Location & Security (Level 3 Preparedness)

“Prepping and Preparedness 3” is a level of being prepared for up to 1 year.

Check the series overview (linked below) for my logic and reasoning why I split it the way that I did.

Location and Security. Wow. That’s going to be extraordinarily important. Why? Because a level-3 event is literally going to be catastrophic for so many people. And that’s regardless of where they live.

However, it is going to be orders of magnitude worse in population-dense regions. Cities? Forget it. Complete disaster. The cities will be the first to go “belly up”. When infrastructure is no longer functioning, well, I’ll leave it to your imagination. It’s going to be horrible. Especially there.

What about suburbia? Will that be alright? My answer to that is another question… Doesn’t suburbia also rely on a functioning infrastructure? Are there not lots and lots of people living in suburbia?

So, out in the country? Rural? Is that where it will be best to survive a level-3 event? Again I ask, Do people who live rural also rely on a functioning infrastructure? Answer: Yes, and somewhat. Some rely 100%. Others in between. Unless you’re living on a fully self-sufficient farm, there’s still going to be infrastructure that’s relied upon to an extent.

But with that said, and as you likely would logically surmise, living rural is the best option for survival in this regard. Provided that you’re reasonably prepared (easier said than done). Also, fewer people, fewer problems.

Rural Location

It’s one thing to simply live in a rural area. However it’s another to be reasonably prepared there for a level-3 event. The intent of this article is not to detail that preparedness. But to highlight a few important considerations.


Ideally you will need a water source on your property. Most rural homes already have their own well. Imagine all those people living in city regions and suburbia who do not? It’s difficult to wrap one’s head around the utter disaster and human catastrophe when the water stops flowing there.

Alternative Energy

A well pump will need “power” without the grid. And a generator doesn’t count. Why? Because it will eventually run out of fuel. Then what?

Maybe you’re lucky enough to have surface water on your property which doesn’t need to be pumped. But most rural homes don’t have this luxury. So you’re going to need energy to operate your well pump. A proper solar power system will be the best solution (beyond the scope of this article – however I’ll link to a future article describing a minimal system).


Most rural homes already have a septic waste system. These systems will function for many years if they’re not abused beyond their intent. Again, can you imagine cities and suburbia without a functioning sewer system? That’s not a pleasant thought. And the situation will rapidly deteriorate into a major hazard.


My rural home includes a buried 1,000 gallon propane tank. A typical site among rural areas are propane tanks. They provide the fuel for furnaces, hot water, stoves… Given that this is a level-3 event (months up to a year), one could have enough propane on hand to get by for a year or so (if the tank is big enough).


Though I mentioned propane, regardless of one’s fuel source, a major consideration is heating during the winter. Especially for those who live where it gets c-c-cold, you better have this one figured out. Don’t count on ‘delivery’.

Anything Else?

Why didn’t I list a big garden? Because it’s not a requirement for level-3. You could fairly easily store enough food for a year. A garden is highly recommended for many reasons. But not absolutely necessary.

Shelter. Water. Food. Survival can be pretty basic. But can you do it without a working infrastructure? I’ve listed several of the highest level considerations above. However there’s one very important thing remaining…


Having eluded to the human disaster that will unfold in cities and suburbia (everywhere really), can you imagine? What will it be like in the cities when so many people all get desperate around the same time? Or think of typical suburbia. Homes one after another up and down the tangled web of streets. These people too will become desperate all around the same time when supplies run out. When the water stops. The lights go out. When they can no longer get on facebook…

Don’t get me wrong. People will get just as desperate in the rural regions too. Why? Because only a percentage are actually prepared for a level-3 event. The difference regarding security is that there are fewer people and fewer problems!

But there is going to be a problem. The problem will be the unprepared.

In the past we’ve had countless debates on the blog as to how this might unfold. And how YOU might deal with this situation. I’m not going to rehash all that. However there will be logical security precautions that you should consider, even while living rural.

[ Read: Security Tips For Rural Property ]

Gray Man

Gray man or gray woman (see, I’m being all-inclusive). Whoever you are, it’s best to “go gray” to the extent that you can. Why? Because there will be desperation around you. And “some” of the desperate will try to get what you’ve got. If they know you’ve got it. It’s probably going to be best NOT to stick your head out, so to speak. And this also involves being quiet about your preparedness BEFORE anything like this might happen.

Lights Out

Actually part of being “gray” is being aware that others may become aware of your advantageous situation. Lights on at night while your alternative energy system continues to flow electrons through your home? Maybe not such a good idea… This goes for anything that’s “powered” which may be noticed by noise, smell, sight.

Ultimate Defense

The firearm. Plural. Ammunition. Plenty.

Of course we hope that we NEVER ever need to go down this road. But it would be foolish to ignore that it’s there. The road of having to defend one’s-self from the threat of deadly force. However I suspect that a level-3 event will force many down this road. So do you have a plan for that?

