What Is Urban Survival? Here’s What You Need To Know

What Is Urban Survival? Here’s What You Need To Know

Most people these days are city dwellers who live, work, and study in cities. They know the city like the back of their hand and can easily complete their day-to-day tasks without seeking help from anyone or panicking. 

 However, what happens when disaster strikes? Disasters can be of many kinds — wildfires, earthquakes, war, widespread riots, political unrest, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, etc. are just some common examples of what a disaster might look like. 

 While many people learn about wilderness survival, no one bothers to learn about urban survival, which is far more important and useful than surviving in the wild. So, what happens when city dwellers are trapped in a city with dwindling resources, a lack of law and order and a population of desperate people? That’s what urban survival is all about. 

What Is Urban Survival?

Urban survival is the set of skills that ensure that a person living in a city will be able to survive widespread disasters of any kind that might paralyze the normal workings of the city. A very good example of such a disaster is the coronavirus pandemic, which prompted a mass panic that caused people to hoard things from toilet paper rolls to water bottles — all in the name of urban survival.

Most people confuse urban survival with wilderness survival. However, both of them are completely different things. A person who can easily survive getting lost in the woods cannot easily survive riots in a densely-populated city. 

Urban survival deals with making the most of the resources available to residents of a modern city. It also includes information on how to find the means to survive while being surrounded by people who might be very desperate and panicked.

In addition, it also ensures that when the worst happens, urban survivalists know what needs to be done, so they do not have to take extreme measures to ensure their survival and safety and that of their loved ones.


What You Need To Know About Urban Survival

Urban survival is not complicated, nor does it require you to use any complicated gadgets or be in peak physical shape at all times. It’s a series of steps that ensure a common city dweller will be able to survive a mass disaster in a city at any time. 

So, what are the most important aspects of urban survival? Let’s find out. 

Having Access To Drinkable Water

They say one can survive without food for an extended period of time, but one cannot survive without water. This is something most people do not think about much when they live in the city and have clean water delivered to them every step of the way without any effort. 

However, when the city undergoes a situation that drains it of resources or causes destruction to the infrastructure that causes its citizens to not have clean water, that’s when the real problem begins. 

The first part of urban survival is preparedness. One can hunker down and survive for long periods of time if they are prepared. The easiest way to obtain water when a person has none is to use a sillcock key. A sillcock key is a cheap and easy instrument that allows a person to access the tap water from other buildings from the outside. 

If the water in a particular building runs out, the person can use a sillcock key to open the tap located on the outside of most buildings that supply water to those buildings. It is a cheap and easy tool to find in most hardware stores. 

 Some people also install a rainwater harvesting system to collect rainwater by installing a catchment system that allows them to use that water in time of need. 

 Other people use water from natural sources such as lakes, ponds, and rivers and purify them by using purification tablets, boiling, bleaching or by using a portable water filter.


Having Access To Food

Being prepared allows a person to have access to nutritious food in a time when none is available to other people. In addition, there’s a greater chance of getting hurt when someone hits the department stores or the nearby supermarkets for food rations as hundreds of other people will be doing the same. 

 Store some ready-to-eat foods such as granola bars that are high in energy or freeze-dried food that only requires water to become edible. Other things a person can store in their survival rations are canned foods or peanut butter because it’s high in energy and doesn’t take up much space. 

 One should always make sure there’s variety in the food rations or appetite fatigue may occur, especially in children. Appetite fatigue is when eating the same thing every day causes a person to not develop an appetite at all, resulting in weakness and more susceptibility to diseases. 

 Make sure to keep any food allergies that a person might have in mind when rationing food. In addition, keep some basic medications with the food as well such as some painkillers, broad-spectrum antibiotics, inhalers for asthmatics, anti-allergics or anti-emetics.


Knowing How To Start A Fire

Knowing how to start a fire is critical to survival in a city when there’s no electricity, no clean water, no fuel and no food. Fire is essential for boiling water, cooking food, heating and light in times of disaster. However, don’t just throw in a box of matches in a survival kit and consider the work done. 

 One can find kindling in any home, be it wood scraps from old furniture, stuff that’s rotting away in the garage for lack of use, old clothes or even dry lumber that people stockpile for situations like that. However, starting a fire is what poses a problem most of the time.

 Fire starting is a complex process. However, the one thing every urban survivalist needs to know is how to start a fire. While there are many long ways to do it naturally, most people opt for some simple equipment that allows them easy solutions to their fire problem. 

 Since it is such a critical step, most urban survival experts advise people to keep at least three or more fire-starting devices or pieces of equipment in their survival kit. These include waterproof matches, magnesium fire starters, lighters, magnifying glasses, and most importantly, a flint spark lighter.


Securing Shelter

If a person has their home destroyed by any number of disasters or if someone is stuck outdoors, finding shelter is another critical factor that ensures survival. While one can find shelter nearly everywhere, finding a safe and reliable place for shelter is quite a tough thing to do.

  One should keep a pry bar in their survival kit to ensure that they can access buildings that are usually locked or inaccessible to the public. These buildings include department stores, corporate offices, shopping malls, schools, gyms, hospitals, sheds, and shops. 

 If there are hundreds of other people in the same situation as you, try to find a place that not a lot of other people might think of, such as a gym or a corporate office.


Defending Oneself

Most city dwellers lead peaceful lives where they don’t need to survive on instinct alone and have access to law enforcement agencies that ensure nothing truly bad happens. However, when a widespread disaster occurs, two things can happen. Either the law enforcement agencies have their hands full by trying to contain the disaster at different points in the city or the situation has reached a point where law and order simply cannot be maintained. 

 In either of these cases, looters or thieves might attack or harm a person minding their own business. They can do this to steal some valuables or even for things such as food and water. Keep in mind that food and water in times such as those are more valuable than diamonds and gold. 

So, what can one do? The first step is to keep a dependable knife with you. One should make sure the knife is easy to use and doesn’t need a lot of skills to operate. In addition, keeping a Swiss Army Knife in your survival kit can help the person in many situations and not just the ones where they need to defend themselves. 

True survivalists should also take self-defense classes so they can take care of themselves and their loved ones in times of need.


Having the necessary skills to survive can mean the difference between life and death for many people stuck in difficult situations. While it is not something most people living in cities do not pay attention to, it is what can save them when a natural or man-made disaster strikes. 


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