Most of the Canadian population resides in cities. This makes it great for convenience, ease of access to services and products as well as arts and culture. When it comes to disaster survival however, living in a major metropolis or even in suburbia can pose some serious risks.

A localized three day power outage for example, will be remedied by first responders who will be onsite shortly after the beginning of such a disaster but what will happen when a prolonged catastrophe takes place? During Hurricane Katrina in 2005 members of the police for example, stopped showing up for work about three days after the disaster started. They simply saw the need to stay home and protect their families rather than help others and no one can really blame them for it. So what would you do if help didn’t come?


It is impossible to be prepared for every possible emergency or for every possible version of a particular emergency. To eliminate wasting time and resources, you should be aware of what potential dangers in your area.  Proximity to Military Installations, Nuclear power plants or heavy industrial centers such as refineries may become potential nuclear targets or targets of terrorism. Living close to major rivers could pose a flood threat and living close to a fault line presents an obvious earth quake threat.

A good tool for assessing the threats in your community is the Strategic Area Risk Assessment. Following the basic points needed to survive a disaster will allow you to accurately assess your surroundings and prepare accordingly.   There are 5 critical points

  • 1) Basics – Air, Water, Food, Shelter – how will they be secured in an emergency
  • 2) Risks – Potential causes of disruption of your way of life.
  • 3) Escape/Evasion plan – your way of initially dealing with such disruptions
  • 4) Arrival at pre-selected destination-First 24hrs of any disaster will be critical.
  • 5) Calendar and planning – long term adjustment to a post-disaster life


This is a very important part of your preparedness plan. Generally speaking, most people are social creatures and need the company of others. However there are exceptions and some people just don’t play well with others or choose not to. Some people are better off as followers while others function much better as leaders. There are also those who function very well in the wilderness and those who are much better off remaining in cities.

It doesn’t matter which category you belong to and neither one is wrong. What is wrong, is to assume something that is not true and find out you were wrong when other people depend on you or when correction is not possible.

Knowing your self will also give you the understanding of your personal needs. For example a family with two infants will have different needs than a single woman in her twenties. An elderly man requiring heart medication will have different needs than a professional athlete who is afraid of heights.

Knowing your self is a very important aspect of preparedness since your plan and emergency stockpiles have to be custom build to your needs.


The importance of a seventy-two hour or a bugout bag
cannot be understated. Studies show that in most cases, responders might not be able to get to you within the first twenty-four hours of a disaster. If this disaster drags out into weeks, you should have a plan as to how to deal with it. Leaving or staying put should be decided long prior to the disaster taking place. Keep in mind however, that every plan should remain fluid and you must be ready to adapt.

Your minimum survival preps must include a bugout bag, containing enough food and drinking water for three days. You should also include means to start a fire fast, warm clothing, a knife, rope/string, means of navigation, and maps of your area, rain gear, shelter, first aid kit and any other items specific to your situation. All items should be packed in a backpack which you are capable of carrying with ease for as long as you need to, to get out of immediate danger.

A bugout bag should be a packed into a compact easy to carry system which will enable you to move away from danger. 

Remember that many survival experts will place water as your number one priority but air will trump water every time. Be aware of having to move through possibly contaminated areas where the air quality maybe so low that it will cause you difficulty in breathing. This may be a concern in areas subject to wildfires.

If staying put as long as you can is part of your survival plan you will need more supplies. At the very minimum you should have at least one week’s worth of water and food along with medicine, warm clothing, way to heat or cool your home and any specific personal requirements. Experts recommend six months as a bare minimum for survival of any serious, long term emergency such as an EMP


There is one threat that will always arise from all emergencies. Whether it’s a military attacks, natural disaster or break down in civil order all will all be followed by disoriented and panicking population.

If you decide to stay put and ride out the emergency in your home, you will at some point, be faced with other people who may have not prepared. Once your neighborhood groceries run out of food and water, once water is not coming out of taps, and mothers don’t have enough to feed their children, our peaceful ad tolerant society will change. Starvation will begin to set in and mankind is willing to go to great lengths to ensure survival.

  Hungry and desperate mobs will do whatever it takes to survive. 

If you are staying put and have enough stores in the form of food, water and other necessities, it is in your best interest to keep your survival plans and supplies secret.  When the starving masses find out that you have what they desperately need, they will stop at nothing to get it. This puts you in a dangerous situation. Some security measures may include setting up your home so it looks like it’s already been ransacked. Broken furniture and torn clothing on the front lawn may be enough stop looters form entering.

When bugging out and traveling out of the city, count on most highways and overpasses being clogged up and impassable. Consider following railways (away from the train station which is usually close to the center of town) or rivers. Many preppers who live near water ways have inflatable rafts or kayaks.


Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” solution to facing a disaster in a major city. Everything will depend on the type of threat, securing the basic needs during and after the threat and implementing a solid plan of dealing with the consequences of the threat.

In an ideal world, those serious about disaster preparedness will explore the possibilities of relocating to a safe, self-sufficient environment where they could not only live but also weather possible disasters. In most cases, people will have to compromise between the ability to earn income or go to school and safety. Never take any unnecessary risks and always try to keep a very low profile. An excellent book written by a political scientist and military analyst Joel Skousen called Strategic Relocation, not only describes some of the dangers that are currently threatening North Americans but also provides an excellent assessment of some of the safest parts of the world.

As usual we very much appreciate your comments and would love to know how you prepare your family for a possible emergency. If you have any questions please contact us.

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