24/7 Security

To an extent, even those living rural who are well prepared, will be affected by plain old luck whether or not something bad might happen (or not). Two people living in a home is nowhere near enough for effective 24/7 security. And those two people might be just fine without it – given their own unique situation where they’re at. But don’t count on it.

Since most of you who are reading this likely are not living in a “compound” manned by a security force, I suggest that you do what you can in order to offset this risk a bit.

Perimeter Alarms for early warning. Gate your road/driveway if that’s appropriate for your property. Consider defensible positions. Think about “where” an intruder may attempt to get on to your property. Secure your home the best you can.

Remember though, most homes are not built to withstand a “fire fight”. No matter how prepared that you think you are, you’re likely going to be a potential sitting duck at one point or another. It’s not hard to hit a target from a considerable distance with almost any given rifle, for example.

So what to do? This post is not intended to answer that specifically. But I hope that it will cause you to think about it. Most of you are not going to sell your home and then go out and buy a castle with a moat around it and wait for the apocalypse. Well okay, maybe one of you will. ;) But just give it some thought.

The Takeaway

A level-3 event is unlikely but very high impact. Most who are into preparedness do not prep to this extent. And that’s fine. Chances are (hopefully) that we’ll never experience it. But if we ever do…

So, there’s so much more that I could write on the topic of location and security (and I have – articles buried in this website). But generally, “IF” a level-3 happens, it’s going to boil down to where you live (or bug out to), having covered (at least) the major aspects of the topics above, and plain old luck.

[ Read: America Is Mostly Rural With Pockets Of Urban Suburbia ]

[ Read: Preparedness Level 1 – 4 Series Overview ]


  1. Lots to think about for sure.
    Some stuff it wont matter how well you planned for it, it will take its own direction.
    I believe we are on the eve of such an event, best hope im wrong.

  2. How common is thermo or night vision in the general population?
    Any info on that? I don’t have any so it’s a huge disadvantage.

  3. Great article, as usual! Thanks Ken!

    I couldn’t help but notice you have a buried propane tank… I’ve been looking in to the feasibility of that myself! Any chance you can do a future post on that?

    1. CA_X2B,
      I just put a buried 1000 gallon tank in this summer (western Colorado). Tank cost $3500 including two electrodes, which you have to have to prevent corrosion of the tank. You need to figure on $400-500 for the install, piping, etc. , unless you are able to barter for this. The hole for the tank needs to be about 6′ deep, with a foot of sand put in the bottom so they can level the tank prior to piping it up. think our hole dimensions were 8′ wide and 22′ long by 6′ deep. then you also need to be able to backfill over the tank with clean, rock-less fill. Some want sand for this, others recommend pea gravel. (don’t want to put rocky soil back in and chance dinging the epoxy coating on the tank and invite corrosion). in my area sand is expensive ($450/20 yards), so I put a foot in the bottom of the hole for leveling, then once the tank was in and leveled, I covered just to the top of the tank to make sure it stayed in place. Backfilled the rest of the way with rock free farm soil. I think all totaled the whole install was close to $4400-4500. Well worth it though. I was able to fill the tank at that point for $1.07/gal with a local company. (the 1000 gallon tank can be filled to 850 gallons, they need to leave room for expansion by law). I had paid the national outfit to fill my 250 gallon surface tank several times a winter, and they were charging like $3.45/ gal. With the new buried tank, I can literally go a year and half without filling. Local company guys told me when to watch for annual propane sales with their company in the summer so I can fill up when propane is the cheapest. It was a big expense for us, but it will be nice not to have those pesky $400-500 monthly fill ups all winter. My pay back should be in about 3 to 3-1/2 years. This is inline what I have heard from other people who did the same. Hope this info helps.

      1. Thanks MinerJim! The information you shared is invaluable! We’re starting to consider the infrastructure of our property and burying the propane tank seems like it will be safer (from fires or stray bullets) plus it will be less of an eye-sore, plus the whole SITCOM side of things… if they can’t see the tank, they won’t know we have gas. :)

      2. Propane is absolutely the way to go from an availability and dependability stand point.LP flows under its own pressure whereas natural gas needs electricity to reach it’s users.An aquantance that works in the energy field says that if the grid goes down the pipe lines
        will go dry in 3-4 days maximum.I would be tickled to get filled up for 1.07 a gallon.We are lucky to find it for 1.20 a gallon.
        There is a device that allows you to fill a 20 lb.tank from your big tank.I can’t remember the name- – – cause I’m old.

        It’s hard to imagine how bad it will be when the water faucets stop
        flowing especially in large desert cities.
        If you are lucky to be on a well please consider a back up hand pump.
        Simple Pump,Flojak,and Apocalypse Pumps are all good bets.Water for barter and charity will help us make it through.

        A wood burning stove and a couple of rocket stoves will make
        Level 3 a little more do able.I know the smoke has security implications but we will just have to deal with them.

