As of 2012, approximately 80 percent of all Americans live in urban areas, making it vital to learn urban survival skills to deal with both man-made and natural disasters such as terrorist attacks, hurricanes, riots and widespread power outages. Here are some tips on how to get an urban survival kit and survive when disaster strikes your hometown.
Know The Risks
Learn about what risks are unique to your city and state – do you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, floods or hurricanes? Is your community a likely target for terrorist activity, or is there a nearby nuclear plant or gas refinery? Consider what kinds of natural and man-made disasters are likely to strike your city and what the outcome of those disasters could be. Is there already social tension between racial, religious or socio-economic groups that could explode into full-scale riots? Take the time to consider some likely disaster scenarios where you live – this is an important first step in surviving an urban disaster.
Stay or Go?
Disaster movies often show urbanites leaving their ravaged cities in droves, however, the reality is that when a sudden disaster strikes a city, chances are good you’ll need to stay put. In the case of natural disasters such as a storm, you might have an opportunity to get out of town before things get hairy, however, you’ll need to have a plan about where you’re going. Unless you have a safe, personal bug-out spot such as a camp or farm that is located well away from the city, aimlessly heading out on the open road and abandoning your urban home is a very bad idea.
Prepare An Urban Survival Kit
Every home should have a basic survival kit on hand – the San Francisco Emergency Management Department recommends urban-dwellers keep enough food and water in their homes and offices to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. Based on the experiences of survivors of disasters like Hurricane Katrina, keeping a 3-4 week stockpile of food and bottled water on hand wouldn’t be a bad idea – just be sure to date your supplies and rotate them regularly.
Here are some must-have items in an urban survival kit:
– Bottled water and shelf-stable food like energy bars.
– Cash (small denominations) – during a disaster, electronic commerce systems and ATM’s are usually disabled, making in essential to have a stash of cash on hand.
– Personal hygiene items such as toilet paper and wet-naps.
– Basic first aid supplies including sutures, pain-killers and a 7-day supply of any medications.
– Pet survival food for your companion animals.
– An emergency radio and cell phone with a portable charger (battery or solar-powered).
– Copies of personal identification.
Store these items in a survival backpack that you can quickly grab should you need to evacuate. Consider getting extra survival kits for your car and office in case the disaster hits when you’re away from your home. Depending on where you live and your comfort level with firearms, you might want to consider packing a gun or other weapon for self-defense. Just be sure to also include any gun licenses you might need to legally carry these weapons, otherwise, you run the risk of being incarcerated. By learning about what disasters could strike your city and planning ahead, you can safely survive a hurricane, power outage or any other urban disaster.
Canadian Red Cross: http://www.redcross.ca/cmslib/general/parent_brochure.pdf