have a survival group and they are going to rally at your location or a mutual third party location, consider actions and plans after this that are achievable without all planned parties. They may just not show up.

You cannot count on U.S. Government assistance. This was a pretty small collapse type scenario after all. Only the Greater New Orleans area was damaged. Imagine if this was a natural disaster or a nuclear detonation event or a total power infrastructure collapse over an area five time the size or even larger? The Government would be exponentially slower to respond with less assets per given size of area. Lesson Learned. You are responsible for yourself. Do not count on the Government. If they provide help fine,...just don't count on it,...not in a timely manner and not at all.

On Tuesday morning the storm was over and the Sun came out. With it came looters and killers. Much earlier than anyone ever predicted. Most government experts thought the majority of looting and criminals acts would not start until several days after the storm subsided, but again this was not the case. Lesson Learned. You absolutely have to have the ability protect yourself and your family. I have said it before and I'll say it again,...Survival is a Team Sport. You need a group to survive. A group of people who are alike minded, prepared, equipped and who share the same morale values you have. Choose wisely and equip yourselves. You don't need squad automatic weapons. You need some serviceable firearms with a decent amount of ammunition on hand. I would think that a rifle and handgun for each adult person in your group with one hundred rounds of ammunition per firearms would be a minimal,...a very minimal amount. Some weapons are more preferable than others, but you have what you have. Shotguns would be a good choice of a "special" weapon. Great for defending entry points against massed intruders. Stock buckshot, slug and birdshot for it.

We all saw the Katrina video footage of a very fat lady refusing MRE's from the National Guard on or about Day Four. "I don't want this shit!" Most of us laughed, knowing that MRE's wouldn't be out favorite choice either. But actually they are good eating, decent nutrition and were free to boot. The Lesson Learned here is don't make yourself dependent upon others for food. And this include after the food run outs, you need to be able to grow and procure your own food. In fact, right after I post this, I am going to vacuum pack another bucket of white and brown rice, black and pinto beans, dried split peas, beef bullion cubes, salt, garlic powder, and powdered chicken soup.

Some people were rescued or otherwise made their way to the Superdome where one of the main government care and relief centers was set up (precursor to FEMA camps?). There they were disarmed and some became further victims of criminal elements that were uncontrolled in this facility. Lesson Learned. Never give up your guns! Enough said about that.

Katrina postscript. Five years later, the post Katrina population of New Orleans is still 100,000 less than it was at it's peak, pre-Katrina. There are still almost 64,000 unoccupied buildings or homes in New Orleans, up from less than 20,000 pre-Katrina.. Violent crime which stood at 948 crimes per 100,000 population in 2004 have risen to 1,019 per 100,000 (2008 data).

Be prepared. Be prepared for everything.


  1. Urban, I have started a Survival Group with my friends. Most of us have handguns and a few rifles, but have agreed to spend $1000 each on a standard rifle and $250 each on some long storage food. Can you give us some ideas on what we should be looking at for a standard gun and even food?

  2. @Anonymous You should resolve yourself to some balance in your purchases. (Oh, this is not "Urban"). Put together of all the costs of all the stuff you want to buy and prioritize it before you go spending more money on weapons and ammo. Do an inventory of everything in your garage (tools and stuff) and see what items can double as other tools so you do not purchase twice when you didn't need to. This is a trap I fell into when I first started prepping... You may find food and first aid are more important in the immediate future.

  3. Unique Outdoor Survival Skills

    Don't you find it ironic that even with all this scandalously expensive education, people today know so little?

    If they can't even fix their car, how are they supposed to handle a - let's say - long term food shortage?

    You can't possibly hope they'd know how to garden and produce their own food, save seeds for next year, and use leaves plowed under to fertilize the soil.

    Not to mention trapping, catching, skinning and cooking a rabbit...

    These may seem advanced outdoor survival skills now, but back in the days, they were merely called "Living".

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    Don't wait for the next crisis to hit and live to regret you had the chance to learn these skills but didn't.

    Click here to watch video!

    Thanks again.