Top 5 wilderness survival skills you need for urban survival

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top 5 urban survival skillsI recently set up a bugout bag for my daughter. She starts college next week near Los Angeles and I’ve always been paranoid about the potential for a major earthquake in that area.

Then, in an instant, I went from being paranoid dad to visionary, as a 6.0 earthquake was registered in Napa, CA the Sunday before we were going to leave. Extensive damage was reported, and I expect to run into some of the aftershocks later this week.

So, as one reader asked, how valuable are the wilderness survival skills in an urban disaster environment? Very. Here are some you need to know.

The best wilderness survival skills for an urban emergency situation:

Well, a survival mindset is necessary for surviving anything. Studies have shown that 80 percent of people in any emergency won’t know what to do and will need someone to lead them. Another 10 percent will do the wrong thing. And the ones who survive, the remaining 10 to 15 percent, will survive because they relied on previous training.

So lets say an earthquake (fill in your particular disaster) has occurred. You have to evacuate a building and end up in a parking lot with a lot of other people. The weather is nasty, and the temperature is dropping. There is no help in the foreseeable future.

What skills do you need?

Here are five wilderness survival skills that could help you survive an urban emergency.

Shelter: The first decision might be to get out of the elements. Do you know how to tie effective knots? Can you make a shelter out of the available materials?

A nearby dumpster could be the best place to find shelter materials. Look for anything that can insulate you from the elements: plastic sheeting, newspapers, cardboard etc.

Check out the trash cans. If one has a 55-gallon liner, you can make a quick shelter out of it.

LA maps
Among critical skills for urban survival is the ability to use a map and compass.

Water: Any water you might find should be suspect, unless it is bottled or otherwise sealed from contamination.

Fire: You should know how to build a campfire using whatever flammable materials might be available. Many of the people in the parking lot might need a place to get warm. Light will be really appreciated as it gets dark.

Also, boiling water is usually the quickest way to purify it. Make sure to get any containers from the dumpster. You may need them later.

Obviously, if you smell gas or the situation seems dangerous, don’t play with fire!

Navigation: If you have to leave the area because staying would be dangerous, do you know where to go and which way to take to get there? Can you read a city street map and use a compass? During a storm or in the darkness, you may not be able to determine directions. Be able to orient a map and know how to read it.

First aid: Everybody should take a basic first aid class. You don’t have to reach EMT expertise, but a rudimentary knowledge is important. After any sort of disaster, somebody will be hurt and you may be the only one available to help. This is not the time to look around frantically and wonder what to do.

Obviously, there are a lot of other skills that you should know or learn. If you practice and prepare for an earthquake, for example, that means you’re pretty well set for other disasters. You can’t prepare for every eventuality, but you can come close!

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Leon Pantenburg

A journalist for three decades, covering search and rescue, sheriff’s departments, natural disasters and outdoor emergencies, Leon Pantenburg learned many people die unnecessarily or escape miraculously in outdoor emergency situations. Leon now teaches common sense techniques to the average person in order to avert potential disasters.

3 thoughts on “Top 5 wilderness survival skills you need for urban survival”

  1. I am trying mightily to teach my children that the first thing NOT to do in an emergency is panic. Controlling our emotional responses may not only help us survive, but can help any people who might be in our vicinity.

    Huge props for making the transition to visionary dad! 🙂

  2. Pingback: 10 Survival Uses For Zip Ties | Survival Tips

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