How to Survive in the City After a Disaster


Events that can lead to a sudden survival situation

  • Natural disasters: hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, floods, landslides, avalanches, snowstorms, heavy storms, floods, mudslides, climatic changes, glaciation, desertification, fires, astronomical impact, solar storm.
  • Incidents: fires, environmental disasters, chemical spills, release of radioactive agents or nuclear materials, water or atmospheric pollution with toxic substances.
  • Conflicts: civil war, riots, violent demonstrations, regional war, world war, nuclear, chemical, biological or radiological wars carried out with weapons of mass destruction, terrorism.
  • General collapse of society caused by the sudden absence or scarcity of primary resources such as water, food, electricity, fuel, methane.
  • Financial, political, social or economic crisis.
  • Famines, pandemics and epidemics.
  • Bio-chemical scenario: emergency due to the sudden spread of deadly diseases, biological agents and nerve gases. Examples: swine flu, escherichia coli, botulism, dengue fever, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or CJD, mad cow disease, SARS, rabies, Hantavirus, anthrax, pest, cholera, HIV, ebola, Marburg virus, Lassa fever, Sarin or GB and VX.

Personal requirements that can help us deal with an emergency situation

  • Rapid decision-making capacity
  • Being able to improvise
  • Have a total control of the body and the mind
  • Being able to understand and evaluate people
  • Anticipate the danger and be able to calculate the risks
  • Self-sufficiency and independence
  • Acknowledge your limits
  • Be tenacious never to break down

The priorities in case an emergency situation is triggered are

safeguard our safety and our safety
fulfill primary needs (water – food – shelter).
Everything else loses importance: home, money, car, objects accumulated in the course of life.


Stay in your home or escape?
We may be in a position to have to choose whether to stay at home and barricade ourselves or flee. One fact to keep in mind before taking any decision is the duration of the disaster:

Short Catastrophe: ex. a whirlwind.
Long-term catastrophe: ex. famine, third world war.
Catastrophe with indefinite time: es. climate change, environmental changes.
Depending on the duration of the disaster we will have to organize ourselves in different ways.
If the cycle is long lasting we should take into account that the food stocks that we have aside will be exhausted, an escape to the suburbs and the countryside would be inevitable in order to exploit nature to survive.

A city devoid of goods and services becomes a useless pile of iron and cement hostile to survival. We should abandon the urban environment to find open spaces and seek land to grow fruit and vegetables, and to raise animals. From time to time, however, we could return to the city to look for tools, artifacts and rummage in the garbage to find tools that could come in handy.

In case of environmental disasters due to pollution of chemical products or explosions of bombs or nuclear power plants, immediately stop the consumption of meat, fish, milk, vegetables and fresh fruit from the areas concerned. Just feed on local food and products for yourself. If you are in the disaster area, leave the area immediately by car (neatly without creating chaos and without panicking). Listen to the radio and use the means of communication to stay up-to-date on the state of the disaster and strictly follow the instructions of the civil protection, law enforcement, military, or rescue teams.

If, however, a nuclear explosion has occurred, do not run away, but find shelter and barricade to avoid radioactive fallout (fall-out). Improvised crash shelters can be underground subterranean pipelines, highway and railway tunnels of a certain length, caves, mines, sewers, cellars, taverns, underground shelters or underground car parks, opting for anywhere below one meter and seventy from the level of surface.

In the event of a NUCLEAR INCIDENT OR WAR, follow this specific guide: How to survive a Nuclear Attack.

In case of biological weapons release avoid contaminated areas, crowded areas, or meeting people. Pay attention to the foods you eat (cook them well), purify the water (boil it), wear special gas masks (GP-5). The ways by which we could be infected are:

  • Air (inhalation via air diffusion)
  • Water (contamination of the water system)
  • Food (food contamination)
  • Contagion between people or animals (via viruses)

Depending on the bacterium, released virus or toxin could be very difficult to escape from the infection even by wearing protections, boiling water, etc … The only way is to escape from the area at risk.


