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#18823 - 08/28/03 07:26 AM Urban emergency kit suggestions requested
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA

I live in the Pacific Northwest and currently carry a few items on my person and a lot more stuff in a backpack for emergency preparedness. My main emphasis is urban emergency stuff, primarily earthquake. The kind of thing I was thinking about is getting out of the building I work at, and possibly having to hoof it about 25 miles (or more) home through rubble and possibly darkness.

The building I work at is probably not going to fair well in an earthquake. My car is in a parking garage so anything in it is not going to be helpful.

The gotcha is, my pack is going to be in my office during the day and much (most) of the time I'm not in the office (I'm in other areas of the building, meetings and such).

So I'm looking for suggestions for some sort of mini kit that I could have on me. Maybe a small fanny pack or briefcase style thing. It could assume I have my EDC.

So far, I was thinking about a bit of cord, a packet of water maybe some first aid stuff. Um......

Pack Kit
This is a bit out of date. I've moved the clothes into a lightweight waterproof bag that allows it to be compressed. Electronics also are now in waterpoof bag.

I've been thinking about replacing the raingear with something lighter, but not sure what. I've seen some pretty light stuff for cycling, but not sure how well it really works. I've also was thinking about using the MPI Pro-Tech Vest instead of the raingear, but I wonder if light raingear with the Capaline might be better and still be as light.

I really would like to find some light tools. The tool section is rather heavy. So far I haven't met a multi-tool I liked. What I'd give for a good set of titanium pliars and screwdriver set! Why are there no titanium multi-tools?!

I admit, the kit is a bit gear heavy. I'll reluctaintly take suggestions! :-)

Surefire L1 & M2
Serber M2 Mini Tool
Chris Reeve Small Sebenza
(6) 123A cells

Many thanks,


#18824 - 08/28/03 12:53 PM Re: Urban emergency kit suggestions requested

This is one of those topics that comes up again and again here. What to have for the urban office BOB that will get you home to the war-wagon so that you can head to the hills and the sanctuary of your fortified garrison with the geocached 4 year supply of ammo and food..... <img src="images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

or some such scenario.

Here is my approach to that.

1) carry generally decent PSK and EDC on person at all times. This provides minimalist gear for being on my own. See this page for kit lists. I would recommend assembling something like the EDC and PSK there and having it in pocket at all times. That covers walking out of the city nearly as well as walking out of the woods. The problems are the same - Water, Warmth, Shelter, Signaling - in approximately that order.

2) plan 2 - 5 escape routes from your building and your city with message posting locations marked and communicate these plans with your circle of concerned people. (that may be as small a circle as just your spouse or it may be as large as an organized SAR group or survival ring.)

3) Exercise your routes at least once so you know your speed over that terrain in good conditions.

For walking around the building nothing works better than the franklin planner type deal. Not as stylish as the Palm in the meeting but allows you to carry some essentials that won't fit into a palm pilot.

For building escape you will want:

1) Work gloves with leather palms

2) Zip-ties to temporarily stabilize structure out of the way of your passage - 10 of the largest

3) Head lamp - the lights will be out - there are small clip on ones that aren't much larger than a photon

4) Bandanna 30" X 30" minimum- uses too numereous to cover them all. a) face mask, b) sweat rag, c) glasses cleaner, d) extra thermal protection when moving hot items, e) bandage, f) sling, g) do-rag, ...

5) Cordage - 20 - 50' paracord or if you can afford spectra cord

6) Duct-tape - 6 - 10 yds in flat roll

7) Face mask - n95 or better - evacu8 hood The n95 face masks can be folded flat and still work

8) Dust proof goggles. - search this site there have been many decent suggestions from industrial safety to stylish motercycle / diving.

If you get a medium sized franklin planner thingy with zip, don't carry all of the long-term planning pages only this weeks pages and some note paper it should be possible to fit all of the above inside in a small pouch,

I wouldn't bother carrying water around the office. If the building is functioning there should be water available at the bubbler. If you are fleeing the building you either will be out before you are thirsty or you won't be getting out. If you must carry water then something like the Platypus canteen would fit into the franklin planner carry option. - .5 liter isn't much but it's better than nothing and you are already carrying a bunch.

More importantly you will need some way to carry and purify water while you are walking out of town. The Platypus canteen or even a larger platypus empty and folded would fit into the planner carry along with a bottle of Halazone or iodine tablets and that should get you home. In most urban areas there are water sources even in bad situations they just may not be clean.

For the walk out:

1) wear comfortable walking shoes. They don't have to look tactical. The must be durable and have a decent tread on the sole and a strong arch support and midsole helps. Under decent dress pants cap toe boots can pass a casual dress if the soles don't look too much like Dr. Martins.

2) Carry some shelter incase things take longer than expected. This can be as easy and cheap as a contractors garbage bag - 30 - 50 gallon size extra strong or as expensive as a backpacking ultralight tarp / poncho. Both of these options take up about the same amount of room and would fit easily in the inside pocket of your dress jacket or in the planner.

