How to Prep and Survive a City Lockdown

A government-mandated lockdown order will definitely put a crimp on your week and your weekend plans, but it can also turn into a slow boiler of a survival problem.

Aside from ever intensifying cabin fever, mandatory lockdown orders can bring entire cities, even entire nations to a complete standstill with citizens confined to their homes except under the most strictly limited circumstances.

No matter if they are declared for good reasons or for bad ones, this can turn into a problem for you and your family.

Once the call goes out that you were supposed to go home and stay there all you will have is what you have already stockpiled.

You may be able to go out for additional supplies or for important reasons like medical attention, but then again you might not.

It all depends on the situation and why the government has issued a lockdown in the first place. Do you know what you’ll need to have in order to survive a city-wide lockdown, and to keep your wits intact?

It is possible, but it is all about doing the advance work and having a plan for what you will do next before the government stranglehold on your freedom of movement gets too tight.

In today’s article we will give you the information, tips and guidelines for doing just that.

Lockdowns: The Why and When

Everyone has gotten really familiar with lockdowns thanks to the 2020 viral pandemic, but lockdowns will be used and have been historically used for many more reasons than just the outbreak of some bacteria or virus sweeping across the nation or the globe.

Lockdowns are implemented locally, at the state or federal levels for all kinds of reasons, typically when the government wants to ensure control over the population ahead of or in response to a developing incident, and are hopefully doing it to keep people safe. Hopefully…

One of the most common reasons for lockdowns, sometimes called a shelter-in-place order, is a response to a chemical or pathogen of some kind that is typically airborne.

This may result from a natural outbreak of disease, a biological weapon attack, a similar chemical weapon attack, or even an accidental spill and release of industrial or commercial chemicals.

In case of a chemical threat this typically is accidental in nature, often a spill from a railcar but sometimes from a fixed site though a deliberate release in the form of a terrorist attack is far from out of the question.

The reasoning for issuing a lockdown in this situation is that if the population is buttoned up inside their homes or inside other buildings, they are less likely to be exposed to tainted air if they take some precautions and steps to help keep it out of their homes.

A biological threat may result from a terrorist action in a similar vein to a chemical weapon attack, but is also entirely likely to have a natural cause.

Epidemics and pandemics have scoured the globe since history has been recorded and a long time before that, and locking down citizens will slow or even halt the spread of the pathogen since people will no longer congregate, travel or exchange goods which may be vectors for infection.

With some luck it may entirely stem the flow of the contagion or at the very least buy responders more time to get their act together and deal with it.

A direct terror attack or legit terrorist threat is another all-too-common reason why a lockdown may be issued.

In response to a shooting attack, a bombing or actionable intelligence that suggests either may be imminent keeping civilians inside their homes keeps them from congregating in places that typically form large masses of people which are statistically the most popular and juiciest targets for terrorist attacks.

This will certainly reduce the number of casualties, and may stop the attack in its entirety if the terrorists determine that the results will not be worth the risk or the exposure.

In the event the attack already takes place, keeping the streets clear of foot and vehicular traffic makes suspicious people moving around far easier for law enforcement to spot and apprehend.

Lastly, and sadly, a government that has overrun its bounds may issue a lockdown order for all citizens on a local, state or national level in order to consolidate and protect its power after it has grown too radical and no longer serves the people.

When people are gathering, demonstrating and acting to remove tyrants from power, governments invariably act to defend themselves from the people that they were created to serve.

After all, if unhappy citizens cannot gather they cannot protest, and anyone who chooses to leave their homes under a lockdown order runs the risk of being arrested for “illegal activity” or “reasons of safety.”

Naturally, this makes the government’s job of trampling on its citizens easier, and just makes citizens bitter, wrathful and resentful.

What to Expect During a Lockdown

The rule of thumb during a lockdown is that you should expect nearly the entirety of all private and commercial interactions to be halted.

Citizens will be expected to go home and stay there for the duration of the lockdown order, able only to leave for the most essential tasks like getting groceries or obtaining health care.

Considering that most citizens are not going out shopping, many businesses will be involuntarily or voluntarily closed for the same duration, with only the ones the most essential to society at a given level allowed to remain open.

The purpose of this is to make things a lot easier on the government as far as command, containment and control is concerned.

With the streets unhindered by the movement of civilians, they will have a much easier time keeping an eye on anyone who is going anywhere, as well as moving their own forces, on foot or in vehicles to the places they need to be.

Depending on how constraining the lockdown order is, anyone who is out moving around without authorization or papers could be subject to detainment or even arrest. In extreme cases they could be fired on.