        1. NormlChuck,

          Fyi, when I did my 1000 gal buried tank install this summer I asked about the necessary equipment to fill 20# tanks from my big tank. Was told that the equipment to do that would cost an additional $500-600 because it had to meet certain standards. I get that. But $500-600 is way too pricey for the convenience of filling a 20# tank at that point so I passed. If I had money to burn, I might have done it though.

      3. Underground storage tank considerations.
        Ground water level – tanks can become bouyant and float out of the ground.
        Concrete deadmen with fiberglass straps can compensate for this.
        Tanks are not static in the ground, they expand and contract with temperature. This will scratch the protective layer on the outside of the tank and cause corrosion (about 5 years where I am). Electrodes may help. The tank can be periodcally tested and zinc packs placed to extend the life of the tank.
        If anone is thinking of storing gas or fuel oil underground, fiberglass tanks are the way to go. A leaking UST is a very expensive clean up.

  4. my girl friend and i live in a city for now but if the SHTF ever does happen we have a friend that lives a in fairly small town so we plan on bugging out to there any thoughts about that?

    1. kevin;
      My suggestion would to be very VERY observant as to any upcoming “event”.
      Bugging Out to a location needs to be done early/quickly, 99% of Cities will get congested and impassable quick with tens of thousands of others wanting to “get out”..
      Stockpile supplies at the BOL and keep your BOBs with you at all times.
      Also remember that even “small towns” will have HUGE problems is a level 3 event occurs.
      Have a plan with the BOL people for long-term preparedness….

      1. Kevin,
        might add to what NRP said, you also need to have several alternate routes to your BOL and run them at least once a year to address any changes that might have occurred along the route. Basically after developing your “A” plan, have a “B”, “C”, “D”, etc. plans in your mind for getting to your BOL. you need to remain flexible and creative.

    2. kevin as others have mentioned the problem is how you “Know” it’s time to abandon your job and home to bug out. And doing so before the crowd decides to run for the hills making your escape difficult.

      Things to improve your chances are:

      A solid communications plan with your girlfriend and small town friends so IF your away from home when it gets crazy you can start the decision chain ASAP. Running around looking for your girlfriend while she’s also looking for you is a serious waste of your limited time before the other folks start moving out of the city and jamming the roads.

      Cell phone “Might” work but I’d have a second option or two. Have a plan, work the plan, test the plan.

      Secondary advantage of the mobile communications ability with your small town friends is they will know about when you arrive and that might prevent a “friendly fire” episode as they are apt to be pretty stressed too.

      You also need a duress code so that your friends know your not under criminal duress and that THEY are not under criminal duress. Would stink to bug out into an Ambush situation when you arrive at “Safety”.

      Having a Bug Out Bag packed (Duh so obvious eh?) BUT how many people will be scrambling around looking of needed Medications and other “important” stuff when they should be Rolling. Medications go bad and seasonal clothing packing needs to match the season. I just upgraded my “summer” set up for winter….. Much heaver bag but New England Winters can get Harsh, deadly Harsh.

      Having 90+ percent of what you want after SHTF pre-positioned at your friends house. Your not likely to be able to get a RV loaded with lots of gear through any sort of chaos. I know folks who plan on loading up their RV TO bug out, given it takes them almost a weekend to load out for a week long camping trip that’s gonna HURT when your trying to beat the crowd. Criminals are also waiting for SHTF for their own plans and they are QUICK to spot a “Rolling Wal-Mart” when things get crazy.

      Finally STUFF is STUFF, if you must abandon or surrender your Stuff in order to continue your escape to your friends house do it. I was listening a couple of months ago at the coffee shop to someone talking about Mad Max style shooting out from his Bus RV windows to “Break Contact” from a road block…..

      I just walked away from that discussion. But then again they had a vote for Kalmia Harris 2020 bumper sticker so maybe they’d get away with it?

    3. All plans are good until the first shots are fired.Your initial statement is
      somewhat vague. Does your friend know that you are coming? Do they
      know what supplies you will be bringing? Have you and they had in depth
      discussions on exactly what will be required to survive a Level 3 event?
      If any of your answers are”no” then the best advice is to get what you can, learn what can, while you can. This will not be something to fool around with.

    4. Just my opinion but I would spend some time in that small town getting to know other people as well as your friend. You never know what can happen to them and small town people are NOT going to be friendly to strangers in this type of situation. Spend some time at the local restaurants and feed stores meeting people. Go to the local church even if its not your faith. get to the point you are not a stranger

  5. What about medical needs. DW is diabetic. We are gradually getting a little insulin but it is very difficult to get head. Our eating habits would change but I’m afraid she would have a very hard time. Now an important question is “How far will I be willing to go to get her meds?” I hope it never comes to this because I have not always been one of the good guys and I hope I never have to go back to being a bad guy to keep my wife alive.

    1. Car guy
      I can relate.
      FWTB has also said I the past, that she will do what it takes to get insulin.
      I don’t like that idea anymore than you.
      So, please, any and every chance you can…..hoard.
      A nasty word, but
      Beans, bullets, bandaids, and insulin.
      We know your concern, first hand…..

