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Everything has changed. We just haven’t all had a chance to absorb it yet. For a long time, preppers used to talk about the possibility of moments just like these. It’s not to say we are out of time, but everyone should enhance their preparedness posture.
Those who live in urban environments are at the greatest risk. However, building an urban survival emergency kit can go a long way in keeping you out of harm’s way and keeping your family safe.
Preparing for Urban Survival Scenarios
If you are living in an urban environment, then you have to contend with both the disaster scenario and the dense population that surrounds you. It is not enough just for you to be prepared, because you have to also consider the actions of others.
While a city can be battered by mother nature, affected by terrorism or violence, or even shuttered like in 2020, it always goes back to how the people respond. Your survival emergency kit needs to be designed to deal with bugging in or spending long periods of time at home without leaving.
Right now, we have concerns about the potential of an economic collapse, food shortages, and even war. In the streets of many of our major cities, people are terrified by the rise in crime, homelessness, drug use, and overall chaos.
There is the potential future to prepare for, but also the current situations we face.
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Creating Your Urban Survival Kit
Anytime you create a survival kit, it has to be about YOU. So many people look for lists they can follow. You could argue that much of our problems come from this strange idea that we should have someone or something to follow.
Now, there are overall areas of consideration that you should consider. I call it the base level of preparedness. Your ultimate urban survival emergency kit should at least address the following:
- Backup Power
- Home Security
- First Aid
How you store water, power your home, secure your property—these are all your choices; they are not mine to make for you. We will always make recommendations and tell you about tools that work for us, but in the end, you have to build a kit that works for you.
Any emergency that lasts more than three days is enough to be life threatening if you do not have access to clean water. You need to have clean drinking water stored in your household.
- Containers for Storing Water (Water Bricks)
- Bottled Water
- Emergency Water Packets
- Sawyer Water Filter
- Emergency Fuel for Boiling Water (jet boil, camping stoves, propane)
- HydroBlu Pressurized Jerry Can or other water filter
- Rain Catchment, where possible
Your survival kit should have some ready to eat emergency foods inside. These kinds of food can be purchased or made at home. Beef jerky, granola, high calorie survival bars, and dry fruit are all great examples of food that you can keep on hand in a survival kit.
One of my favorites is a jar of peanut butter! Peanut butter on crackers is loaded with fat, protein, and calories.
Store the ready to eat foods that you enjoy most. Don’t put anything in your survival kit that you won’t use or won’t work for your family.
In an emergency, you are going to want some form of power. If the power is shut off to your home or if you lose power completely, then you need answers. I am a huge proponent of gas generators. Now, you cannot stick a gas generator into a survival kit.
You can stick powerbanks in an emergency survival kit. You could even get away with a small battery bank or solar generator.
No matter which routes you take you should have some options for backup power in your emergency survival kit.
- Rechargeable Batteries (AAA, AA)
- Large 20,000 MhA battery banks
- USB Powered radios, fans, lights
Home security is a very personal topic. You have to really think about what you want to do with security. Some people will take to the idea of huddling up in a safe room while others will want to address the threat head on.
In your ultimate urban emergency survival kit, you should have security solutions. You should have a self-defense weapon. Access to cameras or even a secondary means of communication to call 911 can be a literal lifesaver.
The survival kit itself might be best stored inside of a secure room, safe room, or shelter in place location. You should identify this location for the purpose of home defense.
Your first aid or medical kit portion of the emergency survival kit is useless without a quality reference. There are many out there, but a highly effective and affordable one is The Prepper’s Medical Handbook. This incredible guide to off grid medicine and diagnosis is perfect for the emergency survival kit.
You can also begin to build up your own cache of medical gear. There are a number of things that you can buy, and this will help your medical preparedness. The list below comes from the author of this book.
- Spenco Bandage
- Waterproof Tape
- Sam Splint
- Elastic Bandage 2″
- Elastic Bandage 3″
- Elastic Bandage 6″
- Triple Antibiotic Ointment
- Hibiclens Surgical Scrub
- Opcon-A Opthamalic Drops
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Clotrimazole Cream 1%
- Dental Kit
- Nitrile Gloves
- Irrigation syringes 30ml
- Needle Holder 6″
- Tissue Forceps
- Ethilon 3-0 Nylon Sutures
- Ethilon 5-0 Nylon Sutures
- Percogesic Tablets
- Ibuprofen Tablets 200mg
- Diphenhydramine Tablets 25mg
- Bisacodyl Tablets 5mg
- Tagamet Acid Reducer
- 3ml Syringes / 25ga.