The reason the lockdown has been issued could be entirely justified and noble or it could be as insidious and crooked as all get-out; no matter why the lockdown has been issued you can absolutely bet on it being highly destructive to businesses and the economy in the affected area unless the duration of a lockdown is very short, a matter of hours or a few days.

When citizens are no longer accessing (paying for) goods and services in their local communities, the owners of those businesses will see their incomes plummet.

Considering those businesses don’t need their employees to staff them, many people will be out of a job or furloughed from the first moment the lockdown is ordered.

This will naturally lead to a predictable and inevitable series of disaster dominoes with businesses folding, people’s incomes drying up to nothing, people losing their homes, and banks foreclosing on those homes.

The impact on the economy created by prolonged lockdown is nothing shy of devastating. Most people know this, and aside from these obviously terrible and harmful effects on the future, most folks will additionally not suffer cabin fever gladly or for very long.

It never fails that people will start bucking the lockdown order almost as soon as it starts, and even the most obedient citizens will become restless and eventually fed up, deciding to ignore the lockdown if it lasts more than a couple of weeks.

The Personal Effects of Lockdowns

If you’re the type of person that is thinking right now that a lockdown is likely no big deal, you are either a major homebody or someone who has simply not thought through the consequences.

A lockdown that lasts only a short duration is probably going to be nothing more than an aggravation or a significant inconvenience. But a lockdown that goes on for days, weeks or months can turn into an emergency all on its own.

This is especially true if you are not prepared for buttoning up inside your own home. The general rule of thumb is that the longer the duration of a lockdown is, the more severe the effect it will have on the individual and on society at large.

We discussed the bulk of the societal effects above, particularly the impact on the economy, but there are other consequences that are far more likely to impact you- yes, I mean you- directly and quickly.

Lockdowns that are issued pending a later time or date will see people rampage across grocery stores and department stores getting goods and items that they think they will need for the duration.

It is heartbreaking to see India’s 1.3 billion people descending into chaos after the 21 days total lockdown (announced March 24 2020), with millions of people (especially workers) trying to get home.

Most staple food items and household commodities like paper products, disposable cutlery, cleaner and over-the-counter medication will seem to vanish into thin air as herds of panicking civilians gobble up all supplies they can lay hands on.

Additionally crime will often spike or steadily rise as a lockdown drags on, with theft, shoplifting, robbery and even home invasion all seeing increases while lockdowns are in effect.

I suppose the attitude is that while the police and other authorities are occupied with a bigger picture problem, the smaller time crooks, the “mice” if you will, will play while the cats are at bay.

Shoplifting in particular will be an issue depending on how afraid the populace is, and will take place concurrently with rushes on commercial goods.

Any lockdown that drags on and on or is ordered on the backside of already egregious trespasses by the government will usually end in civilians clashing with both police and government agents.

People will only confine themselves for so long in the face of any threat, real or imagined, no matter how dire it may seem. People are adaptable, life goes on and people are not content to hide in their burrows forever.

How You Should Prep for a Lockdown

The single most important thing you can do to get ready for a lockdown is to be ready for a lockdown. Many times a lockdown order will arrive with absolutely no warning and you will be expected to comply more or less immediately.

Even if there is a little delay between the announcement of the lockdown and its enforcement that is too much time for your fellow citizens to stampede on the grocery stores and strip them bare.

If you have been prepping for any time at all, you may not have much to get in order to get ready for a prolonged stay inside your own home. That is kind of the point after all!

But if you haven’t made prepping a lifestyle choice or you are caught with your pants down when a lockdown is enacted, you’ll need to work fast to get the things you need so you aren’t forced to move around while the lockdown is in effect.

Having the right stuff on hand can help ensure your survival if the situation turns ugly while you are under lockdown and if it doesn’t it will make your enforced “stay-at-home vacation” far more pleasant.

Below are a few of the essential preps you should have in abundance if you want to make it through a lockdown. Remind yourself that a lockdown order can persist for weeks or even months!

  • Water – You should not expect your water to be shut down for a lockdown, but assumption is the mother of all SNAFU’s: have at least a gallon of water per person per day stored in your stash. This will cover cooking, drinking and basic hygiene.
  • Food – Good prepper standbys include canned and pouched meats, veggies and fruit along with dehydrated meals. Adults need around 2,000 calories per day, more if you expect serious activity. You can ration your food longer by eating a little less than that.
  • Home Goods – Cleaners, paper towels, paper plates, toilet paper, baby wipes; all of the sundry items that make a home “go” should be stored in abundance.
  • Medical Items – A good, comprehensive basic first-aid kit is a must and you should also have some basic trauma care items included, like tourniquets, splints and rolled gauze. Also include in this stash a healthy supply of various over-the-counter medicines.
  • Weapons – As mentioned, cabin fever is very real and prolonged periods of “house arrest” will make people irrational. Together with the fear folks might already be feeling from the greater situation you can expect some outbreaks of violence when lockdowns are enforced. Guns are the stars here, but knives and other weapons like pepper spray can also work. Make sure you get training prior to a serious event occurring!
  • Cash or Precious Metals – Cash is king when the world is on edge, as are precious metals that are universally valuable. You cannot rely on credit cards or checks to get what you need, and neither of those will ever be able to buy you a much needed favor when the time comes to bug-out like cash or gold will.
  • Entertainment and Time-Killers – You might not be facing anything worse than a prolonged period indoors. If that is the case a good supply of books, board games, hobby materials and similar items to help you pass the time will be welcome additions to your stash (if you don’t already own them).

