Urban survival has its own set of challenges. You have limited space to stockpile or grow your own food, nosy neighbors, gangs, burglars and all kinds of people who will not hesitate to hurt you for some cash, a gun or even a loaf of bread.
Today I want to talk to you about some of the biggest survival mistakes urban preppers make. The good news is that most of them are very easy to fix and don’t cost you a penny. I don’t like spending too much money (primarily because I don’t have it) so, in time, I learned to hunt for the things that are the cheap and useful.
#1. Talking too loud inside your own home
Urban walls have more ears than suburban or rural ones, that’s for sure. Right when you’re telling your spouse to get a few extra cans of pink salmon (one of the canned foods with the longest shelf life, by the way), your neighbor happens to pass by and hears everything. Your cover is blown.
You should be extra weary when talking inside your own home and that goes double post-collapse. In fact, if no one knew you’re inside your apartment after it hits, that would be ideal. You’ll need to whisper, you might even need to tiptoe and you’re definitely gonna want to take your crying baby in the most soundproof room of the house.
#2. Not stockpiling water when it happens
As soon as you hear that something’s wrong… that a blackout, a hurricane or any kind of disaster is threatening your city, as long as you’re not bugging out, one of the first things you should do is turn on the bathtub and kitchen sink faucets to gather as much water as humanly possible before it runs out.
You will need the extra water for cooking, washing up, doing laundry, cleaning wounds etc… without having to leave your apartment and expose yourself to what’s happening outside.
#3. Not having any means of purifying water
If you’re bugging in, who knows what kind of water you’ll be forced to drink. Maybe it’s from the snow that paralyzed the entire city. Maybe it’s from a pond or a pool nearby. Heck, even the tap water you stockpiled might get contaminated in time.
You need to have at least a couple of ways to purify it… A LifeStraw or a black Berkey water filter should do the trick but you’ll also want to think about boiling it if you can.
#4 Bragging about your preps
Hunger is a dangerous decision maker. It will turn society upside down and the ones who have food into victims.
Your best option is NOT to defend your food / supplies. But to conceal them.
And this would be too late if 2 weeks ago you bragged about your preps to one of your neighbor while chit-chatting.
#5. Not focusing on your skills
When you live in a tiny apartment, you’re gonna have to compensate your lack of stockpiles with skills. Knowing where to find food and water, escaping a riot or being a very good driver are just a few of the things you need to master.
#6. Bugging out too late
When I was only 4, I survived the Romanian revolution of 1989. My dad was deployed in one of the countries’ hotspots). My mom didn’t think twice: we and our close neighbors quickly bugged out to a low key location nearby until it was safe to come back. Fortunately, nothing happened to our apartment but… it could have… and that’s enough reason to abandon it.
Recent events in Ukraine and the Middle East are showing us how entire families are trapped inside cities and end up dead simply because they didn’t bug out when they were supposed to. The question you really need to ask yourself is this: is my home more important than my life?
#7. Being out of shape
Since the chances of an urban bug-in are significantly less than suburban or rural bug-ins, city dwellers need to be in shape if they’re going to avoid riots and thugs and get out of their cities. While rural preppers have at least 2-3 firearms, a fortified home and food to last them a few years, city dwellers have none of that and they are forced to compensate by improving their skills.
Get into shape just a little bit by practicing the so-called functional fitness, were you focus not just on strength but also on stamina, endurance, flexibility and explosiveness. With all the gyms in your city, surely you can find time between your job and your family to work out a couple of times a week. If not, you can still train at home with nothing more than your bodyweight and a pair of dumbbells. Plus, a lot of this “functional fitness” requires you to walk, run, swim or do other aerobic and anaerobic activities you might enjoy.
#8. Neglecting your pets
You would think pets are irrelevant when disaster strikes because you’ll have more important things to worry about. Not necessarily true.
First, it’s hard to abandon a 5 years old companion. Second, a dog (for example) may save your life.
And pets are going to bring you a lot of joy post-collapse when you won’t have smartphones and the Internet. They’re also going to play a crucial role by helping family members who are in shock or traumatized.
I’m not saying you need a one year stockpile of dog food but a mini bug out bag is not hard to assemble. It’s the least you can do to guarantee that Lucky is going to make it to protect you from bad guys and give you early warning systems of impending dangers.
#9. Not knowing how to escape a riot
To make matters worse, a lot of people stick around and watch the fighting, like it’s a wrestling game or something. They never think they can end up in the middle of the action in seconds. You need be able to escape if you’re caught in the middle of a riot, to be able to find shelter if getting home is impossible, what to do if you’re hit by tear gas and much, much more.
At the very least, you should never stand out from the crowd. Move in the same direction as the rioters, stay close to the walls and hide in the shadows of buildings if it’s night time. If everyone’s running, you need to run too. If everyone’s moving at a slow pace, you need to do the same. If someone’s picking on you asking for money, it’s probably best to comply.
#10. Not having a bug out location
I hope that by now is clear that, when disaster strikes, you’ll probably be on the move. But going to your aunt in another city might prove just as dangerous. Events such as the Ferguson riots and the Baltimore unrest showed us that anger can spread from city to city quicker than wildfire.
What you need a bug-out location either in a really small town or in the wilderness, preferably less than 100 miles away so you can still get to it on foot if you’re gonna have to abandon your vehicle on the way there.
Tip: consider the train tracks for bugging out. Few people are gonna think of using them and they might just take you right to your BOL.
#11. Not knowing your city by heart (and the SHORTCUTS)
New Orleans – just a few hours before Katrina – everybody headed for the highway. (Picture)
Houston – just a few hour before Rita – everybody headed for the highway.
In almost any disaster, a lot of people will head for the highway. Inevitably this will lead to traffic congestion. You don’t want to be trapped between cars. So one of the things that you should have in mind is to be there first, before heal breaks loose. Knowing the streets and especially the not very well known SHORTCUTS will give you a plus!
Tip: In New Orleans – Motorists were able to flee the city in a matter of minutes.
#12. Not having enough fuel in your tank
Well, if you get caught in a traffic jam while trying to leave the city, you’ll need a lot more fuel than usually. In the picture from Katrina (above) you can see cars on the side of the road. Well that’s what happens if you make this mistake.
Well, those were my tips. I could have added a lot more to the list but I decided to stick to those that I believe to be important. If you’re interested in more tips, check out this article I wrote on my blog a while back.