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”

  • kelli says:

    I am the only one in my family and friends that seems to understand what could happen. I do what I can. Thank you for removing the guilt of not doing more.

  • I have long advocated that people prepare for any situation. Governments have long proven that they can not be relied upon to be there in those critical hours. It’s our own responsibility to take care of our families. As a candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania I believe that of all the important missions one should be to tell people that they should be ready for any sitaution because all situations take us by surprise. If you are prepared there is no panic. Prepared people are much more likely to reach out and help those less fortunate and this saves lives. It just makes good common sense to be prepared and is really our patriotic duty.

  • After looking over this overview to the program one can do worse than learning from this information. It’s just good common sense but that is a rare commodity these days. If I were not a disabled vet living on a modest stipend and had the ready cash I would get involved with this program NOW. Unfortuately time is a luxery we simply don’t have anymore.

  • Diane says:

    I am so happy to have found this site and all these people who are doing the things I have been talking about doing but didn’t know where to start. Everyone I know worry about where to go out on Friday or Saturday. They are all clueless. Now I can Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Thank you David

  • Norman says:

    I’m an old man and may not survive a crisis. Many of these tasks, I’m probably unfit and too old to do. Perhaps I might live long enough to pass some of these skills along to my children/grand-children.

  • Out Of Towner says:

    Norman, may you live 100 years or more. Anyone who is awake enough and concerned enough about the current state of affars to be on this website is OK in my book. We know that the world can’t maintain this crazy descent into fiscal and moral madness much longer without hitting the ground hard.
    And we want to be able to not get splattered when the stuff hits the fan!

  • Bill in smalltown USA says:

    I beleive the “bubble will go up soon”. Those who do not look ahead may not be able to look back…the knowledge of how to survive in a future enviroment may save your life or your families/friends. It is free to learn. Its your decision to be prepared or not…as for me….I moved away from the Chicago area to small town USA, figuring the cities will suffer riots,breakdown of law and order and even more violent crime than rural area’s. Those who can hunt,fish,grow produce and cook farm fare food will be able to make it thru the coming problems better than someone who can’t survive without a Starbuck’s,McDonald’s or Wendy’s. Good luck to you folks in the big cities….hope you make it!

  • Paul says:

    I like Norman am a bit past prime, I started building a stock of food aquired a few weapons and have been looking at ways to secure the house more, the wife and kids think I’m going nuts but if things should go at least I know they will have a a head start in the new reality.

  • Keith says:

    My wife took her head out of the sand 18months ago, now its not a battle to spend a little on the things we will need, She didn’t even question a 300 dollar ammo purchase. 🙂

  • Wayne says:

    Good for you Keith. I hope mine see’s the light before it’s too late. I, like Paul and Norm, I am past my prime and have a few weeks supply of foods, water and some weapons and ammo. I’m resigned to surviving in place when TSHTF because we have no where else to go. But need to spend money to upgrade the home to make it more secure and livable without plumbing, water and electricity. My wife can’t see that yet. I’m still in there trying though and hopefully any disasters will hold off long enough me to convince her and get our ‘ducks’ in a row.
    May God bless and watch over all of you.

  • Jim says:

    My fellow Americans are too absorbed with ballgames, reality TV, and celebrities to understand what is coming our way. Our lamestream news media should be prosecuted for there obsession with the frivolous. I hate to name names, but how an organization like the mooslims and their sharia law, are allowed to operate in this country is beyond me. The sooner we treat them like Nazis or at least the KKK, the better we’ll be. Not only do we allow them to have secret meetings, our liberal legal system enhances their abilities to overwhelm and overthrow this nation, their stated goal. Liberals hate this country and evil intent has infiltrated our govt and legal system at the highest levels. The future of this country is going to be much different than our past. This course may be do or die for a lot of folk.

  • Chuck Van Meter says:

    One of the problems with having a fully stocked retreat during a crisis is that by the time you get there someone else may have appropriated your gear. Another issue is the need for 24/7 security in a remote area.

    I believe survival is optimized in a small town. There are problems attendant with any situation but during a collapse/crisis the fabric of society will unravel slower in a small town than either urban or remote rural environments.

  • Hiram says:

    I grew up on a farm right after the great depression. We learned how to be self-sufficient. Now in my 70’s we still grow and store our own food from a one acre lot. Some neighbors ask why we go to “all that work”. We also supplement with wild game…it’s better for you anyway. My major concern is how to protect my stores from those who did not or will not prepare for themselves? Water could also be a problem. We have a well, but requires electricity to pump and purify. I don’t have a plan for that.

