Surviving in Multistory Apartments

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

odenton-condo-fireMost information about urban survival is written from the point of view of someone who lives in a single-family home in suburbia. But what about people who live in apartments? Something like 40% of our total population are apartment dwellers, so a lot of the survival information won’t work for them.

The biggest problem that apartment dwellers face, when talking about survival, is lack of space. There just isn’t enough space in the average apartment to have a vegetable garden, raise chickens, sink a well or put in a solar energy farm. So apartment dwellers need to be creative in coming up with ways to survive, starting with making better use of their space.

The first thing to consider is whether or not you can afford to move into a bigger apartment. One extra bedroom would make all the difference in the world, providing space to store your prepping supplies. If you can’t do that, then you might want to consider renting a storage area within walking distance of your home, so that you can stockpile food and water in it.

The biggest stockpiling problem is stockpiling water. Not only do you need a lot of water to survive, but it’s heavy as well. So, unless your apartment has concrete floors hiding under the carpet (most modern apartments do), you can only stack up water supplies about one milk gallon high. However, putting a 55 gallon drum full of water on a concrete floor isn’t any problem. Just spread them out a bit and don’t stack them up.

While it might be impossible to put in a well, you might be able to do some rainwater capture on the roof. A lot will depend upon rooftop access and how many other people might have that access as well. However, only you have access to your balcony. You can set up a tarp on a stand, which will allow it to overhang your balcony railing and funnel water into a container on the balcony. Make sure you build it strong enough that the wind won’t tear the tarp off its structure.

Another way to harvest water is with a dehumidifier. Normally used to protect buildings in extremely humid areas or to protect electronic equipment form excess humidity, the dehumidifier works by making the water in the air condensate. That can provide drinking water if you live in an area with high humidity.

The balcony can also be a wonderful place for vertical gardening, allowing you the ability to augment your food stocks with fresh produce. While you may not be able to grow enough food to feed your family entirely, you can augment what food stocks you have, making them last longer.

The other big problem that apartment dwellers face is that of personal safety. The last thing anyone wants is a shootout in their apartment. Yet, with so many people living in a tight space, few of whom have prepared to survive a disaster, the likelihood of a confrontation is extremely high. The best thing you can do to avoid it is to bar yourself in your apartment and don’t come out.

I would highly recommend frangible rounds for any firearms that apartment dwellers own. For that matter, I recommend them for people to use in their homes as well. These are designed to break up when they pass through a solid object. The idea is that they will break up going through a wall and not come out the other side. That can help prevent accidental killing of innocents, something you always want to avoid.

Another part of physical security is having a means of escaping the apartment quickly, in the case of an emergency. Some older apartments are equipped with external fire escapes, which could be used in an emergency. But most modern apartments, especially those is high rises, don’t have those. Instead, they depend on the central core staircase as a fire exit.

There is a new safety escape device which has been invented for apartment dwellers, especially those living in high rises apartments. This device, manufactured in Israel by a startup called SkySaver, is a rescue backpack that automatically helps people repel down the outside wall of their building, escaping from fires or other emergencies.

The unit, which is contained in a backpack, is self-braking, so no real training in rappelling is needed. The backpack is strapped to the individual, with straps going between the legs and across the chest. It is then hooked to an anchor which must be embedded in the wall of the home. After that, it’s just a matter of going out the window and working your way to the ground. The spool of cable in the pack has an automatic brake that controls the rate of descent. So the only thing that the individual has to do is use their hands and feet to keep themselves from rubbing against the wall.

Devices like this make it much safer and easier to survive in an apartment. Had the occupants of the twin towers had them on 9-11, many more of them could have survived.

So, do you live in an apartment? If so, what are you doing to make sure you can survive an emergency in your apartment building? Don’t wait, get ready now, while there is still time.

See you soon. Until then, keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

PS: Be sure to check out this essential survival tool, which is great for anyone living in limited space and needs to grab and go in an emergency.


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