Urban Survival Guide

Every emergency situation requires different skills to cope with the crisis. Being prepared is essential to your survival. The following is the most basic urban survival skills that every urban survivalist should know, and practice in order to be prepared for survival.


Urban Survival

This urban survival guide is divided in two sections; Street Skills and Home Preparedness. Street skills are for extreme survival situations such as homelessness; Home Preparedness is for protecting your family, home, and property in survival situations.


Street Skills

Learning Lifesaving Skills

Be prepared; take the time to learn vital survival and lifesaving skills before you need it!

  • Survival Skills
  • CPR & First Aid
  • Self Defense
  • Firearms Skills


Keeping Fit

You should also keep fit; join a local gym or build a home gym and work out three times a week. The three main areas are body building, stretching, and cardio; keep in mind that big muscles may be of little use in a survival situation, but being flexible and having good cardio fitness (the ability to run, climb, and keep going) can, and may save your life.


Know Your Environment

Be prepared; take the time to learn your area, what type of people live there and where. Find a map & study it!
Explore the area; know where places are, abandoned buildings, homes, stores, churches, hospitals, etc.
Be aware of any gang territories; ovoid the area.


Keeping your Wits

The single most important skill for the urban survivalist is the will to survive. If you find yourself in a survival situation, you must make up your mind that you are going to survive! Attitude and determination are your allies, doubt is your enemy!

  • Keep your cool; don’t be fearful of the unknown; don’t worry about that which you cannot control. Instead keep your mind on the task at hand; Survival!!!
  • Keep your eyes and ears open; be aware of your surroundings at all times, and expect the unexpected. Your ability to think clearly and react is your most valuable survival skill in an urban situation.
  • Never resort to crime; in desperate situations people sometimes resort to crime out of fear, or necessity. Crime will only lead to destruction and will eventually undermine your ability to survive.
  • Think before you react!


Finding Shelter

You should look for shelter immediately if your in a survival situation that requires you to get warm fast (cold, rain, snow), or if you have the need to stay hidden. You should find shelter at least 2 hours before dark in most situations.

Your shelter will be determined by your unique situation. The following or some things to consider; do I need to stay hidden, is there a good water source nearby, are there any dangers in the area (gangs, debris, structures that may collapse, stagnate water, etc.)?

Be aware that abandoned buildings may already have guest living in them (You don’t want to wake up in a crack house).

You may have to build a shelter; take a look at our in-depth shelter building. Every situation will be different, locate our building a shelter will depend on your unique situation and area. The following are just a few examples of shelters that may be available to you in and urban survival situation.

  • Vacant Buildings (be aware of other already taking shelter, open elevator shafts, and disease from pigeon droppings, etc.)
  • Vacant Houses
  • Patches of Wooded Areas [wilderness shelter]
  • Covered Alleyways
  • Dumpsters (quick shelter in a pinch, but be aware of dangers such as disposed hypodermic needles, broken glass, and bacteria)
  • Underside of stair wells

Look for shelters provided by churches, the Red Cross, YMCA, and other non profit organizations.


Getting Water

The ability to find drinkable water is one of the most important survival skills any urban survivalist can learn. Once you start getting thirsty it can weaken your ability to think clearly. Dehydration is one of the most common problems associated with extreme survival situations. Dehydration can weaken, and kill! Lack of water affects your body’s ability to keep warm, and cool. Drink plenty of water when it is available and avoid eating too much food when water is not available.

Unpurified water can contain many harmful organisms that can make you sick, or even kill you. Other contaminant such as chemical waste can have a verity of effects, including death. If at all possible purify your water before drinking it.

If you’re faced with dehydration and no immediate means to purify your water source, then drink it; it is better to take a chance on contaminated water, than to die of dehydration (tell your doctor about the water as soon as possible).

No matter how thirsty you are, DO NOT drink the following for hydration:

  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Urine
  • Blood
  • Sea Water

Any water source that is known to be contaminated with a toxic chemical, or biological contaminate should be avoided. If you have to drink from this type of contaminated water source, follow the instructions for purifying contaminated water (this does not guarantee the safety of the water).

It is very important to learn the basic survival skills to obtaining and purify drinkable water. In situations such as flooding and power outages contaminated water may be your only source, learn how to purify your water!

