Playing Hide-And-Seek With FEMA? Here’s How To Win

When food shortages come, and you can be sure that they are going to come, FEMA has the authority to take control of all food supplies and distribute them to the needy.

You may be one of the lucky ones who gets overlooked in their search for food, but I doubt that there will be any of us who escape their search for guns.

I’m sure that when that executive order was signed, it was with the intention that they could seize stocks in warehouses, so that they would have food to distribute in the case of an emergency. However, like any law or regulation, if there is a way to misuse the authority, someone will eventually do so.

Since there is no limitation on that executive order, FEMA also has the right to enter your home and my home, stealing our food stockpiles for “distribution” to those in need. In other words, they have the authority for redistribution of wealth.

So the question is, what are you going to do when FEMA shows up at your door to take your guns and food? Better yet, what are you going to do beforehand?

Keep reading to find out the tricks of winning when playing hide and seek with FEMA guys.

Find out more on how to improve your home defense to survive disaster! 

Tricks for Playing Hide-and-Seek with FEMA

The only way you can keep your food and firearms is to make sure that they can’t find them. Any home has a myriad of potential hiding places that will at least suffice for an initial search of your home.

For this, we’re going to depend upon a little bit of psychology. Whoever ends up doing the searching is probably going to have a long list of houses to search. While they may do a thorough job on the first two or three houses they search, the more searches they do, the lazier they will get.

The flip side of that coin is that the more searches they do, the better they will get at doing it. So, while you need to hide things, you need to be sure that they aren’t hidden in places which are common or obvious. So, hiding things under the bed or in the bottom of a dresser drawer are probably out.

There are two basic types of searchers; either they’re searching your home because they’re searching everyone’s home, or they are searching your home because they have a tip that you have something worth seizing. Either way, the searchers are expecting to find something.

Give Them Something to Find

You can play a very effective trick on them by making them think they are smart. Everyone loves to feel like they are smarter than the average bear, so let them think that they are smarter than you. All you have to do to accomplish this is give them something to find. Once they find it, they’ll be convinced of their prowess in defeating you and probably go away happy.

Of course, you don’t want them to get everything, so you need to be careful about how you do this. If it is out in the open, they won’t think they’ve found anything. On the other hand, you don’t want it so well hidden that they end up finding the rest of your stash while looking for it. So, pick a place with that in mind and make it look like a poor concealment job, while everything else is well hidden.

Have enough in this decoy stash to make them think that they’ve found your main stash. They’re not going to go away if they think that you’re pulling the wool over their eyes, so build your decoy stash with enough food to look like it is your main supply. Just make sure that it is inexpensive enough food that losing it doesn’t hurt you that much. Never put anything critical in this stash.

Guns have to be treated differently. You don’t want them to find any of your hidden guns. On the other hand, if they come asking for your guns, they’re probably going to have a pretty good idea of what you have. Even though the law says that the federal government can’t build a database of gun ownership, you can be sure that they have one.

So, when they come asking for your guns, make sure that you have enough guns to give them, so that they think they’ve gotten them all. You can explain away a few guns that are missing by saying you sold them; but you can’t do that with everything.

Of course, if you have guns that are “off the books” because you inherited them or you bought them privately, that’s not going to be a problem. You could always give them the ones that you bought from where you had to fill out the paperwork, and keep the privately purchased ones hidden in your stash, where they don’t know about it.

Be careful about this and think it through well. You need to have your story well planned, so that you know what you are going to say when they show up. You also need to watch out for ammunition. If you tell them you’ve sold your M1911 A1, but still have 500 rounds of .45 ammo, they’re not going to believe you. Everything has to match up with your story.

16 Places to Safely Hide Your Stash

Instead of finding one area to put everything (which is more obvious and easy to find) you’re going to be better off with a few small hiding places. If they do find one of your small hiding places, the rest of them may still manage to escape detection.

The best possible hiding places are those that are totally sealed off, denying anyone access to them: buried in the garden, inside the walls, or hidden rooms. While this means that you won’t have access to them on a regular basis, you will always be able to get to them in case of emergency.