What If You’re Late to the Prepping Game?

If you are a little late to the prepping party or just don’t have your stash where you want it to be in terms of quantity you might be able to beat the rush if you live near a grocery or department store and can get there immediately when the lockdown is announced.

If you hustle, there is a good chance you’ll still be able to snag at least some of the items you want for the duration of the lockdown.

But let us say you are unprepared, and also in no position to get to the grocery store ahead of the onslaught of other panicked consumers. What should you do?

Generally, it makes sense in survival situations to do the opposite of whatever a mob or crowd is doing.

So in this instance, you want to hit up small general stores, gas stations and out-of-the-way corner groceries so you can miss the rush and get what you need.

Most people will not spare a second thought, at least not at first, for these smaller retailers and you can use that to your advantage.

Assessing the Lockdown

If there’s any way of finding out try to ascertain exactly what kind of restrictions on movement and travel you’ll be living under while the lockdown is in place.

Less restrictive lockdowns, of the kind that typically occur in the case of epidemics and pandemics, will usually mean you can leave your home for essential purposes like getting groceries for instance or going to the doctor.

Extremely strict, or non-permissive, lockdowns mean you cannot leave your house for any reason whatsoever, generally speaking. That will make things challenging.

Most of the time, governments that are not completely corrupt and hostile to their citizens will know that they are racing against the clock to resolve the issue during a lockdown, since the vast majority of people do not suffer being put under involuntary house arrest very lightly.

People get agitated and then start disobeying en masse. If you are dealing with an extremely strict lockdown you can generally be assured that the threat is extremely grave, or that your government has turned on you.

It is when you get backed into a corner under lockdown that you will have some hard choices to make as a prepper.

If your shelves are barren, all other supplies are low, and you are under the strictest of penalties while under lockdown it is best to have a plan ahead of time how you will deal with it.

Are you willing to make a supply run and face arrest, or even possibly being shot? Do you have any backup plans, or any way to get supplies delivered to you?

Have you thought about what you will do if you are faced with the dawning realization that the lockdown has become a pretense for something else, an emergency unto itself?

Will you take your chances or try to wait things out? If you decide on the former, that is where a little bit of intelligence can make the difference in success and failure.

Hitting the Road

If you decide you’re going to bug out before the lockdown goes into effect, you have got to have a plan. You will need to know where you are going, why you are going there, who is going to be looking out for you..

This is all about contingency planning. No matter what you are up to, there are few essential rules that you should follow to ensure your meandering is successful.

First things first, whether you’re going by vehicle or out on foot you will definitely want to avoid the major and most traveled thoroughfares in your area. These primary travel arteries will almost always be watched, both along their lengths and at major intersections.

Next, plan all movement for well before dawn or well after dusk. Daytime travel simply makes you too visible unless you know you have a concealed route that you can take without fear of being observed or detected.

So long as you can still do what you need to do in hours of darkness, there is no reason to try it during the daytime if driving at night isn’t a problem for you.

Next, don’t head out on your errand impulsively. You’ve got a brain, so you had best use it. Take the time to plan your route on a map. Where are you going?

What is the best, most protected way to get there? If you were the hall monitors, where would you set up for maximum efficiency and how would you catch people like you? Let this inform your choices of route selection.

No matter how good your route is or how secure your destination you need at least one alternate path going out and one for coming back in case your primary is compromised. Also make it a point to carefully assess the terrain along your path of movement.

If there’s anything you can use to conceal your movement or to use as temporary hiding places be sure to note it.

If you live in an urbanized area, try to move through alternate routes: through buildings, maintenance tunnels or even potentially underground in the sewers or subways if you can and are confident of your abilities.

Consider Technological Advantages of Your Own

In times like these, consider that a personal drone of your own could be worth its weight in gold.

High-quality drones have the operating ceiling, the optics and the range to serve as excellent recon vehicles and can definitely help you determine when the coast is clear.

