In an urban setting, the major challenges that you will have to face are constraints in space and the people. Living in a crowded city presents many dangers when looking for shelter and storing your supplies. And when catastrophe hits, many people will turn on each other in an act of desperation. So when the time comes, you need to be prepared for it.
Here are 20 urban mistakes that people commit in the advent of a crisis. Avoid doing them by reading on further.
1. Not Having a Bug Out Location
In the event of an evacuation, having a bug out location is a must. Staying in the city, especially if you live in a crowded neighbor, will make it impossible for you to survive since you can’t grow food and you won’t find alternate sources of water. In addition to injury from damaged buildings and infrastructure, you need to get away from the riots that will soon follow.
The perfect bug out location (BOL) is a remote area, either in a small town or in the wilderness. The less people present, the farther away from danger you are. Don’t be completely discouraged from living in the suburbs. It’s safer than the crowded city, as long as you’re careful and stay away from bad neighborhoods.
2. Not Having Enough Fuel in Your Tank
If you need to bug out, it’s better to travel with a full tank of gas, especially if you’re headed into a remote area. And if you need to be always on the move, you wouldn’t be able to go far with an empty tank. Once a SHTF or natural disaster has occurred, gas station lines will be long, there may be a gas shortage, and pumps may not even work at all.
3. Not Having an Escape Route
You need to plan an escape route ahead of time. This requires extensive knowledge of the city and its roads, back alleys, and dead ends. Map at least one to three different routes you could take to get to your BOL. Laminate your maps to keep them waterproof, or put them in a watertight container. This will help you avoid being caught in a traffic jam like everyone else when bugging out.
4. Not Having a Flexible Plan
Some people make the mistake of limiting their preparations to one type of situation only. A good survival plan should plan for small emergencies like breaking your arm, to a full blown crisis like TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it). Have well-thought-out plans for each type of event, so you can be ready for anything.
5. Breaking the Law
When SHTF, all hell will break loose and people will abandon the law to survive. They will resort to breaking into stores or even homes in order to steal. Moral issues aside, you will only be putting yourself in danger if you join them. You may get caught in a riot or get hurt by people who only see a means to an end so prep ahead of time so you can stay away from the danger.
6. Not Knowing How to Escape a Riot
If you end up in the middle of a riot, you need to get out of there immediately. What you need to do is to is move in the same direction as the crowd. Stay close to the walls and watch for the nearest exit. Don’t attract attention to yourself and stay calm. You don’t want to look suspicious. And don’t forget to stay on high alert to attack from any direction.
7. Not Securing Your Home
If you choose to bug in instead of out, your home security must be comprehensive and done in advance of a crisis. Intruders who may be planning to ransack your house will be persistent. Install deadbolts on your doors, make windows smash-proof by using Plexiglas or adding grills or bars, and put motion-activated floodlights near the entrances. Have an escape plan in the event of a fire, smoke, or fumes.
8. Bragging About Your Preps
It’s only natural to feel proud of the hard work you’ve done to prep. But don’t get carried away and show this off to everyone. When disaster strikes, people desperate to survive may remember and try to take your supplies. This puts you in a position to have to fight a neighbor or lose everything you worked to stockpile. Keep in mind that blabbing about prepping can also negatively perceived by others.
9. Talking too Loudly Inside Your Home
In a post-SHTF scenario, it is better to talk in a low voice so as not to attract the attention of potential burglars. It will be safer for you if no one knows you’re inside the house. Soundproof the rooms if you have too, especially if you have an infant in the family.
10. Refusing To Bug Out
In the event of a disaster, you can choose to stay in your home or bug out. Although both have merits, there are situations where an immediate evacuation is a must. If you are facing a natural calamity like a hurricane, refusing to leave your house will be putting yourself in danger. Plan ahead and have a bug out location ready.
11. Not Stocking Up on Water
Water is one thing you can’t survive without so this goes at the very top of your stockpile. Unlike food, you can’t last more than three days without it. When a disaster, such as a typhoon or earthquake threatens to hit, gather as much water as you can. Set aside some water for cooking, washing, doing the laundry, etc. if you can.
12. Not Having Means to Purify Tap Water
Access to clean water should a priority in prepping. In disastrous situations, tap water may be contaminated and become unsafe for drinking. Worse, the pipelines could break and water will stop running. Stock up on some clean water and get yourself a water purifier such as the LifeStraw. It is a portable water filter that can remove almost all waterborne bacteria and parasites.
13. Not Having Survival Skills
Prepping is not only limited to supplies. Learning the right skills is just as important as stockpiling. Apartment living limits the space for your stockpile and makes the probability of bugging out high. In this case, rely more on your survival skills than your supply. With the right skills you can survive a long time with minimal supplies.
14. Not Being in Shape
If you want to make it out alive, you need to be physically fit to do so. You need to have the strength, stamina, endurance, and speed to protect yourself and your family. You can go to the gym, run a few miles in the morning, or just work out at home. Choose whatever’s convenient for you. And being in good shape is not just for prepping for a disaster. It’s for your health too.
15. Not Having an Everyday Carry Kit (EDC)
Disaster may strike at any time and any place. If it happens when you’re outside, having an EDC will be a lifesaver. It doesn’t have to be bulky and can fit in your everyday carry bag or backpack.
16. Not Having a Self-defense Weapon
In the face of a disaster, people will take the law into their own hands. Protect yourself from harm by including a weapon in your EDC. You can use non-lethal ones such as a baton, stun gun, pepper spray, tactical pen, etc. Choose one that suits you and you feel confident in using. If you don’t know how to work it properly though, your attacker can use it against you.
17. Relying too Much on Firearms
Sure, having weapons will be useful for defense and hunting. But, if you’re living in the city, there won’t be any wildlife to hunt. And using it for protection will just attract attention to yourself and some might try to take it from you. It will also be of little value to trade next to food and water. Don’t rely only on one weapon and proper training and practice is a must for the weapon you do carry.
18. Shooting Looters on Sight
Tempting as it may seem, morals aside, shooting them is a bad idea. Using your gun often makes it known to everyone that you have a gun, including those who may want it for themselves. These looters might be armed as well and might fire back at you. I’m not saying not to use guns for defense. Just know when to shoot, such as self-defense, and when it’s unnecessary and actually safer, not to shoot.
19. Not Prepping Your Pets
If you have pets at home, your provisions should include them too. House pets usually depend on their owners for food and shelter, and they will be no different in case of a calamity. Include some pet food in your stockpile. After all, they’re also a part of your family, right?
20. Not Including Your Vitamins
In prepping for your supplies, adding multivitamins on your pile can be easily overlooked. You will need these more than ever post-SHTF. Your diet will be meager and inconsistent. Your multivitamin will keep you healthier amidst the danger and physical exertion you will be facing.
Unlike other situations where you can learn from your mistakes, committing one of these may cost you your life. You might not get a second chance to make things right so don’t leave it for tomorrow to prepare. As a survivalist, it is important to think everything through when prepping. Go through every scenario, anticipate any problems that can arise, and know how to deal with them.
Discuss plans often with your family. Everyone should be aware of the bug out location, evacuation plan, and where the supplies are hidden. They should not depend solely on you because if something happens to you, they will not have a clue what to do. Everyone should take part in prepping. The more heads you have working together, the better ideas will come up when planning and implementing these survival measures.
What other survival mistakes can you think of? Tell us by posting your comments below. Also, you can find more tips on urban survival here.