      1. Also….
        In reality, how much insulin would a person be able to grab?
        In good times, the availability of meds is also a JIT system. At times, I have been told by the pharmacy, sorry, we’re out, it will be available tomorrow or the next incoming delivery.

      2. Joe c
        You are probably sleeping when Dr. Walsh is on Coast to Coast. The pharmacist Dr. Ben Fuchs that works with Dr. Walsh spoke about those that are diabetic.

        As I recall he had rather interesting information which you might find informative. You can find his pages of medical knowledge using his name in the search parameters. Good luck, hope there is something there they may help you with your medical needs.

    2. Something to think about is how to keep any insulin you have fresh also. I no longer need to do injectable insulin ( I am type 2 ) but when I did I kept a cooler that was designed to plug into a 12 volt system so I could use a deep cycle battery and small solar charger to keep it at the 40 degrees it needs to be for storage

  6. I have made a very strong effort to be prepared to level 3 and well beyond. However, there is one area that I need help with – more than just night vision. I have ask many suppliers (even those on MSBLOG ) to recommend a night vision scope/mount that I can mount on my Remington 30:06 and survive the recoil. I need recommendations from experienced people like those on MSBLOG. I do not worry about cost since “What is money really worth if I find my self in a position where I have to use my weapon”. All comments are appreciated.

  7. Response to Out Of The Box regarding night vision or heavy optics on a hard kicking rifle:

    Most of the platforms out there firing a larger, harder kicking cartridge like the 308, 30-06 on up are larger heavier rifles with the added feature of gas-operation to eject the spent casing and load a fresh round from the magazine. The added feature of semi-automatic is it will reduce recoil impulse. A semi-auto rifle firing this size cartridge will also tend to be heavier than the other types of actions which is a good thing in this application.
    The other way to reduce recoil is through muzzle brake technology which will result in a big fireball at night or a good sized dust signature when you fire during the day. For the 30-06 cartridge, I would relegate this to daytime use with good lightweight optics.

    For night time use, I would go with a lightweight platform firing the 5.56 cartridge in a self- loading action because recoil is minimal and the optics and mounting hardware will not be sheared off by the recoil impulse of simply firing a round off within your platform.

    In California, I saw many people buying a large heavy scope to put on top a lightweight rifle in 7mm mag. The result was the screws holding the scope mounts to the receiver were being sheared off due to recoil impulse. This is why I was in the habit of placing somewhat smaller, lighter optics on top of rifles that had a larger recoil impulse and/or were of lighter weight. I know this because I was the one doing the scope mounting, installation and repairs within a gun shop at the time.

    Does this concept work? The platforms I helped work on were being built to specification for private contractors who were going to be providing security for convoys between the Green Zone and the airport in Baghdad, Iraq back in the day. They were happy with their equipment and we never heard a bad word from them. They ordered more from the same shop 3 years later after I had left that shop.

    Night vision optics were rather heavy back then. I have not seen or mounted any in the past 10 years. I am hoping they are working on this in the past 10 years. ( lighter weight, longer battery life etc. ) Anyway, good luck on your project. Do not burn your retinas looking through night vision too much. ( a new occupational injury associated with operators from police and military. )

    1. Calirefugee,
      Thanks for your input. I will switch to a Weatherby 5.56 which I already have for night work. This bolt action has the best trigger pull of any gun I have ever shot. This rifle has no recoil it seems. Now, can you recommend a night scope that is rugged. Thanks for your advice.

  8. I live rural, but security would ALWAYS be a concern. It would take several folks to provide any true security. Hard to garden with your head on a swivel. Hard to do a lot of things, including sleep.

    Ken is suggesting level 3. I would imagine that things would escalate quickly and then slowly die down, as the population died down. If ya could make it a year, ya might make it 2, etc. etc.

    I’ve heard 90% dead in a grid-down, within a year. If you’re lucky enough to be part of the 10%, it might be unusual to even see a stranger.

  9. Going gray? I have gradually been placing concrete blocks (the 2 holed kind) around my garden. I talk about how nice it looks. Actually, these will be used for security stations. I have loads of sandbags to fill and place around these blocks.
    Until needed the garden really does look nice.

  10. The thing I worry about most are my country neighbors’ kids coming back to mom and dad to roost, without bring anything but their bad habits and spoiled children with them.

      1. I just read this. I am so not prepared as far as security is concerned. No 2+ preparedness for me. Rats. Back to square one.

  11. I’ve got night vision…………well, kinda sorta. Wife bought me a Russian import monocular sold under the name “Night Owl”, some 10+ years ago. Paid less than $200 as I recall. Works well, can make out animals and such out to 200-300 yards with some moon and starlight available, 40-50 feet in dead dark using the infra red illuminator.

