As most people in the world think they’re just going to grab their B.O.B. (Bug Out Bag) and head straight for the woods when the collapse comes. They give very little thought to how they’re going to get there in the first place. Thinking they will just grab their bags, and drive straight to their safe place. People don’t tend to talk about urban survival like they do wilderness survival, and it’s because for an urban survival situation to be real, it would mean that society has collapsed around you. It could be global, or it could be natural disasters causing chaos in your areas. We all fantasize about how society will collapse but it all comes down to one common problem, and that is hostility amongst humans.
You can prepare for any situation you think is most likely to happen. Me? I train for nothing specifically, but I train specifically for everything. Whether you believe the fall of society will come by natural disasters, economic crash, civil unrest, foreign invasion, solar flares, or diseased birds flying around infecting everyone causing the creation of the infamous zombie. It all comes down to one common thing. Everything around you will become hostile. We have seen it before, and it’s a proven fact that when bad things happen. The world goes crazy. People will be the most dangerous thing to worry about in an urban survival situation. Look at Ferguson; look at people violently pillaging their homes after a natural disaster. Humans behave like wild animals when things like this happen. When the collapse happens. It will be followed by riots; looters, mass murders, and unprepared people who will kill you in a second if they think you threaten their ability to live.
So with this thought of hostility in mind. This is why I always encourage people to look at collapse based survival in a combat perspective because you’re going to need much more than primitive hunter/gatherer skills to make it out of this kind of survival situation.
My Philosophy On Urban Survival
My thoughts on urban survival are simple. Due to the hostile nature of the environment in a post-collapse society I don’t believe it would be in anyone’s interests to stick around. I think the ultimate goal is to make it to a BOLO (Bug Out Location). Which should be somewhere as off-grid as you can make it within your abilities.
However, urban survival comes down to 3 key factors.
- Strategic planning and preparation
- Situational awareness, self defense skills, and “Gray” tactics.
- Combat tactics and “S.E.R.E” (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) skills
Armed with these 3 key things you will last through the first phase of the collapse, but let’s not get in that deep in this post. This post is about strategic pre-collapse planning for urban survival. I am going to cover all the things that are crucial to urban survival before you need to actually survive. Things that most people tend to neglect.
What Is Strategic Planning?
It’s exactly what it is, planning strategically. Not half-assed like your most of your fitness regiments. It means do your research, and gather as much intelligence as you can that revolves around what you’re planning for. In our case right now, that subject is urban survival. The things I’m about to teach you are concepts that I have personally developed through my own training experiences, and a lot of R&D, so take that as you wish.
So before we dive into the planning, let’s first talk about the things to expect as the collapse begins so you can know what to expect. From my knowledge of how these types of things happen. I feel it will happen in the form of a “snowball”. These items below apply to every collapse scenario you can think of but keep in mind the number one thing to always be aware of is how bad the situation is. How far is its reach? If it’s a natural disaster affecting your city alone you might consider taking more of a defensive posture while still helping people rebuild. You need to be able to tell if it’s an actual “collapse” or just a bad situation. I think people throw that around carelessly. Hence why people start looting, rioting, and killing when something bad happens. They obviously think they will get away with it because their society might not go back to normal.
So here’s what the “Collapse” might look like.
- Riots will start immediately. Forcing law enforcement and military to step in to diffuse the situations. They will eventually become overran by sheer numbers of disgruntled citizens alone.
- It will get to the point that the government can no longer handle the situation, and they have to start defending their own individual lives and families just as we will have to.
- Within roughly 3 days all the food and water will be pillaged from your local stores. It’s only natural instinct for people to drain resources dry and get as much as they can for themselves in times of crisis. Unless you have a supply, or the means of living off the land at this time. You better start thinking about how you’re going to stay fed and hydrated when things dry up.
- Roads and cities will be nearly impossible to navigate by roadways due to everyone trying to “get outta dodge”. Causing massive congestion in populated areas. Only adding to the difficulty of suppressing and rebuilding from the situation.
