The Urban Survivor's Tool Bag

Many bug out bags are oriented towards wilderness situations or incidents such as surviving an airplane crash in a remote area. Some of the items will have a surprising overlap, as one would be amazed at the number of small mammals which can be caught with simple traps or snares in an urban setting. However, there may be unique hazards and situations in an urban area requiring special tools. This list is by no means all-inclusive but should give a baseline for planning and thoughts along the right direction.

The Urban Survivor's Tool Bag

The first items to include should be personal safety equipment to protect the savvy survivor from potential physical hazards in an urban area. First should be a form of head protection. A simple hard hat is a good place to start. Remember, when things are above you, they may come tumbling down. One should also have protective eyewear to shield against dust and debris and an N95 particulate filter mask. These will offer some protection against potential hazards resulted from damaged urban structures. Other things to consider include a sturdy pair of work boots for negotiating rough or uneven terrain - perhaps even steel-toed or slip resistant/shock resistant models and a pair of Tyvek painters coveralls available from the hardware store to keep contamination or debris from one's clothes. Work gloves would be a good idea to protect one's hands.

Many earthquake kits will already include one, but a combination tool to shut off water and gas mains can also be a lifesaver. Because gas leaks may be a threat, one should consider obtaining some Cyalume chemical lights as these generate neither heat nor sparks and will not risk starting fires.

A military e tool or small folding shovel can be of assistance in clearing debris or rescue efforts. One should also consider obtaining a pry bar, or even a special multi-purpose tool such a firefighter's Halligan tool or Stanley tool company "FUBAR" for use in self-rescue efforts or to aid other survivors. The FUBAR in particular can be used if one as to break down a door or even tear their way through a wall to reach safety.

Another useful item is a Silcock aka petcock key. This is a device used to turn on exterior water faucets that lack handles. Even if the water is off, a large multi-story building may still have quite a bit of water in the pipes which gravity will feed downwards.

A military wire cutter or even a pair of linesman pliers can also benefit someone in an urban area. Gerber makes a somewhat expensive tool designed for cutting concertina wire, but a pair of linesman pliers can sometimes work. While one should never destroy private fencing except in an emergency, these can be of key importance if one needs to go from point A to point B and get past a fence. They can also be of aid in salvaging things like phone wire to use in constructing a shelter or making snares.

For the vehicle, a siphon pump, hose, and a gas can be of use if the electric grid is down knocking the pumps out at the gas station. It can allow one to hand pump/drain fuel from tanks safely.

-Christopher Fisher


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