What are urban survival skills?

Devoted to the discussion of skills applicable in an urban environment

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What are urban survival skills?

Post by Doc Putney » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:29 pm

The post title has had me thinking for quite a while. What are urban survival skills?
There is a reason we call cities urban jungles, that being the relative danger they posses.
A city is dangerous normally, but after a disaster, or a paw scenario the game dose change.
I think there may be a need for a distinction.
A distinction of skills needed in a city normally, in a short term disasters, and a PAW.

Basics

Basic Medical Skills

Basic skills that I think would serve any one, any where, would be various levels of medical certification.
• CPR, AED classes for adult, children, and infants.
• First aid (multi level)
• Basic EMT training (multi level)

Most of theses can be obtained trough local resources all over the country/world.

Additional Medical Skills

Additional certifications and training that might be useful are:
• Pet First Aid (yes the Red Cross really offers this)
• Life Guard certification (multi level)
• Blood born pathogens training

Odds and ends

Exotic skills can be gained by urbanites as well if they look in the right places
• Scuba lessons (offered at my local YMCA in the pool, might be useful?)
• Rock climbing, available at gyms and REI outlets with climbing walls.
• Manual Bike maintenance and repair classes.
• Various crafts like knitting, sewing, soap making and others.

Driving

Those who want to be safe on the road
• Defensive driving classes (multi level)
• Ice driving training (not applicable to all climates)

Personal Safety and Defense

Also for active personal safety it is easy to take up a martial art or self defense class.
The functionality and practicality of different styles is hard to determine
I suggest trying out a few styles, and finding what you are most comfortable with.

Along with hand to hand combat you can, hopefully, obtain a gun license and practice training at local firing ranges.
Various gun safety and advanced training classes are offered trough out the US.

Social Skills

For a “Normal” city the safety can change with the landscape and demographics.
To understand and adapt to different social situations I suggest taking classes at a community college or other institution.
• Public Speaking: to be an effective communicator
• Psychology: to understand peoples actions
• Sociology: to understand a groups action
• A second language: whatever is most useful for your area.

Technical School

At a technical school you can of course pick up various skills that might be of use
• Plumbing
• Electrician
• Woodworking
• Firefighting
• Machining
• Radio Technician
• Aviation
• Nursing
• Surveying
• Construction
• Sanitation
• Automotive Technician
• Veterinary Assistant


Of all listed above, having at least a few of these skills in the normal everyday world would serve any one well.

A great post by Werespaz points out that there are some inherint skills that needs to be kept up to par.
http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... =6&t=68918

Homelessness

There is also the unfortunate possibility of being homeless in a city and there have been a very valuable discussions here.
http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... t=homeless

Disaster Preparedness Skills

There are many organizations that provide the training listed above as well as logistics for disaster situations.

Two prime examples are

The American Red Cross, which in my area, provides free classes to volunteers.
http://www.redcross.org/
And
C.E.R.T or the Civilian Emergency Response Teams
http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/

Many communities have their own versions of these task forces, but I will not list them here, please research at your leisure.

Raptor's post Responsibility and Accountability in a SHTF Situation is very important for remembering to,
excuse me for this, "Check your self before you Wreck your self." Restraint can be a good thing.
http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... =6&t=60213

For theories on those who are not willing to restrain themselves from looting or other illegal activities this is a good post by annapalooza
http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... =6&t=67370

There are several threads on getting out of dodge, so I do not feel I can really add much on that topic.
Thankfully there is a whole section on this in the Contingency Planning & Preparation forum.
http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=6

PAW City Skills

Many of us who plan to, or already have moved out to the country see cities as magnets for disaster in a PAW world.

Depending on the PAW event there a variety of reasons this is an acute mind set.

There are a few TEOTWAWKI situations that I will mention here that I feel generally explain this.

1.
General Societal Collapse, economic collapse, resource shortfall, and or EMP will leave a fair amount of the population alive,
but with the lack of prepped or skilled individual, cities will quickly collapse into chaos and suffer from massive attempted evacuation,
violence, and or property damage.
Those last three repercussions are also possible in an isolated disaster for a city.
The most famous example being New Orleans in 2005.