  • scott says:

    I also have been thinking of all the bad things that could happen it has been so dificult to get my wife to see it, she has come a little ways but still does see it the way i do , I know men are suppose to take care of there familys but it really doesnt help when the woman dont seem to get it
    the day where the mans word was enough they just dont listen and understand that this could happen here. I will never give up regardless i keep trying to get her to understand i just pray i have enough time to prepare God Bless You All and keep you safe

  • Terry Andersen says:

    Thank you for the first lesson. I am looking forward to the remainder. Previously, I’ve imagined going out to the wilderness to survive, but that can only work for the short time depending on the amount of supplies that you can carry. Eventually, everything can run out, and you must seek new supplies.

  • Russ Hoffman says:

    I keep reading that a lot of people will have no water either because
    the community water system becomes disabled or they have a well which
    requires electricity to run the pump. I have the latter problem which
    I plan to solve this way. I have four 55 gallon drums that were used
    for motor oil. I have cleaned these out – first with mineral oil,
    next with laundry detergent (twice)and lastly rinsed clean with clear
    water. I will fill these with clean water from my well, draining them
    and refilling them twice a year to ensure the water will be clean
    if I need it. Laid on their sides there is a removable plug in the
    top that can be used to take water out as needed. I have a charcoal
    grill and have stored up 50 bags of charcoal. I can use the grill
    and charcoal to boil water and cook. Any drum goes dry I will hook
    it up to the bottom of a down spout to catch rain water ( which will
    have to be boiled to sanitize). With a little thought and ingenuity
    almost any problem can be solved. The one thing I would stress is
    that neighborhood groups and cooperation with one another are absolutely
    necessary for survival. Keep morals and morale as high as possible.
    Keep it civil.

  • Several books that need to be on hand and read often: The Way Things Work, Vol. I and Vol. II.; US Army Field Manuals and 1 US Army Tech Manual: FM 31-20;FM 21-50; FM 21-10; FM 21-11. TM 5-632.

    Get-Read-Memorize survival elements of Luciffer’s Hammer by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle;

  • artur F says:

    Hi- I’m waiting for next lessons

  • Donavon Morgan (Julio) says:

    Dear David,
    Just want to say thanks for you up frontness. Praise be to God for your stance. I am very intrested in you program for the church to store and provide food during a crisis. We to long have wanted the Government to provide in a crisis, when all along it is the churches responsibility to provide for the people. The Government wants us to depend on them and so then, they can tell us what to do.

    I have talked with our Emergency Management Department for our city and I am currently working with them to sponsor a Faith Based Emergency Prepardness Conference for our city and surrounding counties of the Texas Panhandle.

    When everything is said and done, we still live in the best country, in the world. It does not matter if you are, lets say over the age of 60, you have alot of knowledge that can be passed on to the younger generation. When the time comes, your general knowledge of hard work and making do with very little will be worth gold or even better food.
    Shalom and be blessed.

  • Torbjörn "Sweden" says:

    As they say ,prepare,for the worst ,and hope for the best,but what about telling others? is that to stir people up? i´ll buy the kit best wishes!

  • Mikey Mc says:

    I purchased the entire course even before viewing the free lessons. It all seems such a natural addition to my survival library, which I began accumulating even before I spent four years in the headquarters of the USAF Survival School in the late 1970’s. I am blessed with a wife who shares my interests; she is perhaps more passionate about preparedness than I am. How many men can claim that their wife’s standard answer to questions about presents [birthday/Christmas/Valentine…] is, “More ammo”? We have been building up our stocks of food and other necessities for over a year, though we still have a way to go.
    This course seems so vital because it focuses on URBAN survival. We have felt for too long that our biggest barrier is having no place to “bug out” TO. I think it’s time to cultivate a community of like-minded families within our own neighborhood. We may all be stuck here, but we don’t have to feel TRAPPED! I am so eager to see the coming lessons–and to share with other “students” along the way.

  • Bettye says:

    I have just been introduced to this site by a good friend. I am 67, in good health have been stockpiling food and other things for a few months.
    My husband is 72 and has Parkinson’s. His symptoms are greatly controlled by the meds he takes. We live in a sub-division that is out of town a bit and not on a major disaster exit route. I would by far rather stay at home(we also have three dogs)and wait out whatever, unless that is impossible. There is no guarantee that there would be fuel available if we tried to get out, and then the question becomes, where would we go?
    We have a lot to learn about preparedness and I am grateful to my friend for sending me this link.

