Caches for Tornadoes and Other Disasters

by David Morris on April 5, 2012

Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by my re-released OnDemand video preparedness course.

To start with, I want to wish you a Happy Easter.  Of all the holidays, this is the one that I’m most thankful for.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend and safe travels if you’re moving or visiting friends and/or relatives.

This week, a cluster of tornadoes hit the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex and damaged as many as 650 homes. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people who’s lives were impacted/wiped out by this set of tornadoes, the tornadoes from last month, and even the people still trying to piece things back together from the tornadoes that hit Joplin, MO last year.

This brings up a problem that most preppers run up against at some point as they’re buying preparedness supplies and laying them up in their house…what happens if the house goes away and everything gets wiped out at once? It could be from a tornado, hurricane, tsunami, flood, industrial accident, wildfire, or even a robbery or a band of marauders after a disaster.

You’ve not only got your survival supplies to keep safe, you’ve also got important legal ownership documents and documents that prove to strangers that you are who you say you are.

There are two components of this that you should think about and the actions that you take are going to be based on where you’re at in your preparations.

First, we’ve got identity and legal documents. I believe you should have multiple copies of these regardless of your situation. You can make copies and store them in a safe deposit box, scan or photograph them, encrypt them, and store them online, or scan/photograph them, encrypt them, and store them on a thumb drive that you keep in your vehicle(s), at work, and/or with relatives.

I can tell you from experience that this one act is a much bigger deal than you may think. Let me share a couple of examples…

  1. A few months ago, I got a phone call from our security company saying that our home alarm was going off. While I was concerned and headed to the house immediately, I also had immediate comfort knowing that all of our important documents were backed up in multiple locations.  It ended up being a false alarm.
  2. A few weeks ago, we were getting ready to get on a plane to come home and heard reports of several major tornadoes headed towards our city. Again, it would have been horrible to lose our house, but we were comforted by knowing that we had multiple backups of everything that we’d need if our house got destroyed.

Second, we’ve got survival and preparedness items to think about. When you’re just starting out, you don’t REALLY have that much to lose, even though everything you have is precious. Specifically what I mean is that you don’t have enough to lose to add additional expense and complexity to your life in the form of keeping your stuff in multiple locations.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you get to the point where you have six months of food and supplies stored up and you’re continuing to buy more. Something that you might consider doing is taking 3 months of your supplies and stashing them somewhere. Where you store your supplies is going to depend on your personal situation, but it might be in a storage unit, in an RV, at a hunting lease, in a barn at your parents, or even buried somewhere.

The options for where to put your stuff are almost limitless, but you want to try to pick a place that would hopefully survive if your home got destroyed and vice versa. In other words, if you live next to a mini-storage facility, you might want to use a mini-storage that’s a few miles away so that a single tornado wouldn’t be likely to take out both places at one time. If your home is in a floodplain or on the coast, pick a place that isn’t likely to flood. If you have a very long commute to work, you might want to pick a location that’s close to your work. If you are dead-set on bugging out and not staying in your home after a disaster, pick one or more locations along your planned bug out path.

(Some people think that I’m anti-bugging out…that’s not exactly true. I simply believe that it’s foolish to have bugging out as your ONLY plan since so many things have to go perfectly right in order to be able to successfully bug out of an urban location after the masses have started trying to get out of Dodge after, or in anticipation of, a disaster. It’s great to have a bugout plan…just make sure you also have a plan in place in the event that you can’t bug out.)

I can tell you from personal experience that having stuff stashed away from the home makes the process of leaving in a hurry MUCH faster. I am comforted in knowing that we can wake up in the middle of the night to a raging fire, get out of the house with no more than ourselves, and know that we would have the ability to hit the ground running the very next day. We’d have a certain amount of shell shock, and there would be pain and frustration, but we would have food, clothes, and all of the documentation necessary to prove that we were who we claimed to be and owned what we claimed to own.

