American Survival Guide

PREPPING IN THE CITY

GET YOUR UR­BAN DWELLING READY FOR TROU­BLE

- By Jonathan Kil­burn Lifestyle · Lifehacks · Urbanism · The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints · United States of America · U.S. Environmental Protection Agency · tent · Universal-International Pictures Inc. · Universal

Get Your Ur­ban Dwelling Ready for Trou­ble

Imag­ine this: You’re at home and the power goes out. Check­ing your cell­phone, you see it’s dark and dead. You’d swear it just had a charge. A quick glance at your smart­watch re­veals it has stopped. Slowly the re­al­ity sinks in; some­thing big is awry. Run­ning out to the car, you dis­cover it won't start and re­al­ize you’re now forced to be­gin emer­gency prepa­ra­tions.

While this sce­nario is rare, it is one of many pos­si­ble sit­u­a­tions in which some­one — or a fam­ily — might be stuck in­side their home, es­pe­cially if they live in an ur­ban area. Not all emer­gency cir­cum­stances al­low for easy evac­u­a­tion or bug­ging out. Nat­u­ral dis­as­ters that catch peo­ple off guard can leave them without the proper es­sen­tial items to keep them­selves and their fam­i­lies fed, warm and safe.

MI CASA ES ... MI CASA

Your home is your cas­tle, and a cas­tle should be both well-stocked and well-for­ti­fied. Dur­ing a dis­as­ter, and lack­ing ac­cess to util­i­ties, it’s paramount to have pre­vi­ously ac­quired the items re­quired for the house to con­tinue to func­tion. All the things we con­sume on a daily ba­sis will be ex­hausted in a dis­as­ter of any length. Dur­ing Ka­t­rina, many fam­i­lies who were able to re­main at home were without util­i­ties for months.

House­hold ne­ces­si­ties are not al­ways por­ta­ble. The kitchen sink is sta­tion­ary for good rea­son. Like­wise, other items used daily are shared by mem­bers of a fam­ily or by house­hold mem­bers who de­pend on their avail­abil­ity. Bath­rooms, kitchens, laun­dry rooms and such are some of the fa­cil­i­ties that others in the home need to be able to ac­cess.

FOOD, WATER AND COOK­ING

Our need for clean water is sec­ond only to our re­quire­ment for air. We use water for cook­ing, clean­ing, show­er­ing and drink­ing. There is no way for life to con­tinue without it. No matter the length of an emer­gency, hav­ing proper water stor­age so­lu­tions and fil­tra­tion are at the core of any prepa­ra­tions. In ad­di­tion to es­tab­lish­ing a potable water sup­ply, one should find a vi­able out­side re­plen­ish­ment

source. In cities it's ex­cep­tion­ally dif­fi­cult to find well water. All raw water should be con­sid­ered con­tam­i­nated, so be pre­pared to process ev­ery­thing you use, whether it comes from storm drains, creeks or foun­tains. Fil­tra­tion will be key.

Keep­ing a well-stocked pantry is also an es­sen­tial. The prob­lem with cities is that ev­ery food source is lim­ited by its con­nec­tion with pro­duc­ers out­side the city. There are no farms deep in the con­crete jun­gle. Al­ter­na­tively, cities con­tain well-stocked gro­cery stores, which main­tain sup­plies for maybe a few days, un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances. With that in mind keep­ing long-term stor­age foods such as canned goods, rice, beans, pasta and de­hy­drated foods or MRES en­sures you’ll still have food long af­ter the gro­cery shelves are empty.

