How to Make Your Own Urban Survival Kit If You Work in the City

If you work in the city an urban survival kit is a must-have. What is it? It's a small, unobtrusive kit that you can grab in case of emergency like a terrorist attack, pandemic outbreak, earthquake, building evacuation etc.

After 9/11 many people realize that being prepared is essential. It may make the difference between life and death in a disaster situation.

The problem is that you don't want to look like a nutjob lugging a huge emergency backpack with 2 weeks of emergency food supplies to work with you everyday. Plus you probably take public transportation and work in an office so you don't want anything that is too heavy or stands out.

So here's what to do. Start with a small black camera/SLR/digital video bag, fanny pack or EMT pouch. If it has a few useable pockets all the better.

I prefer black, but if that color stands out in relation to it's relative background (i.e. against your purse, laptop bag, carrier bag, etc) try and find one that is closer to that color instead.

This bag can be attached to your laptop bag, briefcase, or even your belt depending on what you are doing and wearing (I used a couple of karabiners to attach mine to a laptop bag). You want to make sure it's big enough for what you're going to put into it.

Here are a few things to put into your urban survival kit:

- Several small Ziploc type bags

- Disposable rain poncho (in a 4" x 5" package)

- Mylar emergency blanket (small)

- Waterproof matches

- Small flashlight (one spare set of batteries too)

- Water purification tablets

- Collapsible water bottle (water bag)

- A couple of pens for writing

- Small note pad

- $30 to $50 in small bills including quarters

- Emergency ID card

- A couple of Energy bars (not chocolate bars)

- Copy of house key

- Portable wall charger for your cell phone

- Simple First Aid Kit

You might also need to add some additional things that are specific to you, such as medication, or feminine hygiene products.

The advantage to using a small discreet bag in an urban survival kit is that in an emergency most people won't notice you grabbing a small bag quickly and heading out. Plus people on the street are less likely to notice it too.

The $30 to $50 in small bills is useful if ATMs are down and public transportation is out of the question. You can quickly grab a cab to get home. If you know it takes $40 to get home, you're covered and way ahead of most people who won't have cash on hand.

Also, if things get a little nuts, you can still use the cash to help get things or even 'negotiate' with someone.

Make sure to list the following on your emergency ID card:

- Your full name and cell phone number

- Any allergies or medical conditions you have

- Any medication and doses you take

- Your primary health care professional (Name, phone & office address)

- Your emergency contact people (Name & phone numbers)

Don't use your home phone number, use a cell number.

Why not use your home phone number? If you put a copy of your house key in the urban survival kit, and you lose the kit, someone just needs to do a reverse look up on and get your current address. You might as well send out invitations to potential burglars.

Use the ziploc bags to hold your small bills, your emergency ID card, spare batteries, and house key. If you didn't purchase a prepackaged First Aid kit, use another ziploc bag for that.

Remember to take as much of the air out of the ziploc bags as possible to reduce space. Place everything into your carrier. And away you go!

Also remember to check the expiry date of the your energy bars, I'd also recommend staying away from chocolate coated types, as they tend to melt in heat. Try and find a quality meal replacement bar that doesn't have a lot of sugar so you can avoid the sugar spike and crash.

So those are a few tips on how to build your own small urban survival kit to have on hand. In case of emergency this kit can help you make it home to your loved ones quickly and safely.

For more tips on urban survival visit Urban Survival Gear - a site helping you prepare for the worst if you live and work in the city. Or for more options for long term survival kits visit

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