Is ANYONE else in the suburbs? Pros and Cons, Please! : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I live in a suburb of Dallas, pretty big one. I have often wondered what everyone's take is on the burbs, as far as if Y2K is above a 3-4. I mean, lots of people talk about getting out of the city, and living in the country, but almost no mention of the suburbs. My husband and I couldn't afford to move to the country, besides we would have been those stupid people who move out real rural-like, then don't know how to live like that and nearly die learning how. Now we would probably be a lot better, but we still can't afford it anyway!

Anyway, here's the situation--we live in an 1800 sq foot house on a very small lot--6 ft between houses, small front yard, smallish back yards, no alleys (common shared fences--wood--6 ft tall). Garage w/driveway is in front. Two story houses. The subdivision is very very very tucked away. Comes off of no major roads. You almost have to happen upon it. Kind of hidden in plain view, you know what I mean? A major road IS in front of the subdivision, but doesn't run directly into it. Pop of the suburb is around 200,000. My city has sent out ZERO literature on contingency plans, etc. (Favorite joke of the city council is "Y2 WHAT?" Hardy har har, huh? Helps me sleep better at night!)

Major interstate highway is about a mile and a half from my house, but like I said, hard to tell it from my house or my subdivision. We have two bug-out locations--one a wooded area we can reach easily on foot. One an abandoned old farmhouse much farther north we can reach via vehicles by round-about methods if it is safe to get out on the roads. No supplies stored at either location--that would be impossible.

The only reasons we would bug out is if say the house is on fire and we cannot handle it w/the fire extinguishers and emergency services are unavailable, or a throng of people too big for us to handle w/our two weapons is intent upon getting into our house ("Go out the back way, honey! And grab the kid!")

Enough provisions to not step foot out the door for 12 months.

SO what is everyone's take on a situation like that? Please tell me there are others who could not leave the burbs!!!!!!

(Now wishing we could have bought a rural home....with a nice well, and propane tank, and more room...and some chickens.....sigh)

-- preparing (, November 29, 1999


Wanted to add we have no generator. And as far as animal protection goes, there's the vicious 6 pound Chihuahua and the two fat cats.

-- preparing (, November 29, 1999.

You're not alone, we're gonna weather it out in the burb's too. Besides this being the house I grew up in, Hubby and I also don't want to be any place unfamiliar for the roll over.

Accept and be at peace with the decisions you have made. None of us have a crystal ball, who knows what's going to happen. You just may be in the best possible place for you.

-- Mabel Dodge (, November 29, 1999.

We are also in the suburbs, and plan on staying put. My mother lives nearby, and my sister's family is also fairly close. If your family has done about all you could to prepare, then rest easy. I have two observations: 1) Not to start a flame war, but using Monte Carlo analysis, one could imagine that there might be a fairly low probability of large-scale, truly catastrophic outcome, as opposed to a greater probability of smaller-scale problems; 2) if large segments of society 'headed for the hills' for an extended period of time, then society might very well endure larger problems than would have otherwise happened, since the very people needed to make our society 'work' would be absent. It sounds like you have kept level heads, done what was needed, and are ready to 'hunker down'. My wife and I are stocked with both necessary supplies and Dom Perignon champagne - better to be ready no matter which side of the coin lands up!

-- okie (, November 29, 1999.

preparing: You may want to take a glance at Surviving Y2K in the Suburbs

Best of luck, Rob.

-- (sonofdust@rob.michaels), November 29, 1999.

We have two bug-out locations--one a wooded area we can reach easily on foot. One an abandoned old farmhouse much farther north we can reach via vehicles by round-about methods if it is safe to get out on the roads. No supplies stored at either location--that would be impossible.

You should get a trailer and stock it with everything you can stuff into it for survival. You'll almost certainly have to bug out to that farmhouse, as being prepared in the midst of 200,000 unprepared people is untenable (to put it mildly).

By the way, we left that same suburb or one exactly like it, 18 months ago -- due entirely to Y2K concerns. We now live in the country with about 20 people within a mile.