Dur­ing the old days, can­ning food in glass jars was a com­mon house­hold skill. A lack of proper stor­age in homes within city limits of­ten makes it dif­fi­cult to keep enough food

“THERE IS NO UNI­VER­SAL RIGHT WAY TO PRE­PARE A HOME FOR A SHORT-TERM OR LONG-TERM DIS­AS­TER; THERE ARE TOO MANY VARI­ABLES. HOW­EVER, THERE ARE END­LESS WRONG WAYS TO PRE­PARE A HOME, AND THE WORST IS THE ONE THAT FOR­GOES ANY PREPA­RA­TION.”

stores on hand. Long known for their ap­ti­tude for mak­ing long-term sur­vival prepa­ra­tions, mem­bers of the LDS Church fol­low these es­ti­mates for the min­i­mum food sup­plies re­quired for an adult to sur­vive a year: 8 pounds of salt, 10 quarts of cook­ing oil, 60 pounds of legumes, 16 pounds of pow­dered milk, 60 pounds of sugar and/or honey, and 400 pounds of grains. They also sug­gest that one can add more com­monly eaten foods to their sup­plies af­ter these sup­plies have been ac­quired.

In ad­di­tion to ad­e­quate amounts of food and stor­age space, the way it is stock­piled will ex­tend the life of the food on hand. Warm, hu­mid cli­mates may of­fer only a few months of vi­able stor­age of rice, while a cool dry cli­mate might ex­tend that pe­riod to up to 10 years. En­sur­ing op­ti­mal tem­per­a­ture and hu­mid­ity helps you achieve longer shelf lives.

HEAT­ING AND HEAT RE­TEN­TION

Cold and hu­mid en­vi­ron­ments are po­ten­tially harm­ful to hu­mans. An av­er­age of roughly 1,300 peo­ple die of hy­pother­mia in the United States each year. When pub­lic util­i­ties are shut down, al­ter­na­tive sources of heat­ing will be needed to pre­vent this num­ber from in­creas­ing sig­nif­i­cantly.

A cen­tury or two ago peo­ple un­der­stood the prin­ci­ple of ther­mal mass and they knew that stone and brick build­ings would ab­sorb heat dur­ing the day then re­lease it dur­ing the night. Be­cause of cost and other fac­tors, not many homes are made the same way to­day. Since the EPA has made it dif­fi­cult to have wood-burn­ing stoves and fire­places — never mind try­ing to find enough wood fuel in a city to heat a room — al­ter­na­tive heat sources must be ex­plored.

This is where camp­ing gear can be in­stru­men­tal in pro­tect­ing a fam­ily. A small tent set up in a liv­ing room can cap­ture the heat of its oc­cu­pants and pre­vent the ris­ing air from es­cap­ing too quickly. Like­wise, tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als such as wool and mod­ern in­su­la­tion in cloth­ing can pro­vide a way for peo­ple to sleep without fear of freez­ing to death.

Al­ter­na­tively, cre­at­ing ther­mal mass can also help to re­tain heat in a home. Stored water is one of the best ther­mal masses and of­ten used in green­houses to ra­di­ate heat through­out a frigid night. Gal­lons of water can be left in the sun to warm dur­ing the day and will grad­u­ally re­lease the heat at night. How­ever, this will do lit­tle dur­ing bit­terly cold nights and days when water will freeze solid.

MOD­ERN DE­VICES AND LIGHT­ING

In the mod­ern age, new ma­te­ri­als aren't the only things chang­ing sur­vival. With the im­prove­ments in so­lar power equip­ment ef­fi­ciency and lower cost of own­er­ship, many are opt­ing to turn their ur­ban and sub­ur­ban homes into off-grid havens. While it’s an ex­cel­lent op­tion, it’s not ap­pli­ca­ble to ev­ery­one’s sit­u­a­tion.

I’m a fan of so­lar ap­pli­ca­tion in all de­vices. There are so­lar-pow­ered flash­lights, house­hold lamps, stoves, bat­tery banks and even weapons sights. While so­lar sys­tems rely on the ac­cess to the sun, they can help re­duce the de­pen­dence on tra­di­tional fu­els, which will quickly be­come un­avail­able in an ur­ban dis­as­ter.

WASTE TREAT­MENT

Fe­cal waste is one of the largest health risks in an ur­ban area. Without work­ing san­i­ta­tion or trash re­moval sys­tems, waste has no place to go and with so many peo­ple so close to­gether, it amasses quickly. While most com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases are well known, there are many long-term fe­cal-borne dis­eases that can in­fect hu­mans and re­main ob­serv­able long af­ter cleanup. If we look at other coun­tries with in­fe­rior sew­ers or san­i­ta­tion sys­tems, we see el­e­vated rates of dis­ease and early deaths

di­rectly re­lated to im­proper waste han­dling.