    Would love to have better night vision equipment, but consider extended food preps a greater priority. Keep in mind folks, buying a $5,000 rifle doesn’t make someone a sniper, nor does buying a Wilson Combat 1911 make one a pistolero. Owning top of the line night vision equipment will not magically turn you into a night ninja. What it will do is enhance abilities you’ve already acquired.

    I’m not trying to discourage the purchase of such equipment. By all means, if you can, get it, but know that equipment never trumps knowledge, training and experience. Take the time..and effort… to patrol the area you plan to defend….in the dark. Find the dark corners of your homestead, work a plan to incorporate them into your defenses. Find the most likely paths an adversary might utilize, figure out ways to work them to your advantage.

    Do you have a rifle with a decent low power scope (4x or less and 30mm or more objective)? You would be surprised how effective they can be when you are sitting in darkness and your target is dimly illuminated by the ambient light around most homes at night.

    Learn to use what you have…………but y’all already know that. Just a reminder.

    1. Right, about those ninja snipers… There is a large manufacturer of NV rifle scopes, that due to a Google predictive search fault ends up having a lot of their customers redirected to my office; both phone and email. These are generally not terribly bright people. They fill out our warranty registration, with model numbers that don’t fit; serials that fault out. They take the time to ponder, then check the appropriate box for ‘residential’ or ‘commercial’ use. (??!?)

      The really fun ones are the guys who steadfastly refuse to believe they have a reached a wrong number. Some of them get downright hostile and accusatory. It’s come to the point where I’ve instructed my staff to have limited interaction with these folks. Don’t engage in arguments over what company they reached. Tell them once, politely, then end the call.

      Save your money and invest in some nice glass! These yahoo’s running around with the mega-buck NV gear often seem to not have a capable brain to use it. Some, apparently, can’t even get it to turn on.

  12. We took all of these considerations when we bought our land. 40 years ago we were considered rural, then two casino’s were built less than an hour from us. So the whole area went through a building boom and now we are more suburban. So we are concentrating on being grey.

  13. After 12 years or so of living this lifestyle I think we are soon approaching level 3 preparedness. Are like 2+ right now. Food and water are covered. Skills to continue that – are good. Security, could be improved. I made the decision long ago to live like the 1800’s if need be. I think if there is a major SHTF event it would be prudent to stay grey…and wait. Then wait some more. I will check on one elderly neighbor. We are rural but not isolated out here. I will also check into night vision. Could be a game changer if outnumbered and we see them coming up the front, we will exit the back. I would rather melt into my woods and come back later. I’ve learned to split up our ‘goods’ so they are not all in the same place to be , ah, shared.

    I think I will spend more of my down-time this winter going over some older posts here on MSB. So much good information here on your blog, Ken. Thank you!

  14. Level 3 is hard to really feel you’ve covered all the bases. Just when I was feeling good about having an on demand generator, we asked what happens when the natural gas doesn’t flow? Yes we can manually shut it down but any periodic mechanical sounds will draw attention to you. Now we are looking for a possible solar system, however anywhere we could set this up gets only filtered sunshine. Unless our kids can get here there will only be the two of us for security detail, so we discussed night vision. When my dear DH look at me and said “ If you have to defend against someone in the dark that can see you and you have no way of seeing them, you are dead”. I looked back at him and said get two sets. He was able to find a couple of PV 7’s on Craigslist that are great. A little heavy on the head but are amazing when looking through our scopes and for wild game and star watching. Thanks Ken for urging us on to think about the what if’s in these crazy times.

  15. Going Gray Man and Stealth are Key were we live in the burbs although it goes rural with in 5 miles with plenty of swamp trails and pasture routs to get to were we are going. If we are heading toward implementing level 3 survival we are immediately evacing to plan A but also have plan b,c,d…. Working towards night optics even as we speak. But I am still able to operate in the dark of night and navigate in the thickest sh_t.

    Level 3 survival should include developing caches of supplies well away from your location. Do not keep all your eggs in 1 basket. Most of you know this already. If an event occurs I plan on deploying even more caches before things go really south. Make sure you have a system in your head for finding the caches again.

    1. White Cracker – “Make sure you have a system in your head for finding the caches again.”—and make sure it does not depend on things which can/will change…..Big Tree/Hill/Rock/…..maybe one should learn to read a compass and put down co-ordinates?

  16. Response to Out Of The Box: regarding brand of night vision:

    These boys brought their own night vision with them and I believe it was gen 4. They barely let us touch it and definitely did not let us play with it. The mounting hardware was made by a company called A-Square, a company developed and run by an Army Colonel by name of Alphin. ( he was an engineering graduate of West Point some years ago. ) Good stuff to work with, very heavy duty and very tight tolerances. Gen 4 was not available for sale and still is not allowed for civilian use.

    Each NV scope cost several months worth of paychecks back then so…I never got into it myself. Good quality optics for daytime are expensive enough for me. There is another area to consider within the US: Night hunting in the Southeastern US and Texas using thermal vision scopes. This has been growing in popularity and there are some excellent U-tube videos out there explaining the use and limitations associated with each type of optic you are thinking of purchasing.