-- Steve Heller (, November 29, 1999.

Me too, there is a site that analyzes all the locations, and gives advice. I live in a town of about 60,000, surrounded by farms and vineyards. When we bought our house a year and half ago, there were 5-6 bids on every home we looked at - out of the city and within city limits. We bought a new house in a subdivision on the edge of town. We've stocked up on food/water/etc..the real bummer is the new environmental standards in our area for VOC' fireplaces in new structures...I guess the thought of possibly being without electricity was least the weather is fairly temperate. I had heard that its better to be aprox. 35 miles away from a big city. Have plans to bug-out if all hell breaks loose. I regret I did not GI early enough to bid on the house in the boonies, it would be impossible now. Blessings to you and yours preparing ;-) and all the burbites,urbans and rurals on this board.

-- suburbanite (, November 29, 1999.

Preparing --

We too, are going to ride it out in the 'burbs'. Although I suspect that the one we are in, which is about a 3 hour drive from the 'city', and within sight of cornfields, is very different than the one you're in. (200,000 people would be a 'city' in its own right in a 'sane' society.) I suspect that I could name either the one you are in , or one next to it, having lived in Dallas/Ft. Worth, up until about 5 years ago.

The pro's of the suburbs, as I see them are several. First, money is spent on preps, rather than on a change of location. (We went through that, and just couldn't come up with the money.) Although, truthfully, our situation is different from yours, in that, we live in a cold weather climate and must be concerned about heat, and water pipe problems and the like. You live in a more 'temperate' clime, and need not worry about such. (However, you will have a different problem come summer down there.)

Second, you already know the area. Don't discount this. A knowledge of the general area can be of immense importance. You probably are aware of 'green space' in you community. This could be used for 'community gardens' and such. You probably know where any water sources are.

Third, if you are lucky, you know your neighbors. This will make the 'community prep' idea a *much* easier sell. (I expect this will work much better down south anyway.)

The flip side of the coin, the 'cons'. First, the population density is too high. (May even be higher than the carrying capacity of the land, if things go that far south.)

Second, it is likely that the neighbors haven't done any preparation, in which case, in the event of a 9 or 10 level event, they are going to be getting a little hungry bye and bye.

Third, the 'burbs are likely to be lower priority than the cities. Like it or not, the Feds first priority will be the cities, if for no other reason than that they will be much more inclined to believe that the cities will explode in the face of a lack of services. The image of a bunch of suburbanites burning down their communities in anger jsut doens't have the 'legs' that the same image of a bunch of urbanites doing it does.

Some thoughts on strategies. This is a topic that others have discussed exhaustively. You can glance back through the archives and find any number of threads on it. But here are my ideas. And some of the reasons.

First, the 'helping hand', Christian charity, etc. The community in which we live is on the *extreme* outskirts of the metropolitan 'area'. (It really wasn't part of it until about 2 years ago.) Population density is not all that high. About 12,000 people. And the next two towns out from us are still 'rural' in nature. Any yet. On our block, including the houses facing our street, (both sides), and the houses backing onto our street, alone, there are close to a hundred kids. The images this conjures are horrifying! But there isn't anything that can be done. I am responsible for *my* family. And there are kids depending on *me*. There is no way that I can provide enough for even the kids. And I won't put myself in the position of selecting which ones to save. Mine will always come first. They have to.

So. Strategy 1. Don't be home. Don't show lights. Don't 'cook' food that can be smelled. Don't burrn the fireplace during the day, when the smoke plume shows. Don't answer the door.

This is the core of the strategy. Just don't be there. At least, not that anybody can tell. Block the windows. Yes, you lose some solar heat effect. I can live with that. I would have a *much* harder time saying 'no' to my neighbors. So we will avoid the necessity.

Second, for when number one doesn't work. And it may not. There may be those who are persistent enough to require confrontation. Rather than just 'blow 'em away', I've come up with something that *ought* to scare them away.

