New Jersey preppers face many of the same threats as anyone else in America: civil collapse, EMP, natural disasters, etc. However, New Jerseyans have unique challenges than preppers in other states. What makes sense for a prepper in Maine may not make sense for a prepper in Hawaii. This applies to New Jersey as well.
NOTE: Do you live in New Jersey? You know your state, so let us know in the comments section how this article can be improved. What did we miss? What did we get right?
New Jersey Overview – Prepper’s Perspective
The state’s nickname is the “Garden State,” an ironic nickname, considering 90% of residents live in an urban area and every county is dense enough to be classified as a metropolitan area. Yet, the state’s economy also benefits from tourism. A major attraction is the Jersey Shore. With 127 miles of coastline, numerous beaches, and seaside resorts, New Jersey is a preferred getaway for many people in New England.
However, unlike many urban hubs, New Jersey is far from poor. It is home to many chemical plants and pharmaceutical firms. Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Wyeth all call the Garden State home. Furthermore, 19 Fortune 500 companies have headquarters in New Jersey, including Honeywell International, Toys R Us, Campbell Soup, Prudential Financial, and Quest Diagnostics.
New Jersey has an extensive shoreline that allows for saltwater fishing. Knowing how to master crabbing, fishing, and hunting along the estuaries of New Jersey would be a major benefit in an SHTF situation. The sea has managed to sustain people for an extended period of time and is a thriving industry even today. Commit to learning how to sustain yourself from the ocean and be surprised by how well you eat when SHTF.
New Jersey is known for its high water quality. It is well known for the private water wells that service a significant portion of the population. In the event of SHTF, a private, electric or hand well could be a huge asset as the aquifer is unlikely to become compromised or depleted. If you are prepping in New Jersey, consider embracing the private well but ensure it is tested for bacteria and radiation before you make it your primary water source.
One thing that happened during Hurricane Sandy that many were not anticipating was the spread of fire after the storm. When a fire was left unchecked due to emergency services responding to other issues caused by the hurricane, 110 houses in Breezy Point went up in flames. It spread so easily because of the proximity of the homes to one another. Given the population density, it is probable that this will happen again. Therefore, New Jersey residents need to think through fire prevention thoroughly.
An Unsettled Population
The only thing more dangerous than people is hungry, thirsty, desperate people. New Jersey’s dense population can work against someone trying to survive during a crisis. There is more need for aid if food, water, and medical services get disrupted, and a higher chance looters and criminals might make the situation worse.
New Jersey Natural Disasters
New Jersey is a relatively disaster-free place to live. The most common natural disasters in New Jersey are severe storms, hurricanes and tropical storms, winter storms, floods, wildfires, extreme heat and droughts, and landslides. Residents had a rough time with Hurricane Sandy, but other than that, they seem to largely remain undisturbed.
1) The Hindenburg Explosion (1937) – The world’s largest zeppelin exploded into a ball of flames as it attempted to land in New Jersey, resulting in the death of 36. Given that this disaster is nearing it’s 100-year mark and still remains relevant in the comparison of New Jersey’s disasters, we can conclude that New Jersey is a relatively safe place. (Source)
2) The Delaware River Flood (1955) – In terms of lives lost, the Delaware River flood was the most tragic, costly, and disastrous event in the state’s history. In 1955, after several days of heavy rainfall, the Delaware River began to swell. As close to 20” of rain fell in some locations, the Delaware River took the lives of 191 people.
3) Hurricane Sandy (2012) – While the Delaware River flooding killed the most, Hurricane Sandy caused the most overall damage. It’s estimated that $30 billion in economic losses hit New Jersey alone; 346,000 homes were destroyed from the storm. This includes damage from the storm directly, shifting sand filling up homes, and fires that raged out of control for hours. (Source 1), (Source 2)
Generally speaking, it is wiser to bug in than it is to bug out. Your home is your castle, where your supplies are held and your tribe (most likely) lives.
When SHTF, there will be a lot of hungry, thirsty, and maligned people in New Jersey. While the state and FEMA are able to help to a certain degree, a major societal breakdown could result in massive disruptions to the food and water supply. Having enough to make it through the first 90 days is essential. After that, the order will be restored or you will know you need to make more long-term plans to deal with the new reality.
Security is Paramount
New Jersey is one of the most population-dense places in the country. While you may be prepared for when SHTF, your neighbor likely is not. When people get desperate, all bets are off. Therefore, it is vital that you harden your home against robbery, home invasions, riots, and looting before you are confronted by any of those realities. Physical barriers on windows, doors, and around the perimeter are a must as well as being a master with a firearm.
To read more on securing your home, see Joe Nobody’s best-selling book, Holding Your Ground.
One of the most important pieces of equipment for any prepper planning to bug out is a decent map of their state. Having an identified bug out location is crucial. All preppers in any state should begin their bug out plans with a paper map of their state. Nothing is better for all-purpose use than the DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer.
When SHTF, law enforcement will be overwhelmed, jails will be full, and emergency services won’t have the capacity to rescue you. The desperation in people will likely be the most dangerous threat during that time. Therefore, go out of your way to avoid people at all costs. Move only at night, stay off main roads, and favor movement through wooded areas until you are clear of major population centers.
Learn to Sail
New Jersey has a long coastline that offers food, security, and a way to escape the madness that will surely come about after SHTF. However, being able to move to a place where you can stay long-term will require an extended amount of time on the water. The only way to feasibly do this is by a sailboat. Sailboats have been successfully navigating the world with only the use of the wind. If it has worked for natives, explorers, and adventurers for centuries, it will work for you when SHTF.
Be a River Rat
Another advantage New Jersey offers its residents is a variety of river systems that lead inland. If roads are clogged and the sea is not an option, consider using the rivers. River systems are natural highways for those that are willing to take to their waters. The first explorers on the North American continent managed to make it as far inland as Ohio by simply following rivers. If they can do it, so can you.
Further Reading for New Jersey Preppers
New Jersey PrepperNet – Meetup group that allows for regular discussions about prepping in the Garden State.
Urban and Outdoor Survival – Meetup group that is focused on urban and outdoor survival in New Jersey.
New Jersey Office of Emergency Management – Official disaster response, management, and information page of New Jersey state government.
Newark Office of Emergency Management – Newark’s disaster response office and resources for residents.
Highland Nature Friends – Offers wilderness survival courses for adults, children, and families.
Tracker School – Online and in-person survival and other wilderness-oriented classes offered in New Jersey.