Attics and basements are the first to be searched, but they still offer a plethora of useful hiding spaces disguised as other things:

False Ductwork

If your home is heated by forced-air heating, you can easily add some false ductwork to hide things in. Use the same type of ductwork as the existing and connect it to the ductwork that is already there; however, it doesn’t have to be open to the existing ductwork for air to pass through. Most people don’t know enough about HVAC systems to tell that you’ve added ductwork.

False Drain Pipes

Toilet drains are four inch PVC pipe. Like HVAC ductwork, most people don’t know enough to tell if it is real or fake. You can add additional drain pipes that go from ceiling to floor, without connecting them to the home’s existing plumbing. You will need a flange at both ends to hold it in place.

Above Basement Ceilings

Most people use suspended acoustical ceilings when they finish their basements. If you have this, you can remove the ceiling tiles and attach shelves to the sides of the joists to store things on. With the tiles in place, you can’t tell they are there.

Below Attic Floors

Most people’s attics aren’t finished in any way. If you add a plywood floor to part of your attic, you can store lightweight items under it. Please note that those things will only be supported by drywall, so you don’t want a lot of weight.

Hiding in Plain Sight

The typical attic or basement is at least partially filled with boxes of grandma’s old quilt and baby clothes that you’ll never use. You can store some of your stockpile in these boxes, below the existing items. Just make sure that the boxes that have your stockpile in them are not easy to get to.

Video first seen on HouseholdHacker.

Inside Other Items

If you have unused furniture, kids toys or any other large items in your attic or basement, you can always hide something inside them.

The main living area of your home offers a number of possibilities as well, although things may not be quite as well hidden or as hard to find:

False Heat Registers and Electrical Outlets

It’s easy to add false heat registers and electrical outlets into walls. All you need to do is to cut a hole and mount them with the included screws. Since the inside of the wall is hollow, you have room to store whatever you want. Just be careful to place the outlets and registers in places that look like they belong. Behind furniture works extremely well. 

Under the Stairs

Many two story homes have a closet or other storage space under the stairs. However, this usually doesn’t use all the space, but only the space that is high enough for a closet. You can open up the lower part, fill it with food and put a piece of drywall over it to cover it. This drywall doesn’t even need to be well finished, as it will be hidden.

Inside the Washer and Dryer

Washing machines and dryers have extra space inside the cabinet, which is not taken up by the drum and mechanism. You can use this space to store food, as long as you make sure that it won’t interfere with the movement of the mechanism.

Inside Furniture

Most furniture has some wasted space in it. Dressers will have wasted space at the bottom. Sofas have wasted space under the cushions and in the back. The space in the bottom of a dresser can be accessed by removing the bottom drawer. To access the dead space in a sofa or upholstered chair requires removing the dust cover on the bottom. Likewise, the box springs for a bed has a lot of dead space, which is only covered by a thin dust cover. Remove the cover, build a place to store food and put the cover back on.

Bathroom Cabinets

The drawer front on a bathroom cabinet or kitchen sink cabinet is false, only there for appearances. There isn’t enough room for a drawer there. However, there is a small amount of room between that drawer front and the sink. A small shelf can be installed there to store things.

Above Closet Doors

Most homes have closets with bifold or sliding doors. People rarely look up when they look in those closets. A shelf can be mounted above the door, inside the closet and things stored there. While it plain sight, few searchers will see it.

Under the Floor

A small storage area can be made by peeling up a corner of the carpet and cutting a trap door in the floor. This works best when a piece of furniture, such as an end table, will be sitting over that corner, keeping the carpet in place.

The soffit over kitchen cabinets

Many kitchens have a built-in soffit over the kitchen wall cabinets. This is dead space, built more for decorative purposes than any other reason. A hole can be made in the soffit and it can be filled with food or other items. The hole can be closed by installing a heat register, making it look like the soffit is part of the HVAC system.

The Toe Kick under the Kitchen and Bathroom Base Cabinets

It hides about four inches of dead space, all the way to the back of the cabinet. This can be removed and reinstalled with spring catches.


If your home has two stories with dormers, there is a considerable amount of dead space in the eaves. The only problem is installing a hidden access to the eaves. You will also need to floor over the joists, as the only existing floor is the drywall to the ceiling of the rooms below.