Strategy 2. Be sick. Tell them there is 'plague'. (Or something else that is both horrible and contagious.) This will tend to make even the most obnoxious ones back off. May only be good for a week or two. But maybe that will be all that is needed.

Okay. Persistent and irrational. There may be people like this. There is only one thing left. And I won't go into it. It has been discussed at length on this forum. In fact, ad nauseam, in my opinion. I suspect that some of the more outspoken about this will get a very rude awakening the first time they 'draw down' on someone. About half of them are going to treat the weapon as a 'magic wand' where if you have one, everybody else has to do what you say. And it doesn't work like that. If you pull it, you better be ready to use it. Because it does one thing, and one thing only. It makes holes in things. But those who use it as it is supposed to be used are probably in for a big shock too.

That disposes of the 'short term' strategies. Those are the ones you are likely to need in the event of the 'one to two month winter storm'. Longer term. Think 'self-sufficiency'. This is hard. But it *is* doable!

Strategy 1. Don't expect to plant 900 acres of stuff. Doesn't work like that. With luck and planning and a *lot* of *hard* work, you might be able to plant 3-5 acres. And at that, you will be better off than a lot of our ancestors. In cultures where they did not use draft animals, that is about 2 to 3 times what most cultivated. Get a book on 'intensive gardening'. Back yard gardening. You would be amazed at how much you can grow in a very restricted area. Think *SMALL*.

Strategy 2. Diversity. Plant a *wide* variety of crops. Even if you don't *like* beets, plant them anyway. Two reasons. First, you are much more likely to be sure to get all essential vitamins and minerals that way. Means less diseases of privation. Second, not everything will be susceptible to the problems another plant species might have. If rust gets into the wheat, it probably doesn't affect the corn. Etc. Can't emphasize this too much. If things go this far, one of the big problems will be that folks are *completely* dependent on what they can harvest next summer. One bad crop year, if it is the first, will wipe out a community. Variety is the key to beating a lot of this. (Everything except drought and late or early freezes. In the event that things are that bad, we are *ALL* going to become a *lot* more aware of the weather.)

In any event, good luck.

-- just another (, November 29, 1999.

It depends on your suburb. Do you know the occupation of everyone within 3 houses of you. Do you know of any people with special needs. Physical proximity DOES NOT make a community.

If you are a limited entrance type of suburb, you might get people to block the entrances, but then how do you admit relatives of people who are already inside?

This should have been thought of long ago, usually under the guise of bad weather preps.

YOUR BEST BET: Make copies of the "Instant preparation sheets" posted at Put them on everyones doors between Xmas and New Years. Bolt your doors, barricade your lower floor, black out your house and pray.

-- woody (, November 30, 1999.

Make copies of the "Instant preparation sheets" posted at

There are many links on None of them is titled "Instant preparation sheets". One of them is titled, "Y2K & Civil Society," also with several links. None of these links bear that title either.

Can you be more specific?

-- Tom Carey (, November 30, 1999.

i am in the burbs, nice family community (35 minutes outside DC) with lots of active and retired military. i am not leaving. i am prepared as best as i can be. i see figure the benefit of "moving to the woods" since everyone knows hill folk can be just as evil as suburban folk. even though i have a bug out bag, i can't imagine anything worse than making a last minute decision to bug out only to get stuck on the road with hundreds of thousands of refugees. i would have moved out of a city for sure. but if the suburbs aren't safe, the whole country is a goner. the impact would be huge.

-- tt (, November 30, 1999.

IMHO, the biggest problem with the Suburbs is having to depend on the "city" utilities. Be sure to have sources of water & heat.

Nose-plugs for the backed-up sewage-lines might also be useful...

-- Anonymous999 (, November 30, 1999.

