Survive In Place

The Ultimate Step-By-Step guide to creating your Urban Survival Plan

After I’d been serious about preparedness and self reliance for a year or two, I realized that my buying, training, and planning had been based on whatever was the most exciting or urgent to me at the time.  I’d go through a gun phase, then a food phase, then a natural medicine phase, but I didn’t have anything to tie it all together.

I want to go over a few things that have acted as a compass for my personal preparedness planning.  Yours should be unique to you, but feel free to use mine as a jumping off point to create your own.  We’ll get into more nuts-and-bolts stuff tomorrow, but this is an important place to start so that you know that we’re on the same page.  There’s a lot of nuts out there.  I’m not one of them.  I’ve got a wife, two YOUNG boys, and my planning is based on reality and proven, tested techniques–not fantasy.

1.  Self-Reliance vs. Bureaucratic “solutions”:  I define survival/preparedness/self-reliance, in part, as the ability for my family to survive and possibly thrive during periods of civil breakdown without having to depend on government agencies or non-government agencies.  This will be as a result of a combination of our family preparedness and because of relationships with friends who have also prepared in advance.  I don’t hate government agencies.  In fact, I’m a first responder under FEMA–but I’ve repeatedly seen how one bureaucrat can destroy the effectiveness of dozens of competent first responders.

2.  Maintain Morals:  We have decided in advance that we will make the necessary preparations so that we don’t have to compromise on our morals and values in civil breakdown situations.  A large number of people’s survival planning involves stealing/looting after a disaster.  Ours does not.  Remember, at some point, some form of stability will return and you’ll have to live with the consequences of your actions.

3.  Carpe diem–Enjoy The Journey:  We are not so focused on potential disaster that we miss out on daily fun.  We continually evaluate our decisions and purchases based on how they will play out, regardless of whether we ever have to live through civil breakdown.  This keeps us balanced.  As an example, we tend to buy large quantities of food that we already eat rather than large quantities of MREs that, truth be told, we really don’t like.  We actually USE a lot of our survival supplies on a daily basis.

4.  Enrich Your Daily Life:  Preparedness planning should not only be useful in a disaster, but enrich your daily life.  Increasing your situational awareness will cause you to see more beauty as well as more potential threats.  Exercise will help you be more resilient in a disaster, but will also burn off stress hormones and help you sleep better every day.  Learning trauma skills and natural health care will allow you to treat yourself when there are no doctors available and it will put you more in tune with your body.

5.  Preparedness Planning Should be Realistic.  I’m always amazed at the number of people I talk to who’s plan is STILL to “head to the hills” when “it” happens.  I kind of laugh because if half of those people actually DO go to the wilderness, the wilderness is going to be hunted clear of food in no-time.  Then all the people will die…except for the handful who actually know what they’re doing.  The reality is, most people live in urban areas (even communities of a few thousand) and will have to survive disasters in those areas.

6.  “Survival” is not Necessarily Romantic, Fun, or Comfortable.  If it was, it would be “Primitive Living.”  Understand it, prepare for it, practice it if you’re able, and if you are ever forced into a situation where you need your skills to survive, you’ll have a more realistic idea of what to expect.

7.  Most People will Never Understand Why You Prepare.  Whether you call yourself “self-reliant”, a “prepper”, a “survivalist”, or just practical and moderately observant…everyone is not going to share your passion.  Fortunately, we have a community online that does share your passion.

8.  You’ll never be 100% prepared for everything that could happen…deal with it.  We’ve got dozens of natural and manmade threats to contend with.  Dirty bombs, EMPs, earthquakes, hurricanes, mud-slides, cyberattacks, economic collapse, attacks on the electricity grid, local accidents, etc. etc.  Don’t waste your time worrying about it…Just start taking steps to prepare.

If all of your gear is at home and an earthquake buries it while you’re at the store, you’re going to have to improvise, adapt, and overcome.  (and maybe decide to set up some caches)  Especially as you’re starting out, try to focus on the basics…food, fire, water, shelter and then medical, security, and tools.  These are all things that will help you on a regular basis and will help you if you go through rough economic times.  They’re also ways that you can get prepared that are more “tolerable” for relatives who aren’t on board yet.

9.  You don’t have to be rich to get prepared.  Focus on skills and double up on groceries as you’re able and you’ll be light years ahead of people who have a pallet of food in their garage but no manual can opener to get them open.

