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#188256 - 11/14/09 12:07 AM Re: Urban Survival Kit [Re: Mark_F]
Jeanette_Isabelle Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 2532
Loc: Somewhere in Florida
Originally Posted By: Mark_Frantom
I have not read through this entire thread so please forgive me if this has already been discussed. With winter approaching (or already here depending on your area) I found an article here:
regarding causes of winter storm deaths. It may make you reconsider including fire-starting supplies in your urban kit.

Originally Posted By: JeanetteIsabelle
I'm in the process of modifying my Pocket Survival Pack to make an urban survival kit. I'm keeping the most important item in the PSK, the instructions. Though most of the information pertains to strictly wilderness survival, there is some information which pertains to all environments. The Spark-Lite and tender would come in handy. . . .
"I have no quarrel with you, good sir knight, but I must cross this bridge." Arthur, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

#188278 - 11/14/09 02:54 AM Re: Urban Survival Kit [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
Art_in_FL Offline

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
In urban, big city, environments a backpack might look out of place and attract attention exactly when you most want to blend. Depends a lot on the the specific area you travel in. If there are schools or a community college in the are your likely to see backpacks fairly often.

Of course a backpack isn't your only option. Duffel or gym bags are pretty common if there are athletic facilities in the area. It might also disguise your survival kit, something they might want, as sweaty gym clothes, something they wouldn't be interested in.

Diaper bags, a stroller would be an interesting carrier, and the sort of large lunchboxes you see construction workers using are also options. Both are pretty commonly seen in urban areas and things people don't associate with having anything valuable inside. And you can mix and match. A duffel with a shoulder strap and a lunch box might work together.

Wrapping you kit in garbage bags and tossing them into a shopping cart, or one of those folding two-wheel carts, would blend in in most built-up areas. Particularly if the area is a bit run down. Add a scruffy floppy hat and OD green army jacket and your just another homeless guy. At home in any city.

Fitting your kit into cardboard boxes and place then on a common hand truck and your just another delivery guy. Just make a lot of turns to keep the sight line short. So no one notices that your traveling farther than any delivery person would.

#188528 - 11/18/09 03:04 PM Re: Urban Survival Kit [Re: Art_in_FL]
Mark_F Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 714
Loc: Kentucky
In the past I tried to come up with an EDC kit that was urban oriented. Even though I do not live or work in a truly urban environment, I was still considering it to be an Urban Survival Kit. My intention was for this to be a basic kit for daily urban carry that I could add additional items to for wilderness carry. I considered my needs and came to a conclusion that regardless of the environment our basic human needs do not change, nor do your priorities in a survival situation; they are medical, shelter, warmth, water, signaling and food. Basically my urban survival kit became just another wilderness survival kit. Which at least in part explains why a modified PSP makes such good sense. All you need is to add a few urban specific items (I am thinking of LARGE urban area specific items, like a credit card, phone card, copies of id in case you lose your originals, and a metro card – whatever that is) while removing anything that may violate local laws.
However as Doug points out in his own materials for the Pocket Survival Pak more items are needed than just the PSP. His own suggestions are to add a knife, items for shelter, pocket flashlight, a first aid kit, items for water purification and carry, and personal meds. Point I am making (and others have made on this thread) is that an urban pocket survival pak on its own may not address all your needs in a survival situation, even an urban one. You can however augment its capabilities by carrying additional items in the kit or on your person. I think everyone has made some pretty good suggestions on what to carry/add for an urban survival kit. Also, based on your earlier post:

"At home I have ...

In my car I have ...

In my purse I have ...

