Urban Survival

People often refer to cities as urban jungles, and with good reason. Urban survival is much different from survival in the wilderness, and in society, people struggle with manmade elements, elements of nature and different types of wild animals.

In nature, people deal with bears, poisonous snakes, cold weather and unpaved terrain; in the city, people have to battle blackouts, crowds, wars, gang violence, pollution, nuclear disasters and escaped zoo animals, as well as muggers, murderers and other types of criminals.


Surviving in Your Home

In the urban jungle, events sometimes occur that prevent you from going out, such as a blackout, snowstorm, tornado or flood. Each of these requires a different means of urban survival and you should prepare for any disaster that poses a risk in your living environment. For a blackout and snowstorm, you should have:

  • A backup generator
  • Plenty of canned food
  • Flashlights
  • Candles
  • Extra batteries
  • Plenty of gas to run the generator

Plan Ahead

Stocking up on bottled water and other beverages you do not have to keep cold, like canned milk, can help get you through a time of no electricity or if you are not able to leave your home. If you take any medicine, you should try to stock up or keep an emergency supply somewhere in your home. Additionally, if you are expecting snow or know it snows a lot where you live, buying bags of salt to put on your stairs and driveway makes shoveling later much easier.

In the event of a tornado or flood, if the weather person or state official provides advance notice, evacuate the area. If you cannot evacuate or receive no warning with regard to a tornado, find shelter in your basement, a bunker if you have one or in a crawl space.

In the event of a flood, urban survival methods require you to get as high as possible but do not go onto the roof if the flood is occurring during a lightening storm. Turn the power off and unplug everything to avoid any risk of electrical shock, and pack some necessities in a waterproof bag, which you should have as part of your emergency kit.

Also, put on a wetsuit if you have one because it can keep you warm until help arrives, should the flood be as bad as the one Katrina caused down south. If you do not have or prefer not to wear a wetsuit, use a raincoat, rain boots, waterproof hat and gloves and rain pants to keep yourself as dry and warm as possible.

Street Survival

Many things can happen on city streets and you may have limited protection depending on your health, age or if you have a disability. Elderly people and those with disabilities are the most targeted by criminals and scam artists. The best way to avoid an incident is to never go out alone at night and have a live-in or around-the-clock health aid or nurse who can screen phone calls and decide whether to answer the door.

For anyone living in the city, especially women, urban survival might require you to take a self-defense class, invest in a can of Mace or pepper spray and carry a pocket knife as well as a flat head screwdriver, small flashlight or lighter.

This can be very helpful should you ever find yourself taped up in a trunk. It sounds horrible, but incidents like this happen more often than most people think, and if it ever happens to you, at least you have a chance to survive.

Even better, consider taking a conceal carry class and get your license to carry a handgun.

Avoid Attention

In the event of a major disaster, which leads to breakdown of society and lawlessness, one of the best tactics of urban survival is to keep your head down and avoid drawing attention to yourself. This means:

  • If the power is out and you have candles or other means of light, don't use them at night unless you have blackout curtains in place.
  • Generators are loud and will draw trouble like a magnet.
  • If you have the means to cook your food, cooking odors will be an open invitation to anyone in the neighborhood.
  • Clean face and hands indicate the presence of water. If you must go out, smear a bit of dirt on your face and wear a hat to conceal clean hair.
  • The same goes for your clothes. Wear your oldest, raggediest, dirtest clothes and wear layers when going out and about.

Urban survival is tough; you have to prepare for everything, even if the odds are one in a million that it will happen. As the old adage goes, "failing to plan is planning to fail," and no one wants to fail or incur a preventable loss. Additionally, keep in mind that more people respond if you yell "fire" instead of "help"; a sad fact, but true.

Return from Urban Survival to Survival Retreat

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