When making a list of items that a survivor may need in case of an emergency, there are just a few items that are universal. No matter who or where you are, you overcome unique urban challenges if you carry the right items.
I honestly can’t tell you which urban EDC or Everyday Carry Gear is more important than the other when you are put in a difficult situation. A great quality folding knife? Or a flashlight?
On one hand, the knife can be used for endless tasks in any situation. But the flashlight, on the other hand, takes even more importance especially in the urban environment.
Because of the high density of people in the urban environment, security is always prioritized. And with the incredibly unfortunate proliferation of shootings like those in clubs and schools, security should be on top of everyone’s priorities.
In active shooter situations or civil unrest, there are a few items that can be easily carried for safety. Being skilled and equipped to secure a door to keep others locked in and perpetrators out is a matter of life and death.
If you are also able to break through barriers and pick locks, you have a greater chance of ensuring your safety as well as others. I talked about very important urban survival tools in another article. But in this one, we tackle ways to secure them and you.
I’ll run you through the different urban tools to kick off your kit:
- Tie Wraps
- Some hand tools
- Multi-Head Screwdrivers
- Channel Locks and Vise Grips
- Center Punch
- Joint Pads
Urban areas are dense with large buildings that heavily rely on artificial light. However, through the recent years, more and more designers and engineers incorporate natural lighting in their design. But some areas of these buildings can still be dark. When the power is out, you might as well be in a cave.
Owning a flashlight in your arsenal makes all the difference. And there are many kinds to choose from.
A stairwell for emergency egress can be dark and difficult to run in, but even a small keychain LED can light it up. Keep a light handy, navigate your way through a building, and get to the door without bumping into everything.
PLASTIC TIE WRAPS
Plastic tie wraps are easy to carry and they are very cheap. The larger ones like those used to secure air-conditioning duct work are quite impossible for the average person to cut through. Like in many stores, schools, or any public utility building, these larger plastic tie wraps can be used to secure double doors.
These plastic tie wraps can also secure door closers from the inside. These door closers are the ones installed on top of a door. They usually have a hinged arm that is hydraulically or pneumatically powered to pull doors close. By securing the arm together with tie wraps, the door closers will be rendered inoperable to keep you safe.
It may seem like it will not last long but this item surely buys you enough time to escape further and stall the perpetrators.
A short piece of metal chain can’t do a better job.
Even an item as thin as an old double link dog chain that owners use to keep their pets in their yard can make a door impassable to someone who does not have a saw or a pair of bolt cutters. Add in a small and cheap padlock, you now have a way to secure any entry point like a door or a gate.
Best thing is a chain that is locked in both ends can also be used as an impromptu weapon during worst case scenarios.
A simple wooden wedge is the final item on our list of items for security. Some buildings have great security and might consider chains as a weapon. A solid wood wedge is a great alternative for a survivor’s security. This can be driven under any door and prevent it from being opened.
In a fire, you will need to keep a door open for others to escape. A wood wedge can be used for that, too.
With any or all of the items listed above, you will come to work or go on with your daily life knowing you will be secured for any difficult scenario.
Multi-head screwdrivers. There are some hand tools you might need to consider adding to your urban kit as well. Multi-head screwdrivers are a must-have in your kit. These are strong metal tools that are cheap and are organized in a compact plastic box.
Channel Locks and Vise Grips. Add to this a pair of channel locks or vise grips. You might need to manipulate a nut or bolt with a vise grip. These can also be used to grab a thin piece of metal tube and to work it back and forth to break it.
Center Punch. In an urban area where glass is literally everywhere, a center punch for breaking glass is also a must.
A center punch is a safe tool to break a window or a glass door without hurting yourself, especially your hands. A pair of heavy-duty leather gloves goes well with this in order to protect your hands from incoming obstacles. Do not overlook protecting your hands as this is critical to your survival.
But our hands are not just the only crucial body part we have to protect. An eye injury will become a game ender for every survivor. A pair of safety goggles costs just under three dollars and prevents you from a fatal eye injury. They are extremely compact and weigh literally next to nothing.
KNEE AND ELBOW PADS
A pair of pads to protect your knees and elbows is helpful for when you have to crawl out of some tight structure. This protects you from hurting your joints if you crawl your way through debris.
Another must-have is an N-95 mask. This is a great particulate mask that prevents dust, debris, or ash from entering your lungs. Masks like these serve as a potentially life saving filter in fatal events that involve Anthrax or similar particles.
You must not keep a map from your urban survival kit.
You may think that since you have lived and worked or both in the same city for so many years that you do not need a map anymore. Buy a map that has been updated most recently.
Having a map like this can show you routes you never thought existed. There could be hidden and potentially safe egress from the chaos in the city. A map could just be the difference between getting out and being trapped.
In large scale disasters, getting out of the city may be the most important thing you should do.
I have mentioned in a previous article on Urban Tools for Beginners that a four-way water key can be useful. We are discussing it again here to emphasize how important it is.
Having this cheap, small, and simple tool gives you nearly access to unlimited sources of potable water. Hoping that water is still running during an urban disaster.
KEYS FOR HEAVY EQUIPMENT
As urban areas keep growing and expanding, heavy equipment like cranes, bulldozers, and backhoes (to name a few) are almost everywhere. This brings another handy and useful item in mind. There are available sets of keys for heavy equipment online.
Most of these fit almost all manufacturers of construction equipment.