On my person I have ..."

it sounds to me like you already have most things covered. The only other items you might add to your kit and/or pockets (if you haven’t already):

1. Coins to go with the cash (assuming you can still "drop a dime" for a phone call" or come across a vending machine)
2. Credit card (like those visa gift cards)
3. Other useful cards like a metro card if that is applicable
4. ID (copy of your driver’s license or id card, copy of social security card maybe)
5. Shelter items
6. Emergency water items (since you don't always carry the .5L water bottle on your person)
7. Extra batteries – Can you ALWAYS count on being able to buy extras at a store?
8. Bandanna
9. Dust mask (maybe you could leave this out if you include the bandanna)
10. Knife (if it is legal to carry – you may want to make sure the scalpel in the PSP won’t cause you any legal trouble as well)
11. Extra keys to car and home

I think most everyone else has mentioned items along these lines so no revelations here (I cheated and looked back through the thread and picked out what looked like the best suggested items smile ). Doug has pointed out, no single kit can “contain all the equipment or supplies you might need or want in an emergency.” In the end you have to evaluate your own needs, couple that with our suggestions and your own experience, and let us know what you come up with. Hope this helps. Jeanette, your thread has generated some thought-provoking discussion and made at least a few of us think more outside the box.
Uh ... does anyone have a match?

#188539 - 11/18/09 05:14 PM Re: Urban Survival Kit [Re: Dagny]
MDinana Offline

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2196
Loc: Beer&Cheese country
Originally Posted By: Dagny
Originally Posted By: Rodion
Actually, I have an FM radio that's smaller than my cellphone.

Reception's crap, though. If SHTF, my best bet would be the cellphone itself with its built-in radio...

What cell phone is that? I'd love that setup. Few people could get through on cell phones in the first hours of 9/11.

Portable radios were gold -- especially for pedestrians.

Kind of late to this thread, and haven't read all of it, but...
My iTouch, and therefore I assume the iPhone, has an app that functions as a scanner. Has many fire and police dept. channels on it. Not necessarily an AM/FM, but still useful. I need to have a WiFi hotspot to use it, but I would assume the iPhone wouldn't

#188554 - 11/18/09 06:21 PM Re: Urban Survival Kit [Re: Art_in_FL]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7416
Loc: southern Cal
Don't forget the ever reliable briefcase. I could carry mine quite a ways if slung on my shoulder. Its first cousin is the messenger bag, also easily portable.

You can always grab a grocery cart and be just another homeless person.
Geezer in Chief

#188623 - 11/19/09 07:48 AM Re: Urban Survival Kit [Re: MDinana]
Alex Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 1034
Loc: -
Originally Posted By: MDinana
My iTouch, and therefore I assume the iPhone, has an app that functions as a scanner. Has many fire and police dept. channels on it. Not necessarily an AM/FM, but still useful.

That's interesting. Here is the sites for those who have no iGadgets but can/want to listen to the EMS feeds on the internet too:
1. http://www.radioreference.com/apps/audio/
2. http://www.dxzone.com/catalog/Internet_and_Radio/Police_Scanners/
3. http://www.police-scanner.info/live-police-scanners.htm
Probably not all of them, but quite a long lists.

#188719 - 11/20/09 08:55 AM Re: Urban Survival Kit [Re: Alex]
Mark_M Offline

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 295
Loc: New Jersey
I have to say I that, as a newbie, I appreciate all the info and debate on this topic. Most of the other sites I visited were focused on hard-core, Armageddon, end of civilization scenarios. It is great to find a place that offers more practical information for the rest of us "Sheep," not just for "Sheepdogs."

A few weeks ago my department moved from a low-profile office building in an upscale suburban town only 15 minutes from home, to a huge, 40-story skyscraper in a major city that takes me 90 minutes by car and train each way. So my previous plan of keeping an emergency kit ready at home needed some adjustment.

My first reaction was to stuff enough tools and supplies into a daypack with my laptop and drag that back-and-forth every day. I'm doing this, but at 30 pounds and who knows how many cubic inches, I'm not sure all the Tylenol I could carry would help me make it home. Even if I could catch, gut and cook a fish or a squirrel or, more likely, a pigeon, I'm not sure that eating an animal that lives in an inner city or polluted river will aid in my survival, and I'm not sure I could find much dry wood to saw or hack for a campfire. Plus, as others have pointed out, a stuffed daypack will draw some attention and, if I have to go on-foot, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't make it through some of the unsavory neighborhoods I'd have to cross during the first 10 miles of my trek.

