An urban prepper has to deal with much more problems when it comes to preparedness and survival, compared to their fellow preppers, living in small communities. They have to deal with limited space and always keep an eye on their neighbors as they never know who might be a friend or a foe, in a time of crisis. The strategies presented in this article are designed for the preppers living in large cities and are intended to give them an upper hand and increase their chances of survival.
We have to acknowledge from the start that living in an urban environment isn’t ideal and it will decrease your chances to survive a disaster. Urban survival is difficult because you have to consider many factors and it requires much more work and preparation in order to be able and face a disaster. An urban prepper needs to keep a good eye on the environment and be on constant alert.
For some, bugging out will be the only chance of survival, while for others, hunkering down and defending their fort will be their first and only choice to keep their family safe. It all depends on various factors and anyone may choose what to do, according to his situation. Regarding how to hunker down you can find in this article the main questions you should ask yourself before taking a decision. I recommend reading it, because it provides valuable information and it may help you to decide if you need to bug out or bug in.
Here are the strategies you should consider if you are an urban prepper:
1. Every urban prepper needs to Learn How to Listen
Before something occurs, there are always signs and information out there that you need to discover before it’s too late. Learning how to use a police scanner can be a valuable tool for an urban prepper if evacuation is the main choice. A police scanner will alert you to where the disaster has occurred, if it’s spreading, what are the social implications and if there is more danger coming along with it. I recommend having a police scanner rather than getting an app for your phone, because you never know when the cell networks or the internet will go down. Another method to listen to the outside world is a HAM radio and it might prove even better than the police scanner and here is why. HAM radio operators will report from the scene or its vicinity and they will not filter out any information, they will say it how they see it. You can get much more valuable information from radio operators rather than from the police. Do you think the police are unaware of people tuning in on their frequency? They know all about it, and in case of a major disaster, they are trained to spread the information in a manner that shouldn’t cause panic and shouldn’t provide all the information. Learn how to operate a police scanner and a HAM radio and you will be able to know both sides of the story, before you act.
2. An urban prepper should know how to jump start a car
In an urban environment, if you need to bug out, learning how to jumpstart a car can prove vital. Your car will be your best option if you decide you need to bug out fast. Walking and running is not an option in an urban environment unless you are well trained and there isn’t anything that can slow you down (bug-out bag weight, family members to care for, civil unrest, etc.). If you care breaks down you will need to abandon it and get yourself a new one, and since renting will be out of the question, breaking into a car and jumpstarting it will be your only hope of making it out of the city. There are some things you can do before using this method as a last resort: first make sure your car is well maintained, second, learn how to deal with simple problems and have a basic understanding of general maintenance, and third, if you’re not fond of the idea to steal a car, have a second mean of transportation as a backup plan (a good bicycle would be ideal for an urban prepper).
Related reading: What can you chose as a Bug Out Vehicle?
3. Keep your bug-out bag in reach
In the city, even during a normal working day, time is of the essence, you have to make sure you’re not late for your appointments; you have to time your brake and so on. Imagine how important time is for an urban prepper during a crisis, especially when you have to evacuate and you are under constant pressure. The last thing you want to do is to search for your bug-out bag or go home and get it. You might not have this luxury and you have to keep your bug out bag within reach at all times. You should have a bug out bag in your home and a bug out bag in your car, since you never know when disaster might strike. Some urban preppers prefer to have a small bag at their work place with everything they need for 24 hours. This is a good idea because, your bug out bag is always within reach and you don’t risk losing it if someone breaks in your car. You never have to assume that you will make it back home and get everything you need from there, it doesn’t work like that and it’s better to be prepared. However, if you do make it home, you can consider it as a bonus because you will have more supplies to take away with you.
4. Have an emergency plan for every member of your family
An emergency plan is something that we should all have, regardless if we bug-out or we bug-in. It should cover many aspects of a possible disaster and everyone from your family should have a role in it. An emergency plan is a must for an urban prepper. Here is what a basic emergency plan needs to cover depending on the choice you have:
- Have a bug-out bag ready
- Make sure your utilities are turned off before leaving the house
- Learn the escape routes and communicate them from time to all family members
- Have your escape vehicle well maintained and ready to go
- Have meeting points established for each escape route
- Make sure you have a communication device
- Make sure you have a protection item with you
- An urban prepper needs to have a bug-out location
- An urban prepper should secure water in the last minute (fill your bathtub with water)
- Cut off the utilities that might pose a problem (like the gas line)
- Tune in and listen, there might be a sudden development that forces you to bug-out
- Make sure you are self-sufficient, that you have enough food and water to last you for a long time and a solution for afterwards
- Have a solution ready for heating and generating electricity
- You need to have a first aid kit designed for various types of emergencies
- Make sure your home is protected
Of course that an emergency plan covers much more than this, but each plan is drawn based on various factors such as: location, resources, family members count, knowledge and skills, etc. As an urban prepper, you should have at least what’s described above to cover a good start and survive.