Video first seen on JLaservideo.

The Secrets of Burial Vaults for Storage

If you are going to bury anything in your back yard, you need to make sure that it is well sealed to protect it from moisture. Most containers, even plastic bins, don’t offer this type of protection. However, it’s really not all that hard to protect them.

The easiest way to protect things you want to bury underground is to buy a bunch of five gallon buckets with lids. Try to buy the kind that doesn’t have a bung in the lid (opening for pouring out of), as these will seal better. Also check to make sure that the lid has a rubber seal in the groove that snaps onto the bucket. Without this seal, the bucket is not moisture proof. Take heed, not all have this seal. Be sure to use new lids, as they will seal better.

Another way you can make storage vaults is with four inch PVC pipe. You can either glue the caps on the ends or glue a cap on one end, with a screw-on cap on the other. I prefer the glue-on cap, as the screw on ones can be as hard to remove as the glue on ones are. This isn’t the type of container that you’re going to be opening regularly, so you don’t really need that screw-on lid. Just be sure that you have a few saws hidden in different places to get the caps off with.

One nice thing about using PVC pipe to make storage vaults is that you can easily make holes in the ground to hide them with a standard post-hole digger. Burying five gallon buckets requires a bit bigger hole. If you have hard ground, you might have trouble burying them.

Make sure that you clearly define the location of your buried vaults in some secret way that only you will know. Use more than one point of reference, as your favorite tree may die, eliminating it as a point of reference.

As you can see, the list is nearly endless. Use your imagination and seek out all the unused areas of your home. Look at things to compare the usable space inside to the physical space it takes up. For example, when you look at a dresser, you see that the drawers aren’t as wide as the cabinet. That means there is space on either side of the drawers; space that you can use to hide something.

You are the one who’s able to find the best hiding places in your home, you just need to keep in mind the tricks for a good hiding place.

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This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia. 

Written by

John Gilmore is an army Vet, specialized in wilderness survival. Now he lives with his wife and 2 daughters on their farm close to Arizona. He has instructor level credentials and skills in various survival disciplines. He is an enthusiastic DIY expert, self-reliant and a proactive defender of our Constitutional rights. He strives to make a positive mark in this world and that's why he's writing for Survivopedia, using a pen name to protect his real identity.

Latest comments
  • Great article, John, with a lot of creative ideas. My only concern regarding FEMA is that they will likely have high tech equipment – advanced metal detectors, for instance – helping them detect where items are hidden, potentially even those hidden in the ground. I think one’s best bet will be as you suggested, to “hide” some items for them to find, and hide the remainder really well. . . . It’s revolting to think that we even have to discuss this subject and consider the best ways to hide our things (paid for with our own hard earned money) from the government.

  • I’m sure FEMA has already copied and distributed this article.

  • Buried a big ammo can six years ago. Still haven’t been able to find it!

    • oh shoot was that your ammo can !! thanks

  • FEMA is not going to be interested in your cash or jewelry. The extent of search is going to be based on how hungry you appear. If you clothes fit and your face is full, they will do a extensive search.

    If you don’t what them, or others, to tear you home apart searching for food and guns, starve yourself along with them for the first 2 or 3 weeks.

    Another ironic detail will be the searchers will be well fed and healthy. And, they won’t be sharing their food with the population.

  • Rather limited in scope. If you have large items you need to hid, a 4″ PVC tube won’t work. Hiding your food is going to be a real test, but one we all better look into. If you are within easy access from a city or small town, you will most likely be a target. It seems to me that if you make yourself hard to get to, then FEMA and other agencies will just not exert the energy. I’m thinking of ways to hide a year’s worth of food and protective equipment.

  • Give’ Em the bullets first!

  • The government can not seize food that is home canned or anything without a label or not in it’s original packaging — food for thought.

