Urban Emergency Preparedness
With increasing urbanization and accompanying climate change events, it is crucial to have an urban emergency preparedness plan in place. For urban residents, this preparation involves more than just keeping a first-aid kit handy. It includes building a comprehensive urban survival kit, stockpiling food and water, developing a solid communication plan, and understanding the procedures for evacuating in the face of disasters.

Building an Urban Survival Kit with Essential Supplies

An urban survival kit serves as a lifeline when disaster strikes. It should contain all the necessary items to help you survive until help arrives. Here’s a list of essentials:

Basic Supplies

  • First Aid Kit: This should include bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, medical tape, gloves, pain relievers, and any prescribed medications.
  • Water and Food: Keep a minimum of three days’ worth of non-perishable food and water per person, ideally three gallons per person per day.
  • Hygiene Items: Include travel-sized toiletries, hand sanitizers, baby wipes, and a portable toilet.
  • Clothing and Bedding: Pack a change of clothing for each family member and include a thermal blanket for warmth.

Tools and Equipment

  • Flashlights and Batteries: To aid visibility during power outages.
  • Multitool: A multitool can be invaluable, serving as a can opener, knife, screwdriver, etc.
  • Portable Charger: Keep your devices powered with a solar or battery-powered charger.
  • Local Maps: In case of GPS failure, physical maps can guide you to safety.
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Stockpiling Food and Water for Emergencies

Having a stockpile of food and water is vital in emergency preparedness. Here are some steps to help get you started.


Choose long-lasting, non-perishable foods like canned goods, dried fruits, nuts, and ready-to-eat meals. Some people like to store freeze dried or dehydrated foods as well since they do not require refrigeration and have long shelf lives. Dried foods like rice, beans and pasta can also be excellent choices for emergency preparation.

While not directly food, paper plates, paper towels, paper or plastic cups, plastic utensils and trash bags can come in very handy during an emergency situation.

Remember to rotate your stockpile to maintain its freshness and check the expiration dates.


Store at least three gallons of water per person per day. Water purification tablets or water filters can be beneficial if you need to use a questionable water source.

You will need water to drink, cook and clean. Lots of survival books will tell you that one gallon of water per person per day is enough. Reality is that during an emergency you will probably be doing more than you normally do and you may not have the benefit of air conditioning so you will need more to drink. If you rely on freeze dried foods or the prepper staples of beans and rice then you will need water to prepare your meals as well.

You also need to consider sanitation. If you can’t wash your hands (and other body parts) then you increase the odds of getting sick or making others around you sick.

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The safest thing to do is to store as much water as you have room for but I would consider three gallons per person per day as the minimum that is acceptable.

Developing a Communication Plan for Urban Disasters

Communication can be disrupted during disasters. A comprehensive plan should include:

  • Contact Information: Keep a list of essential contacts like family members, doctors, insurance agents, etc.
  • Emergency Meeting Places: Identify safe places to meet if you can’t return home.
  • Check-In Procedure: Decide on a check-in procedure, e.g., texting, calling, or using a specific app.
  • Out-of-Town Contact: Have an out-of-town contact that everyone can reach. They might have an easier time connecting everyone.

Understanding and Navigating Urban Evacuation Procedures

In severe circumstances, evacuation might be necessary. Being familiar with your city’s evacuation routes and procedures can make the process smoother.

  • Know the Routes: Research your city’s evacuation routes. Usually, these are major highways, but always have alternative routes in mind.
  • Stay Informed: Follow trusted local news sources or emergency alert systems to stay updated on the situation.
  • Have a Go-Bag: In addition to your survival kit, a ‘go-bag’ with essential documents, cash, keys, and personal items can be grabbed quickly during an evacuation.
  • Transportation: Ensure your vehicle is in good condition. If you don’t own a vehicle, familiarize yourself with public transportation options and schedules.


Urban emergency preparedness is a continuous, proactive strategy rather than a reactive measure. Regular reviews and updates of your plans and emergency kits are essential. It’s our shared hope to never encounter such circumstances, but being well-prepared can potentially be life-saving when disaster strikes.

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By Chris Wright

My goals with PreppingSurvival.com are to help you prepare your family for every day life as well as the things that pop up like job loss, storm damage, store shortages, etc. The better prepared you are for life, the easier survival becomes. Learn to thrive, not just survive!