Urban Emergency Survival Plan – Why You Should Have One

If you live in a city or town, you may have dismissed a lot of the information out there on preparedness because so much of it seems to focus on homesteading and self sufficiency. However, there are some basics that apply to all preppers, no matter where they live. Still, other questions arise, such as whether you’ll be OK sheltering in place if there’s a major disaster. What about roving gangs or the prospect of martial law?

Jim Cobb returned to DestinySurvival Radio this week to talk about these and other questions. He deals with these issues in his most recent book, Urban Emergency Survival Plan. Read what follows, and listen to our conversation, and you’ll know why you should have one–the book and an urban emergency survival plan, that is.


Cobb’s Corner?

I’ve had Jim Cobb on so many times in the past couple of years that some of my listeners might think I should call my show Cobb’s Corner. Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. It’s been five months since he was on last time. Jim has written some excellent books on prepping, and he’s always an informative, no-nonsense guest. So, if all goes well, he’ll be back on in the future.

In case you’re not familiar with him, he is a respected authority on disaster readiness. He has spent three decades studying, practicing, and teaching the skills necessary to survive after disasters large and small. His previous books include Prepper’s Home Defense, The Prepper’s Complete Book of Disaster Readiness, Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide and Countdown to Preparedness. He has also written for several national magazines.


This Excellent Resource

Urban Emergency Survival Plan


If you live in the city, you want to know how to stay safe in the city, right? Jim Cobb has written a book that won’t tell you to leave the city and set up a homestead to avoid potential disasters. Urban dwellers who plan to stay put in the city, no matter what the circumstances are, have been overlooked. Fifty-eight percent of Americans live in cities, but certain risks are higher in cities than elsewhere.

Urban Emergency Survival Plan delivers Jim’s common-sense approach to urban survival planning, rather than advocating that city survivalists need to figure out a way to grow an acre of food, raise goats, and build an underground bunker. Jim’s book can help you reduce the risks you may face from disasters in well populated areas.

This book covers the topics you’d expect to see in a book on preparedness. But it’s written specifically with urban preppers in mind. It’s meant to help you discover the skills you’ll need to weather any storm, whether you live in an apartment, townhouse, condominium, single-family home or any other urban setting.

This isn’t a long book–just over 175 pages–but Jim packs in a lot of great info in each chapter and the appendices. He says he doesn’t like to waste space. Chapter topics include…

  • Urban Threats
  • Governmental Disaster Plans
  • Making Emergency Plans
  • Emergency Water
  • Food Storage
  • Sanitation, First Aid and Shelter
  • Security and Defense
  • Bugging Out


Allow me to share a few brief observations before relating a little of what Jim and I talked about.

When it comes to facing threats, you don’t want to do anything foolish. Jim urges urban dwellers not to put themselves in a situation where they need to be rescued. For example, don’t try braving a snow storm, or you could find yourself stranded away from home. This puts more pressure on the resources of emergency rescue teams.

He makes the point that government isn’t going to be reliably available when you need them. Many of us have heard this and know this, but experiencing it is another matter. Officials will have their own problems with bureaucratic red tape and strained resources when disaster strikes.

In this book you’ll also find info on methods of alternative cooking, such as using a charcoal grill, rocket stove, fire pit, and making your own small stove.

If you’re looking for advice on what knife to carry, his duscussion on knives occurs in the chapter on bugging out.

The appendices include helpful lists you’ll want to take note of.


What’d He Talk About?

My conv ersation with Jim Cobb will give you just a taste of what’s in Urban Emergency Survival Plan. And, as usual, I can only touch on highlights here.

Hope – We hear a lot of negatives about why it’s not a good idea to be in a city when SHTF, but Jim gives info on why it might be possible to stay there. Don’t worry if you don’t have the skills to hunt, fish or forage. His goal is to give urban preppers hope. Follow the guidelines he lays out, and you’ll be in better standing than the person who does nothing, waiting for the chips to fall where they may.

Besides, planning and prepping show optimism, not the proverbial “gloom and doom” so many preppers are ridiculed for. Prepping demonstrates that you can deal with fear and various threats.

Gangs and “Zombies” – It’s a problem, but not insurmountable. In Jim’s first book, Prepper’s Home Defense, he describes three elements necessary for any security plan–Deter, Delay, Defend.

There are ways to discourage the aggressor from taking the risk of harming you or your property. Alarms or other methods give you a heads up to trouble. Defense means you take positive action and become active in protecting yourself and your family. You’ll have a leg up on this if you get firearms and proper training in how to use them.

Government Plans – Jim says you should know what your local officials have in mind in the event of catastrophe. Why, if they can’t be depended on when you need them most?

One reason is that they likely have a handle on what the greatest threats are for your area. Plus, you’ll know what they’re thinking, regardless of whether they’re able to implement what they have planned to do. This can help you shape your own disaster plans.

Martial Law – This isn’t something that can be put in place at the drop of a hat, so to speak. Certain guidelines and contingencies are in place to keep it from happening arbitrarily. (Janet Liebsch and I talked about this in a previous show, which you can read about here.)

If possible, get out of the area before martial law is declared. If it is declared, be the gray man. Blend in. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Police and emergency responders aren’t out to “get you” but don’t make trouble.

Necessities – We briefly discussed basics like water and food storage, and sanitation. You know, where ya gonna go when you gotta go?

And on a completely separate matter, you might be surprised by Jim’s recommendation to have a credit card handy.

Public Shelters – They’re not the ideal you should be striving for. However, if you have to go to one, have you made provisions for your pets? Many shelters don’t take them. Forget about bringing in firearms. Pack personal hygiene supplies if yu can.

Bugging Out – This isn’t covered until near the end of the book. Why? Because it should be your secondary plan, not your primary plan. Jim observes that bugging out makes you a refugee. You may be a well equipped refugee, but you are one nonetheless, until you get where you’re going. And do you know where that is?


Make Ready–The Next Big Thing

We spent the last few minutes talking about Jim’s involvement with a series of DVD’s and streaming videos on preparedness and survival put out by Panteao Productions. He’s one of a handful of instructors featured, and he’s quite enthused about the project. Plus, he had fun doing his part.

The series is called “Make Ready to Survive” and you can find out more at http://panteao.com/survive/. From what I’ve seen, I agree with Jim’s assessment that these are professionally done, high quality video presentations, well worth viewing. They’re a great way to get survival training from well known experts in the field. Does the name Dave Canterbury ring a bell? See my review of the first three videos in the series here.


But Don’t Stop There…

Hear my conversation with Jim Cobb by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for January 22, 2015. (Right click to download.) You can order Urban Emergency Survival Plan by clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. You can catch up with Jim online at www.survivalweekly.com and www.DisasterPrepConsultants.com. He’s also on Facebook and Twitter. He loves to hear from his readers, and you can send an email to Jim(at)SurvivalWeekly.com. Replace (at) with @ when you type his e-mail address.


A Final Thought

If you’ve heard my shows with Bill Cirmo on urban survival and his book about your BIBO number, you might think I’ve hit upon a theme or that I’m on some kind of campaign. Actually, no. It’s just that things worked out this way. I encourage you to get both books by Bill Cirmo and Jim Cobb. I believe they complement each other. Each author wants to help you be ready for whatever happens in the city, and so do I.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.