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5 Urban Survival Tips To Keep You Safe In Most Situations by Derek Smith

When I was an Air Force Office of Special Investigations Counterintelligence Agent, I was stationed in Turkey for two years. While there I was performing what is called HUMINT which is Human intelligence or intelligence gathered by means of interpersonal contact, as opposed to the more technical intelligence gathering disciplines such as signals intelligence (SIGINT), imagery intelligence (IMINT) and measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT). Especially since this was during the Desert Storm and Desert Shield era, as a HUMINT collector I was on the ground, usually alone, collecting intelligence in a hostile environment.

Often when in the field, catastrophic events come with little or no warning. Usually for civilians, when these things happen, they tend to panic. As a result, their minds black out leaving them unable to make the necessary decisions needed to survive. As they waste precious time their hesitation could lead to death.

Agents like myself are trained and experienced with dealing with these types of situations and it is very important for me to help you to be well prepared and informed in case such events occur in your life. To do that I am providing you with five tips for urban survival.

Tip #1: Develop Your Survival Skills.

I realize that people are busy and they don’t have a lot of time, but it is essential that in this time of unrest around the world you develop some basic essential survival skills. These skills may involve:


Simple Survival Shelter
  • Finding or building temporary shelter
  • Purifying water
  • Cooking food
  • Performing basic medical aid
  • And various forms of self-defense

These skills will help you to survive during tumultuous situations. To build the skills you need, you can enroll in an urban survival school in your area, or you can pick up some great training that I have viewed from TRS, like Bruce Beck’s, “Survival Skills and Shelter”, or Dale Comstock’s “American Bad-Ass Survival Guide” series.

Tip #2: Be Aware Of Your Surroundings.

One of the most important things taught to me as a counterintelligence agent was that it is extremely important to stay very aware of my surroundings. Most people go throughout their day extremely unaware as to what is happening around them. Especially these days with people’s eyes constantly on some form of electronic device.

If I were a bad guy there would be easy pickings all around me.

If you live in an area prone to natural disasters or in constant threat to terror attacks, or if you are traveling to a hot spot, I recommend that you regularly conduct investigations of the area to become aware of potential threats. If you find that it is unsafe to remain there, or there is a crisis occurring, you should seek out a safer location until the threat passes. Be updated and well informed whenever you go into any situation.

Tip #3: Keep Your Bug Out Bag Or Survival Gear Ready At All Times.

You should have a should be pre-packed survival kit handy at all times. Put one in your home and in your car. Keep it complete but lightweight enough to be easily carried by you. The bug out bag should contain all the things essential for your survival with sufficient amounts to last at least a few days.


Essential Bug Out Bag Items

Ideally, it should consist of:

  • Drinking water
  • Energy bars and ready to eat meals
  • Waterproof clothing
  • Tent or sleeping bag for shelter
  • Multi-purpose tools and first aid kit
  • Oh yeah and a weapon of some sort

#4: Keep Yourself Physically Fit And Healthy.

I am 53 years old and I still work out every day with weights and cardio, and three times per week in the martial arts. Making it through any tough situation requires you to be physically fit and strong. I warn that those who are not will be the first to go during the zombie apocalypse, lol.

Seriously though, exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet. Both can keep you in good fighting and survival shape, giving you enough physical strength to deal with any crisis.

Tip #5: Maintain A Strong Mental Disposition.

Your mental state is probably the most important element of your survival. All the skills that you learn will be useless if you are mentally disabled or immobilized. Your presence of mind is a chief requirement to perform all the necessary actions you will need to survive.

Having a positive outlook in life is one key to help maintain your sanity and proper judgment. Also, knowing what to do, when and how to do it will help you to survive.

There you have them. Five essential things to know to survive crisis situations. Keep reading because I have more to come.

Click Here For More Special Agent Tips & Tricks From Derek Smith

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37 thoughts on “5 Urban Survival Tips To Keep You Safe In Most Situations by Derek Smith”

  1. Thanks for the tip(s) I know you won’t steer someone wrong. It’s sad that it is coming to this in our lifetime, probably in the near future.

  2. Love your shared information. I really need to put together the survival bag. I need someone to be more specific and with a list of gear and where to get it. I have solar lights and wind up, roll up saw blade etc. That would be great.

  3. This article was very good for me. I have done quite a lot of camping and trekking, but not considered those in a survival sense. I really appreciated each list of important things to have. I have all five skills, but I am incomplete in some of them. I am 73 years old and still workout to stay physically fit. (I technically died twice from very bad injuries. I was resuscitated both times and recovered quickly because of being physically fit.) Well, enough about my experiences. For those as hard-headed as me and say, “well, this is just common sense”, get over it and start practicing this stuff. Common sense gets all muddled when you are scared, tired, worried, etc.. Articles like this one jerk my cords. Be prepared.

