Emergency Kit Necessities: Surviving a Disaster in the City

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Last Updated on August 12, 2015

Imagine a post-apocalyptic scenario in which you have access to all of the resources you could possibly need, but there are hundreds of thousands of other civilians battling for the same supplies; when the scenario is life or death, the potential havoc wreaked by the people could be as dangerous as the disaster itself and you could be killed for trying to reach the necessary resources to survive. This is just another reason why you need to be prepared now. The supplies will vary, but here is a basic guide to building a city-side emergency kit.

The basics:

If your plan is to stay in your house and use it a base, you need basic items to ensure that you can hold your ground in relative comfort for x amount of time. The FEMA.gov emergency supply list suggests one gallon of water per person per day, on average about a two-week supply for a home stay; non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food is required and don’t forget the manual can opener. Additionally, diapers and formula for infants, extra water and food for any pets, and important documents or records.

The American Red Cross urges anyone organizing an emergency plan to include prescription medications in excess if possible. Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items need to be included as well.

Gear for the group:

Suggestions from the American Red Cross: a whistle for commanding attention in chaotic emergency or threatening situations; N95 or surgical masks could be lifesavers in the event of airborne toxins; two-way radios, and spare batteries; flashlights and maps of the area will help you plan scavenging expeditions and quick getaways. You’ll also need tools and materials for securing your house, including work gloves, plastic sheeting, scissors, duct tape, extra sheets, blankets and towels.

Emergency Kit Necessities: Surviving a Disaster in the City - The Prepper Journal

A good bug out bag is another option for urban survival. If you have to leave in a hurry you will appreciate a rugged pack to carry your supplies.

Regular items already around the house should be in working condition and of ample supply. Household bleach is a must in your home survival arsenal, along with a medicine dropper—a combination of nine parts water and one part bleach will yield a DIY water disinfectant. Stay away from the color safe or scented bleaches, though, as they have a less agreeable chemical composition. Make sure you have matches secured in a waterproof container and a fire extinguisher.
Emergency Kit Necessities: Surviving a Disaster in the City - The Prepper Journal

Personal necessities:

One of the often overlooked aspects of every survival kit is being able to see clearly. Those with 20/20 vision are at an extreme advantage here, but half of all Americans have poor eyesight, so it’s important to take proper care of your eyes especially in a disaster scenario, when you need to be at your best. If you depend on glasses or contact lenses to see, stock up on extras and backups as much as possible; however, glasses and contacts are pricey, so buy in bulk from a discount resource like Vision Direct.

Possibly one of the most useful items in the kit will be your survival knife. The recommended blade size for a multipurpose knife is between six and 12 inches, and the recommended thickness of the blade is 3/16 of an inch to 4/16. Your survival knife should be handy and able to serve many purposes, but you do not want the blade to have a lot of flex to it.

Sure, it is impossible to prepare for every single disaster situation possible, and being stuck in a cityscape may not be you’re ideal survival scenario, but there are a few advantages to it. You can keep more supplies! And the right supplies can make all the difference.

While you’re prepping, read and learn as much as you can before you’re faced with the circumstance. To err on the side of caution, include concise directions for emergency reference materials that cover topics like how to administer first aid could mean the difference between life and death.

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I would also suggest the good old Hillbilly cash stash, esp if your in a city and the chance to barter for items might not be as feasable. You don’t have to go all out but an extra 500-1000 bucks in small bills could be pretty handy. Same thing with having some silver or gold to barter with.

Pat Henry

Good points. I have wondered a good bit about how much cash is wise from the standpoint of how much to have on hand versus how much would be worthless in a true TEOTWAWKI scenario and thus would have been better spent on supplies. As with many other things I think it comes down to the disaster. If the world is still spinning but you are temporarily forced to displace then 1000 bucks cash would be excellent. If it really was the end of the world, I wonder how quickly cash would be worthless or how quickly the prices would… Read more »


In a short term event a grand, if spent in a frugile manner can go a long way. In a true end of the world scenario, silver, bullets and perhaps a firearm or two would be good to trade for things that will need.

Herman Nelson

No worries here. Everything pictured in the title picture is in the warehouses of the company I work for. Though I did not see any packets of mountain house or ammunition in the picture, we carry those as well. Did I mention I love my job? 😉

Pat Henry

Those are great additions Herman! The pictures aren’t always perfect, but the Mountain house was just out of the frame. Along with the shotguns and gas masks…

Herman Nelson

I hear you on that. I’m stocked up on shotguns and protective masks as well. I somehow managed to acquire a case of war filters. Though they might be out of date, but they’re still in the VCI bags unopened.


Just curious… What is the source for saying that the recommended blade length for a survival knife should be six to twelve inches? I’ve never hear of a recommendation other than four to six inches in length. It just seems to me that a 12 inch blade would be difficult to work with for most applications and, in any case, places you in the category of a short machete.

Ralph Edwards

You can use a larger knife as a pry bar. For me, I personally have the Becker/Ka-Bar BK-9. It’s a big knife, with some weight, but I’ve split 6″ logs and pried up 2×4 planks with it. Plus, you have the intimidation factor for the bad guys.

Pat Henry

My KA-Bar is about 7 inches long. The writer (not me) was probably thinking of dual use or survival in other countries where a machete as you mention would be more likely. I don’t plan on using my LMF II for a pry bar for anything seriously heavy and agree that blade length is more than perfect for my needs. I have crowbars for heavy lifting if needed.


I have to agree. I keep an ESEE4 on hand for carry, and a SOG hatchet for chopping/prying. Anything beyond say 6″ will be bulky for smaller work, and likely draw unwanted attention. While there is still a Rambo knife somewhere in storage, its heavy and bulky. The kids have folders suited to their size and proficiency. The young teen has a gerber remix serrated. http://www.gerbergear.com/Essentials/Knives/Remix-Knife_22-41969 this provides a index finger hole to prevent cuts as she gains proficiency with blades. She’s constantly eyeballing my ESEE, so at some point I’ll invest in a fixed blade in the 4″ range… Read more »


I couldn’t help but be reminded of the anthrax scare back in 03 or 04 (something like that) when you mentioned surgical masks and duct tape in the same paragraph. Made me laugh a little. I know you wouldn’t repeat our government’s advice of using duct tape as a bio shelter, just reminded me of something unintentionally hilarious.


We raised our family in Orange County, California until we were able to get out of my native state(NorCal boy north of Sacramento). After I graduated from the police academy I was hired on as a police officer in SoCal, and we just stayed down there. I was extremely concerned by the “crush of humanity” as I liked to call it, because travel, is done in TIME, not miles. The miles don’t matter when that many people are on the freeway and side arterial roads at the same time.SoCal is made up of 7 counties, together in population, legal residents… Read more »

Pat Henry

Good points Egbert! Even if you aren’t in an area as densely populated as Southern California it is just common sense in my opinion to be able to hunker down for a while and let the dust settle.


kind of focusing on the rubber duckie in the illustration. Have to appreciate it for its tangential use. Can think of a couple of ways to use something like that as a non sequitur to anyone who wouldn’t know what it meant unless it were for me and mine alone…something random like that could be used to mean, “take cover” or, “I am here, find me,” or, “I see it too, advance, I got your back…” Considering all the varieties of duckies one can find now, one could use them for all sorts of things. Would have to work out… Read more »

Pat Henry

or Duck and cover….

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x