So now I'm adjusting my kit to try carry only the most essential items. I figure that with careful attention to purpose, I can carry 100% of what I would need to deal with 95% of possible disaster scenarios in one or two pockets. For the other 5%, I can keep bulky/heavy items in my desk with duplicates in my car, and grab them as appropriate before evacuating the disaster or use them for shelter-in-place. Then my biggest exposure would be when I visit other buildings traveling by foot or mass transit.

Some comments on other postings from experience:
  1. Make a clear copy of the first page of your passport (the one with your photo and information on it) on one side of some heavy paper, and your driver's license and insurance ID on the other. Print your emergency medical (blood type, allergies, meds, contact lenses) and emergency contact numbers along the borders in red ink. Laminate this with 3/4" excess plastic on one side where you can punch a hole and run a lanyard through. It might not be accepted as positive ID, but it should serve in an emergency and it will help you get replacement ID faster than if you have nothing. And if you are found unconscious the medics will have some basic information.
  2. Lots of companies make ID holders that go around your neck and can hold a passport. Some of the military/law-enforcement focused companies have an elastic strap on the back for pens, so you could easily put a small flashlight like the Fenix L0D, pen knife like the Victorinox Recruit, a Sharpie Marker and a USB memory key (see next). The Maxpedition Traveler seems to be a good, although expensive option. I would also stick my laminated ID card, emergency cash and spare debit card in the pouch and then put my work ID card over top so, through the window, all you would be able to see is my work ID. Carry it inside your shirt when you're in hostile territory and you might get to keep it when the more obvious items are "confiscated."
  3. Carry your medical information on a USB memory key. There are outfits that sell memory keys specifically for this purpose, but you can use any memory key as long as you label it clearly. Some doctors will help you load and update the data, but for the most part you need to do it yourself with notes, scans of documents, test results, prescriptions, even X-Rays/MRI/Cat Scans if you can get them. But make sure you carefully secure the key to your ID holder or kit so you don't loose it. You can encrypt the data, but then you need to be conscious and coherent to tell the medical personnel how to get to the data. So this is most useful -- but most risky from a confidentiality perspective -- if the data is not encrypted.
  4. A multi-tool is handy in a wide variety of situations, but few of them are important to your immediate survival. They are also bulky, heavy and expensive targets for anyone who might accost you during evacuation. I might keep one in my bag, but a more useful Pocket EDC tool would be a small Victorinox Recruit or similar, with a knife blade (albeit small), can opener and tweezers, or the Victorinox Sportsman, which is a bit thicker but adds an awl, nailfile, and corkscrew (for that all-important bottle of French survival wine).
  5. In a disaster you cannot rely on your cell phone or any of the applets on it (such as GPS/Navigation, radio streams) that depend on either cellular or wifi services to be up-and-running. Cell towers may be destroyed, equipment shacks flooded, communications lines disrupted, power and backup systems fail, or the system can be overwhelmed by calls. I would not plan on relying on just a cell phone for news and information in lieu of a small AM/FM radio. The Sony ICF-S10MK2 is small, light and cheap, and is still available on sites like Amazon.com for around $10.00. I carry a SanDisk Sansa MP3 player with built-in FM radio that I've had for years, with presets for the powerful talk/news stations in my area (plus 16GB of music to listen to, when I'm not worried about running down the 30 hour battery).
  6. A 15g pouch of Celox Clotting Granuals, a couple of non-stick gauze's or a trauma pad, a few band aids and some medical or duct tape looks to me the best an individual can do for self-repair short of a full trauma kit. Initially sold only to military, Celox is reputed to even stop arterial bleeding in a minute. Though expensive and difficult to find, this should improve as the manufacturer has started to focus on US consumer sales now.
  7. A signal mirror might also be handy, not just for signaling, but seeing to repair any head or neck wounds.
I fear I've rambled for too long. Thanks again for the useful info. If there's any interest, I'll post the details on my kit when its finished. Right now I'm trying to figure out what to pack it in without making something myself (my sewing skills leave much to be desired).