  • ken says:

    Good overall view. I’m impressed. Looking forward to the rest of the mini course.

  • ngih thomas says:

    I believe survival is optimized in a small town. There are problems attendant with any situation but during a collapse/crisis the fabric of society will unravel slower in a small town than either urban or remote rural environments.

  • ngih thomas says:

    Get-Read-Memorize survival elements of Luciffer’s Hammer by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

  • ngih thomas says:

    Good overall view.

  • Cindi says:

    I didn’t get the memo…. I’ll check it out, probably freak out, then get it done!


  • Merle says:

    Thanks for the intro. I moved from earthquake country 30 years ago. I have had extra food, water, manual can openers, blankets in my car, at work and at home for years. I do not care how old you are. You can keep a cell phone, extra water bottles, crackers and an extra flashlight within reach of where you sleep. Think about giving first responders a chance to get to you in case of a natural disaster. If you are older, you probably have a lot of wisdom and common sense to contribute. And in cases of civil disorder you maybe the only eyes and ears in the neighborhood when everyone else is off working. I am looking forward to learning more. Thanks

  • Albert says:

    Thank you for the lessons… I have been preparing for the inevetable for several years now. My only problem is that I require medications that cannot be prescribed more often than once a month. I will try to explain to my doctor the need for greater quantity… up to a 90 day supply.

    We must all be prepared for the day when TSHTF.

  • Shawn B says:

    I’m excited to see the info you’ve put together. Expert advice from different perspectives helps to make the decisions of my personal “Prep” quicker, easier and cheaper than if I experimented and had a trial and error curve to work through. I personally think that the ability to defend oneself, family and assets is among the first things that should be undertaken to thrive in any circumstance. Thanks, Shawn

  • ngih thomas says:

    I like Norman am a bit past prime, I started building a stock of food aquired a few weapons and have been looking at ways to secure the house more, the wife and kids think I’m going nuts but if things should go at least I know they will have a a head start in the new reality

  • ngih thomas says:

    Just go to show how powerful this internet really is. Thank you. Glad I found you and connected.

  • lisa says:

    yep, i am just getting started tho i started trying to worn my friends and family back in the 90s about this.
    personally, i know how to so the basic stuff, prepare and store food, build shelter out of whatever is around me and that sort of thing. but i can’t do it for everyone. like my husband who says i am crazy ( i just tell him that is beside the point lol)
    what does everyone here thing about wind power? HE will NOT know what to do without his everyday comforts.

  • Pastor Charlie says:

    The Lord tells us HE will Protect us and lift us up. Then HE tells us to prepare. They are not mutually exclusive. You can prepare and then rely on HIM to not give you more than that for which you have prepared. I am an ex-Marine Corpsman. Got the best of both possible worlds. I can fight and I can save lives. I retired as a Nurse/Paramedic and went back to school to become a Theologian. Became a Pastor instead, so I can fight, heal and minister HIS Word. We, my wife and I have a small savings account with Fed. Res. Notes and a larger store of pre-1964 silver coins; dimes, quarters, half dollars and Morgan Dollars. We have a year’s suppply of canned, dried and preserved foods (with a manual can-opener) We also have a large septic tank and a 30′ fresh water well, with a manual pump. We put in a 250 gallon propane tank and keep it at a minimum of 75% full. We have a cast iron wood burner in the basement and a 1/4 cord of wood with it. There are another 5 cords out in the woods in our back yard. We also have 2.5 acres of forest land and back up to a large timber stand, as well. I am looking forward to checking out the rest of this program. Semper-Fi and GOD Bless you all!

  • Sally Crane says:

    I am so glad I have found this. My husband (80 yrs, and I,74 yrs) are on the same page with this. Have been storing food in a somewhat haphazard way. We are capturing rain water in 2 50 gal barrels and plan to add 4 more as we have no access to water closer than 2 miles. Our children and siblings think we are off the deep end. Signed up for this and then signed up for the whole course. Looking forward to learning a lot of useful knowledge.

  • Carolyn Tibbs says:

    I too am an older person, 73yrs old but am rasing two grandkids age 12 and 15. I hav read a series of books by Terri blackstok called the Restoration Series and it really mae me sit up and take notice. since then I have been delving into what can be done in an emergency. I will include my daughters and other greandkids also. will order the series as soon as my social security check goes onto my debit card. We also have agroup forming at our homeschool headquarters and it is great. since I grew up in the late 40s and 50s I am aware of ways to do without some of the benefits.