10.  Plan To Survive Where You Are Right Now.  Since most people live in urban areas, most people are going to have to survive disasters in urban areas.  Some have no intention of leaving and feel honor-bound to stay.  Full-time law enforcement and first responders, sheepdogs, CERT personnel, and others who aren’t willing to leave.  It may not be ideal, but if your plan (or backup plan) for survival is to Survive In Place in an urban area, you aren’t going to be on your own.  After every disaster, there will be remnants who are currently training to be able to help stabilize neighborhoods, cities, and regions if necessary.

The fact that you might HAVE to survive for a time in an urban area is the core of the 12 week Urban Survival Course.  You don’t have to buy it to enjoy the free mini course, but I’ll give you an opportunity to sign up at the end of each email.

I have received several responses about the course and how much people got out of going through the exercises in the lessons.

“I signed up for lessons and downloaded the first one. Great! It answers a very weighty question I have had for a long time!”  — Margaret
“I have read the first lesson, I am pleased with the product, and I look forward to the future lessons.”– Victor
“I found you when we were buying all of our survival gear and you’ve saved me thousands of dollars in unnecessary supplies.  Your course was straight forward, logical, and going through the exercises has given our family a plan that will allow us to do well in any disaster situation.” — Richard
“Over the years, I’ve bought almost everything that I need for survival.  I had everything in place except a well thought out plan.  Your course guided me through the process of making a plan.  Thank you.”  — Michael

Remember, it’s a self-paced course, so you can complete it in 12 weeks or stretch it out longer once you’ve received the lessons.

You can go to to sign up for the complete course right now.

God Bless,

David Morris

P.S.  I’ll be sending out more free urban survival information tomorrow.  To get a sneak peak of the Urban Survival Newsletter, you can go to:

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147 Responses to “Survive In Place – Preparedness 101”

  • Michael says:

    Norman, there will be people who will carry you if for no other reason than to learn from your wisdom.

  • Patrick M says:

    Great Info,
    I have been prepping for years now. I spent 6 years in the USAF specializing in survival (SAS) After hurricane Katrina my wife and I bought the 5 acre homesite on a 250 acre freshwater lake. I took a year off and built our home with our handicapped 21 yr. son and survival in mind. I put in a deep well and have backup (dual fuel) generator and solar set-up I put together myself.
    We have been storing food, medical, guns and ammo and now I have organized a small group (20-25) family and friends that will retreat to our place when TSHTF. We all are former or active military and know what our job descriptions are.
    As much as we have prepared there is always more to do. I really appreciate your attitude on this.
    Great Work, We All need to do what we can for our families and then do what we can for as many others as we can.

  • Charles Cutshaw says:

    My wife and I began “prepping” just prior to the Y2K non-event. Just because Y2K didn’t spell THEOTWAWKI, is no reason to be caught flat footed if TSHTF. We have enough frozen MREs to last about three months. Why frozen? Because when frozen, the Army says they have an “indefinite” shelf life. We also have a dozen gallon jugs of drinking water and if push comes to shove, we can use our pool and purify that water with Clorox. At one time I had built a 5KW solar electric system for our house consisting of solar panels, deep cycle batteries and a 5KW inverter to convert the 12v DC to 110v AC. We have gas for cooking and heat, so with the MREs and other frozen/ long term food, we are in about as good condition as possible. Also have M4 type carbines for both of us in 5.56, an AR-10 type carbine in 7.62 and a Remington 870 12 gauge tacticsl shotgun. Plenrty of ammo for all.

  • Beej says:

    You see, I am 80 yrs. old and not sure just how much I can afford and still get supplies to sustain myself. My mother was a saver of many things that would be of use in times to sare for those that the cloths would fit as she offered them for free to others not so fortunate. I was born in IN in 1931 and lived during the depression. My father put in gardens, we raised goats for milk and meat, chickens for eggs and meat. Mother canned and put those itms under the house where daddy started a basement. I still retain all this knowledge but have been thinking that dehydrating food could be the best and lightest to carry. I water supply was cut off I would not have water, here in AZ, to grow crops to can or dehydrate. I am hoping that your free lessons will help me in readying myself for living in place here in central AZ. Billie Jean Reese aka Beej

  • Janice Harbin says:

    I agree with ALL that you are saying even though I own a mobile home on a very small lot on which we are not allowed even to plant a tomato plant. I sent a message about that, and sure enough, I have been doing what the “pros” (you all) are encouraging. This really made me feel comfortable with my preparedness. Thanks for being there.

  • Louis Anderson says:

    I live in Florida and a concern here is if the power (& the AC) go off your only a week away from having a mold problem which could make your house unliveable. Anyone have a plan for dealing with that?