  4. All the points you make are very good. Regarding emergency foods, I feel that the most important thing that people should know for when the SHTF. Is that dehydrated foods need water to be eaten. So unless you have sufficient water to cook with, add to meal and drink. A dehydrated meal is worthless. You should get hydrated meals like Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) or an equivalent. This will reduce the amount of water you need to transport! Never eat a dehydrated meals without adding water to it first. This will draw fluids from you body and cause your body to dehydrate, which could lead to death. You must keep your body hydrated, so think of water as the highest priority.
    Thanks, Michael

  5. I was a city cop until I retired. I know quite a bit about urban survival or survival. I was raised on a big wooded farm down south and sometimes if we ate we( my brothers and I) had to go into the woods and get it. We spent a lot of time in them woods. I know enough to survive anywhere.

  6. Good info
    However what if you are 76 & 75 yo couple who have bad knees and who needs O2 at night? And in a state like MA where in many places its near impossible to get an LTC.
    Are we just SOL?

  7. you guys have great suggestion and survival ideas. love to read this stuff. even an old mountain cowboy like can pick up new ideas. it’d be great having you guys ride my range with me for a while. we’d probably be the cowboys from hell, by world standards. have fun and happy trails

  8. Well written. Applicable also at the office.
    You are right all those people with their eyes on their « smart »phones are becoming more and more shortsighted and are beautiful easy picks.
    Wweapon of some sorts. YES a concealed weapon and very important a sturdy all-round knife, and a backup strapped on your leg.
    So much more to add depending on the climate zone you are in

  9. Zombie apocalypse yes, as far as I can tell urban areas will turn to cannibalism if the majority don’t scumb to bad water first.
    I agree Dale Comstock has a good series with American Bad Ass got em.

  10. Thank You Derek for your service. It’s a true shame the U.S. Govt. treated you that way. What you have to teach people is absolutely essential knowledge to have. Knowledge IS POWER! With terrorist’s threats and attacks on the rise, as well as the current threat from Cuba looming, people need/should know how to protect themselves and their families. Lets face it, it’s just going to get worse, and people need to be prepared!
    Thank You for doing your part; MORE THAN ONCE!!!

  11. Hi Bob! I like this, very helpful. I was in Turkiye in 2011 🙂 Beautiful Country and Water. TY for being over there for us!

    Sincerely,

    Mary

  12. Derek I too was trained in intelligence thinking and tactical fighting and mental strategy. What you wrote here was and is 100 percent correct. And BTW at least 97 percent of the population at least here in the United States ARE NOT prepared for a Zombie Apocalypse. Derek I have warned people for a long time that the SHWHTF meaning; sh.t will hit the fan not only did they think I’m some crazy conspiracy theorist they discredited me and stigmatized me. Now like you Derek what is happening now that I saw years ahead of time is happening as we speak and most people have become smartphone robots with no human feeling at all for the most part not everyone I’m am in no means generalizing everybody but a large size of the population does not see this coming. Its sad indeed.

  13. Sir you are absolutely right all of the way.Thank you very much. You have opened my eyes to be a better survival. Keep up the good work so you can open other peoples eyes.

  14. Please continue to contact me. Responsibilities are many, bills are high.
    Limited in what I can do at this time.
    Very interested.

  15. Being a former British infantryman I can relate to almost all information and skilled crafts as I was a pt instructor, aikido n close qtr combat instructor although through various illnesses these past 4yrs at 68yrs of age I’m a bit of a cripple, but Sharpe in mind, I alert when I’m out n about, so I’d like to say thanks 4 your tips n good health to you.

  16. John Donnellan, My father (recently passed) was on Eniwetok. He started at Temple Univ, went to Camp Murphy, Princeton then disappeared into CBI ending up on Eniwetok through late 1946. AAF , 929 Signal Corps.
    Ed Martin
    Scientist
    Thanks to all the professionals who put out this
    most excellent and sage series.,

  17. That was helpful but what if you have kids or more than one in the family? I’m a vet I served in the Army from 1980 to 84. I know how to survive. But every lot but if knowledge doesn’t hurt.just more on-site for late family’s.

  18. Thanks for your service. I, like you, had a secret clearance in Electronics in airborne radio and radar in the Air Force and spent almost a year in Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands, South Pacific Atomic Testing Center where I saw 32 Atomic blasts, serving in operation Hardtack. I had a Blast and enjoyed all of my years in the Air Force.

  19. eing a former infantry platoon SGT. I thank you for your service first and foremost and then to say thanks for all of your input and survival tips that I forgot over the years and to say I am using them to restart mine for my family and friends

  20. I believe that we will soon be seeing economic collapse, followed by the partitioning of our country. Riots. Mobs. Gangs flooding into the suburbs to rape, plunder and pillage. We all need to wake up…quickly! Thanks for some sound advice !

  21. A lot of good advice which is needed especially for those “big city dwellers!”l A lot of the people I know and around live in the “country” and have military of law enforcement experience! We have been known to even do a little shooting on occasion and realize it is not very safe in the big city! MS-13 and other gangs are very evident in that area and when they come down into this part of the country they are not “in their” element! Thank you for alerting the majority of people who don’t seem to have any idea how “non-safe” it is out there!