    • Is there a place we can go to find their “permission to seize food orders” so that we can see what they are getting authority (and have the desire) to take? I dehydrate some food and vacuum it in FoodSaver bags (so there will be no metal to detect). If I do not put labels that tell what it is and when it was processed – using my own numbering (which gives no clue of what it is etc.) will they leave it alone? I take canned foods and frozen foods and dehydrate them as well They take up a very limited amount of space. I precook potatoes, rice, pasta and beans and make them into dehydrated instant foods. (You can also dehydrate cooked (low fat) ground beef, pork, chicken; and eggs, milk. When you dehydrate canned pumpkin pie mix, you have a great tasting leather that also works as an excellent natural cough “drop”.

      • Thanks for the info. Gonna do a little dehydration myself

    • My only fear with having home canned or unlabeled foods is that even though the FEMA intruders may not take the food; it doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t likely to destroy it, just so you and your family can’t have it. I can totally see that happening.

      • Would they really do that? They are govt employees, it’s business not personal.

        • Keep in mind: Give someone a small amount of power and they swell up with self-importance. They may destroy things just to show how important they are (in their mind.)

      • This sounds a bit strange, butt, may make sense. Every Church collects food for disadvantged parishioners of the congregation. Ask the parson, vicar, pastor in charge to include every family that donates to make it look to FEMA, Church has a large segment of congregation already dependent on that denomination for food survival. FEMA can readily see, by Church logs, who donated how much, going by TITHE. This automagically tells FEMA its a waste of their time to shake down every family belonging to that congregation knowing these families donated 10% of expendable income(after tax) means they live from day to day for food survival, ‘cuz other bills have to be paid, utilities, etc. Finding an honest, ethical Church who will do this for their congregation is the biggest challenge.

    • There’s a lot of good ideas here but if you’ve ever had your home raided by the police, then you know that many of these spots won’t work, they destroyed my house looking for guns and drugs one day on a false tip. The police flipped over mattresses, boxsprings, sofas, pulled every dresser draw out, removed my clothes from the closets and whatever wasn’t nailed down they moved. However like John said, it depends on the searcher and their willingness to find something. I would not store anything in sofas, beds, boxsprings, dressers, or anything they can pick up and move. Just my thoughts great post for some ideas though I will be using some and putting my mind to the test as well. Thanks.

  • Good article, and something that people in urban areas probably need to be concerned about.

    One question that has always puzzled me is how effective the FEMA Gestapo could be? There are 320 million people in this country and approximately 135 million residences, based on one study that I saw. So the question is, how is FEMA going to strip search that many dwellings, plus business locations, warehouses (of any type), outbuildings, sheds, barns and other storage facilities. And, what level of manpower will they have to accomplish this deed?

    Another wrinkle to this scenario is what happens if the national grid goes down due to a nuclear EMP strike? No power, no working vehicles and no communications. Is FEMA going to walk to every location and then hand carry all confiscated items to a central collection point in each city and town? I don’t think so. Moreover, FEMA would have to have sufficient force to overwhelm every single structure that they searched.

    If you assumed the unlikely number of only 30 minutes to search every single residence in the country, you are looking at 67.5 million man-hours (times the number of FEMA goons it would take to conduct a search), and that doesn’t count all of the other structures I’ve mentioned. As FEMA begins to work its way through any community, the word will spread. And that will bring resistance from armed citizens. Count on it.

  • A problem I see is the agency(ies) may use DEA agents to “tear” apart the houses they may search. They are trained to find where the drugs and money are stashed. They WILL go through the children’s toys, dolls, games, any bins you have regardless of what’s marked on them. I remember seeing an article on what they found in a drug lords home during a raid, It was amazing where he hid his money and drugs. The walls, pipes, duct work, everything that has been mentioned in this article and others I have seen was searched. I think they even went through his children’s toys and games in the bedrooms. I believe he used the cash he accumulated as insulation in the walls in the house. If an EMP happens there will be vehicles that have been protected, remember the military has been working on this for awhile now.

    • According to the DEA budget for fiscal year 2017, there are only 8300 employees, of which slightly more than 4000 are agents. DEA operates in 68 foreign countries, so the number of agents actually in the U.S. is probably very small. The point is, DEA isn’t going to beat down your door.

