Preppers will tell you, above all else, wildness and urban survival comes down to four basic resources — food, water, shelter, and communication. These are easy enough to prepare and gather for the worst possible scenarios, but what and how you prepare varies depending on where you live and how you plan to survive.
Prepping takes place in two environments — urban and wilderness. The most stringent preppers will say anyone serious about survival would never live in a city, but for many that isn’t a choice. If you’re checking off boxes on the list, consider where you live to build the ultimate plan for survival. While food and water preparation is pretty straightforward, planning your communication and shelter requires more strategy.
Communications: Urban Survival Solutions
Cellular networks, Internet service providers, and digital telephone lines (landlines) rarely go down, even in the most extreme circumstances. After the planes struck the World Trade Center towers on September 11, various cell phone networks went down around New York City, but even then many people were still able to communicate through some landlines and unaffected cell networks.
The point is, if something as catastrophic as 9/11 couldn’t bring down all forms of communication, nothing short of a declaration of war from another superpower will do the trick. Keep a pair of two-way radios in the house just in case, or sign up for different cell networks between friends and family in case one goes down.
Communications: Wilderness Survival Solutions
There are only two ways to communicate in the backcountry — a pair of two-way radios (in limited range) or a satellite phone, which has the capability of functioning virtually anywhere on the planet.
Like a typical smartphone, satellite phones do come with a monthly service fee, but are a full-proof way to know you have a lifeline no matter how deep in the forest you go.
Shelter: Urban Survival Solutions
Anyone with their own home and property can build a shelter in their basement or back yard, but dwellers in apartments or condos have a different challenge. Every building should have basic protocols for emergencies and natural disasters, and you should be familiar with the facilities of your complex. Some buildings may have basements, or even Cold War-era bomb shelters (not entirely unheard of in New York and other big cities), to take shelter in during the worst circumstances.
The best shelter might be outside your building (this could be a public location or a friend’s home) so be sure to make a secondary spot part of your evacuation plan.
Shelter: Wilderness Survival Solutions
Before even considering taking shelter in the wilderness during an emergency, you need to be honest with yourself. Do you have what it takes to survive in the wild? Even some experienced campers and backpackers don’t have what it takes to last more than a week away from civilization, and you need to be prepared to spend up to months on your own if you’re serious about wilderness survival.
The National Outdoor Leadership School offers a few different certifications that can mean the difference between life and death, especially when it comes to first aid, food, and water.