So, to com­bat the is­sues, main­tain a cen­tral­ized lo­ca­tion for one’s waste and keep it out of the liv­ing space. Ideally, bury it prop­erly in a safe place to al­le­vi­ate haz­ards in the im­me­di­ate area. Make sure that you pos­sess the right tools for the job.

HAVE A BUG-OUT PLAN

Pre­par­ing and stock­ing your home is only half of the equa­tion for a suc­cess­ful re­sponse to emer­gen­cies. Hav­ing es­sen­tial per­sonal sur­vival items on hand will en­able you to move to a sec­ondary lo­ca­tion, if nec­es­sary.

Each per­son in your group should be re­spon­si­ble for their own sup­plies and gear, not in­clud­ing small chil­dren or in­firm adults. Ev­ery­one should uti­lize a sin­gu­lar lo­ca­tion to rest, cook and take bio breaks. For this rea­son, per­sonal items are just as nec­es­sary in your over­all plan­ning, to fa­cil­i­tate a forced move.

NU­TRI­TION AND HY­DRA­TION

Can­teens and por­ta­ble water stor­age units will al­low one to carry the water they re­quire, while in­di­vid­ual fil­tra­tion de­vices or pu­rifi­ca­tion drops will al­low safe re­plen­ish­ment at home and on the trail. Like­wise, MRES are equally valu­able whether you’re hun­ker­ing down or bug­ging out. Ad­di­tional plans will have to be made to sup­ple­ment your food sup­ply if you have to aban­don your home base.

HEAT­ING AND HEAT RE­TEN­TION

Dou­ble sleep­ing bags are a great way to stay warm at home but they are not prac­ti­cal if you have to hit the road. In­di­vid­ual sleep sys­tems are lighter and more space-ef­fi­cient and can re­tain heat even out­side a tent.

Like­wise, cloth­ing should be geared to an in­di­vid­ual’s needs and is not in­tended for shared use. Wool is a proven ma­te­rial for durable heat re­ten­tion in cloth­ing, blan­kets and out­wear.

COMMS AND LIGHT­ING

Out­side of a phone, ra­dio or tablet, it’s doubt­ful there will be much call for many mod­ern de­vices, but gear such as flash­lights and head­lamps will al­ways be of value. Mul­ti­ple means of light­ing pro­vide more op­tions in the event of fail­ure or loss. Items such as these make hav­ing a so­lar charg­ing rig very help­ful.

WASTE TREAT­MENT

As with camp­ing, waste should be kept at a com­fort­able dis­tance and dis­posed of deep in the ground when pos­si­ble. In win­ter, it’s not easy to bury hu­man waste, but it’s a nec­es­sary com­po­nent to keep­ing your en­vi­ron­ment safe. Dig­ging a la­trine or sim­i­lar op­tion is ideal but this is of­ten dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment in an ur­ban land­scape.

Per­sonal de­fense doesn’t start when dis­as­ter strikes or end when you en­ter a safe space. It is a con­stant, dy­namic and evolv­ing ne­ces­sity for sur­vival. Ev­ery weapon is a tool first and fore­most.

Any tool can be em­ployed as a weapon with vary­ing de­grees of ef­fi­ciency and suc­cess. Keep this in mind as you add new tools to your sup­plies, es­pe­cially if firearms are heav­ily re­stricted where you live.

“AN AV­ER­AGE OF ROUGHLY 1,300 PEO­PLE DIE OF HY­POTHER­MIA IN THE UNITED STATES EACH YEAR. WHEN PUB­LIC UTIL­I­TIES ARE SHUT DOWN, AL­TER­NA­TIVE SOURCES OF HEAT­ING WILL BE NEEDED TO PRE­VENT THIS NUM­BER FROM IN­CREAS­ING SIG­NIF­I­CANTLY.”