    I think I will stick with conventional preps in other areas because this technology tends to become cost prohibitive in short order.

  17. Regarding your Grey man theme, if you live in a rural farmhouse, it is obvious that you have your own water, septic and in my case animals and solar panels. You are already marked as a target. The only option you have not covered is automation for security. Keeping a 24/7 rotating watch is not practical for any small family and the logistics to support that is not practical. Security has to be augmented by animals (peacocks and dogs), and electronics. Boat radar intercept function works for long range to see vehicles and rifles. Six inch wave length tuned above ground clutter can see through corn stalks. Short range thermal can identify a human, but not the person. The radar also helps with storms. Hope this helps.

  18. I have an old gen1 night vision setup. It is fine. In reality I am better off without it but I will not get rid of it. I am blessed with really good low light eyeballs. Like if there is any moon even with cloud cover I am fine to navigate. I know it is likely to fade as I get older as it already is way worse than it used to be.

    I went the other way and use cameras and IR illuminators for everything. I have 100% coverage of human face identification-quality realtime redundant motion-activated recording for at least 125′ away from all the outbuildings and house. I have some areas that go out 300′. At night I am essentially covering 2 acres. During the day it is more like 4.5 acres. I have 3 different recording systems that overlap in 3 different buildings. Most of the cameras have SD cards in them also. My long term dream is to get coverage for a ten acre perimeter. So essentially a 660×660 box. It will be expensive. I also would like to record at a higher frame rate but so far I have found no value in going more than 2-4fps.

    I believe level 3 preparedness would have to require the ability to defend extensively through the end of your stored supplies, preferably with armor. Those that live to a level 3 event as described here are going to be of two types: those that are prepared like you and those that are experts at taking what others like you have prepared.

    1. pinky,

      Can you recommend any of the security camera systems you use, or pros and cons of those you have had experience with? There are a couple of us on this site looking to find decent security camera coverage for our properties. Initial cost is, of course, expensive, but have you found something that does not require a monthly “cloud storage” contract/plan? Ability to see what’s going on from inside your home? Wired or Wi-fi? Camera power (electric/solar/?) requirements?

      1. I have largely switched to Reolink brand POE cameras. Probably have 40+ of them now. If they have a camera that is outdoor and not cellular I probably have it. If it is indoor and wireless and has PTZ I probably have it also. All of the POE cameras can be run off 12v also. All of the outdoor wireless cameras (that aren’t oddball cellular/solar/vattery) run off 12v or with a wallwart transformer.

        I recommend the RLC410 and RLC420 in the 5MP format ($32 on sale). The 4MP are fine but you lose vertical pixels and the SDcard slot. The RLC511W ($65 on sale) is a nice wireless zoom camera. The C2 Pro ($55 on sale) is a nice indoor wireless PTZ camera.

        The NVR8 recorder is fine. I don’t use the POE ports on it because they aren’t bridged with the LAN port. I prefer to use Blue Iris and iSpy software.

        I do not use any of the “cloud” services or push notifications from the cameras or NVR. They are isolated from the Internet.

        I have tons of other cameras. Even antique X10 cameras (some people might remember them). Amcrest before they were Amcrest and were Foscam US. It has been a weird hobby of mine for decades. Best bang for your buck is probably Reolink or Hikvision. Quit buying Hikvision when they got caught up in the security issues.

        Tendelux makes decent 850nm IR illuminators that run on 12v. I use POE adapters to power them. I have tried other IR illuminators but I can’t recommend them.

        1. Thanks, pinky!

          I’ve copied this off to a Word document to be able to reference and absorb it. Especially appreciate the software info.

          While I have power to the primary areas where I’d like to have a camera located, it isn’t cat5, so (I think?) I’ll need to go with wifi data transfer.

          Thanks again!

  19. Just my 2 cents worth but wouldn’t using an IR illuminator be like shining a flashlight that says here I am to anyone else with NV who has their illuminator turned off?

    Really don’t know very much about it except for the ones we used 50 years ago. Water buffaloes were what we saw most.

  20. Regarding the “gray man”comments, There are obviously different shades of gray. I know we cannot be invisible but we can be as low profile as possible. People see that we have a large garden and a small orchard, we cannot hide it . We do try to shield it from the road by planting trees and shrubs.
    We never say how many quarts we can, never. I cringe when I hear folks brag about how many quarts of beans or peaches they have canned and put aside. People listen and remember things.
    Security of our property is our main concern when things go over the edge.We cannot guard 24/7 . We try to know our neighbors as best we can and build relationships.

  21. Going grey in a rural environment is almost impossible. Most of your neighbors know what crops you have growing, what animals you feed, where your water comes from, where you get your firewood, ….