- The grid will essentially start to fall apart rendering most means of communication and power useless, as it will stop being managed. Clean water and food will have to come in the form of primitive hunter-gatherer skills, and this is where things start getting really rough for the unprepared and unskilled.
- After a few weeks, maybe sooner, maybe a little later, of dealing with the state of society people will start becoming even more dangerous to be around. Especially if they’re starving and dehydrated. At this time people will carelessly start looking to other peoples (You) resources. They will group with other desperate people and start killing people to take what they have. Food, water, ammo, guns, money. They will not care, and there will be no government to stop them.
- From here it plays out like most of the movies you can think of. Evil will grow, people will kill for survival, and some will even kill just because. Resources will be scavenged and scarce. Every second you’re alive you will be at risk because of how hostile it will be. But you being the smart “Strategically planned and prepared” person you are should be way away from the majority of the risk far beyond this time. The only person you should trust 100% at this point is your self. People will trust and follow until their means of survival gets threatened. If you think the term family, or best friend is going to stop them from eventually coming at you, you are sadly delusional. This won’t be the case for all of us. Some of us have very strong unbreakable bonds. Even in the face of death there are a couple people I would count on to simply die with me before killing me to live a little longer.
Strategical Planning For Urban Survival
Step 1 – Establishing Your BOLO
The very first thing you should do right this moment is build B.O.B’s for your entire family. After that it’s time to start planning your urban survival strategies. Being we have determined that it’s not ideal to stay in the city due to the war zone environment it will become, the first part of your urban survival strategy is to determine a BOLO (Bug Out Location). We are just determining here, not going into details of how to set one up.
Now, not all of us have the same privileges of owning land in BFE, but if you do that’s an ideal place to go so long as the land has the resources and long-term sustainment capabilities you will need. You also want to think about your BOLO from a combat perspective and ask yourself these questions.
- Is it easy to find?
- Does the land give you advantages? Such as high grounds to scout and defend easier.
- Do everyone and your neighbors know you have this property?
- Is the property fortified and ready to take on an assault if it comes to it?
- Is it far enough away from civilization, yet close enough to still run supplies missions if you need to?
For those of us who don’t have this privilege here are some options for you.
- You can team up with someone you trust (be careful) who has a BOLO and see if you can survive with them.
- You can scout an area of national forest that you could set up a primitive camp and sustain from there. This will be much harder, as this is not a place you could prep before hand other than placing supplies caches for the most part, but it’s an option nonetheless.
- You can choose to bug in and fortify your home in the city in worse case scenarios.
- If you were compelled to, you could infiltrate and commandeer another persons BOLO as well. This is not an option I would recommend as it presents many life-threatening aspects.
Step 2 – Create Your Urban Survival Maps
You now have a BOB and a BOLO. The next step in the process is to establish the strategies to get you there. You do this by creating your own survival maps for your area. Urban Survival maps consist of a few different things, such as.
- Bug out routes
- Safe Zones
- Danger Zones
- Potential supplies locations
- Your Supplies Cache locations
- Medical locations
- Natural water locations
- And a few other things.
You can pick up standard Street Maps like these online, and even locally you can find them at cab businesses, real estate offices, and various other travel-based places. These street maps should have plenty of the above items already mapped out and organized for you in a key that corresponds to the quadrant of the map in which that item is located. This is key to save you loads of work. So make sure your maps have these.
Now that you have a standard map, you need to establish things such as bug out routes, danger zones, safe zones, etc. These are things that you will have to plot on the map like you see in the example image above of one of our survival maps. It’s very important that you use coloring pencils to do your plotting on the maps. If you use marker like I did when I made my initial ones it will bleed and render the backside useless, and you will probably need it. Overall you shouldn’t have to do a whole lot of plotting as the map will depict all your key things such as potential medical zones, shopping outlets for supplies, military establishments, etc.
The main things that you will need to plot are specific hot zones, or “danger” areas, and safe areas. Highlighting an area with a red or green can simply do this. You determine these zones based on the general population and how congested they are on a regular basis as it is. When things go to shit they will be complete war zones and won’t be navigable, at least not with your typical grocery getter.
