Searching for an emergency retreat getaway that will become your sanctuary should natural or social disaster hit, is one of the most important aspects of prepping — and is not a decision to be taken lightly. There are many things to consider when locating the perfect emergency retreat, and careful advanced planning could mean the difference between life and death. Access to water, food, storage space, community, and the ability to defend yourself and your shelter are all essential components of an emergency retreat. A variety of factors must be dealt with before the SHTF. It goes without saying that that the majority of your gear should be stored at your emergency shelter in case you have to leave home quickly with just your family and bugout bags, so everything you need to survive for possibly a long period of time should be purchased and prepared for in advance. That being said, some of your supplies should remain at your main home in the event you are trapped and cannot get to your emergency retreat.
Location and Amenities
Before you begin searching for the exact spot to begin preparing your emergency retreat, it is important to read up on the local building restrictions, gun laws, building permits and the amount of property tax you will be required to pay. It’s no good purchasing the perfect piece of land and then having to pay a fortune every time you want to erect a new building or fence. Check the locations of the nearest urban centers, highways, military bases, and airports, and try to position yourself a safe distance away from all of these places in case of an attack. Also make sure you are aware of the environmental hazards that could present themselves such as flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, or being downwind from radioactive fallout from a blast.
You will also need to establish several different routes to your shelter including an off-road route and one that can be taken on foot. There is no way to know where you will be when SHTF, but you can plan routes from the most likely places such as your place of work, parent’s house, your children’s school, grocery store, etc. Avoid selecting locations that can only be reached from your home by means of a bridge or tunnel, as these could become impassable once nationwide panic sets in.
Easy access to a fresh water supply would be an ideal solution to the problem of clean drinking water, but failing that an effective method to collect and store rainwater will suffice. Preppers living in dry climates will have to stock up on copious amounts of bottled water, and have a few large tanks in reserve in case you are unable to venture outside for extended periods of time. A sufficient amount of land to grow food and raise livestock is essential for any survival shelter, and you will need a supply of building materials such as wood, clay, stone, or sand in case you have to expand your retreat. The ability to generate your own power through, wind, solar, or hydropower is also another factor to consider, and you may want to store several generators at your property in case of emergency. Remember to also store fuel with the proper preservatives to lengthen shelf life.
When scouting for locations, always keep in mind the possibility that you may need to evacuate your shelter if circumstances warrant. The top of a mountain may offer many advantages when it comes to defense, but it could prove catastrophic should you need to make a quick exit. That said, be sure to select a spot that has only a few access routes that are not visible from the main road, and any natural camouflage such as forest or surrounding hills will be an added benefit. If your retreat is in a fairly isolated spot, be sure to spend a little extra money on securing it for times when you will not be there, as bugging out to shelter that has already been ransacked would be disastrous.
Spend a little bit of time in any nearby towns in order to establish a few connections that may prove useful in the future. Get to know the local doctors, both traditional and alternative, and make a note of any independent stores or farms that may be open to bartering. Consider gathering a small group of likeminded preppers and building a communal retreat together, as the combination of many different skillsets will make survival a much easier task.
The more time you spend preparing and improving your retreat will have a huge impact on your time spent there when you eventually have to get out of dodge, so try to devote as much time to improvements as you possibly can. Bring your spouse, children, and any other people that will be staying with you there to get comfortable with the shelter and surrounding environment, and make sure they are aware of any local water supplies, hunting grounds, and foraging sites. Your emergency retreat will be your first and final port of call after the SHTF, so it’s a good idea devote the same amount of time to its care and improvement as you do to your current home.
For more indepth information on this topic check out Joel Skousen’s website at http://www.joelskousen.com/ or read his books, Strategic Relocation or Secure Home.
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