Every decision has its costs. My husband & I moved to a rural NE "town" (we are 6 miles from the nearest gas station/convenience store with about 20 neighbors up here on the backside of this 1500 ft. "mountain", acres and acres of land trusts, farms, second homes, etc. Basically, its abandoned during the winter except for the "locals".So, for this suburbanite nee-urbanite, there were some real wake-up adjustments: like, we have lost power 9 times in a year and a half. One time, last October before we had any woodstove, the power and telephone went out and stayed out for 4 days because we are the last priority: out of sight, out of mind. Which, I guess, is why one moves out to the country. But it can be lonely, especially for a housewife just waiting for y2k (a housewife who can't stomach Oprah, by the way). Hang in there in the suburbs and enjoy the company.

-- Dot (, November 30, 1999.

Fire spreading from your neighbors' houses sounds like a possibility. If you haven't felt comfortable making contact with them yet, then you might at least be prepared to know what advice to give them once the situation becomes clear. And how NOT to burn down their house (and yours) should be high on that list.

The info we need to distribute after things shut down is quite different from what would be helpful to know if it were still possible to obtain preps. I plan to customize some prep sheets for my neighbors (from Grandpappy's and Robert Waldrop's works and others) with this in mind. (I would rather give the impression that I was making do from the same starting point as them, than indicating I had full knowledge ahead of time and therefore may be prepped to the max.)

-- Brooks (, November 30, 1999.

Like Steve Heller, I also re-located from a suburb (Fairfax County, VA, just outside of Washington, D.C.) to a rural farm (Northwest Arkansas). I always viewed a suburn as just an extension of whatever problems that a city will have.

At this late date, I too would advise getting together some kind of backup ("bug out") plan. And being there when the world rolls over from 1999 to 2000.

31 days.


-- Jack (jsprat@eld.~net), November 30, 1999.

Everyone: Thanks so much for all the advice! I have decided one thing: I am buying some extra fire extinguishers. I have made tons of packets of re-hydration stuff to just add to water in case people need it, but our first plan of action is just what Just Another Engineer described: lay very very very very low.

Actually, quite a few of my neighbors are planning on being gone out of town or out for the evening on Dec. 31. There are three entrances to our subdivision, and long ago, I used to wish I could organize everyone so that we could have barricades to each entrance/exit and we could all sort of pull together, but that was a pipe dream. The few neighbors that the subject of Y2K has come up with have said,"Oh, nothing's going to happen!" I do suspect that our neighbors to the right of us, who are LDS, are preparing and have been for a while. They are a childless couple in their early 30's w/a 4 bedroom house packed to the rafters with "stuff". Their garage is so full they cannot park their cars in there. Tons of camping equipment and I did see some HUGE bags of rice (I wondered why they didn't have it in buckets?), which is really what clinched it for me--they must be preparing. He is the more sociable one and has brought it up to myself and my husband several times, always looking squinty at us and listening REALLY carefully to our response. We gave a very noncommital response, then he did, as well. Sad, we probably both want to say we are preparing, but don't dare. Maybe we can help each other out if things are bad. He and my husband are good friends.

The people directly across the street stay gone as much as possible, since their house is about to be foreclosed on. I saw them moving some furniture out the other day--a truckload of it. The family next to them are so proud of themselves-- they got a babysitter for Dec. 31 a year ago for their two little boys. Sheesh. Imagine: if things are really bad, there will be a 2 yr old boy, a 6 yr old boy, and a 13 yr old girl across the street from me......alone. I mean, 13 yrs old is still a child, too!

The guy on the other side of us will be out painting the town red. So will his college-age son.

But yeah, no fires in the fireplace or cooking smells until we are sure all danger of civil/social unrest has passed. We know how to lie very very very low. And the fact that we DO know this area very well was a reason to stay.

Thanks again, everyone. I just wanted to know I wasn't completely crazy for staying in the burbs.

-- preparing (, November 30, 1999.

I moved TO a suburb such as you describe. Town is about 100,000--very affluent. We don't know our neighbors. Never hear them--sometimes see someone walking outside, not much. I feel safe enough here. I pray my neighbors make it through, but I'm not going to talk Y2K with them-- if I should be within talking distance. The key to this location is that it's warm. No one is going to freeze to death. They might die of diarrhea if they go drink the river water, but they won't die of thirst.

-- Mara (, November 30, 1999.

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