Of course you must be careful because your drone is not invisible, and even if it is reasonably quiet they are not hard to hear when they’re operating at low altitude.

Advanced organizations have all kinds of tools for bringing down drones quickly and cleanly, including signal jammers, but even the most low-tech country boy sheriff’s department can probably muster up a 12 gauge shotgun with some goose loads for smashing your private air force. Use with discretion.

You should also take care if flying your drone that you do not allow it to telegraph your position as this will certainly have you earmarked as a troublemaker.

You want to deal with neither outcome so make sure you fly your drone along erratic paths out from and back to its launch point and take care that no one is likely to see or hear you launch it unless you are very close with your trusted neighbors.


Lockdowns are unsettling, but not entirely uncommon events in the 21st century, and you can bet your bottom dollar you will be seeing them enacted more and more often as governments struggle to keep up with rapidly emergent threats brought on by 4th generation warfare and good, old Mother Nature.

Most lockdowns will be nothing to write home over, ultimately just minor annoyances. But some will turn into major events, even emergencies in their own right, perhaps even preludes to a hostile government turning on its citizens.

No matter what kind of lockdown scenario you are facing, you had better be prepared all the way around if you want to come through.

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2 thoughts on “How to Prep and Survive a City Lockdown”

  1. no official has any power to enforce these lockdowns. If you are effed with about something that you had to do, y9ou can sue the cops, prosecutor, jailer, and judges and jurors involved, in FEDERAL court, and I mean individuually and personally, both criminally and civilly.. This will be a 2241 Habeus Corpus filing. The case you want to use as precedent is called “6 unnamed BATF agents operating under color of law”. You can get them for a million $, get it reduced on appeal to 100k, Any lawyer will take the case, on 30% of the penatty going to the attorney. The govt will quickly see that they’ld better settle for 50k, you’ll even up with 35k, untaxed. So dont put up with any crap. Take down names, memorize them, and get them to your family and attorney. Once some of them start talking, you’ll get everyone involved.

    • balisong,

      I’m afraid you do not have correct information. Lockdowns CAN be legally enforced if they are based on an existing statute. Most states have statutes that authorize the governor or other agency (such as the health department) to establish quarantines/lockdowns for health reasons. If the statute provides for criminal sanctions for violating it, you most certainly can be arrested and possibly jailed and/or fined. Same thing with curfews. Most states, counties, and incorporated cities have laws authorizing curfews under certain circumstances, and you often can be arrested and jailed for violating those curfews. We see those curfews here in Florida every year during hurricanes and people do indeed get arrested for violating them.

      Sure, you can sue under federal law for deprivation of civil right under color of law, in certain circumstances. You cannot sue using a precedence, you have to sue using an actual statute (but can cite that precedent as part of your proofs IF the facts support your case). In this case the federal law would be 18 USC ss242. Also take note that prosecutors and judges will almost certainly be dismissed from the case upon their motion for dismissal at the beginning of the case. Jurors are completely exempted. Jailors will almost certainly be dismissed too for the simple act of holding you in jail if arrested or sentenced. If they beat you up in jail, that would be a different story and a different lawsuit. It is also a possibility that any police officers involved may be dismissed from the case as well.

      Now, as far as any lawyer jumping at the chance to take a ss242 case or a ss1983 case, that is far from guaranteed. Since the outcome of a case is NOT guaranteed, or the lawyer thinks your claims and proofs are crappy, they won’t take such a case on contingency. They MIGHT take it if you pay them a substantial retainer, but even then, it isn’t for certain.

      Note that if your case goes to “discovery phase” everyone involved in the incident (including you) will be deposed. In a civil case, you have no right to remain silent. If you refuse to be deposed or testify at trial, that CAN be used against you and I assure you, the defendant’s attorney WILL use it against you.

      Also, don’t count on a jury seeing things your way, assuming it goes that far. Or even giving you a ton of money. If seen cases where the jury only awarded $1.00

      Another thing you can’t count on is the defendants rolling over and trying work out a settlement. The federal government is one of those kinds of defendants who don’t like to roll over and have a lot of statutes and precedents to back them up.

      How do I know these things? As a police officer, I’ve been sued under ss242 and ss1983 several times. In most cases, the judge flushed them down the courthouse toilet because they were crappy cases. Or, the judge chopped the cases up, and maybe only left one claim to be adjudicated.

      And there is one other thing you should know. If your federal case goes to trial and the judge or jury throws it out, under federal law, the attorneys for the defendants can motion for the plaintiff to have to pay legal fees and costs. Very often, the judge allows that. So you get nothing, and have to pay thousands to the lawyers of the defendants. I assure you, they will go after every penny they are legally entitled to.


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