If you have never read an urban survival manual, it’s time for you to at least try doing so. While some of these manuals are indeed paranoid and straight out of scenes from Terminator, a lot of them do make sense and can start you thinking about how prepared you are to meet disaster – even if you don’t subscribe to an apocalyptic catastrophe happening any time soon.
When you read through a survival manual, just set aside the junk, see through the hysteria and buckle down to learning what the manual teaches. The first benefit you will get from survival manuals is that it will make you think about how you can prepare for catastrophes that can result in the long lasting paralysis of amenities and services everyone has learned to take for granted. Ask yourself how life would be if for whatever reason there were no electricity for a week. Do you think you would survive? The absence of electricity would mean no refrigerators (food will spoil), no air conditioners or heaters, no evening lights, no television. Even the internet (if it is there at all) will be inaccessible once your batteries go. When you think of this scenario, remember that in New Orleans things were even worse the aftermath of Katrina.
What You Can Learn from an Urban Survival Manual
One of the first things that an urban survival manual will tell you is that it is important to build a circle of people – your circle- who will buy into a disaster preparedness plan. You need to synergize with other people so that resources can be pooled.
Many will advise you to draw up an escape route from the city. (At this point, the manual would have already achieved a lot if it gets you to think about where you would go if you and your family had to leave the city.) You will be advised to learn that route like the back of your hand; to memorize it; to anticipate that when you do use it you will need to steer clear of potential areas of panic. Then you will be told to make a second and a third route and to study these as well.
A vital part of all manuals is the section that teaches you to be ready with basic survival supplies and to put these in a bag that you should have access to at all times. The contents of the bag are usually discussed in great detail and almost every item mentioned in manuals a) makes sense and b) can be easily obtained or c) is already in your possession. Getting the bags together, called BOB (bug out bag) is not a problem at all so at this point you are hopefully asking yourself, “Why not?”.
The BOB should have enough food, water and supplies for one person to survive for three days and each person must have his or her own BOB. This is actually a good chore for children – the responsibility of keeping and maintaining a survival bag. Just make sure you don’t go about this in a paranoid way because children will talk and you don’t want them to get a reputation for being weird.
Included in the supplies you have to obtain for survival would be fuel, food, and water. A survival manual that assumes you are getting out of the city will advise you to have more than twice the amount of gasoline you need to get to your sanctuary. Apart from the food in BOBs, some manuals will suggest that you have food and supplies to last you a year. The safest things to stockpile would be canned goods, beans, rice, flour, dehydrated foods, energy bars, instant foods, pasta.
Most manuals will emphasize the need to store water safely and will teach readers how to purify water. This is not all a bad thing to learn even of you don’t believe in doomsday prophecies. (For all you know you could find yourself stranded somewhere after a perfectly normal picnic.) They will also mention special skills such as building fires and maintaining them safely.
All in all, manuals devoted to urban survival have their merits so go ahead and download one. Then, challenge yourself by asking if you are really prepared for disaster. If your answer is no then go through the manual again and start following its advice.