The most common urban water sources are water hydrants often located on the sides, or backs of buildings and houses.


Getting Food

You can go weeks without food, however hunger can weaken you, and impair your “will to survive”. Lack of food can also increase your chances of hypothermia, and effect your overall health and feeling of well being.

First learn how to obtain food using basic survival skills. Don’t forget that pigeons are a good source of food; but always cook them thoroughly to kill parasites.

One of the most plentiful sources of food in an urban environment is discarded food. Check in dumpsters outside of grocery stores and delis for discarded food. Use caution as food contaminated by meat or spoiled food may cause diarrhea which can dehydrate you and hinder your ability to survive.

Look for food kitchens provided by churches, the Red Cross and other non profit organizations.


Protecting Yourself

Learning basic self defense is a very important skill that can save your life; every urban survivalist needs to be able to fight back! We recommend taking a basic self defense class. Joining a martial arts school is great if you train hard and are willing to dedicate 5-10 year to it. Learning basic self defense skills will benefit you now, and there is far less things to remember when the situation counts.

You should find yourself a legal weapon to keep with you at all times.

  • Walking Cane
  • Broom Handle
  • Glass Bottle
  • Small Stick
  • Pepper Spray
  • Stun Gun


Getting Help

People in the US and around the world have become way to dependent on the government for help. When natural disaster or other unforeseen situations strike, don’t wait on the government and non-profits to help you; it is nobody’s fault, and complaining about it accomplishes nothing! Help-Your-Self

Whether or not you survive is between you and God! Do your best, but be willing to accept help when it is offered. Don’t be stubborn, if help is offered accept it, and get out of your situation.

Being a survivalist means that once you’re out of harms way, don’t be a burden on others, but do what you can to help!!!

The following organizations can often help.

  • Local Churches
  • Red Cross
  • Salvation Army
  • Local non-profits
  • County Welfare Offices
  • FEMA
  • National Guard


Home Preparedness

Securing Your Home

How you choose to secure your home will depend on your survival scenario, but every urban survivalist should be prepared.

Anticipate the situations that could arise; could there be nuclear, chemical or biological contaminates? Will you be without power, water, and access to stores? Could there be looting, rioting, home invasions? Is there a possibility of fire, flooding, or high winds? How will you evacuate should the need arise, and it your transportation sufficient and stocked with needed supplies?

  • Nuclear: Build a simple fallout shelter in your basement or outside of your home.
  • Biological: Stock up on plastic, duct tape, and bio-filters.
  • Chemical: Stock up on plastic, duct tape, and Chemical-Filters.
  • Rioting, Looting, and Home Invasions: Board up windows, leaving an opening for viewing and fire a weapon. Steel plates are the cheapest form of bullet proofing an area in your home. They can be bought cheap at salvage yards, they can be sand blasted and painted ¼-½ inch plates can be stacked up for added ballistic protection.


Invest in firearms and ammunition. You should not introduce fire arms in your home without proper training. Take classes in fire arm safety, and shooting skills (All family members need to be properly trained!). Always keep firearms out of reach of un-supervised children. Invest in a gun safe with a combination lock, and do not write the combination down!

Keep inspected and charged fire extinguishers on hand. You may be able to protect your home from fire bombs during rioting by using an improvised sprinkler system out side of the home.

Invest in a security system for your home with a backup power supply.


Protecting Your Family

Plan, plan, and plan. With proper planning and regular drills your family can be ready for nearly and emergency that arises. Always develop a plan of communication, and have at least two pre-destined meeting place.

Everyone in the family should take a class on basic self defense, and firearm safety. Training your children about safety is a must!
Should the situation arise get your family to a safe place, or a home shelter as quickly as possible.


Food Storage

Stock up on foods that do not need refrigeration, and have a long shelf life.


Water Storage

Stock up on plenty of bottled water.



Invest in a good generator, batteries, energy efficient light bulbs, and a self-powered radio.


Getting Out (Evacuating)

Have sufficient transportation and keep it stocked with an emergency supply kit, and plenty of gas. Don’t wait till the last minute to evacuate, anticipate the situation and leave when possible.

If you study urban survival skills, and practice you can be on your way to becoming a top notch urban survivalist.