Urban Survival - Build a SHTF Survival Community

Urban Survival - Build a SHTF Survival Communityshironosov/thinkstock.com

Frequently, people associate urban survival with short-term survival skills. This is true when it comes to self-defense. Most confrontations are over in a matter of minutes.

But while humans are going to be the most dangerous predators on the streets, they can also be your biggest ally.

When a natural disaster hits, it can take weeks, months and even years to put a community back together. Just ask the survivors of hurricanes Sandy and Katrina. That’s why the key to successful urban survival lies in developing a network of like-minded individuals prior to a catastrophe.

Those in your Survival Community (SC) are people upon whom you can rely should you need help (and you will). Traditional lifelines can be unreliable after a natural disaster. Emergency responders like police, fire rescue, and EMTs are stretched thin. Grocery stores and gas stations may not be open.

This is where your SC comes in. Once the storm has passed and after everyone is out of imminent danger, your SC can also help provide supplies others must do without. You can still barter and trade for staples with each other, even when the store’s shelves are bare.

Who Can You Trust in an Emergency?

The flip side of developing a survival community is that you don’t want to advertise your emergency preparedness strategies indiscriminately. Friends before a disaster may become liabilities to your survival during an emergency. Remember Aesop’s fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper?

That's why survival forums are a great place to start. You're already among friends and you can remain as anonymous as you'd like.

Top Two Survival Forums

These forums allow survivalists to discuss current events, share ideas and offer survival advice across the globe.

They can also help you connect with like-minded individuals near you.  

I belong to both sites, two of the largest out there, and I always find interesting topics to read or contribute to.

American Preppers Network

Survivalist Boards

Have other great resources? Let us know.

How to Build A Dependable Urban Survival Community

It can be difficult to start a SC, i.e. a group of people you can rely upon in an emergency. (Nice to meet you. Are you worried about the end of the world?) This works both online and off.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Often a little ‘news, weather sports’ is the best way to feel people out, even if they’re close friends. Get their opinions on current events, the economy and politics. A great hot-button topic that relates to emergency preparedness is gun control. Their answers will quickly tell you if they are like-minded individuals.

  • Your SC should be made of friends and family whom you explicitly trust. There’s no room for error here. Sorry for the melodrama, but you need to honestly ask yourself: Would you trust them with your life? If not, find others.
  • Each member of your SC should ideally have a different skill set. A group that contains, say, a doctor, mechanic, carpenter and hunter is going to be more valuable than a bunch of couch potatoes. (Even if they are family.)
  • Your SC should be discreet. The first rule of Survival Network: Do not talk about Survival Network.

  • Your SC should be close by, preferably within walking distance. Transportation routes can be unreliable after a natural disaster. And there’s no guarantee you’ll find gasoline for the 6-hour drive to your rendezvous cabin in the woods.

  • Keep the group small, no more than two or three couples/families. Any larger and the group becomes difficult to organize and trust. Loose lips and all.

  • Stock a varied, but comprehensive arsenal of survival supplies. If everyone in the SC has the same food and tools, you’re limiting your versatility.

  • Once you get your SC formed, it’s important to meet occasionally to share ideas, to talk equipment, and discuss current events. If anything, it will reinforce your shared bond. And odds are you’ll learn a thing or two.

While establishing a SC is a great safety net, you are ultimately responsible for your own survival. Take care of you and your own first.

8 Additional Urban Survival Tips

  1. Unlike in the wilderness, you may need to keep up appearances in an urban survival situation. It’s a good idea to put up blackout curtains over your windows. If everyone around you is ill-prepared, you don’t want to draw attention to yourself.

  2. Don’t be a hermit. Help out with clean up after a natural disaster. Talk with neighbors not only to be sociable, but to assess their attitude. What are they frustrated or worried about? Empathize with their concerns and try to fit in. They may repay your kindness later on.

  3. Protect your possessions. Generators become very valuable after the power is out for a few days. If you must run one, do it in a fenced yard, or secure it with heavy, hexagonal chain and lock. (Hexagonal links are harder to cut with bolt cutters than standard round links.)

  4. Stay close to home. In emergency situations, your home becomes your castle.

  5. Travel lightly. If you must evacuate, a bug out bag or 72 hour survival kit will cover your basic necessities in the short term. Don’t bring along unnecessary, bulky or heavy items. You may have to get out and walk.

  6. Stay away from crowds and FEMA camps. This is not the time to rely on the kindness of strangers. Find a hotel or a secluded campsite. Avoid public transportation.

  7. Arm yourself. People do crazy things in emergencies. Always carry, at minimum, a knife and pepper spray when away from home. Tasers that put out 1 million volts are available for under $100. If you’re licensed, carry your concealed weapon. If your state allows open carry, even better. Exercise your right.

    Remember it is legal to transport a secured firearm in a vehicle across state lines without a special license. However, different states have different requirements for what constitutes a “secured” firearm. Do your research.

  8. Make the best of a bad situation. Attitude is everything.

Get prepared, start a survival community and stay safe in any urban survival emergency.

Want to build an urban survival kit? Check out the Ultimate Survival Checklist.

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