It was many hours of conversations with my husband accompanied with many hours of researching the psychological effect of disasters – that has finally made me change my mind about having a retreat location.
Here’s what my research showed me. When a disaster happens there are ‘instant items’ everyone wants/needs:
- A clear route to safety
- A currency base
- Supplies: Food, Water, Shelter
These were the consistent needs I saw from many reports I read and from being human and realizing the most basic needs of survival.
So, how do you manage a second place on a budget or worse – a very tight budget?
Community/Realtionship(s) is the most important thing – and it costs virtually nothing other than a little time on your part. There are several variations of this ranging from a whole ‘society’ concept to a friendly ‘like-minded’ neighbor that might let you and others ‘bug-out’ there if needed. However, you must seek out the right group/community concept that suits your needs and the overall needs of the group. There are some local groups that utilize Meetup.com and forums such as American Preppers Network.
Route to Safety – You’ve got to devise a plan that will get all your loved ones to the retreat. Simply stated, a retreat is no good if you can’t get to it. Some disasters there is plenty of warning but others there is little to no warning. All parties which are in need of the retreat need a clear road map of how to get there via 1) main route, 2) secondary, 3) third. Paper maps are awesome! Teach all parties how to read a paper map in case they don’t have access to a GPS. Highlight routes with various colors and write out routes on a piece of paper and attach to the map. The older I get the more I have the need for large print! At times, such as dim light, I would be able to follow written directions much better than the small print on maps. Paper maps are still available and inexpensive.
Communication – In all the disasters I reviewed, the 1) need to contact loved ones and the 2) need for information was extreme. Everyone wants to know what is happening. A cheap citizens band radio beats nothing at all, especially if the internet and cell phones are down. If you have time to get your HAM radio license and the funds to set up a base, this is the most common way of communication. Also, there are many rules concerning HAM radio’s but if you don’t want to transmit – you only want to receive then a small hand-held radio is relatively inexpensive ($100 +/-).
Currency Base – The ability to trade in a disaster for any supplies, that you have not topped off or find yourself in need of, are imperative. A roll of quarters stashed in your vehicle may be your only way of grabbing a local newspaper or buying a pack of crackers and bottle of water. Current price $10 from any local bank. Another resource is what is called junk silver. These are old circulated coins that have silver content. Check out websites such as Coinflation.com or Cointrackers.com and educate yourself.
Supplies: Food, Water, Shelter – This was the main need and most likely the most costly. There are many different set-ups but a lot of folks are turning to the convenience of a camper. Campers can be found for around $2,000 in very good condition with a little remodeling, if the new owner sees fit.
However; you can find a lot of good used/older campers that need a bit of remodeling for under $1,000. I found several by looking on Craigslist and they were all in the $800 range. Another $800 (in upgrades, etc.) and they would have been comfortable for temporary/permanent shelter.
These options are actually wonderful because they can be pulled ‘where ever’ you need them and if they are in a permanent location various, more permanent solutions can be added; such as water preservation, solar, outdoor cooking, etc.
As far as food stuff and supplies, I realized that most folks with a retreat have a stash at the retreat or at least have a 30-day supply ready to be loaded and gone! There’s a lot of talk in the preparedness community about not having all your ‘eggs in one basket.’
Most folks, at first anyway, store all their goods in their main house. In our community, within the past 6 months, two houses have burned to the ground. This thought really gets one’s mind working! This is evidence that you shouldn’t store everything in one place.
Some suggestions I’ve heard include; burying a chest freezer in the yard somewhere and using that for a cache. It’s waterproof, etc. and can be bought for really cheap (look for the ones that don’t work on Craigslist) and possibly FREE.
What about a separate structure on your own property for a partial stash or perhaps friends or family’s residence.
Having smaller amounts in other geographical locations is wise.
Protection: Mostly when people think of protection their first thought goes to guns. I am very PRO-GUN and I make no excuses for that. But, protection includes a lot of things. If you’re living in a situation where varmints are a main concern, look at snares (learn how to use them!) or other traps for larger varmints. Traps are relatively inexpensive but you must commit time in learning the skill of trapping. It’s not as easy as it sounds, I’ve tried (and I have the benefit of being married to man that has trapped all his life!)
When you stop and think about it, the needs in a disaster are no different from our everyday needs. The ONLY difference is that in an emergency or disaster scenario – the availability is what is different.
That’s what preparedness-minded people are really doing… we are ensuring we have all these things available to us – all the time.