I recently wrote about 20 skills you can trade after the SHTF, but this time I want to focus on urban survival skills. If you live in the city, these skills could literally save your life during the next major disaster. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, and the skills aren’t in any particular order.
1. Water Procurement and Purification – Of course, this is also an invaluable wilderness survival skill. But in the city, the water is more likely to be contaminated. Make sure you know several ways to purify it. And depending on where you live, water may be harder to find than it is in the wilderness. Even if you live near a stream or a lake, getting to and from it could be dangerous due to thousands of thirsty people with the same idea. To get around this, you could harvest rain water or even dig your own well.
2. Security and Awareness – After the next disaster police will be stretched to the limit so you can expect crime to skyrocket, especially if the city is running low on food. There are many ways to make your home secure and deter burglars, but you also need to practice general awareness skills. Be on alert at all times. Take note of the people around you (such as someone watching/following you), look for things out of the ordinary (like a suspicious vehicle parked near your home), listen for unusual sounds (shouting, running, other noises), notice smells in the air (smoke, gasoline, etc.), know your exits in case you have to escape. Achieving a heightened level of awareness takes practice. It may be paranoid, but paranoia could save your life.
3. Self-Defense and Combat – Even with great home security and awareness, you still might find yourself face to face with a mugger, or worse. While it’s a good idea to have a gun for self-defense, there’s always the chance you’ll get caught off guard. This is when you’ll need some hand-to-hand combat skills. On TV everything looks so simple, but there is much more strategy to fighting than you might realize. Even professional fighters never stop learning. Take a class in mixed martial arts or Krav Maga. There is much more strategy to it than you might realize. With the right skills, even a small person can take down a large attacker.
4. Weapons Training and Safety – If you have a firearm, you need to know how to handle it safely, how to clean it, and how to shoot it. Hopefully you’ll never have to use one in self-defense, but you have to be ready for the possibility, and that means practice. It is easier to miss an attacker than you think. If someone is charging toward you, you’ll only have a couple seconds to raise your gun and fire. Keep that in mind at the gun range. The more experience you have, the better. If you like knives, you may also want to learn about knife fighting. Personally, I don’t consider this a necessity, but there are rare occasions where it could be useful.
5. First Aid and Medical – You probably have a first aid kit, but do you actually know what to do with all that stuff? Remember, hospitals could be overrun during the next disaster, which means the life of a friend or family member could be in your hands. And if you’re the one who has been hurt, you could at least give instructions to others (assuming you’re still conscious). So take a class in first aid and make sure your medical supplies don’t go to waste.
6. Handyman Skills – Knowing how to fix things around the house could be crucial after the SHTF. Keep in mind that there are several types of disasters that could damage your home. If that happens, plumbing, electrical, and carpentry skills could mean the difference between having a place to stay and a place you’re forced to leave. Additionally, you may be able to use these skills to build alliances with neighbors. Check out The Family Handyman.
7. Equipment Repair – Unfortunately, most young people don’t know how to fix things. This is the result of a society where it’s so easy to charge replacement items to the credit card and have them on the doorstep in a matter of days. But there may come a time when people can’t get replacements and have to fix the things they have: generators, radios, flashlights, camp stoves, filtration systems, appliances, etc. Find and organize all your repair manuals, and learn how to fix your survival gear because you may not be able to order replacements.
8. Vehicle Repair – As with the last point, less and less people know to to fix them. Get plenty of spare parts for your main vehicle and learn how to install them. Here’s a great article to get you started. Also, you may want to learn how to hotwire a car in case you find yourself stranded somewhere and need to start an abandoned vehicle.
9. Haggling and Negotiating – After an economic collapse, mini flea markets will spring up all over the place. Day to day life may go on, but many people won’t be able to afford new things. They’ll have to buy used items and possibly barter their own items. If you find yourself in that situation, knowing how to haggle could get you the things you need to survive. But like any other skill, it takes practice.