One of the biggest drawbacks of having your survival and preparedness gear in multiple locations is that you increase your risk of having items stolen. RV’s, mini-storage units, your parents’ barn, and most other locations probably aren’t the most secure. The tradeoff is that if you have multiple locations and one gets hit, you won’t get wiped out. I’ve gone this route, and have had a location broken into and stuff stolen. As painful and expensive as it was, I simply stopped using that location, found another one that was more secure, and started replacing what got stolen.

If you’re interested in following a step-by-step plan to get all of your vital documents backed up and securely distributed to multiple locations, I want to encourage you to check out my course. In addition to taking care of your documents, this six module OnDemand video course will walk you through the absolute fastest ways to get prepared for natural and man-made disasters. We’ll cover the basics of shelter, fire, water, and food and also the vital topics of communication, medical/trauma care, security, and more. This course is designed for people who know they NEED to prepare, but don’t have the time to do it. Previously sold under the name “40 Days Of Survival,” thousands have successfully gone through the training to date with great feedback.

If you’ve already gone through the process of setting up supply caches away from your house, I’d love it if you would share your thoughts. Please don’t give your name, location, and the exact details of your stashes…be smart. If you want to share details of your cache, please use a fake name and/or location. In any case, please share your thoughts by commenting below:

Also, if you happen to live in the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area, please let me know by commenting below or emailing me. If you comment telling me you’re in the Spokane/CDA area, I won’t publish the comments.

God bless & stay safe!
David Morris


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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Pat
April 6, 2012 at 6:47 am

David…Just when I think I’m on top of my game, you always come up with a fresh new approach. Thanks for another intelligent look at being safe!


+5 Vote -1 Vote +1Jenny Clemons
April 6, 2012 at 6:49 am

David, I have vacuum sealed all our important documents in plastic, that will avoid them getting wet in any situation. I’m also vacuum sealing some ammo and extra weapons as well. I love my food saver, I highly recommend keeping your stuff as dry as you can esp the stuff in your bug out bags. Thank you for the article, I live in Tornado Ally and am a beginning prepper, good information to have.


Vote -1 Vote +1Jo
April 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm

What is the cheapest place to get additional bags for the food saver? I purchased mine many months ago and have been wondering what to do with it, not even out of the box! Can you give me a list of suggested uses? I did not think of waterproofing docs. Great! thanks!


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1gena
April 6, 2012 at 6:54 am

Is this video course any different than the survive in place course that I just finished? How much more is the video course?


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
April 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm


FastestWayToPrepare overlaps the SurviveInPlace course, but is very different. For starters, it’s a video based course instead of a primarily text course. Second, it’s a six module course instead of a 12 module course. Third, FastestWayToPrepare is designed for people who want to get a GOOD SOLID plan in place as fast as humanly possible and gives specific guidance on what to buy and where to get it from. The SurviveInPlace course goes much deeper, covers more areas, and is much more introspective. If you’re preparing with a reluctant spouse, many have said that FastestWayToPrepare is more palitable. Many people buy both and appreciate the different approaches and modalities of learning…especially if they’re going through one or both with a spouse or other loved ones who learn differently and/or are at different stages in their understanding of how serious the need to prepare is.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1DavidO
April 6, 2012 at 7:11 am

Thanks for the timely message David, that’s a question that comes up frequently among my MAG. As you said, there is no such thing as a totally secure location, but some are better than others IMHO. I don’t like vacant buildings because they tend to attract vandals and vagrants. I have some supplies cached at various family member’s homes (or out buildings on their property). They have remained untouched, but I realize that could change.