2.
Cities become irradiated by several Nuclear Strikes, making them unsafe for several decades.

3.
Mass viral outbreak making cities an unsafe pit of disease.

Despite these scenarios, and there consequences, returning to a city at some point might be necessary, but honestly,
I can not fathom the skills one might need to do so other than comprehensive training usually available only to military personnel.
Reentering a city is definitely an interesting puzzle, but I leave that one to the experts.

An excellent read that I recommend if scouting a truly abandoned city is “The World Without Us” by Alan Weisman.
http://www.worldwithoutus.com/index2.html
It is a good thought experiment on the relative degradation of all our man made efforts over a time line where humanity has completely disappeared.
It outlines the environment you may encounter quite well.

A real PAW city might just be a larger Hoover-ville, or an expanded small town where things have stabilized.
If you are rebuilding a city/society several skills that are mentioned in the technical school skill section are necessary,
but a list of more basic skills has been complied by sawzall and friends.
http://www.zombiehunters.org/forum/view ... 39&t=68338

A thread by Skilled_Kangaroo also goes through jobs that might be useful after SHTF.
http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... =6&t=68857

If I forgot anything major, let me know.

Doc Putney

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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by TacAir » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:40 pm

Your comments re: cities post-PAW overlooks a major point

All major US cites are uninhabitable without utilities (power/water/gas), constant food deliveries and someone to take away the trash.

IMO the best "urban survival skill" is to get out of the city. YMMV.

On a brighter note, many of the skills you have listed are very much needed (Firstaid/EMT) due to the standard of service seen in too many major urban areas - We are there in minutes when seconds count...

Thought provoking tho - thanks for the post.
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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by Doc Putney » Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:35 am

To Tac Air
I suppose I did not really mention that cities are like an organ, having to take resources from a greater body then themselves.
It was basically overlooked because I thought it was a well know fact that that if one or several utilities broke down that the
results would be disastrous. Thanks for making that point more clear.

One thing that I forgot to mention in an emergency first aid situation is that if you begin to perform CPR on a person, you may be
legally required to continue until a professional arrives. This is an actual legal statute in some states like California (I believe.)
Besides that, I largely mentioned the first aid because I feel that charity and good will are a focus here on the Zombie Squad Forums,
and possibly saving a life might be the ultimate expression of that intent.

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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by Tater Raider » Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:50 am

Urban v. Rural survival skills... I would tend to think that Urban Survival Skills would deal a lot more with dealing with people, scavenging for supplies, and concealment in an urban enviroment.

Please note that scavenging is not the same as looting. Scavenging is searching for what you need to survive in an abandoned area, such as food in the wake of Katrina. Looting is stealing things that have no bearing on survival (52" HD TV's comes to mind) or taking needed supplies from an occupied area (they are likely to already have someone else who has laid claim to them). this goes back to the whole what is needed v. what is legal thing so be careful when you step out on this slippery slope.

I agree with what has been said though, that the key to urban survival is removing yourself from the urban enviroment, as a city with no services cannot sustain itself and the bigger the city the worse this situation. Evade and Escape is the name of the game.

Just my 2¢.

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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by Doc Putney » Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:15 am

I think the point that I was trying to make is that many of do live in/near/visit cities and the skills listed in the first category
IMO can help with day to day life there. Many of get so focused on the imminent end of everything that we seem to forget that
we have to live in the world around us, not just plan to flee from it. I also believe that all the skills could extend their usefulness
into a long term survival scenario. I did also mention taking classes to be able to communicate and understand people around you.

I in no way advocate looting, but the idea of scavenging is also a hard idea to swallow morally. In a true PAW I suppose it might
be necessary. Since both are essentially illegal I choose not to mention them, except for referencing the homeless thread.