- Aspirin 81mg Chewable tablets
- CAT Gen7 Tourniquet
- TacMed SOFTT-W Tourniquet Gen4
- #11 Scalpel
- Disposable Skin Stapler
- Oral Thermometer
- Potable Aqua
- Mylar Blanket
- Triangular Bandage
- Steri Strips
- Petroleum Jelly
- Chest Seals
- Tegaderm Waterproof / Breathable Dressing
It might seem counterintuitive to talk about evacuations when you are talking about building a survival kit. That is just not the case. You see, your survival kit should contain all the things you need to survive an emergency.
What happens if that emergency requires you leave your home? Shouldn’t you have something in or around that kit that makes it much easier to do that? Of course you should.
When you evacuate, there are things that you will take. I prefer the fireproof locked document bag that contains all of our important information.
- Proof of Ownership
- Birth Certificates
- And so on…
If you have all of this and some cash in one place, then when it’s time to go you can get a hold of it easily. Naturally, this should be close to your survival kit or maybe even part of it.
Emergency communication tends to scare people. It really comes down to a couple questions.
- Who do you want to communicate with?
- How do you want to communicate with them?
I want to call my spouse on a cell phone and tell them we are home safe. But what if cell service doesn’t work?
There are severe limitations to emergency communications in a grid down situation. There are people you will probably never hear from again in the worst case scenarios. However, when it comes to family you can do a few things.
- Backup Satellite Phones (these may or may not work depending on the emergency)
- Two Way Radios
- GMRS Radio
- HAM Radio
- Mesh Networks
The Sum of its Parts
Your survival kit is the totality of all of these pieces. Your “kit” does not need to all exist in one Rubbermaid container. It doesn’t have to all be shoved into a single waterproof case. Instead, your survival kit should be made up of all these pieces that we have discussed, and they should be used to further your preparedness.
I would recommend that all of these things at least be kept relatively close together. I would also recommend that you store these items in a way that makes them easy to move around. This is helpful in an emergency if you need to move them to a safe room. It is also helpful if you decide it is time to get out of dodge.
You wanna be loading bins into your vehicle rather than loading individual pieces in a bug out situation.
Kits for Kids
When it comes to teaching kids about emergency preparedness, the very best thing you can do is get them involved. Make them feel essential. This is how you generate ownership of preparedness in your home. You can do the same with your spouse.
As part of our own emergency kit, we have a blackout kit that contains backup power and backup lights. I keep that kit in a hard case with a handle and everyone in the house knows where it is at. When the lights go out, the first person who can get to it will grab it and start handing out flashlights. Our kids love it.
The very best way to put your children at ease during an emergency or disaster is to give them something to do. Give them a job and a responsibility so they have more to focus on then just the problem at hand.
You can also create mini versions of kits with your kids and include all the of the things we discussed. Two way radios for comms can make a blackout much more fun. A simple medical setup for kids can help teach them all about things like pressure bandages and tourniquets.
The more they can build their own kit with you, the better.
A child’s kit is best stored in a backpack. This way it can double as a bug out bag. They can be prepared to go at moment’s notice and have things in their survival kit that they will need either at home or in a situation where you are forced to leave home.
Camelback, Jansport, and REI are some great brands for children’s backpacks. My kids carry a 3Vgear Redline Surge. It’s a great little pack that has hydration built in.
Get Ready to GO!
When you are preparing emergency and survival kits in the urban environment, you have to understand that there is also the option to leave. This is why evacuation is on the base level preparedness list. You can call it bug out or whatever you like.
The truth is that along with that emergency survival kit, you need a plan to get out of the city if things get overwhelming. This plan will likely include parts of your emergency survival kit. This is why it is good to have a number parts to your ultimate kit. You can be more agile in an emergency.
There are situations where you will simply have to GO. So be prepared for that, too.
No matter what you wind up putting together and calling your urban emergency survival kit, make sure it is uniquely designed to help you and yours. Use my base level of preparedness as a framework, but add the things that your family cherishes and needs to be safe, healthy, and happy.
Every home in America should have an emergency survival kit. If you can sit down and build one with your kids, then you are doing something wonderful for them. You are also providing your family with a plan and a confidence in the safety of their home.
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