Nowadays urban survival has become quite a popular topic. Television shows, podcasts, blogs and magazines have all contributed to the growing curiosity about survivalist tactics and skills. Due to all the press that this theme is generating, a lot of people are now beginning to look at stockpiling with new eyes. Also, more and more people are asking themselves if they have the survival skills to survive a disaster of great magnitude.
Here is a list of skills that a person would need if a catastrophe were to take place. Challenge yourself and find out if you have enough urban survival skills to make it through a really serious situation.
1. Do you have the disposition necessary to weather out a crisis? A universally important survival skill is the right disposition or attitude. Can you keep yourself from panicking? Can you, in the midst of chaos, have the presence of mind to assess a situation and map out a plan of action? Can you function under stress?
2. Can you read a map? This is an important skill if you need to find some place and are not going through familiar roads. If you did not have a map with you, how well would you do if you had to navigate with only the stars as your guide? Urban survivalists have to be ready to move out of the city when conditions become unbearable.
3. Do you have the capacity to build an alternate shelter? Can you successfully put up a tent or a lean-to that will keep you safe from the elements?
4. Do you know how to look for water? Once you find it, do you know how to purify and store it? It is assumed that the water you initially store will run out so you would then have to look for water and render it potable.
5. Can you build fire without the aid of a lighter? Do you know how to use tinder to build a campfire? Once you’ve built the fire do you know how to stoke it and keep it burning? The scenario here is that there is no electricity and you need fire to cook, generate heat and keep animals away.
6. Can you gather food? If you were in a post-disaster environment and the canned goods had run out, do you know what is edible and what is not? Can you hunt and fish? Can you identify edible tubers, mushrooms and berries?
7. Are you physically fit? Do you have the strength to carry a twenty pound bag on a hike that will last more than an hour or two? Do you have the stamina to keep moving for half a day if necessary? Can you lift yourself with your arms in case you need to climb out of some hole?
8. Can you perform first aid if necessary? Can you dress a wound? Set a broken leg or a broken arm? Make a splint? It is quite possible that you will need to tend to heart attacks, burns, hypothermia, hemorrhage, sprains and poisoning. (Remember this is one of the urban survival skills you could very well be performing on yourself.)
9. Can you use a knife efficiently for a variety of purposes? We are not talking about a paring knife or a bread knife but a heavy-duty Rambo type knife with which you will clear a path, clean fish, cut branches for your shelter and maybe defend yourself. As an adjunct: do you know how to sharpen a knife?
If you have measured yourself against this rather long list of urban survival skills and found yourself lacking, don’t despair. Many of the skills in this checklist can be acquired at a pace you determine. Some of the skills are actually fun to learn with your family or a group. Make it a goal to acquire at least one skill every two or three months – it can even be one that you would need for ordinary adventures. The important thing is this list shows you where you need to start so you can take the first step towards being disaster ready.