CON­CLU­SION

There is no uni­ver­sal right way to pre­pare a home for a short-term or long-term dis­as­ter; there are too many vari­ables. How­ever, there are end­less wrong ways to pre­pare a home, and the worst is the one that for­goes any prepa­ra­tion. Be­ing un­pre­pared cre­ates un­nec­es­sary dan­ger in man­age­able sit­u­a­tions.

Be­ing pre­pared also doesn’t mean pos­sess­ing the best gear or be­ing ex­ces­sively stocked up on goods. It’s about ac­quir­ing the skills, wis­dom and knowl­edge to ad­dress a neg­a­tive sit­u­a­tion and adapt to the cir­cum­stances in a pos­i­tive way. Gain­ing the wis­dom to adapt and find so­lu­tions within the home will keep an en­tire house­hold safe.

 ?? © GETTY IMAGES ??
© GETTY IMAGES
 ??  ??
 ?? © GETTY IMAGES ?? No matter the lo­ca­tion, any hu­man set­tle­ment can be over­taken by na­ture. When a dis­as­ter is more than a small in­con­ve­nience, dere­licts like this will qual­ify as hab­it­able lo­ca­tions. Hav­ing the proper gear will al­low any­one to go from city so­phis­ti­ca­tion to ba­sic shel­ter without risk­ing your health.
© GETTY IMAGES No matter the lo­ca­tion, any hu­man set­tle­ment can be over­taken by na­ture. When a dis­as­ter is more than a small in­con­ve­nience, dere­licts like this will qual­ify as hab­it­able lo­ca­tions. Hav­ing the proper gear will al­low any­one to go from city so­phis­ti­ca­tion to ba­sic shel­ter without risk­ing your health.
 ??  ?? Be­low: The best way to stay warm at night is hav­ing the proper sleep sys­tem. Com­bined with a tent, the Zen­bivy Light Bed is a com­pact, com­fort­able, and ro­bust sleep sys­tem.
Be­low: The best way to stay warm at night is hav­ing the proper sleep sys­tem. Com­bined with a tent, the Zen­bivy Light Bed is a com­pact, com­fort­able, and ro­bust sleep sys­tem.
 ??  ?? Near left: Water is es­sen­tial for sur­vival. In­side city limits, well water might be lim­ited, but rain runoff can be plen­ti­ful in open chan­nels like this. As long as the runoff doesn’t come off the streets, typ­i­cal water fil­ters may be able to make this water safe to drink.
Set­ting up a tent in­doors will al­low users to stay pro­tected from weather and bugs if the home is dam­aged and al­low for heat re­ten­tion dur­ing cold win­ter nights.
Near left: Water is es­sen­tial for sur­vival. In­side city limits, well water might be lim­ited, but rain runoff can be plen­ti­ful in open chan­nels like this. As long as the runoff doesn’t come off the streets, typ­i­cal water fil­ters may be able to make this water safe to drink. Set­ting up a tent in­doors will al­low users to stay pro­tected from weather and bugs if the home is dam­aged and al­low for heat re­ten­tion dur­ing cold win­ter nights.
 ??  ?? Once you know where to get water, it’s im­por­tant to process and store it prop­erly. Once that is done, it can be ra­tioned out for drink­ing, cook­ing, clean­ing and hy­giene.
Once you know where to get water, it’s im­por­tant to process and store it prop­erly. Once that is done, it can be ra­tioned out for drink­ing, cook­ing, clean­ing and hy­giene.
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Far left: Look for what items are stored near a water source. Con­tam­i­nated items, food refuse, hu­man waste and var­i­ous other el­e­ments can con­tam­i­nate a water source past the point of of com­mon pu­rifi­ca­tion meth­ods.
Far left: Look for what items are stored near a water source. Con­tam­i­nated items, food refuse, hu­man waste and var­i­ous other el­e­ments can con­tam­i­nate a water source past the point of of com­mon pu­rifi­ca­tion meth­ods.
 ??  ?? A cou­ple or small fam­ily can eas­ily carry and store three or more sleep sys­tems in a small space. These non-com­pressed sleep sys­tems take up very lit­tle space and have mul­ti­ple uses.