      I would be more concerned about the amateurs that would be recruited by FEMA. They probably will kick in your door. And worse…

      • An additional note:
        The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) had around 5000 employees, as of 2015. Of this number, only 3400 are “special agents” or investigators. The rest are desk jockeys. If you combine DEA and AFT field agents, you are only looking at a force of fewer than 7000 personnel that could augment FEMA searches across the entire country.
        According to their web site, FEMA has about 7000 employees. I do not know how many of them are qualified to carry firearms, but my guess is that most of them are fat, aging desk jockeys.

        Frankly, I do not see how FEMA would be remotely capable (even with the help of DEA and ATF agents) of strip searching every structure in the U.S. These three agencies could potentially muster 10,000 door busters to tackle 135 million residences (plus millions of other structures). My guess is that they would all be dead within a week.

        • I’m pretty sure that the military, at least the National Guard, and probably regular Army, will be the ones searching. They will receive a crash course on searching homes and then turned loose. first surrounding neighborhoods then going door-to-door quickly. Blocking egress routes from those communities so that word of mouth regarding their unlawful search and seizure won’t spread. The entire thing will be well organized and media-blacked-out. Very little, if any warning will be forthcoming.
          Obviously, this and many other related articles will have been disseminated, and referenced. Likely dogs will be used at suspect locations. Burying items in waterproof containers is a good idea but there is Ground Penetrating Radar, besides metal detection devices which will be used if you are suspect. Hiding things in plain sight is a pretty good method, but you can bet the searchers will be talented. I’ve seen the aftermath of a drug search by DEA in a residence and every piece of trim was removed, items on walls were taken down, furniture was upended and sometimes partially disassembled, fixtures taken down, and they searchers actually seemed to delight in destruction of property… Nothing was there to be found because the people had been tipped off regarding the impending search. The destruction was beyond reason, and I was shocked at what I saw of the aftermath. The searchers left with no apologies and the residents were left to pick up the mess and repair the rather extensive damage on their own dime with no recourse. Now this was a DEA style of search, but I just want all of you to take very seriously what may happen.

        • when our state occupied wemach, it searched every house for a month. That’s it

  • All of us here,and the myriad other sites we have all posted on, are already “on the list” do what you can,but don’t think they don’t already know where they are going if it comes down to it.

  • The space behind walls may be accessed by raising a portion of acoustic ceiling and lowering your item via a heavy magnet; it can be retrieved in a like manner. A Russian spy used this technique to great effect and ultimately escaped back to Russia.
    I hate spies but I love this technique.

  • We are looking into purchasing about a 10 acre piece of property. If all works out THE way we are planning, I’ll have a huge root cellar dug deep into the GROUND. It would be easy to build a false wall to stash plenty of food and ammo behind in the case of such an emergency. If they can’t tell how large the cellar is from the outside, then if they were to happen to find the ENTRANCE to the cellar, they still Wouldn’t be able to find the hidden stash behind the false wall.

    • They will now. You just told them you plans. LOL.
      Remember people… SILENCE!.
      You may have used a made-up name on here but you did include your email when you subscribed. They can find you if they want to. And you just gave them another place to think to look at other properties

  • The success of hiding things from authoritarian searches is subject to how bad someone wants to find something. Dogs can sniff out food, ammo, fuel, gun oil and even cash. Simply put; if you’re the subject of a serious search, you’re on the losing end.

    As john states in the article, give the searchers something sacrificial. Try and keep the good stuff divided into small unassociated and off site (but nearby) stashes.

  • I like all these ideas for preparedness for all sorts of emergencies.

    One idea I have not seen here is to become a FEMA volunteer. They depend
    on local volunteers for almost every thing. (Who do you think might be spared from all this stuff?)

    There are, however, so many types of emergency, I cannot prepare for all of them.

    For me, medical is the major concern. I would not last very long without doctors and medicines. Especially since the FDA already limits painkillers and other drugs, even for incurable cancer patients. No chance to fend off pain and death by stockpiling Rx drugs and going to medical school;)

    I am more concerned with unprepared neighbors and marauders, on top of failing medical resources than with the government “confiscadors.”

    Water, medical, food, electricity, and, transportation are right before home defense to take care of my wife and myself, in terms of priorities. We are prepared for these needs, regardless of catastrophe, until the government arrives;)