Thanks again and God bless,


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Michael G.
April 6, 2012 at 9:33 am

David, you might consider approaching a secure spot this way. If you have or can use an auger and some PCV pipe (that’s the plastic stuff with NO holes in the pipe) cap off both ends and auger out a spot under concrete. People don’t like to dig through that, because it takes too much time. Sure, it’s gonna’ slow you down a little, but the concrete would really be a barrier to anyone trying to get at your supplies.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Higherview
April 6, 2012 at 7:40 am

We have extra equipment including all the basics stored with our adult children who live about one tank of gas away. If we need to go somewhere that is logical, as it is also logical if they needed to go somewhere safe, they would naturally come to our home. I our supplies stored there are not in any danger and in fact could be used by our family members should they have a need that does not also affect us. In the case that they would come to us they can bring any items along that might be needed, as we also would take items with us if the need arose to leave our home and “bug-out” to theirs. It seems better than a storage unit, and has the added benefit of including family members in preparedness planning & discussion. If something catastrophic hit one of our homes, we have the other ready to “bug into”.


Vote -1 Vote +1Michael G.
April 6, 2012 at 9:42 am

All of this is a good idea. The only potential flaw might lay in the area of transportation. What would you do if your vehicle(s) were stolen, destroyed, confiscated, or disabled to a point that repair would be difficult if not impossible?
These are developing into potentially tough times, and I don’t like having to deal with them. I have to developing ways of preventing anyone running over me. If you can help me in that area, I’d appreciate the infor. Thanks, and take care.


Vote -1 Vote +1Bruce Ames
April 6, 2012 at 8:47 am

I realize the need. I have questions. There is a picture of CD’s. Is that part of it or only on-line? What is the time frame if only on-line? You say it is a six weeks course. Can I pull them up at my convenience? How are they indexed to be able to go back to specific parts? If I start and can’t get back to it for 6 or 8 weeks will it still be there?

I appreciate your Survive In Place emails which have really made me think.

Thank you for your anticipated answer.



Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
April 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Great questions, Bruce. It’s actually a picture of DVDs and it’s merely there to convey the fact that it is a video course. The course is delivered 100% OnDemand online at your convenience. You can watch and rewatch the segments as often as necessary for as long as necessary.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1J.T.
April 6, 2012 at 8:50 am

As a y2k prepairer, I thought I was ready for any disaster untill 04/09/2011 when in the afternoon at about 1430 when all that changed. My wife ran in to my home office (I was working on the computer), electricity had just gone out and I am turning the air blue so to speak, she says we have to EVACUATE NOW ! Winds were about 55 to 60 out of S/W and now the mountains could not bee seen due to the SUDDEN RANGE WILD FIRE. Within a short time there was no way to leave our small town as we were surrounded – 360 degrees, and all highways closed by fire, dense smoke, ash and whorlewids of fire, and cinders. Trapped and praying, Fortunately the good lord changed the wind direction and the fire missed us. At 11 PM (2300) that night you could see the red ring of fire still surrounding us on the range land. 24 or more houses were lost as well an an unknown amount of wild life, and about 150 head of livestock including some horses that had to be put down due to their burns. The range fire lasted to 05/02/2011 & some 320,00 acres later. Fences gone, OPEN
RANGE, surry and helos as well as many many fire fighters from all over. Were we ready? NO ! !, Man purposes and God Disposes, No matter how ready you think you are, when
something like this happens, you have to be ready to do what ever it takes to survive.
No electricity, phone, water pressure, visability, breathing and seeing difficulties and much
much more. To our knowledge no one died, but it has sure changed our lives in planning
for the next time or what ever comes. STAY SAFE – BE MORE & MORE & MORE PREPAIRED! ! THANK YOU GOD, IT WASN’T OUT TIME TO GO.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Montego Man
April 6, 2012 at 10:50 am

