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Three time lines to consider for OPSEC risks

A guest post by Skvez.

Most of us in the UK are going to be bugging in; we have little choice. We may move to the suburbs rather than live in a block of flats but we’re still right beside “the golden horde”, if things go wrong and we want to survive we need to avoid drawing attention and having drawn attention.

As far as prepping goes I see it there are three time lines to consider for OPSEC risks.

1. Pre-disaster
The first is pre-disaster. This is simply not telling people that you are preparing. Obviously you may want to tell a few, immediate family and close friends but the more people you tell, the greater the chance one of them will tell someone who tells a few other and so on. Once the cat is out of the bag the only way to re-bag it is to move hundreds of miles away to live somewhere else and even then it’s only a partial fix.
The problem of people knowing you’ve prepared is of course that as soon as disaster strikes and people run out of food and the shops run out of food you’re next on the list for a visit and probably not a friendly visit.
One of the scariest problems of pre-disaster OPSEC is that *you don’t know if someone has told your secret*. If someone is told you’ve a months food stored in the garage whomever hears it is likely to snort and consider you a fool, but when they are hungry they will remember …
Also people like to exaggerate when they tell a story, so even a few days of supplies can become a few months by the time the story has been re-told a few times. A big hungry group expecting you to have hundreds of meals will not be easily convinced that you ate the last of your supplies yesterday.

2. Early post-disaster – not standing out.
So disaster has struck, society has fallen to it’s knees if not collapsed altogether. People are running out of food and huddled in darkness. Your house has electricity and a wood fire and you’re cooking something that smells great … not such a good idea.
You need to keep from standing out or you’re going to get raided. Unlike our American friends we can’t imagine defending a fortress; slaughtering rows of stupid attackers with our battle rifles. Two or three attackers attacking our home at different entry points at the same time will probably be able to gain entry and overpower us.

Things to consider
A generator is of little use if it’s too loud
Just because we can run a bright light at night doesn’t mean we should. Perhaps pretending we only have a few candles would be better.
Smoke and cooking food can be smelt a long way away. Some tins of pre-cooked food would be a good idea.

3. Late post-disaster – hiding from a search.
Even if we’ve managed not to draw special attention to ourselves it’s quite possible that we’re going to get searched at some point anyway. Either by a mob or by some ‘official authority’ that has some ’emergency power’ that makes it legal to ‘seize and share all food’. Such an authority is only interested in keeping the masses fed for the next day, they’ve not realised that logically there is insufficient food to feed everyone until the next harvest and sharing it out ensures everyone will die. The mob cares nothing beyond getting their next meal.
In this scenario you will have to decide whether to give up your stores of food to the ‘legal authority’ or hide it. I’ll assume you want to keep it. I very much doubt you’ll be compensated for your food, you gave up having a flat-screen TV in order to have a store of food while your neighbours spend their money on big TVs but you’re still going to be cast as ‘the bad guy’ for having stock-pilled food.
When the time comes; resisting the mob/’authority’ is likely to get you killed or badly hurt or arrested and your home left open to be looted. At some point you need to step aside (or run away for an hour or two) and let them ransack your home. In this scenario if all your food is on shelves in the kitchen it’s gone.
It needs hidden, and hidden fairly well.

Few of us are going to have a hidden underground bunker.
Short of that we need to think of other places to hide stuff that’s not where it’s going to be expected.
Many small stashes might be better than one big one but if the searchers find one stash they are going to look harder for others.

Generally somewhere that’s convenient for you to get to is easier for someone else to find. Somewhere that’s inconvenient for you to get to is harder for someone else to find.
You want to keep a small amount on hand and the majority of your stash hidden away somewhere. A few different locations would be good in case for some reason you can’t get to one for a few days.

Hiding little stuff like an SD card is easy, but food is bulky it takes a lot of room to hide and is therefore hard to hide on your property.

A hidden room is a nice fantasy but few of us can do without the space and you’d have to have a very odd-shaped house and a very spatially unaware searcher not to notice the missing room.
Where you hide stuff is up to you but a few ideas to consider are
* In the garage under a pile of junk.
* In the roof space especially if you can make access awkward (which may simply involve removing the ladder).
* False bottom or back to cupboard.
* Crawl space under the floor (if you have raised floors on joists, not all houses have these *and* you can adequately hide the access trapdoor *And* you can make a trapdoor in the floor without compromising the structural integrity of the house)
* Buried in the garden (if you have a garden *and* you can afford a rodent proof container *and* you have a garden that’s private enough that you don’t attract attention or you don’t mind digging very quietly at night).

Take some time now to consider where you would hide your food even if it’s more convenient to keep most of it near the kitchen until disaster strikes but be confident that your hiding places are prepared and you can stock them in a hurry when disaster strikes.

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