If you’re looking for resources on survival, they’re easy to find — but they’re also often focused on rural or even wildland survival. Entire sites are dedicated to how to set up a survival homestead, get the right gear to live in the woods, or even just get out of the city during a grid-down situation.
But what if you can’t get out? What if the city is all you have?
There are a number of situations that “city folk” could find themselves in that require preparation and survival skills. While many of the skills you need are universal, there are a few others that need tweaking for the situation you’re in. Dealing with a natural disaster, for instance, can be a lot different than dealing with a group of people who’ve decided that they need to take over the part of the city your house happens to be sitting in.
Others might say that getting out of the city is your #1 priority in a disaster, but let’s face it… that might not be possible. This can all depend on the type of situation you’re dealing with, your finances or a number of other things. After all, not everyone can bug out to a mountain retreat that’s all set up to wait out the apocalypse.
No matter what kind of event starts the disaster situation, there’s a good chance that eventually (or even immediately) there will be civil unrest of some kind. Rioting, looting and mob mentality can create an environment just as deadly as any natural disaster. What’s more, that type of problem cannot be fixed with your freeze-dried food and stored water.
It stands to reason then that the most important tool for survival is a means of self-defense. Owning — and being highly proficient with — a firearm is a top consideration. Without it, you cannot as effectively defend yourself or your family.
It’s not enough to have a firearm; you need to train with it extensively. There’s no such thing as overtraining, and the time to be doing it is now. Whether you’re starting from ground zero or a solid level of proficiency, you need more practice. We all do.
Everyone seems to have their own idea of what this means, but it’s more than just being able to recite all the license plates in a parking lot. It comes down to recognizing a potential threat before the threat manifests itself — and having a plan to deal with that threat if potential becomes actual. In most cases, your plan may simply be to avoid the threat completely.
This skill is certainly necessary when you’re out and about in a gathering capacity during a disaster, but it’s also critical in a bigger picture setting before the disaster actually occurs, such as recognizing if your neighborhood is in the path of rioters, knowing alternative (or creative) ways to get from point A to point B, or being able to read a situation that could turn bad quickly.
This is a critical skill even in everyday life, but in a disaster or dangerous situation you need to be able to move without drawing attention to yourself.
Being “the gray man” is a topic all its own, and it doesn’t mean you’re sneaking around. When you’re being inconspicuous, you’re quite visible — just going about your business — but nothing about you is memorable. If asked later, you’re the person no one can really pick out again.
Pay attention to what is considered “normal” in your neighborhood or area and work within that framework. People can often spot an outsider or target very easily, and the fastest way to announce your presence — and make you a target for violence — is to stand out.
Train to the Situation
If you’re living in an urban environment, then your training scenarios should reflect that. Far too many folks drive out to the woods and run around with their faces painted while engaging in mock combat scenarios. The city is a whole different environment. Train to what you’re actually going to encounter; in fact, train for non-combat scenarios too.
A few important skills are as follows:
- Can you make a fire without being obvious?
- If you have a generator (to decide if you need one, click here), how far away can you hear it running?
- What’s your plan if a threat locates you?
- How are your de-escalation skills?
Surviving the urban environment isn’t impossible, but it requires a different set of skills than the camping scenario you may envision you’d be in during a bug-out situation. Learn those skills — and keep training with your firearm.
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