  • JJM Libertarian says:

    Norman – You might be “an old man and may not survive a crisis” but you can help your loved ones prepare &/or survive the first stage of any crisis. As a Type 1 diabetic in my mid 50s, I have enough insulin and supplies to survive a few months but without refrigeration and restock – would be dead within 6 months. Regardless, I still invest for the long term to teach my sons how to carry on after me. It’s not about ourselves!!

  • JJM Libertarian says:

    Some wonder why I have more food than I need for the next few weeks. When I tell them to be prepaired for anything, I also suggest that it will be eaten before it expires anyway and that it can be a great investment by delaying next month’s higher prices.

  • Me says:

    Do you really want to list your expensive weapons here? You can be traced from here to your computer.
    I for one would not want Obama or any other thief to know if I had any survival or defense items on hand.


  • dogsoldier0513 says:

    Anyone that thinks that the government DOESN’T already know what wapons one might have is only fooling themselves. If you have EVER filled out a 4473, the government will ALWAYS presume that you have weapons…whether you actually do or not.

  • US NAVY (RETIRED) says:

    Survival/preparedness for the eventual doesnt require a lot. Its no necessary to store years worth of food, only to have it expire before getting to it. Just a thought about bartering: Some items can be stored for long duration that are even better than food! How about 20 or more boxes of .22 cal ammo. Or, several thousand rounds! Buy 12 gauge ammo (dove and skeet load) when the go on sale and store them in a cool, dry space. Extra ammo comes in handy. Extra ammo in standard calibers is just as good as cash (when money no longer has any real value). I suggest these two types because of their common use. Why 12 ga dove and skeet? Obviously, for dove and skeet, but the lighter shot can be removed and replaced with 00 buck, BB or even slugs. Plus the hulls can be reloaded. Barter will the the currency of the future, just like it was in the past.

  • snowball1776 says:

    I am really surprised at how many preppers there are out there, i don’t think it is such a crazy idea anymore, more and more people are seeing that free people will always strive to stay free and self reliant. I feel better just knowing there are more people who care than i thought.

  • Ruth Dwyer says:

    Thank you for this information. I am both hopeful and appreciative for even more information on this subject.

  • David Newton says:

    I had thought about bugging out to the woods a long time ago, but I came to the reality as you and figured the others that were their that couldnt survive would revert to robbing those who could and all you would have to take cover in is a tent. Not a good situation.

  • Karen says:

    People laugh at me all the time when they try to get them to prepare. Look what just happend in that town in Texas…they turned they’re water off for 48 hours….bet there were a lot of people that had no water storage. I buy regular food when it goes on sale. I put the expiration dates on the packaging when a Sharpie pen…(so I can see it!) Then I rotate my food, using the soon to expire food and replacing the next week. You don’t need a lot of room to at least have a weeks worth of food stored up.

  • Tommie norris says:

    Im looking forward to reading the material.

  • Diane Spurlock says:

    I have just received your first communication. Not much money these days and health not what it was. I am a separated/single mother with a recently adult son who is wonderful. I am an Army veteran and know the importance of preparedness. I fully believe in contingency planning but not going nuts over living like the next disaster is around the corner. Even if I don’t make it I want my son to do so. I plan to share all of the lessons with him. I also believe Glenn Beck has the right of it. We need to be prepared to be able to help others. Thank you for your guidance.

  • thedadde says:

    Here is a fun way to get your family, etc, on board. Give them a book called One Second After. It will also help you identify reasons why .22 is gonna be golden along with many other things. It is a great story about what happens to a man, his family, and his town, after EMPs are unleashed on the US. Another cool part about this is what happens to college kids, Florida, and you can Google Earth the town itself to get a cool picture in your mind of where events take place. Pretty scary, yet informative. A good read, and…IT could happen any second!!!

  • Carolyn says:

    I have been saying we need to have a plan of action for “just in case….” for many years….since the mid 1980’s. My sons were in their mid to late teens when we put together a plan to meet (from wherever we might all be) at Granddaddy’s place where there was shelter and a lake. They all knew the way by heart and we agreed that whatever happened we should all make our way there. Now we don’t have access to that place any more and we need a new plan. I am a firm believer that everyone needs a family back-up plan…maybe plans A, B, and C!
    I like this information and will make my three ring binder plus my own notes for my children and grandchildren. Years ago I bought a good book that tells about “how to” do almost everything to live off the land and to build from scratch and plant. It needs to be with the binder. I have tents to at least protect from the elements. I understand the person who said his tent wouldn’t protect from robbers. It is good to be prepared because it could very well be that things will get worse before they get better. Thanks for your efforts in helping us to prepare. Gotta think like a camper in the rough, folks!

