Delaware preppers face many of the same threats as anyone else in America: civil collapse, EMP, natural disasters, etc. However, Delawareans have unique challenges than preppers in other states. What makes sense for a prepper in Alaska may not make sense for a prepper in West Virginia.
This applies to Delaware as well. This article will focus on Delaware from a prepper’s perspective. What specific challenges does the state face from a historical perspective? What are the threats given the state’s geography? Where should Delawareans prioritize their preps?
NOTE: Do you live in Delaware? 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?
Delaware Overview – Prepper’s Perspective
The people native to Delaware are highly patriotic. Why wouldn’t they be? When yo consider the state is nicknamed “The First State”, since it was the first state to ratify the Constitution. Delaware officially joined the Union in 1787 making it the first among the 50 states to proudly call itself American. More than 200 years later, the theme of “liberty and independence” is proudly displayed on their state flag and seal between a militiaman and a farmer.
Though it may have been first to the union, it is far from first when talking about population or landmass. Delaware is only a small sliver of a state that is situated on the east coast of the North American continent. It is bordered by its bigger brother Pennsylvania and butts up to similarly sized states, New Jersey and Maryland. It is ranked 49th in land area and 45th in population. Though those numbers may sound dismal, the combination makes Delaware is the 6th most densely populated state in the US.
However small, Delaware makes up for its size with it’s business acumen. The state ranks 1st with two important business-related fields. Of all the Fortune 500 companies, 64% of them call Delaware home. Additionally, over 50% of all publicly traded companies, choose to keep their headquarters in Delaware.
Despite the New England winter image that many keep in their mind when thinking of Delaware, its climate is actually very humid and temperate. The result is a nice average daily temperature of 54 degrees F. However, with an average high that varies from 86 degrees F in July to an average low of 23 degrees F in January, having a light jacket easily accessible is probably a good idea.
Despite having a substantial amount of coastline, Delaware is not substantially rainy. With an average participation of nearly 45 inches, Delaware is actually on the dryer side of the spectrum. They tend to get most of their rain in August. It is the rainiest month by far, with an average precipitation of 5.5 inches. The winter brings about the driest time with February having the least precipitation at about 3 inches.
Food and Water
One of the prominent figures on the state flag and seal is the farmer. This represents Delaware’s robust agriculture industry despite having extreme population density. Delaware farmers produce a decent variety in their crops such as corn, soybeans, potatoes, wheat, and apples. Since the state has the lowest mean elevation of any state at 450 feet, Delaware was made for farming. This leads to Delaware not only be highly productive in business, but also in food production.
Residents of Delaware get their water from a variety of sources. This includes surface water from many of the rivers and large creeks that cross the state. The Columbia aquifer is responsible for a large portion of the ground water that the state consumes. Despite the state’s tendency toward dryness, it does not struggle to keep water in the homes and on the crops of it’s residents.
Given that Delaware is tiny, it only has 3 counties. Of all the states in the United States of America, Delaware has the least counties of them all. However, each one is moderately liberal. The end result is a very staunch and solid blue state. It is well known as a wealthy, moderate, liberal sanctuary. This is surprising when you consider the amount of large, multinational corporations that are headquartered in the small state. While the level of wealth would lead one to expect more conservative political leanings, both of the state senators and the current governor are prominent members part of the Democratic party.
As mentioned above, Delaware does not represent a large amount of people despite being a state. It only has a population of 989,948 people making it only an eighth of the population of New York City. However, visitors would never know that the population is so sparse since the state is correspondingly small. However, they will notice the very diverse nature of the population that comes with being a costal state. The state has the following ethnic breakdown:
- White 62.3%
- Black 21.7%
- Hispanic 9.2%
- Asian 3.8%.
Delaware is also not an old state. The median age of is a fairly normal 35.5 years. When you consider the gender breakdown of 48.3% male to the 51.7% female, it is easy to see that Delaware is a state largely made up of middle aged families. This, combined with the states favorable economic status, leads to a very stable and steady rhythm of life.
Crime is fairly average in Delaware. You have a 1 in 232 chance of being the victim of a violent crime. This figure leads Delaware to have a murder rate that is the same as that of the national average at 0.07 per 1000 people. However, the rape and robbery rate is lower than the national average. With the rape rate being at 0.26 per 1000 people and the robbery rate being 0.71 per 1000 people, the people of Delaware can sleep peaceably knowing they are very unlikely to fall victim to either.
As would be expected in such a wealthy community, your chances of being the victim of a property crime are 1 in 51, well below the national average. This is true of the burglary and motor vehicle rates as well. However, there is a chance you may be subjected to some petty theft from mischievous teenagers. Delaware’s theft rate is much higher than the national average at 15.34 per 1000 people. Therefore, make sure you keep your things secured before someone borrows them from you permanently.
What is most interesting about Delaware’s crime rate is it’s assault rate. For some reason, Delaware has a particularly high assault rate. This is much higher than the national average of 3.26 per 1000 people. While this could be the result of the way the crime is prosecuted or classified, it must also be a function of it’s higher than average population density.
Delaware’s leaders constructed a business-friendly tax structure that managed to attract many out of state companies like Apple, Coca-cola, Ford, and Facebook. Seeing robust success with that effort, the state decided to retool their usury laws to attract credit card issuers. Today, Delaware is home to many big name credit card lenders like Bank of America, Chase, Barclays, and ING Direct.
Delaware proudly boasts of its 22 miles of coastline. As a result it also enjoys summertime tourist traffic from the other mid-Atlantic states. While tourism to the coast is far from its chief economic contributor, it is very substantial. Each year, Rehoboth Beach brings large amounts of visitors who spend substantial amounts of money in Delaware’s small coastal communities.