If your BOLO is located in a place outside of your maps radius you can simply gather the corresponding maps and continue this process onto the next map. It would also be wise to get a national/regional map to plot key locations should you ever need to travel great distances. You want to know where to avoid, where the best supplies options might be, etc. You need to make copies of these maps to place in your B.O.B., your B.O.V., you might even consider leaving them in caches, at your BOLO, and in your home. You will want to keep these maps updated and study them as well.
Step 3 – Preparation & Practice
Now you’re ready to bug out if you have to. You have a B.O.B. a location to go to, and a strategy to make it there. So let’s talk about my last step to pre-collapse planning.
Practice & Preparation
Now that you have established your BOLO it’s time to establish a plan for you and your family to regroup and evacuate should things go down hill. It’s crucial that every person involved in your survival strategy is well equipped mentally, physically, and skillfully. You should regularly run real world bug out scenarios with your team. Practice the entire process. It’s vital that your team understands your bug out routes especially if you will be traveling in a convoy. You should break down your Survival Maps and ensure everyone could navigate without them if they had to. Everyone should know where the key points of interest are.
You should have evacuation plans to covertly bug out of your home in the event it becomes under attack. You need proper home defense plans that each member of your team knows how to operate effectively. This way when the time comes you can Survive, Evade, Resist, and Escape.
It goes without saying that gear and supplies is an obvious part of preparation. You should have an abundance of weapons, ammunition, food & water, and other needed resources. You also need to be well rounded in combat tactics, situational awareness, and self defense, because the biggest key point about all this planning and the prepared mindset is so you can recognize danger before it happens, and be ahead of the game. Ideally you want to have all this stuff down so you can be gone before it happens or at the very least before it gets to bad. But were not getting into those aspects in this segment. This segment is specifically about planning.
Following these 3 steps revolved around planning you should mentally be in the right mindset for urban survival, and you should be materially equipped if things fall apart. The next part to this series will also be pre-collapse based. I will be focusing on a few different elements that revolve around maintaining preparedness in an urban lifestyle. Such as situational awareness, self defense skills, and “Gray” tactics.
The next part in the Urban Survival series will be centered on the skill sets needed to hopefully prevent bad situations before they could happen. Making things less likely to happen to you in general. It all plays a huge factor in the big picture (The collapse). The parts of Urban Survival that are most overlooked are the steps people can take to make themselves not look like targets of interest to begin with.
Keep in mind we are talking pre-collapse. So there’s a difference between “Self Defense”, and “Combat Tactics”. Self-defense skills will be employed in any pre-collapse situation. Combat tactics won’t be employed until post-collapse. The difference in the two is a very thin line. Let me explain…
- Self-defense is a gun-in-holster and awareness based mindset. It’s a response to an act of violence against you.
- Combat tactics are a weapon at the ready, mission specific mindset. Combat tactics mean learning how to live in a constantly violent environment.
Don’t get this confused. Yes, self defense skills are essentially “combat tactics”. However, the situations are completely different in which they are employed. In a post-collapse situation it will forever be a hostile, violent environment to live in until society reconstructs itself back to normalcy. At this time you need to shift your mindset from self-defense, to a combat ready mindset. Otherwise you will be a soft target. Your team will be easily infiltrated because someone with a non combat enabled mindset will be more likely to be trusting and put faith in other people. Those other people could want to kill you and your family, and take everything you have for themselves.
You can search the web all day and find all sorts of tips and tricks to urban survival. But you won’t find a many quality guides that will lay urban survival out to you in this perspective. I think a lot of people want to assume they already know what to do and how to react. I wanted to make this series about urban survival in its entirety. Not just about how to find food and water, or how make fire in an urban survival situation. I want people to know how to properly thrive in an urban lifestyle, and be as prepared as they can for the dangers that exist. This way they know how to defend their lives, the lives of their family, their homes, and more.
Keep an eye out for the next posts in this urban survival series. When they are released I will come back and link them up right here as well. In the meantime you should check out these 3 Crucial Steps To Survive Any Situation.
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