5. Make your own food
If you live in an urban environment your best choice for producing your own food is container gardening. You should learn how to do it as it doesn’t require large plots of land to grow your own crop and it can be a relaxing activity that keeps you sane in harsh times. Container gardening is not expensive and you can make your own container gardening kits following YouTube tutorials. During a disaster, container gardening will help an urban prepper to add a little extra to the survival pantry and they will go by with the limited supplies they have access to. At some point in time, lack of food will become a serious problem for an urban prepper and if you don’t manage to grow your own, you will have to scavenge for it.
6. As an urban prepper you should know the city and conquer it
This is a critical thing for an urban prepper and although it may seem common sense for many of the readers, for the people living in the city, time is running much faster and most of them lost their exploring senses. We go by every day without noticing what is around us and we miss seeing important things that someday might prove useful. If you live in the city you must explore it and know your way around it, learn the major roads and intersections, learn the back alleys and how to get from point A to point B without using the main roads. As an urban prepper you shouldn’t rely on your phone for navigation, take time and let yourself be lost in the city and find ways to reach your point of destination. Knowing your city will help you evacuate faster, but it will also help you scavenge for supplies in case you need to. If you are familiar with The Walking Dead TV show, you might remember that Glenn Rhee is the best supply runner and it is all due to his knowledge of every short cut in Atlanta, since he was a pizza delivery boy. Leaving the show and science fiction aside, knowing your environment is critical for every survival situation. You don’t want to get lost in the city or be unable to reach your family in case of a disaster.
7. Power is what you need, but when to use it?
Cooking and heating will be two of the major problems for any urban prepper if utilities shut down and in an urban environment you will have to struggle twice as much, since gathering firewood and cooking over a campfire is not an option. Some preppers decide to go with slow and low burning fuel sources, but eventually, you will run out of fuel and that means two things: you either find another way for cooking and heating or your go out and scavenge for fuel. As an urban prepper, you need to find ways to be able to cook and heat your home without attracting unnecessary attention. If you will have to hunker down for a long period of time, try getting a solar cooker and heating sources that don’t make noise or bright light. You can look online and investigate about the fuel source available, portable power generators, etc.
8. As an urban prepper, you should bet on water filters rather than storing water
If you live in the city, chances are you have a limited household space (an urban prepper will often complain about this) and you have to make the best use out of it. Storing water requires a lot of space and filling your apartment with water might not be such a good idea. In urban environment one of your first problems will be the stoppage of running water and you have to find ways to make sure you have enough of it. The first thing to do when a disaster strike, is to fill your bathtub with water and at the same time fill all the empty containers you can find in your house. This way, you will not use the water supplies you’ve stored and you will have a good start before you have to face dehydration or any other problem. It’s safer to bet on having numerous portable water filters and learning how to make rain catchers, that you can attach outside of your windows. Another option, especially for an urban prepper, is to procure a device that makes water out of air, as it will be very useful when your water supplies are running low.
9. Guns & Ammo will keep an urban prepper safe
If an urban prepper decides to hunker down, he will need to have at least two firearms and the appropriate ammo for home protection. They will become a guard dog that keeps you safe from home invaders. There is a lot of debate on the internet, when it comes to how much guns and ammo you should store in order to face a crisis. Personally, I think that you need a firearm for every family member that is able to use one and has a good practice with it. When it comes to ammo, I think that 1000 rounds are more than enough since, hopefully, you won’t have to use that many. As an urban prepper, you won’t be able to go hunting, so sinking all your money into guns and ammo is a waste of resources. It’s better to invest your money in food and power items, since bullets don’t taste that great and they will surely not keep you warm during cold times. Home protection is really something you need to consider, because after every disaster there is a lot of looting taking place, there are all sorts of self-proclaimed leaders that appear and impose their rules, and sooner or later you will have to deal with them if you don’t stay under the radar.
10. Doctors are not everywhere these days
They say the world is full of doctors and lawyers, but during a crisis you will find out it’s nothing like that. You will have water and food and you will be able to get by with what you’ve stockpiled, but what happens when you get ill or injured? This is one of the major concerns among the majority of urban preppers I’ve talked with and the only solution we have is to learn about self-healing and take as many first aid classes as possible. In an urban environment you are prone to more injuries than rural environments and anything from debris, projectiles or sharp objects can leave a nasty mark during a disaster. This is why is vital to learn how to disinfect and treat a wound and how to make the best use of your first aid kit. Learning about sanitation and disinfection techniques will come in handy for an urban prepper when medical aid is not available and you have to stop bacteria and disease from spreading. Having good first aid knowledge and stockpiling on medicine will prove useful, regardless the nature of the disaster.
You may also like this article: Treating burns during a crisis, without medical aid.
Stay Safe and God Bless!
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