Guidelines for Urban Survival

General guidelines – for urban survival: Keep your preparations secret.  Do not brag to neighbors, friends, etc.  Know your neighbors; be friendly  Avoid attracting attention to yourself, but watch for like-minded people with whom you can ally.

Know the location of your local water sources; for example, fountains, ponds, streams and reservoirs. In apartment buildings, the water systems including piping, water heaters and toilet tanks can hold a substantial amount of water.  In multi-story buildings, there are large volumes of water in the fire sprinkler systems.  In cold climates, some fire sprinkler systems contain anti-freeze.  If you live in a multi story apartment building, become familiar with the building utilities, particularly the water and sewer systems.

Do not run generators or show light at night.  If you have lights, put up blackout curtains.  You can improvise them from blankets or other heavy materials. Noise from generators will attract attention. There is a saying in the military, “If I can find your MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) trash, I can find your base”.  This also applies if your neighbor sees your trash.  He knows what you are eating.  What are you doing with your trash?  Can your neighbors see where you are throwing your food wrappers?  Burn your paper waste and bury what is noncombustible.  Can your neighbor smell your food cooking?

Know the parks in your area and vacant lots.  There will be a surprising amount of wild food available. Remember that pigeons are edible, and not hard to catch.

Know the best routes out of your nieghborhood, in case you have to bug out.


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4 Responses to Guidelines for Urban Survival

  1. Peter says:

    To check your neighbourhood or surrounding areas, i use google maps or earth.
    You can see which neighbours have swimming pools, or other water areas, it is a great tool before exploring by foot.


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  3. ke4sky says:

    After the 9/11 terrorist attack the Arlington County, VA Office of Emergency Management began offering training in “Disaster Survival Skills for the Urban Environment” to municipal employees and community volunteer groups such as Community Emergency Response Teams and Neighborhood Watch. The Powerpoint program orientation used to introduce the program prior to “Disaster Weekend” at the fire academy may be downloaded at:


    Why teach “survival” in the city?
    Catastrophes vs. disasters
    This is about your family SURVIVAL, not volunteering
    Priorities for human survival
    Break-out sessions:
    Shelter construction
    Fire making
    Equipment and supplies
    Social implications of disasters
    Personal security concerns

    Disaster V. Catastrophe
    Disasters are short term
    “Make do for 3-4 days until help arrives…”
    Catastrophic events are long term
    Katrina-scale hurricane, tsunami, earthquake
    Terror attack, pandemic, nuclear detonation, dirty bomb
    No help is coming soon, “you are on your own”

    Complete loss of civil infrastructure
    Minimal or no police, fire or EMS response
    No electricity, municipal water, communications
    Transport of fuel / food is severely impaired
    Public safety agencies will be overwhelmed
    Recovery is long term (over 30 days)

    What the military survival schools teach:
    Seven Priorities For Survival
    “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”
    Positive mental attitude
    First Aid / Sanitation

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