Here’s a solution you may find acceptable as a home improvement project. I like the idea of making it difficult for someone to get dirty to dig something out of the ground. If your ground is soft enough, purcahse several large, sealable burial vaults for ~$120-150 depending on supplier; check farm suppliers for similar items. Bury the vaults length wise, ~ 3xs as deep as the vault itself is wide. If the vault is 16″ wide, make your hole 4′ deep. Repack the soil over the area and your vault is under 3′ of soil. To add an additional layer of security you can do one of two things: enlarge the surrounding area and create a planting bed, plant shrubs in the disturbed soil and heavily mulch. Or, build a patio over the general area, on a sand base (of course) and use pavers so you can easily pick them back up. You may even conside pouring a 4″ to 8″ reinforced concrete slab over the exact area and place a bench, grill, encased water feature on the slab. This way your long-term food stores, ammo, weapons, etc will remain out of side and generally harms way, even if the area is flooded. Unless it turns into a rushing river, most of the soil will stay intact. Added insurance would be to secure the vault into the ground with the twist style anchors used for swingsets, and lap chain over the vault to the anchors. Add an extra layer of protection to your ammo/weapons/documents by putting them your airtight containers with silca packs.
FYI – For even larger items, some home improvement and farm suppliers carry the rigid PCV pipe in 3′ or 4′ widths and 10′ lengths. Seal the end caps w/ the PVC epoxy, and for added protection use Gorilla Tape to wrap the edges of the caps.


Vote -1 Vote +1Flyfisher
April 9, 2012 at 10:31 am

Montego Man, The only kind of “burial vault” I can find on the internet is the type that you bury people in. Can you be more specific?


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tricia
April 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

I work at a Mini storage. I can tell you from experience, that will be one of the first places vandals will hit. I would not suggest it as a secure place. Also unless you rent a climate controlled unit, take into consideration the extreme heat in summer and freezing in winter. These extreme conditions can cause your provisions to deteriorate faster.

Some items that are not allowed to be stored: propane tanks, gas, oil, grease or anything combustable, this also includes spray cans, prohibited weapons under state law.

I have two places I am trying to supply, one in the city set up for myself only, one in the country for a family of 10. It takes a lot of planning and money to get supplies, water, medicines and everything else for that many people. I’m looking into building an underground bunker (root cellar) for a safe place to store supplies.

I do have most of my papers with me, I haven’t thought I might need them at both locations.
Will put that at the top of the to do list.

Almost missed an important task. My family worries I might not make it to the country location should something happen. I now realize I need to have something in writing stating the family has the right to be there without me. Need to add that to the to do list. .


Vote -1 Vote +1davidmobile
April 6, 2012 at 11:47 am

I agree 100% on the security of mini storages, but they’re still a great option for many people.

Two notable exceptions on an approved method of storing fuel at a mini storage…integral tanks on vehicles and rv’s. :). And, as a note, 5 gallon cans on a rack don’t count as “integrated” but auxiliary tanks have in my experience.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill
April 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Has anyone thought of what happens if Marital Law is enacted and you are restricted from going anywhere but to a football staidum, it’s not on the way to grandma’s, and you are restricted to what you can bring in for baggage?


+8 Vote -1 Vote +1ken
April 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm


(author unknown)

I had a dream the other night I didn’t understand,

A figure walking through the mist, with flintlock in his hand.

His clothes were torn and dirty, as he stood there by my bed,

He took off his three-cornered hat, and speaking low he said:

We fought a revolution to secure our liberty,

We wrote the Constitution, as a shield from tyranny.

For future generations, this legacy we gave,

In this, the land of the free and home of the brave.

The freedom we secured for you, we hoped you’d always keep,

But tyrants labored endlessly while your parents were asleep.

Your freedom gone – your courage lost – you’re no more than a slave,

In this, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

You buy permits to travel, and permits to own a gun,

Permits to start a business, or to build a place for one.

On land that you believe you own, you pay a yearly rent,

Although you have no voice in choosing how the money’s spent.

Your children must attend a school that doesn’t educate,

Your moral values can’t be taught, according to the state.

You read about the current “news” in a very biased press,

You pay a tax you do not owe, to please the IRS.

Your money is no longer made of silver or of gold,

You trade your wealth for paper, so life can be controlled.

You pay for crimes that make our Nation turn from God to shame,

You’ve taken Satin’s number, as you’ve traded in your name.

You’ve given government control to those who do you harm,

So they can padlock churches, and steal the family farm.

And keep our country deep in debt, put men of God in jail,

Harass your fellow countryman while corrupted courts prevail.