Before escaping from the city (if time permits, otherwise we flee as soon as possible without wasting time saving material goods) we try to do the following things:

  • We put in an envelope: cash (all that we can, we avoid the little coins of little value), identity documents, deeds of property, precious goods (gold, diamonds), other important documents (eg vaccination booklet, health card, account current, passport, sheet with phone number of family members and blood group), keys of our properties, and other small assets that we consider valuable (eg family photo).
  • If we have a survival manual, let’s take it (if we also have a first aid manual on plants.
  • Avoid wasting time trying to withdraw cash at ATMs, at the bank or at the post office (most likely in an emergency situation, many people would gather to save their savings and obviously the banks would not have the necessary cash to pay everyone).
  • We bring with us means of communication such as radio, walkie talkie or radio transmitter, CB, notebook, telephone, any batteries and chargers (better if manual if we do not find electricity).
  • We stock up on sugar, salt, flour, oil and other long-life foods (canned, salted, marinated, syrup, in oil, honey).
  • We consume the short-term foods sooner or later.
  • We bring with us some seeds bought previously (make a selection of seeds in order to have a harvest for all seasons). Radicchi, celery, chicory, potatoes grow all year round, especially for these (see table below).
  • We take a knife, a saucepan, a capable container, a metal cup, a can opener, a bottle opener, and a few meters of rope.
  • We bring with us all the equipment that could be useful to light a fire (lighters, matches, lighters …).
  • Complete medical kit and any life-saving medicines (see final part of first aid).
    Notepads and pencil (we could keep a diary annotating useful information).
  • Clothing: a pair of comfortable trousers, jeans (excellent because very resistant), sweaters (both long-sleeved and short-sleeved, preferably cotton), sweaters, jackets, raincoat, ponchos, underpants, socks, scarves, gloves ( even a pair of work if we have them), headgear, light and heavy shoes and even a pair of rubber boots. Bring the best garments in cotton and easily washable. Do not wear too many clothes, but at least two, maximum three for each type of garment so as to alternate and have the spare when you wash the dirty ones.

In the video: emergency kit for 3 days (bug-out bag)


Other objects that could serve:

  • Torches (low consumption or dynamo), candles, lamps (kerosene), paraffin oil for lighting,
  • Some cutlery, a plate and a cup (better if made of steel)
  • Waterproof tarpaulins (we could take one of those used to cover cars in winter),
  • Bags, plastic bags (better if a roll of black bags, those used for garbage),
  • Blankets,
  • Sleeping bag,
  • Aluminum paper,
  • Solid soap, hand and face cleanser, towels,
  • Toothbrush, nail clippers,
  • Razor blade,
  • Portable gas or better multi-fuel cooker
  • Agricultural tools,
  • A toolbox,
  • Swiss Army knife,
  • Map of the place,
  • Insulating tape (US model),
  • Sewing set,
  • Safety pins or some staples,
  • Bicycle,
  • Firearms (if we have them, it is important not to keep them in plain sight if there are conflicts in progress could be misinterpreted),
  • Handkerchiefs and toilet paper,
  • If we also have them: water purifier, Geiger counter and potassium iodide in tablets (in case of nuclear disaster),
  • Wristwatch,
  • Additional machine battery in case we have defects or breaks, (via the cigarette lighter of the machine (12v) we could charge the phone, batteries, GPS, turn on the fire, use other electrical objects, illuminate, warm up or listen to the radio, we could use our car as a temporary shelter).
  • More … See complete survival kit.

Save fuel

Use your vehicle to make vital journeys necessary, avoid consuming petrol or diesel fuel unnecessarily (you may no longer have the opportunity to refuel).

Put all the items listed in a suitcase (even the one you use for the holidays, if the wheels are even better) or try to pack everything in one or two bags. The things you will have to use often or immediately put them in a backpack, as well as the envelope with the money and documents. Load the suitcase and the backpack into the bonnet and leave the city. Avoid bringing unnecessary items to survival or too heavy (such as televisions, PCs, …) or expensive (paintings, clothes …) even if there is space in the car not overloaded the car, you would consume a lot more fuel. Before leaving, tighten your home (doors, windows, shutters), close water, gas and switch off the power supply.



Which destination to choose?

It is better to get as far as possible from big cities, industrial centers, military bases, prefer small villages, isolated areas, mountain towns, sea or countryside, small islands or even better to create a refuge in the woods. If it is possible to move in small communities to increase the chances of survival (the knowledge, experience and physical strength of more people would benefit everyone). Help each other, cooperate and share tasks.

Once you arrive at your destination, we put the car in a safe place and use a BICYCLE for travel, we do not consume the fuel supply.