When It Comes To Survival, Urban Has Advantages Over Rural


Will an urban environment be the worst possible place to find yourself following a major disaster? There are many people who think so. They believe that millions of people will try to flee large metropolitan areas for the country after a crisis occurs, but that many people won’t be able to escape due to unreliable transportation, downed power lines in the streets, large amounts of rubble from collapsed buildings and marauding gangs of thugs.

In addition, city survivors can expect a significant amount of competition for available resources in the wake of a catastrophe. But it’s very possible that a city might be the best bet for survival for many people. In fact, an inability to relocate to a rural area might just end up being what saves some lives.

Regardless of whether the emergency is caused by a weather-related disaster, terrorist attack or electromagnetic pulse, there is very likely to be at least some form of normalcy. You’re still going to need food, water and basic supplies, and you’ll continue to require a way to earn money or goods that you can use to barter for other resources.

In rural areas, opportunities to earn money and goods could be very scarce during a crisis. But in the city, it’s very likely that at least some businesses will continue to operate following a disaster. And there should be chances to work, even if payment comes only through resources other than money for a while.

Another advantage to being in an urban environment when a crisis occurs is that people in the city are going to have better access to emergency services. Many people are likely to need these services, and they should be much more available than they would be in rural areas.

No matter what causes the disaster, it’s a near certainty that the electrical grid will not function properly for a while. This antiquated and vulnerable grid malfunctions on a regular basis now, so it’s unlikely to hold steady when a crisis occurs. However, when the grid does come back on, it will undoubtedly be restored in urban areas prior to the country.

Yet another advantage to being in the city when a disaster strikes is that you’ll be able to form partnerships with other people more easily than you would in rural areas. This will be a huge help when it comes to gathering needed resources and being protected from those who will take advantage of the inevitable lack of law and order.

If you are in a rural area when a disaster strikes, your nearest neighbor could be a mile away. In the city, many people are going to leave as soon as they can during a crisis. So, if necessary, you might be able to forage or seek shelter in their abandoned dwellings until your environment stabilizes.

Therefore, if you live in a city and are convinced that remaining there following a disaster might be the best way to provide for and protect your family, the next step is to plan ahead. How well you prepare for this type of scenario could be an enormous factor in whether you and your family survive.

First, figure out what your needs are going to be in an urban survival situation. The most basic ones will be water, food, shelter, security and medical needs. Then, determine how you can best prepare to meet those needs if you’re ever thrown into survival mode.

For example, you’ll need at least 72 hours’ worth of food and water, but you don’t have to give a lot of thought to nutrition yet. The most important thing you’ll need from your food is calories for strength during those first three days. However, it is essential that your long-term food stockpile contains plenty of nutrients. I created Food4Patriots emergency meals to address these challenges and to provide a simple done-for-you solution.

Water is even more crucial than food in a survival situation, but due to its weight and storage space needs, knowing how to harvest water from rainfall and understanding how to purify the water you find from various sources is just as important as what you can carry in bottles. Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that you have medicines packed in a bug-out bag in case you have to leave quickly.

Regarding shelter, if you’re in a rural environment, it’s probably enough to be protected from the wind, rain and snow. But in the city, you will also probably need to make sure that your shelter offers some concealment and is protected against those who might want to steal your stuff or do you harm.

Here’s something else that you may not have given a lot of thought to yet. It’s great to be prepared with food, water and medicine — plus other supplies, including those you’ll want purely for bartering — and you’ll want to give plenty of consideration to security and shelter as well. But in the city, you may also need to have some human “reinforcements.”

The recommendation here is to gather a team together — prior to an emergency, not afterward. This can be tricky because you don’t want to come off as a “The End Is Near” fanatic, but you do want to find some like-minded people who could contribute to efforts that would be needed post-emergency.

Some other actions you could take between now and the time that a disaster strikes include getting (and staying) physically fit, learning some self-defense disciplines and even reading up on subjects such as how to avoid a fight and dealing with mobs.

As with pretty much everything else connected to survival, preparation is the key. You will have the best chance for survival — should you find yourself in the city following a catastrophic event — if you’ve done your homework and prepared the best you could. The other option, which is being among the 95 percent of people who never took the time to prepare, will not be pretty.

–Frank Bates

Personal Liberty

Frank Bates

is a contributing writer to Patriot Headquarters, a new website featuring 100s of articles on how to be more self-reliant. Frank is also the founder of Food4Patriots, a supplier of emergency food suitable for long-term storage, survival and emergency preparedness.

Join the Discussion

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.