  • Martin Ullstrup says:


  • SAXON-WYATT says:

    Several years ago a ‘rig’ was advertised that supposedly would allow one person with possible an assistant from to drill their own well. I haven’t been able to locate a source for that well self drilling rig and hope that one of you out there have that information. Our residence is located about 2/3rds down the side of a hill and when we bought the place in 1976, the folks we bought it from said that a ‘witched’ water source was indicated about in the middle of our back yard hence our interest in having a well and thus a water source along with stored rain water, of which we have had almost none in the past few months here in S.E. Tennessee. We will be grateful for any and all assistance and input. Thank you!!!

  • Markafeller says:

    You will likely see strong price rises as glowing crop reports in areas listed as disaster are suppressing food prices as the government is buying up surplus with also devaluing of currency. The real evidence of that would be into next year. Its for the making buying oil at higher prices. It may take time for the total loss of reserve status. Then no one wants the dollar and dumps what they have. Because 66% of oil is imported and 70% is used for transportation. All what left goes to only the military. That likely would also face a new war like a bad habit. However before that happens the long forgotten S & L lawsuits of 1987-92 stated on NBC in 1992 as taking 20 years before they come to trial will surprise all. I think partly that is what the new domestic troop movements and government food buys are really all about. As some places would become violent where reality would be lost do to bad contracts in a far worse depression than today. Under such a situation it would be harder for most people to trade with gold,silver and other metals as all the people want food or gas. Till it ends…. *If* banks close or there are runs or such conditions cause almost no employment for a period of time.

  • Big Red says:

    I have been preparing a little at a time every time I go to the store. I found a site a few days ago, They will send you 3 packages of your choice of food for free to introduce you to their product I got my 3 choices yesterday, 8-19. I tried one of the packs and it was delicious. They explain everything on their website, you can even chat with a representative and get all your questions answered, I did that. Their packages have a shelf life until June 2026, says it right on the packages. I’m sending packages to my kids for Christmas. They’re a tad expensive but I don’t put a monetary value on survival.

  • Cindy Merrill says:

    My husband live on ten acres of land in a rural community in Northern NY: The soil is acidic and thin, so I’m concentrating on growing berries and fruit trees. Our garden efforts on veggies haven’t been very successful. Any suggestions?

  • Jenny says:

    Good information. Thanks

  • BristleconeMike says:

    One of first things on the list should be a battery backup power system with solar panels.

  • Star River says:

    I live in a place where basically if TSHTF, we will basically be on our own. No ONE from the Government will be able to get to us. We do have a good build up of Military here, but I do not know if they would be willing to help, we will just have to see. All our food comes on planes or ships. We have local growers, but not enough to feed 1 Million plus population. I’ve been preparing for about four years now. I have gear ready and also medical supplies. For weapons, I go with the old fashioned ones, since I do not have to register them. I’m not former Military, but go by my instinct. It is not easy, since I live with two senior citizens and pretty much on our own. Thanks to Big Red for that website, which I am going to check out. MRE’s would be the best choice, since we have clay for soil and it doesn’t grow anything. We’ve tried numerous things to make the soil fertile, but it doesn’t work. So, we have to go with something else. Thanks for the information and hope to learn more.

  • Rainbow says:

    We are working on our plan. It’s not easy since I think we have tried to look at getting out of dodge if tshtf but it makes sense to be at home and figure out what to do. I didn’t think about that so thanks for the suggestion and help.

  • tess says:

    @Star River, is a make shift green house an option? How about spouting? Spouting does not require a lot of sun light. It is a great food source – I am just learning about. I am attracted to spouting because it does not take a lot of space, but does use up a fair amount of water for rinsing.

  • tess says:

    My husband was born in 1930. I have asked him what people did for water during the depression. He said, “many came here. We have the best well and still do.” Back them, this is where folks came to fill their water containers. There were a lot more people living in the country then. Most the population (about 100 in town and 30 country) are remnants of the original families from the 1930’s, and some go back to pioneer days.

  • Laurie baker whalen says:

    Great advice….thank you!

  • scott says:

    Well, I started out in the early 80’s,at a gun show in conn. Where i meet a gentelman,Walton McCarthy,from subtech in Mass.That had delveped a fbierglass shelter. An also a science teacher, witch had the same intress i had, an to this day we are still good friends!,an share infromation ! (AN STILL LEARNING!) An watching the change in tech. over the years ! An also the people! an country an world at large!