3) prepare to look poor. The bums are ignored when times are bad and when times are good. If you look like a bum then you can walk home un-accosted. This can be done by ripping your jacket pockets and splashing in the nearest mud hole. - lose the tie!

4) from your exercise of walking your routes you should have a clear knowledge of your water sources and a good number of other supplie options. If there isn't anything good you should atleast be able to find some cachement spots. - this doesn't matter if you will only be walking for a mile or two. OTOH if you live that near to work and work was destroyed then you are really walking to your other car not your home which will probably also have been destroyed. - you do have another car?

5) chain up a bike somewhere outside near work - maintain it just well enough that it is usable but let some rust happen and make it a single speed heavy as hell dual purpose beach bike so no one will want to steal it and it will ride through anything. a thread on bicycles

6) don't bother to equip yourself that much for the travel out of town. That should be a quick experience taking no more than a day on roads that you have experience with. Make your Long Term prep for the home.

7) as you pass the preset message posting areas on the way out of town make sure to stop and leave a message for whomever telling them which route you are on and what time it is and how you are doing.

8) If the power is out the building digital phones will be useless, payphones may work to get a long-distance call when they wont for local (have long distance communications centers - grandma in poughkeepsie for example - where messages can be left and forwarded) If payphones are out cells will be swamped but you might get through. point to point cell phones are probably better. FMRS / GMRS / CB will work decently for a few blocks line of sight but buildings make them useless. HAM is a good bet if you get the lisence. If you go the HAM route I recommend taking the Emergency Comms course as well (free from the ARRL web site) so you will know what is happening and how the Emergency comms is being handled. You can stay out of the way of it and listen in as well. Hams have enough frequencies and power to always have an uncongested freq to reach out on arrange with your "circle of concerned individuals" what freq you will use before hand and check with the local EmComms Hams (ARES / RACES) so that you don't select their freq.

An interesting thread on urban prep

Just some thoughts.

#18825 - 08/28/03 01:41 PM Re: Urban emergency kit suggestions requested
paramedicpete Offline

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
There are a few of the military supply companies that sell titanium wrecking bars and hand shovels. While they are generally expensive, I have been able to find them on sale or at clearance prices on occasion. Pete

#18826 - 08/28/03 02:10 PM Re: Urban emergency kit suggestions requested
chuuucky Offline

Registered: 04/13/01
Posts: 17
Loc: southern CA
Hi John, enjoyed your post and the photographic/verbal demonstrations of your urban emergency kit. You had mentioned having to maybe hoof the 25 miles to get to your home under emergency conditions and also that you cycle. While surely you have considered it, why not keep even a beater bike cached somewhere in your building as part of your "kit"?

#18827 - 08/28/03 02:24 PM Re: Urban emergency kit suggestions requested
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA
MiniMe writes:

I wouldn't bother carrying water around the office.

Thanks for the reply. I was thinking it is semi likely to be trapped in the building with the building non-functional.


#18828 - 08/28/03 02:38 PM Re: Urban emergency kit suggestions requested
David Offline

Registered: 10/09/02
Posts: 245
Loc: Tennessee (middle)
geocached 4 year supply of ammo and food.

Hey, I'd like to log that cache. Is it posted at Geocaching.com? <img src="images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />


Edited by David (08/28/03 02:39 PM)

#18829 - 08/28/03 02:42 PM Re: Urban emergency kit suggestions requested

I'd rather use it myself than have you finding it. Heck I'd have to waste some of the ammo in that case!

#18830 - 08/28/03 02:47 PM Re: Urban emergency kit suggestions requested

Trapped in the building with building non-functional is almost a no-win. If you are there for longer than 3 day's (bodys "stay still" ability without water) you probably won't make it. During those 3 days you need signaling more than water. Water is bulky, heavy and noticeable to lug around any usable quantity to meetings with the suits.

That said, I always carry my coffee mug - stainless 16 oz stainless double-walled starbuck travel mug - everywhere because of an ongoing caffiene addiction and it is always acceptable in the meetings. For the healthier crowd 1 liter Evian or similar water bottles seem well accepted. Still bulky and heavy tho....

I think that the building could fall on my coffee mug and not shatter, dent or puncture it.

#18831 - 08/28/03 03:44 PM Re: Urban emergency kit suggestions requested
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA
Hmm. I'm not sure where I implied cycling, but I don't. That said, it isn't like I'm opposed to it. On the other hand, I guess I was assuming that if there is an earthquake big enough to cause me to hoof it, that chances are the routes would be pretty impacted by debris and cycling would be less than optimal.

I'll have to consider it tho. I couldn't hurt to have another option.



#18832 - 08/28/03 03:46 PM Re: Urban emergency kit suggestions requested
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA
Paramedicpete writes:
There are a few of the military supply companies that sell titanium wrecking bars

Thanks Pete. As it turns out I have a 15" Ti wrecking bar in my BOB (see pics). What I haven't been able to turn up is any sources for lightweight (but sturdy) stuff like pliers and screwdrivers or multi-tools.

Thanks for the thoughts.


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