Your public servants don’t uphold the solemn oath they’re sworn,

Your daughters visit doctors so children won’t be born.

Your leaders ship artillery and guns to foreign shores,

And send your sons to slaughter, fighting other people’s wars.

Can you regain your Freedom for which we fought and died?

Or don’t you have the courage, or the faith to stand with pride?

Are there no more values for which you’ll fight to save?

Or do you wish your children live in fear and be a slave?

Sons of the Republic, arise and take a stand!

Defend the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land!

Preserve our Republic, and each God-given right!

And pray to God to keep the torch of freedom burning bright!

As I awoke he vanished, in the mist from whence he came,

His words were true, we are not free, and we have ourselves to blame.

For even now as tyrants trample each God-given right,

We only watch and tremble — too afraid to stand and fight.

If he stood by your bedside in a dream while you’re asleep,

And wonder what remains of your right he fought to keep.

What would be your answer if he called out from the grave?

Is this still the land of the free and home of the brave?


Vote -1 Vote +1ron
April 6, 2012 at 8:59 pm

tricia, very well put and it does triger the brain to reall think about.
thank you, take care, god bless.


Vote -1 Vote +1Marge
June 15, 2012 at 7:13 am

Beautifully and tastefully stated. My gggggggrandfather was one of those Patriots. He would not be pleased.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1james martin
April 6, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Great information. Thank you as for some reason I had not thought of this.
One thing people should remember if they are concerned about rotating food storage: rotate by giving to needy family or orginizations.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1michaelclick
April 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Not a bad idea, but rotation of long-term food stocks (I assume that’s what you’re referring to) shouldn’t be a problem IF YOU STORE WHAT YOU EAT and eat it yourself (#1 rule in stocking food).
Also, if you give MREs or dehydrated food to the average person they’ll probably throw ’em away because it’s unfamiliar and they don’t know what to do with ’em. Non-consumption of merely unfamiliar food is a problem in even “merely stressful” situations (like being confined to a fallout shelter or equivalent). You think that your 6 year old is a picky eater? Try getting Gramma and Grandad to try something that they aren’t already familiar with! In the abstract, it’s easy to say “If you don’t like it, then starve!” but it’s different if it’s personal.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Quilty
April 6, 2012 at 10:12 pm

I find the STORE WHAT YOU EAT thing difficult since we eat primarily fresh or frozen foods. Out side of the kids and their Ramen addiction and occasionally having canned soup, that theory doesn’t work for us. I am hoping the freeze dried or dehydrated (bought or done at home) works for us as I do not find canned stuff particularly appetizing.


Vote -1 Vote +1ron
April 6, 2012 at 9:03 pm

hope that all of you and your families have a happy easter.
take care, god bless.


Vote -1 Vote +1keith
April 6, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Great ideas and thoughts,I have things in sealed water proofed and airtight.i tested with a 55 gallon barrelwelded it up sealed my belongings inside of another contair before i welded and actually dropped it into a small creek and tied it up underwater im a certified scuba diver and i done it in 3 different spots varying half a mile away to 10 miles away and have buried others in the ground the same distances in other directions .keep up the good work p.s and i know what might be said its going to rust and water will get in but thats why its in a cointainer inside another ,and with the record drought we had last summer it was still 7 ft underwater.thanks


Vote -1 Vote +1janice
April 7, 2012 at 8:15 am

I wouldn’t leave anything at a self storage if I were any of you.You all seem to forget that if there’s no power you won’t get in.They don’t have people available 24/7 and it would be a daunting job to climb a fence,break open a door and then get into your unit and try to get things back over a fence.Think twice,please!


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1davidmobile
April 7, 2012 at 8:33 am

It is a calculated risk. Disaster situations are seldom both black & white AND widespread.

You are right that in an immediate, widespread disaster, both your home and a mini-storage unit might be simultaneously wiped out. In most cases, though, if one gets wiped out, the other will be fine.