    So, short of having a secret bunker or bugging out to a very remote location, I suggest you make security look as tough as possible – the obvious security that is. Add a bunch of dummy security cameras to you real system – ever walked through a store and looked at the cameras and wonder if they are watching you? No one wants to become an obvious target.

    1. hermit us,
      Good idea on the dummy security cameras. Some folks have a beware of dog sign but no dog and some folks store barbed wire in coils in the brush on the inside of their fence line and some store pebbles in tin cans on a wire . It helps to be creative.
      I know we cannot stop a determined thief , but we may be able to slow them down while we get our welcome committee ready .

      1. I like hermit’s idea of adding fake cameras to the real ones, but never use just fake ones. Case in point, a neighbor approached me last night. Actually, he’s a bit of an addled indigent living off my neighbor, but who’s counting… Anyway there was a power outage yesterday afternoon while I was at work. Neighbor guy approached me after work to tell me about it, and to tell me of some nefarious activity going on in the alley during the outage. He had to tell me you see, because the power was out and he ‘knew’ my cameras were down.

        Actually…. the cameras are on a robust UPS…. So I pulled the video and found the situation as described to me, to be utterly fictitious and fabricated.

      2. I agree that you can’t be “gray” and be rural unless you own a square mile and have natural barriers. Then no one knows what a $500 drone and Google maps are. People figure stuff out. And the ones that can’t you don’t need to worry about.

        Most people don’t want to die. So you just have to make it appear to them that their chances at their successful continued existence unscathed is very unlikely.

        Don’t use fake cameras. Anyone that would notice a camera can spot a bad fake camera. By the time you go through the effort and cost of putting in a passable fake camera you could out in a real one. Fake ones just tell people that you have stuff worth stealing and it is easy to do.

        If possible, mount all cameras above 12′ from the ground. Few people look up. Even fewer people look up more than 10′. Plus if the cameras are mounted high they are more difficult to tamper with and they are less probe to glare/starburst.

        1. A big takeaway from your comment is this:

          “Most people don’t want to die. So you just have to make it appear to them that their chances at their successful continued existence unscathed is very unlikely.”

          Most will move on to “easier prey”. While there’s perhaps the chance of an organized ambush, deterrence is a good thing. It will work for most. And that’s a good thing.

        2. pinky

          I guarantee there are fake cameras out that most of the horde would not recognize – how do I know – ask any security person in a large retail organization.

          I think I am an average prepper and defender of my property with four cameras and one monitor. If you have dozens of active cameras, you can spend the rest of your life glued to several monitors around the clock. Better to live your life than to have fear make a prisoner out of you.

        3. The ones that can’t see there is no conduit or wire going to a camera looking device are not the ones you have to worry about. The fake cameras that look real seem to cost $20. Or about what an OK real camera costs.

          The goal of the cameras is for them to work so you don’t have to. Their logic (or separate software) do the work for you and notifies of motion detection. Expensive software runs realtime analysis for you and will track and index objects for post analysis. Motorola makes some really nice software that does this.

          The most value I have gotten from the cameras is the recording. The cameras have altered some people’s ability to have continued freedom due to coming to my place, seeing the cameras, then being dumb enough to go to someone else’s house and steal their stuff wearing the same clothes. It has helped me find out what happened to my critters. I know they are excellent deterrents because of the countless people that see the one obvious camera in my back porch then quickly get back in their vehicle and back all the way down my driveway hoping to avoid recording their license plate.

          There are multitudes of other uses. Downstairs and you want to check on the dog in the yard? In the back forty and a car pulls up? At work and you’re having a package delivered you don’t want your spouse to see so you need to leave work early to get it? On vacation and want to check in on the place?

          I only have a couple in the house normally. One points at the well pressure switch and gauge. I have a few cameras for the chickens. One PTZ, one fixed pointing at food/water, one pointed at the nesting boxes.

          In the case of poo hitting the fan I would much rather sit in the comfort of my abode watching monitors or viewing on a tablet/phone than having a gaggle of people standing around outside freezing or feeding mosquitos to stand watch.

  22. Thinking about force multipliers.

    Seems to me the most effective force multiplier is to multiply your force. As NormlChuck recommends in Walking Dead comments develop a Mutual Assistance Group now.

    Or looking at it from another angle, location can be a good threat divider. Moving from city to suburbia to rural to very remote. Each of these relocations cuts immediate threats almost exponentially.

    Am on the cusp between rural and remote. Although currently living alone, except for the menagerie, MAG consists of 12 or so folks coming from various distances including close by here on the dead end road. Good location for a year’s wait, and laying in supplies as resources are available.

  23. Our main concern with respect to serious preparedness is security at our home and property. We are still working to have better and better security for our home and have been examining a number of possible scenarios to guard against.

    Two weeks ago, we finished a project where we replaced our basement level door and the framing in the back. We removed a standard metal door with a hollow steel door that is meant for industrial installation. Before the door was installed, we removed framing, wallboard, and insulation to get into the surrounding cinderblocks. We filled those hollow blocks and then used rebar sections for added strength. Extra work was done at the top, and then the steel frame was installed after days of doing the cinderblock work (allowed for drying). The frame was installed with extra long bolts, and then the door itself had 2 slide bolts and 1 dead bolt added. We don’t have a key lock, we have a combination lock.