Delaware Natural Disasters
When it comes to natural disasters, Delaware doesn’t seem to be as prone to weather-related disasters as some other states. However, with such a densely packed population, anything that happens will come at a high cost. This also includes a few rather scary manmade situations that will go down in the history books as some of the state’s darkest days. As it turns out, the most dangerous thing about Delaware isn’t its weather or terrain, but the people that inhabit the state.
1) The Burning of Milton (1880) –Its not everyday that a simple house fire gets so out of control that it consumes an entire city. However, after a fire started in Milton it quickly grew to be ungovernable, engulfing the entire community. By the time the fire was extinguished, only 12 houses out of this entire city were still standing. The town of Milton, Delaware had been completely burned to the ground. With over 625 buildings gone and over $12,000,000 worth of damage in todays dollars had taken place.
2) The Ash Wednesday Storm (1962) – It would not be a complete list if The Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 wasn’t included in it. The most destructive storm in Delaware’s history, this nor’easter ended up killing 7 people and causing millions of dollars in damage throughout the state. To this day it stands as a stark reminder of the damage and destruction the nor’easters can bring when they come.
3) The Newark McDonald’s Explosion (1976) – In a bizarre mishap, a McDonalds exploded in Newark. As people were eating inside, a gas leak was spreading throughout the restaurant. Eventually the gas reached an oven pilot light, causing the building to explode. Miraculously, nobody died. However, 23 people were injured – many gravely.
4) Amoco Chemical Explosion (1980) – Another tragic, but bizarre mishap that happened in Delaware. A plastic factory ran by Amoco exploded in 1980. A large gas leak allowed combustibles to pool up until they were eventually ignited by an unknown source somewhere in the factory. The resulting explosion was so strong that buildings up to 12 miles away suffered damage. The plant itself burned for 12 hours straight in an unstoppable inferno. By the time all had been settled 6 people had died and 30 had been seriously hurt. The plant was shuttered for good.
Delaware Prepping Challenges
The challenges that a prepper will face during a cataclysmic breakdown in Delaware is the most serious; people. The state does not get extremely challenging weather, but despite its robust agricultural infrastructure, it is not self sufficient. Therefore, in the event that there is a serious disruption in the food and water supply, peaceful Delaware is likely to not be peaceful at all. The prepper must keep this in min when planning and preparing for disaster scenarios.
Delaware Prepping Strategies
A Six Month Supply
Having a six month supply of food, water, and other needed goods is absolutely essential to prepping in Delaware. If you are choosing to bug into your hardened home, then you will need to be able to weather the storm. With a large, rather wealthy, population that is unstable and grumbling about the sudden disruption in their lives, it is unlikely that the authorities let any disaster go on for long. Therefore, if you are able to stay inside your home for six months and avoid the chaos that will be going on outside, you will be ok.
Harden Your Home
Choosing to bug in is often the smartest out of the two options disaster presents. The reason why is bugging in puts time on your side. You can begin reacting to the disaster that is surely coming right away. Look at your home and think like a criminal. If you wanted to break into your house, how would you do it?
Once you have a list of options, begin taking preemptive measures to stop other people from taking advantage of them. We don’t know when the next disaster will strike. That means we don’t know how long we have before its upon us. Therefore, start hardening your home now. Look at ways to landscape for home security, how to slow a burglar, etc.
Don’t Be Gun Shy
The sad reality is that when people are hungry, thirsty, and desperate, all sorts of terrible behaviors come out. With an overwhelmed police force and few resources for society to draw from, people will be ready to behave in ways they never thought of before. This could mean making life and death decisions for you and your family. You don’t want to be caught in this situation being out of shape without the proper arms and training.
One of the most important pieces of equipment for any prepper planning to bug out is to have decent maps 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.
Walk, Don’t Drive
If you think the million people that live in Delaware will be able to fit on to the roads of this state while in a simultaneous panic, you have a rude awakening coming during your hour of need. Panic leads to accidents and clogged roadways. Every moment you spend sitting in a car on the road is a minute you could be putting to your escape. Therefore, if you are deciding to bug out, grab your hiking boots, a map, and a compass and take the road less traveled. You will thank yourself for it after its over with.
If there is a redeeming quality of Delaware it is its ready access to the Atlantic Ocean. If you do not know how to sail, you should quickly learn how to. In the event that there is a mass exodus the roads will be clogged and the fuel pumps will be empty. However, the trade winds that brought the first settlers to the shores of the state will still be blowing. A properly provisioned and outfitted sailboat can open up a world of possibilities for the prepper.
The chief thing that the prepper that is choosing to bug out of Delaware should be concerned about is the panicked stricken people that will be trying to leave the state as well. A quick survey of what happens in refugee camps will turn the stomachs of even the hardest person.
Therefore, if you are seeking to bug out during the darkest hours of the state’s history, stay clear of crowds of people. Let those that didn’t prepare, weren’t ready, or were completely unaware be subjected to that fate as you slip away alone.
Further Reading for Delaware Preppers
This article just scratches the surface of what Delaware preppers need to know. The following links could held educate you more on prepping in the state.
Delaware Preppers – Active, private Facebook group that focuses prepping in Delaware exclusively.
Delaware Permaculture and Bushcraft – Facebook group that is focused on promoting, educating, and teaching bushcraft, permaculture, and prepping in Delaware.
Delaware Tactical – School that teaches students the ins and outs of firearms, tactical judgement, and hand to hand combat.
Coalcracker Bushcraft School– Located just over the border in PA, this school teaches everything you need to know about wilderness survival.
Delaware Emergency Management Agency– Official website of DEMA. Publishes updates of ongoing crisis and responses to them.
Emergency Training– Government provided emergency response and management training for citizens.