I’ll leave you with this…it’s easy to shoot down the idea of mini-storages, because they’re not perfect, but can you tell me an alternative that’s as inexpensive and that almost anyone can execute on today or tomorrow?


Vote -1 Vote +1Great Grey
June 11, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Not all storage units are as hard to get to as yours is, and around here you supply your own lock.


Vote -1 Vote +1Lynn
April 7, 2012 at 10:17 am

I just want to say thank you for the advice and the ideas that are posted here by all. I have been on this site for quite awhile and although I dont have any insite or new ideas its always informative and inspiring, and at this time, with all the chaos and negatives going on around us I would hope that we will use some common sense when it comes to our own personal needs as we go about preparing. As David says, nothing is foolproof or perfect. But if we are to survive and possibly help others we just need to do our best, and trust in God that we will make it through to the other side. I know that I have a long way to go on my preparations but with the advice and knowledge of all of you sharing I’ll do just fine and I’m sure you will too! Thanks for the insite, and Happy Easter!


Vote -1 Vote +1Eddie Hinson
April 8, 2012 at 6:33 am

No need to panick. My grandparents were almost completely self sufficient. Growing up in the 50’s, I grew up with my grandparents teaching skills that would make it possible to survive in the modern world. All you need is a good wood cookstove, a hand dug or bored well, livestock for milk and meat, a mule to plow with, lots of fruit trees, knowledge of how to can and preserve food. They survived and thrived without electricity and modern conveniences, it can be done. Survival books are better than survival videos, and when I went to Vietnam my dad gave me some good advice, son, don’t do anything foolish. I almost forgot, all of the old timers had a root cellar to store their food in.


Vote -1 Vote +1George
April 8, 2012 at 9:17 am

Hey David,
We are in the process of doing this. We were going to use storage containers, but found out they didn’t burt well. We have bought land and will build a house asap but until then are building a 20×20 concrete storage area which will ultimately be connected to the house. For the present it will be burried completely and have a few dead trees stacked on it. This is for our long term storage stuff and when we are ready to build….or if we have to retreat to our land….it will be there.


Vote -1 Vote +1GT
April 11, 2012 at 7:40 am

question to David: How real is the threat of Agenda 21 being enacted? what are the chances of Gov. confiscating private land? If I have a cache on my land (about 3 miles from a small town, East Coast) would I be allowed to even go there?


Vote -1 Vote +1Gene
April 12, 2012 at 10:34 am

Good stuff here. I subscribed to your printed version of Urban Survival-Survive in Place, some time ago. I still pull it out and reference it when changing some of my prep. What I have learned, here in FL. is that humidity and heat can take their toll on supplies that are stashed in storage areas, and not blessed with AC. Moisture dessicants, and insulation, and/r vacuum sealing are a must. Long term storage foods do loose taste and texture here if not carefully stored.
Looking forward to more of your new information.


Vote -1 Vote +1Linn
April 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I have planted 200 fruit trees and 90 or so nut trees and bushes: apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, persimmons, pawpaws, plums, chestnuts, hazels, almonds, pecans. I raised chickens for two years, so I know how and have the right equipment
I decided to write a note for the person who said that they ate mostly fresh and frozen foods. I was just looking at an article about how to grow salad greens and sprouts indoors. Also I can and freeze my own harvest. If you persuade your family to help you raise your own food, then pride will compell them to eat it. Stark Brothers sell patio size fruit trees for people whose space is severely limited. I am in Iowa. Seriously preparing, Linn


Vote -1 Vote +1Bill
April 14, 2012 at 6:43 am

Just when I thought I was ready, with six months of food stored in the basement, along comes new knowledge. I read the “Wheat Belly” book and found out halve of what I have stored is basically poisonous to my body, and my family’s bodies. Now I’m in the process of adding to it, because in the end, even the wheat stuff will sustain us, though it can kill us long term.

The idea of having a storage locker is a good one. One step further … get a cheap used pop-up camper, load it with survival gear and duplicate docs and park it inside a storage unit. If the Schumer hits the fan, got hook it up and drive away.


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