Its popular for preppers to plan a bug out location away from home and so concentrate a lot on bushcraft and hunting techniques. This preparation and knowledge is indeed valuable and I would suggest everyone has a good foundation in such, though, many overlook the urban component of survival. There are many reasons you might not make a bug out plan and opt to bunker down, or just as likely unable to, you or a loved one may be physically unable to relocate, or in relocating put you out of reach of modern day resources there are no natural alternatives for, that would not be accessible from a rural location.
It’s called a concrete jungle for a reason… Although cities and towns do have green areas you will be mostly treated by shades of concrete grey or red brick, its easy to look at these places and see no potential after mobs and looters have made away with every item of worth… You’d be very very wrong.
The following are highlights I have adapted from actual lesson plans usually delivered in a FIBUA setting. I have tried to make this as user friendly as possible removing jargon and simplifying everything where I can. A more detailed guide will be written at a later date.
In this guide I will try to help you plan for surviving in densely (or once so) populated areas. To identify objective structures/installations and ultimately squeeze the most out of your surroundings… Not unlike bushcraft.
First off, a preppers best friend… A list..
- Bolt cutters
- Crow bar
- Hack saw
- General tool kit (screw drivers hammers spanners etc)
- Files (assorted metal)
And your survival basics including knives etc
Any other kit mentioned here should also go on your list but more on that when we get there…
First things first, know your town/city! You should be familiar with your immediate area already, now for the rest. Pick up a map of your town/city and circle your location at a 1 mile radius, highlight all places of note; shopping centres, warehouses, industrial estates, local shops and business, nurseries and doctors surgeries/chemists. Google maps will help show you what’s in the area too after a simple search. You will at some point want to recce the area/buildings but only the ones already open to the public, lets not break any trespass laws or go dressed as a ninja! Take a walk around the industrial estate, visit the shopping centres or local shops. Take note if there are residential buildings close by and if there is a way into these areas without being seen by them. You may be thinking at this point that this is sounding a lot like casing a joint before a robbery… In fact that’s virtually what this is, looting is against the law and in times of emergency could result in imprisonment or death but if the law has gone and order devolved to chaos these places become a resource. Chances are most if not all the shelves in supermarkets will be picked clean, even if they are not others will be searching and if desperate defend their rights to be there over yours with violence. So focus on cash and carries, warehouses factories and the like as you will find canteens, medical supplies and vending machines galore, all likely unpicked and ignored for the most part. Get to know the rest of your town to work out how long it takes to walk to other places of interest and make note of total time for a return trip. Find alternative routes to all locations and never return the same way you set off avoiding possible ambush.
Figure out the best vantage point from your home location and set up an observation post, if you live with others then set a rota and stay diligent recording any movements by others and observing behaviours, even if everyone has disappeared a record should be kept.
Camouflage your home location, not with green netting, but by making it as unremarkable as possible… Make it look like your home has been sacked already, making it unappealing to looters, rubbish up the garden and surrounding area, this makes placing traps easier to conceal as well if desired.
If you know your neighbours have vacated in hopes to get to the countryside enter the home, pay respect by keeping damage on entry to a minimum (see further down on entry methods) empty the food stores, take bedding and anything of use (for barricades or other) open there front door and mess up the front garden aiding in keeping the street itself off looters radars by looking ransacked! If any vehicles have been left check for keys in their respective homes, if you find a car more suitable to your own; plan to use that in an emergency, all other vehicles should be drained of petrol by piercing the tank and capturing the fuel. Remove the car batteries and store at your home location, take jump leads for cabling and spare wheels to use in more barricades. Push whatever vehicles are left that are no use to strategic points to force anyone coming into the area to take a path more visible to you observation.
The usual items will still be of huge use, air rifles in particular, 10 to 50 yards range and capable of taking down small game silently will help supplement your food stores and give you a source of protein as well as improving morale having fresh meats. Pigeon and squirrel will likely be your main staple with this method in urban environments. Crossbows have their place though requires more experience to use effectively and have the same range capabilities as air rifles though posses up to 30 times as much power as untuned legal limit rifles. With home defence issues a ranged weapon is only good for, well, at range, you can of course use it to intimidate but you realistically will get off one shot and not likely maim enough to incapacitate. A crossbow will do more damage but again its a one shot device, a blunt instrument like a bat or similar may be preferable at close quarters. A better option is to avoid conflict, lay traps using survival techniques usually reserved for trapping game but obviously hazardous to humans, there’s also a lot more you can do in this area for better effect. Your alarm call will be the sound of someone reacting to a spike through their leg but you or your housemate/partner would have seen the person coming long before and so able to raise the alarm to others in the house to grab their bug out bags and make ready escaping through the back, coming back when the coast is clear. Obviously your main food stores will be hidden in caches not only in the home but within your 1 mile radius.
Power will be an issue, luckily not a big one in the city if you know where to look. Building sites, scrap yards, housing developments in construction and some businesses will have small and large generators, you want the small ones but don’t ignore the bigger versions, drain them and take there batteries if any. Take everything of use, check porta cabins for medical supplies (first aid kits) cache what you can’t take in one go off site.
Gaining access to buildings can be as easy as opening a door or climbing through a window but extreme caution must be taken. Come across someone bunkering down accidentally and you may not get out alive. Recon is a must.
Know your target, wether it be residential or commercial, observe it once a day for two days for as long as you can spare (this will depend on your own desperation for supplies) if its inhabited or there is movement in the area give it a wide berth and don’t return, if it looks good then its time for the next step. I suggest you google search a company called ‘multi pick service’ and order a keyring version of their ‘southord’ pick set. It’s an easy to use basic kit and there’s plenty of guides online that show you how to use them. Don’t spend any longer than 5 mins attempting to pick the lock if you can’t gain access abandon your plans. There are other ways to force entry using a range of tools or methods but all make noise and so should only be used in times of absolute need. Picking a lock is easier than you might imagine, for basic tumbler (such as Yale) locks employ the raking method.
Plant crops in land next to your property if other buildings are vacated, remember, your home is to appear barren, check local allotments and nurseries for fresh fruit and veg, access sheds and buildings and take all chemicals you can get your hands on that are flammable.
Everything written so far is an introduction, a pretty broad one I grant you put an introduction none the less.
There is a lot more to cover, this is a taste of things to come and an in depth guide will follow as an instructional tool to help you defend scavenge and survive an urban environment under the radar, we will cover urban defences, water and food resources, safe travel, escape plans and the articles discussed above in more depth.