#188723 - 11/20/09 12:42 PM Re: Urban Survival Kit [Re: Mark_M]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5338
Welcome. Watch out though, if you start carrying serious kit someone might mistake you for a sheepdog wink
Better is the Enemy of Good Enough.
Okay, what’s your point??

#188794 - 11/21/09 01:42 AM Re: Urban Survival Kit [Re: Mark_M]
UrbanKathy Offline

Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 43
Loc: Queens, NYC

You're so right about listing the meds (there's another forum on that...you've probably seen it). After my Mom had her stroke, I created med cards for her and my Dad. They (and I) carry them in our wallets and leave them on their kitchen table. When my Mom had to go to the hospital a few years later, it was so nice to hand EMT the card. I'm good about updating them.

But it's now occurred to me that even though I don't take ongoing meds, EMT should know that anyway. I keep a business card in my EDC (which I always have) with a listing of phone numbers I might need if I lose my phone/PDA/pocketbook. Tonight I'm going to write on the face "No known allergies" and "No maintenance therapy." Also my blood type. It's just as important for them to know that.

I'd be afraid of carrying a copy of my passport and other documents. But after I read your post, I made a very good color copy of my driver's license. I'll laminate it and put it in the EDC in case I lose my wallet in an emergency. At least it looks somwhat official and might help. I wouldn't carry a USB with personal info unless it was encrypted--just too afraid of losing it. I carry them, but with programs and nonessential stuff.

I used to carry QuikClot and Kerlix but don't anymore (it's in my car, though). I'd rather be able to carry it on me than in a pocketbook. But I'm going to rethink that. I didn't realize they carry granules (per your Celox comment). In the urban scenario I've tried to prepare for, that's an absolute major plus as opposed to small first aid stuff. The granule packet might be a bit lighter than the QuikClot sponges.

Don't worry--you didn't ramble!

Edited by UrbanKathy (11/21/09 02:09 AM)

Urban camping = one roll of toilet paper in your hotel room

#188804 - 11/21/09 03:43 AM Re: Urban Survival Kit [Re: UrbanKathy]
Mark_M Offline

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 295
Loc: New Jersey
My son went on a trip with some classmates to Ecuador this summer to do volunteer work. One of the other parents works for the US Dept. of State, and as many parents had some concerns about safety and security, he arranged for a State Dept. security agent recently returned from Ecuador to explain the environment and what type of precautions should be taken, as well as how the State Dept would help in various scenarios.

The agent stressed the point to always carry copies of your passport, and to secure your original as best you can. If anyone asks for your passport -- from hotels to law enforcement -- give them the copy and explain you don't have your original on you. This will usually be accepted and you will go on your way. Conversely, if you give up your original passport it might be confiscated and held ransom (although this, he said, was less likely in Ecuador than other places).

Finally, he said if your original passport gets lost, stolen, held ransom, or whatever, if you have a copy the State Dept. will usually be able to verify your identity (including a comparison of your digitally-stored photo) and issue a temporary replacement on the same day, versus several days if you don't have a copy.

There's nothing on the ID page of my passport that isn't on my Driver's License except for the passport number itself. So I don't consider this any riskier than carrying my driver's license. But if I loose all other forms of ID, it is comforting to know I can make my way to a State Dept. office and get a new passport the same day. I could not do the same for my NJ driver's license -- I would first have to obtain the necessary 6-points of ID (of which a Passport is worth 4).
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