    We took these extra precautions because the back door is hidden from view at every angle. This door could have been the entryway for any number of thieves, but not now.

    We’re still thinking through the dilemma with our French doors, and may even replace 1 set because of the lack of security with them.

    Our other security project will be with a networked camera set up. We have found one system but plan to wait until after the holidays to get started on that project.

    So far, the majority of our security projects have been about our home — to avoid burglaries and/or home invasions. We have done several security projects for our outbuildings and about 2 acres around our home (‘the lawn area’). The remainder of our property is not guarded and we believe we need to add a security system that covers the perimeter areas and the barnyard section.

    What we have not done is address siege scenarios. The probability of us and our home being under siege is very small, but during a grid-down or desperate time, a violent attack could take place. We are under-prepared for that. Violent assault can occur in a number of ways and we are unprepared for most all of them….we have no escape tunnel. (Would love to see articles on this because there is very little written about homes under siege via firepower, fire, smoke, explosives, battery ram, truck/tank, etc.)

    1. Modern Throwback you are doing quite well in your defensive preparations!

      Just remember what your basic house construction is. If solid brick then some protection vs. small arms fire, pretty good fire resistance aside from through the windows attacks and maybe roof. Brick Veneer no real protection vs. small arms fire but fire resistance. Stick built with wood siding same and some resistance to the casual attempts to burn you out. Sorry to say Vinyl Siding is very burnable and produces quite nasty poisonous gasses when afire just like burning carpets and foam cushions of your sofa.

      For the threat of vehicle ramming efforts to breech your home for pillaging may I suggest a eye to vehicle movement pattern of 18 inch high raised bed gardens-flower beds and such. Can look “Normal” around your place but will stop anything short of a tracked vehicle from forward progress.

      One also needs to plan this out as not to provide easy cover for nasty visitors to hide behind and shoot at you. Think of angles as so a single fighting position or two can cover those “blind” spots.

      Escape tunnel, hard to pull off but I have looked into it before.

      Decided a purpose built Bullet Hardened 2 story Garden Shed with metal siding and roof for fire protection to act as a sort of “Keep” was best as it can “Look” normal and give non-combatants somewhere safe to wait out the “storm”. Not impossible to defeat but far safer than any stick built house. Hopefully the casualties the defenders inflict will stop the assault before it’s a full on siege. That’s my main sniper defense idea so far. Wait them out as they are outside in the weather seeking food and shelter. The commercial drone idea is still a work in progress for counter measures like a Bear Spray “strafing” attack.

      1. me2,

        We’re aware of the penetrability of our home. It’s stick-built (no vinyl) with brick in front and wood siding on 3 sides. We know the dangers that almost every home creates for its owners. Houses weren’t made to protect against the natural disasters or criminal elements.

        We have a gated front entrance (metal) with 4-board fencing. Those would have to be cleared first. We do actually have a radical move that would give protection, but only if we had knowledge or suspicion of an impending ‘attack.’ We can physically block the entryway. We have a tractor and also a 27-foot RV that could be parked in front of the ground floor French doors. A tank or very large truck could get through, but if that were to be employed, we’d be doomed anyway.

        And we have an escape hatch, a tunnel from the basement of the main house, to an above-ground ‘crawl space’ — a crawl of about4-feet would put us at a 4×4 opening to a metal door that is hidden from view. What we don’t have is a tunnel that’s away from the house. That would take a great deal of work — not the digging, but the tunnel structure itself.

  24. Bulls make good security. Folks been talking about security, and if you have an acreage/farm/etc…You might want to consider putting up some signs “Nasty Bull at Large”/”Mean Tempered Bull at Large – Not Liable for Injury or Death” …Wouldn’t hurt if you should happen to have a Bull..But, for years I have heard from folks that liked to sneak onto folks land to berry pick or somesuch, and without fail, they would mention, if they saw such a sign, saw such a critter, they would not go on land.

  25. Breath of Heaven, re “red state, good growing climate, good water availability potential, thinking about 10 acres…community…good-hearted, generous people” . . .
    My suggestion is that you prioritize your list and begin to look for what is most important to you. I’m in a deep blue state, temperate climate but not a growing season that supports citrus, decent community with a few iffy folks around, great water. This meets my needs for living a long-term preparedness lifestyle.

    1. I would think somewhere in the farther south Appalachians would be good, milder climate, lots of remoteish locations and water, some valley locale with a stream on or bounding, lots of folks even myself consider the redoubt, but its cold up there and growing season is short. Thats one reason i have gained a better appreciation of our spot here inthe islands, politics aside, year round growing and super mild climate could well be the ticket. Of course land is wayyyyy out of reach for the vast majority at this point.

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