  • Nancy says:

    I am a woman that was worried about convincing her husband about preparing to survive the inevitable. I had no problem and he understood where I was coming from, he respects my opinion because I read about this more than he. I had to laugh the other day because I was thinking of a handgun, though I am a strict Christian,(I do not know if I could use it but it would be a deterrent) but you never know, and he mentioned it to me the next day, we think what the other thinks quite often. I even invested in a older nice 24ft camper to be self sufficient(I live by the New Madrid Fault)in case we do have to leave. I can always put it with a good plan which I hope to learn from Morris. Also I must mention that I trust in God and He wants us to help ourselves a bit and most of all pray.

  • Ben from Texas says:

    My phone line puts out 50 volts DC current.Here’s a site to buy devices to tap and use the power from phone lines and products that charge off your phone power..When the power goes out,the phone companies have generators and battery back up..>[email protected]<

  • Rebel says:

    I applaud all of you. My husband and I have decided to become more proactive about this. We decided several years ago things were not going well and with our government now, we can see the writing on the wall. Not only natural disasters will befall us.
    I am going to subscribe to the full course. I want to make sure we are not forgetting anything.
    For the person wondering about water…..we live on property with a well and are installing a hand pump. Is that a possibility for you?
    To those of you who think you are past your prime… way, we need all the knowledge ya’ll can provide on skills from a more self sufficient time. Please continue to try to teach those of us who wish to learn.
    I for instance have learned dutch oven cooking and camp fire cooking.

  • Dudley Patterson says:

    It’s a start.

  • Nezeric Godric says:

    When America went to war with Iraq, first thing I did was go take out cash from an ATM. Second thing I did was use my Target card to buy as much camping gear as possible.
    I would recommend 2 things to anyone who wants to get back their instinctual sense of survival, yet remain civilized in a portable, practical way: camping and moving.
    Remember, there are a lot of things that you need to survive in civilization that you don’t need to actually get through the day. Get a fix on which is which, and organize accordingly. Right NOW everything you must have to survive should be easily located and either packed in a bag or be stored near luggage.
    Keep that camping gear in order and make sure it is ready to go! And don’t waste money on gourmet canned meals that will waft the fumes of your luxury feast across the neighborhood to every starving thief waiting for a cue!!!

  • Evelyn J. Pyles says:

    excellent information. thank you so much.

  • Evelyn J. Pyles says:

    Excellent information. thanks so much.



  • Robin Pickerill says:

    I’ve got the wife onboard for years now. we watched hurricane andrew from the area north of miami, saw the aftermath of hurricane katrina and she saw first hand what happens when “it’s all up to you” to get through the fall of society for a few days, weeks or worse! we’re in semi-rural small town and and have certain things in place and plans for others are in the works. i used to feel some resistance to gun purchases, not anymore, the need to stockpile food and water, not any more! she “gets it” now and works with me toward the uncertain future we ‘could’ face. i am impressed with what i’ve seen so far in your ‘short course’, not as the end all but part of an overall plan to prepare. i have certain physical disabilities, when taken into account can be overcome with planning, having proper tools in place to help and made plans to ease our strain during the hard times to skirt issues i have. i love the saying “plan your work then work your plan, hit a bump in the plan, adapt, overcome, improvise”! i pray to God for the best in my future, i plan for the worst! thank you for the ideas you set forth in achieving the “a best case scenario suould it all fall apart around us!

  • Wayne Batten says:

    Thank you,I am glad I found this site. For the past year each time I buy groceries I spend a few dollars more to buy food for storage. Dried beans and peas is a good buy.
    thank you again. Think about the small items

  • evan says:

    seems all my friends and family do not understand what i am doing and how it can help me. they just think im crazy!

  • Charles says:

    Great for all…wake up people…Perfect Intelligence is required…lets get our heads out of the sand…Thanks so much David for being there and doing what you do…its appreciated by many…De Oppresso Liber!

  • Ron G says:

    Thank you for your article about surviving in place. I like how you discuss having fun at the same time as preparing. The situation in the US is very depressing and serious. By saying to enjoy the journey and not dwelling on negatives provides hope for us.

  • Alla Rogozovsky says:

    Hope I could learn something new. Thank you

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