Statistically, 80.7% of people live in urban areas. However, living in a city is very different from being able to survive there in a TEOTWAWKI scenario. Depending on the crisis, you might have to flee or go underground. Surviving in an urban environment poses different challenges than a rural or natural one. The wilderness and scarcely populated rural areas are quite similar in terms of threats, means and possible solutions.
However, living in the city is very different and you should be prepared to adapt to such an environment. Most preppers will avoid cities as much as possible, but you have to go every now and then. What will you do if SHTF while you’re in the middle of a city, visiting a relative, buying something, or with some other business? Would you be able to make it out unscathed? Would you be able to find cover or shelter in time? Here are 5 urban survival tips that could save your life.
#1 Move fast before exit routes get blocked
Urban areas have high population density and can get clogged easily. There are a lot of people per square foot and the infrastructure was never designed for mass evacuation. Once SHTF, everybody will try to get out, using whatever means of transportation are still available. It is likely that every exit will be blocked very quickly.
Be ready to move out quick. Have your bug out bag ready and accessible. If you’re in a group, make sure everyone is prepared and aware of the plan and rendevous points. As a general rule, keep moving. Don’t stop to think or discuss matters, and don’t waste time on debating. Focus on surviving.
#2 Be prepared for environmental hazards
The urban landscape is filled with potential dangers. Damaged buildings can produce a lot of debris in the air, from toxic gases like asbestos, to smoke, dust, glass, bricks and pieces of concrete. Make sure you have appropriate protective gear. You’ll need a long sleeve shirt, strong pants and sturdy shoes. This will help protect you from jagged or burning debris. You could consider adding some special protective gear for your eyes, ears, hands and breathing.
#3 Be a “grey” person
This means you want to be as inconspicuous as possible. You don’t want to draw any attention to yourself and go as unnoticed as you can. This will help in blending in with crowds if you’re trying to escape a pursuer and you’ll be less likely to be singled out. This is basic common sense; however, it’s worth going through it one more time, just to be safe.
You should wear normal looking clothes. Don’t wear camouflage, strong colors or anything unusual. Remove any military style logos from your gear or clothes. Never open your bug out bag in a public area. People will notice your survival gear, your cover will be blown, and you’ll be facing a very difficult decision. Do you share and hope that you’ll find some more provisions along the way, or do you try to fend them off?
Last but not least, you should avoid looking people directly in the eye, and conceal any other survival gear you might have.
#4 It’s better to look like a threat than a target
In urban environments you will probably encounter a lot of people. Some of them will be desperate, aggressive, and very dangerous. It’s better to not look like an easy target.
Try travelling in a group, and have a weapon at hand for self defense. It could be anything from a pepper spray or small artisanal baton. Showing that you have some means of defending yourself will probably discourage most attackers. Be on a look out for people tracking or following you. Always be aware of your environment.
Any living being will be more aggressive under stress, and humans make no difference. As you are forced to fight for your life, your humanity and morals gradually fade away, leaving room for the survival instinct to kick in. This happens to everyone, especially if they haven’t prepared for such stressful circumstances.
#5 Don’t go with the crowd
When disaster strikes, 99% of people will be sitting ducks. They won’t know or understand what’s happening, and they’ll never see it coming. Make sure you think for yourself and stick to what you know. Just because a mob is heading one way, doesn’t mean they’ll make it out alive. However, you could use such opportunities to travel unnoticed. Just make sure you know where your group is going and be on alert.
Putting these five tips in practice could make the difference between life and death, surviving and not. It will be worth your while to be aware of these precautions whenever you are going through a city. If you’re travelling by car, make sure you’ve got your bug out bag with you. You might have to ditch the car, but at least you’ll have what you need to get out of there alive. Always focus on the safest place you can get to and follow your instincts, not just the path of least resistance.
Have you had any urban survival practice or training, so far? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.