  • 82nd Airborne Dad says:

    Good stuff, look forward to the next installment; however, this was pretty basic I hope the next will be more nuts and bolts info. Looking forward to your next correspondence, best wishes and God bless . . . NH

  • Fantastic says:

    I’ve been reading all these internet end of civilazation , super recession scenarios and they weren’t very realistic. Being wealthy and unprepared puts us at the same level of survival. Looking forward to the lessons for although I have been wpending most of my life scrapping by and preparing for small disasters if I just lost my health and/or job, And that has helped me in the thinking process of what would I do in the event of a disaster. It is horrible to think about how many Americans are forced to rely on social security and medicare, should that go, what would an older or disabled person do, especially if married and/or kids. So it is a daily thought process. Can’t wait to read the information so I maybe can be better prepared than I am. I think about people who have a million bucks in the bank, and other investments and are totally relying on that to survive, believe that a disasater won’t happen in America, won’t have a clue as to what to do. Everyone must get ready and this is the first site I have found thAT didn’t focus on just people with lots of money, where that left me out of the plan. Cool1

  • Walt says:


    I don’t remember the name of the well drilling company that allows you to drill your own well, but I remember where it was located. The company is in Opelika, Alabama. My neighbor had the whole rig and set up. You will be able to buy all of your supplies from the company i.e. pipe, drill/bits/ heads, pumps etc. I don’t know if they are still in business, but you can check it out on the web for others if not.

  • Thanks.

  • chris says:

    carry light a few guns couple rifles a handgun keep your family informed. mine thinks im nuts ,but in a desperate situation they’ll listen. stay as long as u can but keep bugout packs at ready. Question: what about the drug addicts that run out of materials and they come in the door or loot and stuff if society went to heck im not risking my family over laws for a working society. ive gone over many survival books and such all of them give good info but never will there be a perfect survival book or class Everything is spontaneous unexpected like 9/11 most people did not know what was happening thank u 4 ur time

  • Pat S Garcia says:

    Re Cindy Merrills request: The fastest way to grow veg’s is with raised beds – no wider than 4 ft- and bring in the soil. Look for the book Square Foot Gardening.
    A slower way is to compost, compost, compost. Go to farms and stables and pick up manure, old hay and semi composted hay ( whats left around the bale after the animals have eaten it). In the city pick up bags of grass and leaves – check with homeowner that they don’t use herbicides like roundup. Start a few compost piles and spread thick on your garden area. Check PH and lime . Check with a PH METER. Till in and let rot a few months. Add compost from the pile when “cooked”!
    The slow, all natural way – making your own fertilizer from a compost tea (liquid kelp, fish compost etc.) will raise the PH naturally over the years.
    Don’t forget to plant on those compost piles! Up north you can grow fall veg’s in winter with a hoop house and frostcloth. Good luck

  • David says:

    I always had this idea of a plan running around in my head but nothing written out in terms of actual steps or procedures in the event TSHTF.
    Lots of lists of items but no real plan. We live in the country and have some degree of preparedness and sustainability. however we are looking forward to this course in the hope that it will galvanize our thinking if not a whole lot more. From a defensive standpoint my training and experience as both a martial arts instructor and firearms trainer and work experience should be a big help in dealing with less ideal scenarios of structural breakdowns.

  • Renee Symon says:

    I’ve been buying food for years now. Most people believe the date on there cans is the date they expire this is not so. They are good for up to five years after that date. Except tomatoes and pineapple are only good for 16 mths after the date. I rotate my foods but I buy them by the cases when they go on sell. Last week They had veg’s for .49 a can down form 1.19. I bought 6 cases with 2014 date and put them in a cool closet to store them. My family thinks I’m nuts so I feel I have to prepare for everyone. I hope people in Europe has been getting ready for what they are going to be going thru in the next few months. It’s not going to be pretty.

  • James Hedderly says:

    May God help us in our survival efforts

  • Barbara Freundt says:

    yES i AGREE

  • tom says:

    I agree

  • Anders says:

    What can I do? Living in Sweden there are very fiew hunting weapons avalibel because of strict regulations, 4.5mm air rifle may kill a pigeon but who wants to eat that(unles starving)? Is bow hunting a viable method? I prefer to not get a ilegal gun but do I really have a choise? MRE type food might not be a option, what “normal” food can survive long term storage?

  • art says:

    For the well drilling try
    Youtube has loads of do it yourself, just put a title up and spend days, weeks or more looking at things!
    You can’t start at a much better place than Surviveinplace by David Morris.
    Water, Food, weapons. and Barter items use your imagination, be creative.
    If you happen on someone with a can of beans and your family is starving would you expect change from an oz of Gold or should you pull out an oz of Silver, what about 5 to 10 .22 bullets at less than a dollar now?
    Can’t find .22, there are more calibers out there and I do believe one will be as good as another if TSHTF…

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