Emergency Preparedness in the Big City
It always pays to be prepared for an emergency situation, but sometimes being prepared for an emergency in the city can be different than being prepared for an emergency in more rural areas. Terrain is a huge factor with big cities, let alone the fact that you are in a more densely populated area. As is, knowing and preparing for even simple emergencies in the big city can keep you and your family safe and comforted.
Most people now live in developed urban and suburban areas, which means you’re not going to be just surviving against the elements but also the concrete jungle. In cities, water and electrical supplies can become tainted quicker than in rural areas since everything is so closely connected and intertwined. The best tips here include stocking up on bottled water and food supplies. Keep 30 gallons per person in your family (this accounts for two gallons per person per day for one week). You can keep these in a large 55 gallon plastic drum; the most ideal bulk water storage. It is wise to keep some version of water treatment on hand to, whether a filter or iodine.
As for food, canned goods are the best source for emergency food supplies. Store things that are ready to eat like soups, veggies, fruit and meats. Make sure to date everything and rotate as expiration dates come due. Along with keeping a store of water and food supplies, it is important to identify local resources for alternative sources.
In the city, survival will also include preparation against violence and looting. At the top of your priorities is self-defence for yourself and your loved ones. Often times, during an emergency law enforcement becomes overwhelmed which can leave civilians vulnerable. Have supplies on hand to board up windows, barricade doors with jammers or chain locks and such. If you do have to bunker down in your home, identify a room with few doors or windows to shelter in place.
If you are asked to shelter in place by officials, go directly to that room; lock the doors; close any windows, air vents and fireplace dampers; turn off any air conditioning or forced air heating; make sure to grab necessary emergency supplies or go bags, and tune in to the local radio and TV stations for further updates. Also, it is wise to teach your family simple self-defense maneuvers such as breaking a hold or throwing a good punch. Also be sure to get certified in CPR or obtain your BLS recertification online.
Other important tips can include maintaining a close relationship with your neighbors far ahead of time. A closer community can become especially necessary in the event of a long-term survival situation that can arise after a disaster or serious collapse. Cultivating strong relationships can help needy neighbors avoid targeting you in their desperation or even forcing you to deceive the people you live alongside. Additionally, keeping close relationships can help you even to help influence your neighbors to prepare themselves.
Moreover, always keep a “go bag” or urban survival bag packed and readily available. An urban survival bag is meant to help you survive long enough to travel from your current location back to your home or another safe location if you intend to evacuate. Items in your go bag should include an emergency first aid kit, fine particle masks, a window punch, crowbar, a small amount of cash, a hat, a pair of sturdy shoes and socks, and water and snacks. It is also wise to keep a go bag in your car at all times with necessary tools for a breakdown or if you need to get away quickly and include hand radios.
Additionally, plan out an evacuation route if you need to get out of the city quickly, and make a couple alternate routes. During an emergency roads can become quickly blocked with traffic, so make sure you have several options out of hte city. Also be sure that everyone in your family has sturdy shoes in your go bags in case you have to get out and walk or “bug out.” A final tip for emergency preparedness is disaster sheltering. If you are directed to evacuate during an emergency from officials, be sure to make arrangements with family or friends who live outside of the affected area. If you have nowhere else to go, cities will provide shelters that you can go to at places such as schools, municipal buildings or places of worship.