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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by Tater Raider » Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:34 am

Doc Putney wrote:I think the point that I was trying to make is that many of do live in/near/visit cities and the skills listed in the first category IMO can help with day to day life there. Many of get so focused on the imminent end of everything that we seem to forget that we have to live in the world around us, not just plan to flee from it. I also believe that all the skills could extend their usefulness into a long term survival scenario. I did also mention taking classes to be able to communicate and understand people around you.
If your preps interfere with you living a balanced life you have issues. Take a day off and take your SO to dinner and a movie.

For me this means I don't spend as much on model rockets or trains as I would like, but I still do both. Ya gotta enjoy yourself or there isn't any point to prepping in the first place IMNTBH (on this specific topic) opinion.
Doc Putney wrote:I in no way advocate looting, but the idea of scavenging is also a hard idea to swallow morally. In a true PAW I suppose it might be necessary. Since both are essentially illegal I choose not to mention them, except for referencing the homeless thread.
Illegal in normal circumstances I agree, but SHTF isn't exactly normal. Looting is right out, and scavenging needs to be limited to what you have to have. Given the choice between trying to salvage something out of the wreckage that was my town and my kids going to bed hungry I'm gonna go dig through rubble. Many who survived Katrina would agree.

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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by Doc Putney » Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:18 am

Tater Raider wrote:If your preps interfere with you living a balanced life you have issues. Take a day off and take your SO to dinner and a movie.

For me this means I don't spend as much on model rockets or trains as I would like, but I still do both. Ya gotta enjoy yourself or there isn't any point to prepping in the first place IMNTBH (on this specific topic) opinion.
That is an extremely good point, i personally find all of these ideas for skills you can acquire fun and interesting, but a little R&R is great for self care.

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urban survival

Post by chacha » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:03 pm

Our very urban survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.
---chacha---

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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by ZombieGranny » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:23 pm

...
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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by chacha » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:37 pm

ZombieGranny wrote:I suspect you are spam, attempting to get us to go to your website and pay for your 12 week course.

is there is something wrong w/ my post?

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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by andrew2153434 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:18 am

I would add "law". knowing the local laws of that region will help greatly and knowing your rights is also important. most colleges and community colleges offer law type classes.

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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by EODguy » Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:14 pm

I think that lockpicking and bypass techniques are essential. You bump or pick a Master lock #1, get into a secured worksite or storage area, you have just added some (not foolproof or legal) security while you get some rest or recover. Also thinking if you have others that you are BO'ing with. Nice to keep everyone together. Just get out before the new day starts. I have slept in public libraries during the day, slept on Marta rail train for the price of a flash pass $1.25 Also great to open a locked porta-potty for an emergency download. Just my 2 cents
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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by KnightoftheRoc » Sun Jun 12, 2011 12:29 am

A point not covered, also, is that not ALL of an urban area is going to be like downtown Manhattan, wall to wall skyscrapers, and the only green to be seen is cash. I live in a city of about 25,000- just barely qualifies as a city, I know, but- most of the buildings are homes, with yards. Even with an average yard size of 1/4 acre, you COULD do some kind of gardening, and if you got members of the neighborhood working together (yet another skill that would be useful), you could get one yard growing one crop, another yard growing another, in order to utilize the space best. It isn't all crowds, potholes, and dark alleys.

Scavenging is not illegal, that's true. But, the way the term gets tossed around here, and in other places, it becomes almost synonymous with 'looting', which IS illegal. And, reading the "I'll scavenge X,Y, and Z" posts, I doubt if they truly know what is entailed in scavenging. I doubt that most of them have ever tried it.
Scavenging can be legally practiced, and a lot learned in the process, if your municipality allows "curb picking". There are some 'etiquette' things to keep in mind when doing this- most importantly, not leaving a mess behind you. If you move around items in the curb pile, put them back neatly, don't leave them tossed all over the guy's front lawn and sidewalk. Don't leave bags of food waste outside of cans, or remove them from cans if that's where you find them- as a general rule, a can contains smelly, nasty stuff you don't want in the first place- don't add to the mess.
I've furnished entire apartments from items picked off of curbs, completely legally. There's literally no limits on what you MIGHT find, either. Furniture, electronics (many times, still working!), appliances, machine parts, tools, camping gear, toys- if someone can get tired of it, and toss it out with the trash, you can find it on a curb.
THAT is scavenging. Climbing the guy's fence and rooting through his backyard for something you like, that's not. That's looting. Entering his home or garage for the same thing is burglary. And could get you shot for your trouble.

