I’ve always thought that a rural home is the best location when the SHTF. But not every prepper lives in a rural area. Then again, what if a rural prepper is in the city for business or shopping, and gets caught there during some disaster? So I think that every prepper should have a plan for survival in an urban area, even if they live in a suburban or rural location.
1. Water is a top priority. In a rural area, you can find water in nature and purify it. In the city, there are too many persons per square mile, and too little open areas that might have water. Even if it rains, the water would not be sufficient. So I suggest keeping at least a gallon or two of water in your car, if you are traveling into the city, along with some water purification tablets in case you find some additional water sources.
If you live in the city, a power outage can mean no water. So storing a significant amount is your best option. They say one gallon per person per day. But in a pinch you can survive on one half gallon of drinking water per day. Try to store a week or two’s worth of water (7 gal/person). If a disaster affects a city for longer than a couple of weeks, you will probably have to bug-out any way.
2. Stored food is something every prepper should have at home. Your car prepping kit should include some food that keeps well. I suggest protein bars, oatmeal breakfast bars, crackers, a small jar of peanut butter, nuts or trail mix, and similar foods. You’re looking for sufficient carbs, protein, and fat, not a full balanced meal.
When the SHTF in the city, if you can do so safely, hit the nearest grocery store(s) right away, before they sell out. Choose wisely what to buy. Don’t load up on refrigerated or frozen items, if it is likely the power will go out. Carbs are most important, then protein. Dietary fat needs are easily met with vegetable oil, which is cheap but may sell out quickly. Go for foods that are high in calories, and simple to prepare without heat or power.
3. Self-defense is difficult in the city. There are too many miscreants within a short distance. And they can approach fairly close to your location without arousing suspicion, because cities are crowded. Your best bet is to lay low. Don’t attract attention to yourself. Try not to make too much noise. If the power is out, and you have a light source, make sure it can’t be seen from outside. (It’s similar to surviving a zombie apocalypse; don’t attract their attention in the first place, since you are outnumbered.)
We here as Prep-Blog are pro-gun and pro-Second Amendment. But I don’t want to get into a long discussion of guns for self-defense in this post. So I’ll just say that owning a legal firearm gives you an important self-defense option, if all else fails.
4. Light: stock up on batteries and flashlights. I use an LED flashlight that lasts up to 80 hours before the batteries need changing. another good option is the lantern-style flashlight that sheds light in all directions. It lights up a room well. Glow sticks have their uses. Toss one in a hallway and another in the bathroom at night, so you don’t have to fumble for a flashlight. The green type are the brightest.
5. Power: You can only do so much with batteries and a crank-up emergency radio. A long-term power outage presents serious problems. Solar and wind options are expensive, and tricky to use. But you might want to invest in a small foldable solar panel, for charging a laptop and cell phone. Full off the grid power for a house is great if you are rural, and can afford it, and can defend it. In the city, you probably don’t have enough access to square footage for more than a simple solar panel in the window. Just another reason to avoid city living or bug-out to a rural location.
6. Communication: When some disaster strikes, if the cell towers are up and running, you still might not be able to get a signal through. Too many callers can overload the local cell towers. But in that situation, sometimes texting still works. Make sure you have a battery-operated cell charger handy, in case your phone needs a boost.
Walkie-talkies are a good option for communicating with family, friends, neighbors if the phones and cell towers are out. Range varies based on the model and the lay of the land. Some models claim up to a 25 mile range, but that’s under ideal conditions.
7. Have a bug-out plan, and a back-up bug-out plan. You can’t survive long-term in the city if the power is out, or some severe disaster afflicts the city for more than a week or two. It’s just too difficult to obtain water and food, restock supplies, and defend yourself, once word gets out that you are well-prepared. Get Out Of Dodge.
A paper map is essential, even if you know your way around the city. You might have to take multiple detours, to avoid trouble. You might need to reassess your destination, if the way or the endpoint is not safe. So you should plot out a few different routes and several safe bug-out locations in advance. Use Google Maps and other internet resources, but plan on using paper maps once the SHTF.