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Surviving the Urban Jungle

After major disasters that occur in urban areas, crime waves typically follow. Those individuals that are antagonizing the societal breakdowns are typically the citizens that are ill equipped and unprepared to survive. How can a person survive an urban disaster? Should a person bunker down or evacuate the city? The answer lies in preparedness.

Riots, hurricanes, earthquakes, even severe power outages have all occurred in different cities across the country and have all left their mark upon citizens who dealt with the aftermath. Many urban inhabitants fail to realize how quickly “the system” can deteriorate and collapse around them. Along those same lines, after a disaster, the usual civil nature of  those occupying a city devolves into an unorganized breakdown.

For instance, many remember the 1992 L.A. riots that occurred because of civilian frustrations with the government on a local level. When the civilians were angered about the verdict of a trial of officers, within two hours there were riots, looting, fires and chaos that broke out. Over 50 murders occurred during the L.A. Riots. And, need I not remind you of the breakdowns that occurred following Hurricane Katrina.

These breakdowns of the system eventually lead to waves of crime. Typically those that are creating the chaos are ill-equipped and unprepared to survive in such surroundings and take matters into their own hands. Desperation will be a reason to legitimize aggressive force to steal, loot or kill if need be. The assistance of government agencies could be delayed as they are dealing with the influx of crime and other city related  matters and this could quickly escalate into martial law. Depending on the circumstance, citizens may realize they are on their own and left to fend for themselves. And those that choose to bug out or stay in place may have a major survival situation on their hands.

The most important asset to have in a situation such as this is to have the capable skills and know-how of getting out of harms way. The best advice in surviving the aftermath of a urban disaster would be to stay away from the crowd, keep your head down and immediately seek safety.

If a person must stay in place, having the following disaster items and equipment will make the situation more bearable:

  • Have a emergency plan in place.
  • Stock up on a basic short term food and water supply.  Having a stockpile of food will eliminate the need to go out and brave the crowds.  In addition having alternative cooking sources would be beneficial in that electricity could be cut off (i.e. fuel camping stoves, hot plates, compressed trioxane, etc).  In the event of food shortages that are expected, the skills and equipment to cook without alerting others is a life saving skill to have.
  • Buy emergency items now – This is basically any item that would be of benefit in a survival situation (tent, bug out bags, flashlights, candles, lanterns, etc.)
  • Keep your fuel in your vehicles filled up in case you decide to flee.
  • Prepare to protect your family with different security layers.  Any type of self defense would be beneficial in a situation such as this.  In addition, the family owns firearms, then making sure they are clean and loaded may help ward off unwelcome guests.

Once all resources have been depleted in the city, the remaining occupants will flee the city and survival will become even more arduous. Evacuating the urban areas to safety will be a journey in itself.  Here are some tips to staying safe if bugging out of an urban area:

  • Know your evacuation route and plan before you leave. Having a clear and concise plan will keep you as organized and efficient as possible. In addition, plan for an alternate route.  Let’s be honest, in an emergency situation nothing ever goes as planned. Have maps, GPS or compass to assist in guiding you to safety. Try and stay off the major roads as much as possible. This is where many crimes will take place.
  • Have a planned shelter to go to. Whether it be a family member’s home, a friend or an out of town relative, make plans beforehand.
  • Efficiently pack a 72 hour kit  and if you are evacuating in a vehicle, prepare a vehicle 72 hour kit.
  • Have extra fuel stored and ready to go. Try to anticipate reasons that you would need to stop the car and prepare for them.  Stopping the car makes you vulnerable to the outside and groups that may be around.
  • Expect the unexpected and mentally prepare. Survival is 90% psychology. Mentally preparing oneself, as well as staying flexible to the situation will help a person stay focused on surviving.
  • Most importantly – have a means to defend yourself. If a crowd knows that you are armed, they are less likely to attack.

Surviving the urban jungle is not for the weak-hearted. The reality of the situation is whether you bug out or bug in, there are risks. Those that are looting, stealing and being destructive will more than likely travel in large gangs and could be heavily armed. Therefore, setting up a perimeter and combining forces with others would be advantageous on your part to fight this horde off.  Morals, ethics, religion – all of these are forgotten when a person cannot have their basic needs met. Preparing oneself for the possibility of a urban survival situation will increase your survival chances exponentially.

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on November 18th, 2010