While lock picking might be a useful skill, unless you are using it in a professional capacity, it's illegal to even own the tools in most places. And, picking a lock is still considered breaking and entering. I, myself, don't see the sense in picking a lock to a place, we'll say a garage, for example, and then using an area you just made UNSECURE as a safe haven. And, even if you lock up behind yourself once inside, someone locked it- they have the keys. What do you think their reaction would be, if they legally entered their property to find you holed up in it? What would your response be, if you were the property owner? Most of us would have a firearm out in pretty short order, from either side of the equation, and that's how people get needlessly hurt or killed.
An area is either secure or it isn't. Once you manage to get into a secure area (without being the guy with the keys, of course), you've defeated that security. And, if you can do it, so can someone else. In most cases, you've just made it easier for them. I feel it's better to find an area that can be MADE secure, from the inside, and doesn't require my having to defeat a perfectly good security system in order to do so, wasting time and possibly causing damage I can't fix.
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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by EODguy » Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:20 am

Knight,

The topic is survival skills, I think that the more training, practice or experience you get can only help you when SHTF! All good points! I will still have my bump keys, and a few small picks, I can defeat almost any padlock, residential lock in seconds, I can enter a car start it if need be, again skills. I'm more concerned with entering abandoned commercial properties in urban settings, or locked fences that could afford me a second layer of security, if the streets get mean, I need a break, need to hole up, just a skill like scavenging. No matter how or where you get to, have an escape plan. Move in late, get out early. Early warning devices, anything you can get to allow you the time to get out of your hide.

All good points Knight, just another view point. In 2 of my hides I have placed bolt cutters as the ultimate entry tool. Can't carry them around, but nice to know where they are if needed. Also I'm planning for worst case scenarios. I think no skill is too trivial when your life or your families life is in jeopardy. Love ya Bro!
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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by Danger » Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:26 am

To answer your question:

1. Breakdancing
and
2. Distinguishing a real female prostitute from just some guy in drag (while potentially initially very convincing it still can only end in tears)
(Insert witty comment here)

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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by maldon007 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 6:51 am

EODguy wrote:Knight,

The topic is survival skills, I think that the more training, practice or experience you get can only help you when SHTF! All good points! I will still have my bump keys, and a few small picks, I can defeat almost any padlock, residential lock in seconds, I can enter a car start it if need be, again skills. I'm more concerned with entering abandoned commercial properties in urban settings, or locked fences that could afford me a second layer of security, if the streets get mean, I need a break, need to hole up, just a skill like scavenging. No matter how or where you get to, have an escape plan. Move in late, get out early. Early warning devices, anything you can get to allow you the time to get out of your hide.

All good points Knight, just another view point. In 2 of my hides I have placed bolt cutters as the ultimate entry tool. Can't carry them around, but nice to know where they are if needed. Also I'm planning for worst case scenarios. I think no skill is too trivial when your life or your families life is in jeopardy. Love ya Bro!
But the real point is, it is against the rules of this forum to discuss illegal activities, specifically/especially recommending that others should do them... So concentrate on all LEGAL options you might have... Or at least be clear that you are learning lock picking in case you lose your keys & need to get into YOUR own place :D
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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by Vodage » Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:40 pm

+1 to Bike Maintenance. In a zombie situation, fuel may become limited, and a good MTB can travel over some pretty busted up roads.
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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by MidRange » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:48 pm

I would like to add, that finding clean water in a city would be one of that hardest things to do. Toilet tanks (the back, not the bowl), water heaters, and copper pipes, and fridges (a lot of people keep canned/bottled drinks in the fridge[not looting, talking about abandoned areas]). I wouldn't run a tap even if there is pressure, as it may bring the contaminated water into the pipes.