The au­thor has set up an in­door base camp that ac­com­mo­dates all his needs. Cook­ing, heat­ing, cloth­ing, water and light­ing are all within arm’s length. Fires or stoves should be lit only where there is proper ven­ti­la­tion.
A cou­ple or small fam­ily can eas­ily carry and store three or more sleep sys­tems in a small space. These non-com­pressed sleep sys­tems take up very lit­tle space and have mul­ti­ple uses. The au­thor has set up an in­door base camp that ac­com­mo­dates all his needs. Cook­ing, heat­ing, cloth­ing, water and light­ing are all within arm’s length. Fires or stoves should be lit only where there is proper ven­ti­la­tion.
 ??  ?? It’s im­por­tant to keep mul­ti­ple op­tions for light, heat and cook­ing. When one fails, there is al­ways a backup. The au­thor keeps sev­eral meth­ods of light­ing on hand at all times.
It’s im­por­tant to keep mul­ti­ple op­tions for light, heat and cook­ing. When one fails, there is al­ways a backup. The au­thor keeps sev­eral meth­ods of light­ing on hand at all times.
 ??  ?? Dur­ing a dis­as­ter, the Bi­o­lite’s So­larhome 620 so­lar panel can set up out­side and sat­isfy your light, ra­dio and charg­ing needs.
Dur­ing a dis­as­ter, the Bi­o­lite’s So­larhome 620 so­lar panel can set up out­side and sat­isfy your light, ra­dio and charg­ing needs.
 ??  ?? In aus­tere con­di­tions, an MRE Star meal might be enough food for an en­tire day. At 1,100 to 1,300 calo­ries per serv­ing, two meals would be closer to the av­er­age rec­om­mended caloric in­take for seden­tary adults.
In aus­tere con­di­tions, an MRE Star meal might be enough food for an en­tire day. At 1,100 to 1,300 calo­ries per serv­ing, two meals would be closer to the av­er­age rec­om­mended caloric in­take for seden­tary adults.
 ??  ?? When it be­comes bit­terly cold, the au­thor uses a blan­ket sys­tem that can be mod­i­fied for out­door use. His Bel­mont Blan­kets might be heavy, but they share nearly the same in­su­lat­ing value as wool.
When it be­comes bit­terly cold, the au­thor uses a blan­ket sys­tem that can be mod­i­fied for out­door use. His Bel­mont Blan­kets might be heavy, but they share nearly the same in­su­lat­ing value as wool.
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Far left, top: Bat­tery­op­er­ated lights are the first thing to grab in a dis­as­ter. So­lar light­ing is in­valu­able dur­ing ex­tended pe­ri­ods of power loss. Ev­ery Hy­brid­light sys­tem has a so­lar charger in­te­grated in it.
Near left: The au­thor prefers items that have mul­ti­ple ap­pli­ca­tions or uses. The Ku­jaro Ku­bie can be used as a sleep­ing bag, hoodie, ham­mock, blan­ket or even a tarp. It packs rel­a­tively small and serves a wide range of needs.
Far left, bot­tom: The Nikon Black FX1000 may be an op­tic worth con­sid­er­ing. With the range it of­fers, a user would be able to spot po­ten­tial threats from a rel­a­tively safe dis­tance.
Far left, top: Bat­tery­op­er­ated lights are the first thing to grab in a dis­as­ter. So­lar light­ing is in­valu­able dur­ing ex­tended pe­ri­ods of power loss. Ev­ery Hy­brid­light sys­tem has a so­lar charger in­te­grated in it. Near left: The au­thor prefers items that have mul­ti­ple ap­pli­ca­tions or uses. The Ku­jaro Ku­bie can be used as a sleep­ing bag, hoodie, ham­mock, blan­ket or even a tarp. It packs rel­a­tively small and serves a wide range of needs. Far left, bot­tom: The Nikon Black FX1000 may be an op­tic worth con­sid­er­ing. With the range it of­fers, a user would be able to spot po­ten­tial threats from a rel­a­tively safe dis­tance.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA