Which Type of Home When the SHTF?

From what Butch and I have said so far, in several different posts, you might have gathered that living in an apartment in the city is, in our view, one of the worst possible locations during any type of severe disaster scenario, from extended power outages to long-term disruptions of society.

But what about an apartment (or a condominium) in a small town? The disadvantage is that you do not have land on which to grow food. However, you do have neighbors who perhaps can be relied upon for mutual assistance in defending your building. This situation will vary greatly depending on the persons who live there. Living in a small apartment building, if you can trust your apartment neighbors, might be a workable situation. Also, if the building is a townhouse style, so that you can go in and out of your home without walking through a common hallway, there are fewer disadvantages.

But with a common hallway, if persons living in the same building decide to attack you or to raid your apartment for supplies, the danger is close to home. They can ambush you in the hallway or in the stairwells. They can wait until the middle of the night to try to kick in your door. So my opinion is that an apartment or condo complex, even in a small town, is far from an ideal home. This opinion is not based on distrust of my fellow man, but on the knowledge that people will behave differently whenever they are struck by uncertainty, fear, and grave danger (more about this point in my next post).

A still better living situation is a single family house, on at least one half to one acre of land, preferably more. The land gives you a buffer around your home, making the approach of danger more evident. Your house is more defensible because you are more free to add security measures in a house that you own, than in a rented apartment. A house has more storage space for food and supplies. The basement of a house is usually cooler, and therefore good for storing food. (But be sure to take care to keep food dry, since basements are also damp.)

Which style of house is best? A two-story house has advantages over a one-story house. From the second floor, you can see further, and you are less vulnerable to an attack on your home. Even if the attackers make it into the house, you can retreat to the second floor. The top of a narrow stairway is, to some extent, a defensible position. It is a choke point, and an attacker climbing the stairs has nothing to hid behind. A one-story house (of the same square footage as a two-story house) has more exterior first story walls and windows, allowing more potential access points for anyone attempting to break and enter.

Should you live in a fortress or a home? I don’t suggesting trading quality of life for extremes of security. You can never be 100% safe, no matter where you live. You can make some better choices to make your life somewhat safer during dangerous times. But don’t take this to an extreme. Don’t spend money that you don’t have, trying to turn your home into a fortress. Live in a home, not a fortress. Use your own good judgment about where to live and which steps to take to increase your safety. Don’t go to extremes. Consider the quality of your life to have value alongside the safety of your life.

– Thoreau

2 Responses to Which Type of Home When the SHTF?

  1. That last “house” you have shown would give me nightmares to live in.

  2. The pic is the best case scenario obviously. I live on 5 acres and can see anyone coming from miles away. I am surrounded by cactus, sagebrush, rattlesnakes, cougar, coyotes and others. If you come at night without a flashlight you will probably not make it. All good advice. Thanks