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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by ROCK6 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:41 am

I think there is a distinct difference between what I enjoy as “bushcraft” vice urban survival craft. All the main necessities don’t change, but where you may have to work a little hard in the bush for shelter, it’s readily available or improvised much easier in an urban environment.

Water is an essential and knowing how to obtain water in an urban environment is different, but no less critical. Water heaters, water catches, etc…plus the hazards of polluted water are typically much higher than in more remote rural areas; another big concern.

I think self defense becomes are much larger necessity with the population variances. Also, vertical movement or escape is a very probable requirement and knowing rudimentary rappelling and ascending skills are quite valuable. Breaching tools are much more necessary in an urban environment; having to negotiate locked doors, windows, drywalls, fencing, etc. can and most likely will be necessary.

Navigation is much different in urban environments as it takes on different dimensions. Of course, knowing street layouts and the topographic differences (to avoid flooding) and of course knowledge of rail lines, sewage and drainage ditches, electrical lines, etc. is essential for optional navigation.

Natural hazards are exacerbated in rural environments. Earthquakes, floods, fires, etc. are more problematic by either funneling their devastating effects or creating vertical as well as horizontal hazards. During a crisis, personal hygiene is always important, but in a condensed urban area, there are many other vectors that would increase that threat.

Many differences from the more “romantic” wilderness survival threats…

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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by KnightoftheRoc » Wed Apr 04, 2012 2:24 pm

MidRange wrote:I would like to add, that finding clean water in a city would be one of that hardest things to do. Toilet tanks (the back, not the bowl), water heaters, and copper pipes, and fridges (a lot of people keep canned/bottled drinks in the fridge[not looting, talking about abandoned areas]). I wouldn't run a tap even if there is pressure, as it may bring the contaminated water into the pipes.
Keep in mind, that any 'abandoned' building that still has water in the lines and tanks, is likely to have some really nasty water waiting for you. Many buildings get winterized before closing them up, making the water completely useless for drinking or cooking. Some municipal water tends to be a bit acidic, as is the case where I live. This means that the sitting water is dissolving the metal of the pipes, and holding it in solution, usually invisible, and without odor- you wouldn't notice anything was wrong with it till you tasted it.
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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by jasjohnie » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:13 pm

I understand about this topic, its pretty interested to know about this kind of survival skills. even f you don't have any kinds of weapons to defense you a right training to survived,

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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by Murphman » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:50 pm

After soft people skills and concealment, I would add foraging, stealth gardening and passive hunting/trapping.

There is a plethora of food in a city that completely goes to waste. My foraging mentor only holds classes in urban/suburban areas as the diversity is much greater. The number of edible plants people walk past every day is absurd. If you can identify a few of those, or other not so common plants that people eat, you can cultivate these and is someone does try to loot your stuff, they won't go for those items. In my area there are also TONS of small ponds and streams that are teeming with life that can easily be eaten. Knowing how to passivly catch a protein dinner, while keeping it hidden (think trot lines or submersible cages) will also be valuable. I know more than a few city folk who don't even have a clue that there are fish in those little ponds, let alone thinking they can eat them.

All of these are completely dependent on the first two I mentioned. If you can't stay concealed enough to not get caught eating the things no one else really knows how to eat, or convince them they are for another purpose, then chances are they will start getting used by many and you are back to fighting for food.
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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by greglambert » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:54 pm

Gear uglification, urban bicycle commuters have made an art out of making their bikes look less desirable to thieves. Making your hi end gear look unique enough to where you can identify it if stollen and making your gear look
Cheaper older and less desirable to steal would help in an urban setting

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Re: What are urban survival skills?

Post by ZH10950 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:05 pm

IMHO, "Urban Survival Skills" are the ability to get out of an urban area alive. Staying in a urban area too long and trying to survive is not ideal, that is to say the odds are not on your side. I'd rather take my chances in the woods.

Murphy's Law of combat is more so true in an urban area...anything you do can get you killed! If I were in an urban area when SHTF my first order of business is to get the hell out and never go back!
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