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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Considerations for Urban Survivalist

Is there really a big divide between the urban/suburban survivalist and those who live in a rural setting? Sure is. And with most of us living in urban/suburban areas, we need to pay special attention to the differences.

Let's give it a run down:

Urban survivalists:
  • Have a small amount of land (house with yard) or no land at all (apartment/condo)
  • Have limited amounts of storage space--a basement if you're lucky, maybe much less if you're in an apartment.
  • Have neighbors who live in their immediate area--right next door, or even completely surrounding them in the case of apartment dwellers.
  • Have great opsec and concealment challenges to deal with--with neighbors twenty feet away, you've got to be especially cautious. No shooting rifles off the back porch.
  • Have a greater likelihood of dealing with large groups of attackers--angry mobs, gangs, etc.
  • Have greater government/law enforcement presence to contend with if these force become an issue (i.e. gun grabbing cops post-Katrina).
  • Have a greater likelihood of dealing with a terrorist attack or opposing force military strike--could be active shooter, N/B/C threats, car bombs, or whatever else the bad guy hadjis dream up.
  • Are more likely to be "gridlocked" in place during a bug out--stuck on the road with the bajillion other evacuees clogging the roadways like a rush hour from hell.
 On the plus side, urban survivalists have some benefits from living in built up areas:
  • Some of those neighbors/community members/thousands of other people who live nearby may be of assistance. With the thousands of people, there's a greater availability of skills--for example, in the city you can find a thousand auto mechanics. In the country, there might only be one or two.
  • Closer proximity to airports and mass transport
  • Closer to a wide variety of stores/shopping.
  • Closer proximity to shipping/receiving points. Shipyards, railyards, warehouses, factories, etc.
  • Closer to medical assistance and emergency responders. We can all fantasize about playing Rambo during a home invasion, but when a half dozen thugs are kicking in your front door, you'll want the whole SWAT team there, pronto.
  • The vast numbers make it easy for you go "grey man" and fade into the background. In a rural/small town, most everyone knows everyone. In the city, no one knows or cares who the heck you are.
  • Endless potential hiding places and firing positions. Read the accounts from guys who have done PSD in Iraq or Afghanistan. Urban areas are a nightmare--no way to check every window, shanty, rooftop or crappy car driving by.
  • Government will intervene more rapidly in a crisis situation--may mean rations, bottled water, medical assistance, etc. You can turn your nose up at it, but if you need it, you'll be glad it's there. Government handouts will limit looting from the hungry/thirsty.
Due to the nature of their area of operations, there are some skills that an urban survivor may want to focus on. A few that come to mind:
  • Rappelling, especially if you live in a particularly built up and densely populated area or a large apartment.
  • People skills/human networking skills. Having and building friendships with people in the right places will get you far in the city.
  • Lock picking
  • Mechanics and electrical repair
  • Grey man/hiding in plan sight strategies and techniques
  • Concealment/camouflage techniques for urban areas
Prep considerations:
  • Cash is more likely to be useful--bribes, purchasing supplies, paying for assistance, getting repairs, renting vehicles, etc. Make it a priority.
  • Firearms battery needs to be able to fight off potentially large groups of attackers. If any hunting is done, it will need to be done very quietly--silenced .22s.
  • Keep your firearm preps low profile. Instead of pelican cases and chest rigs, think nondescript duffel bags and belt set ups or fishing vests.
  • Due to storage constraints, supplies need to be compact, low-space/high yield, and carefully balanced--you can't fill whole storage rooms with TP and paper towels.
  • You'll need to be creative with any caches that you establish--storage units, rental lockers, hidden or plain-sight hides, homes of close friends, etc. 
  • Food self sufficiency will be difficult. Difficult to keep livestock, garden size is limited. Plan accordingly.
  • If you have your stuff squared away and still have leftover space, consider storing some important preps to equip neighbor allies.