News began trickling into the states at the tail end of 2019 of a novel virus spreading rapidly in China. By February, many in the States were closely watching the developments as the virus had quickly begun to spread. By March, the first stay at home orders were issued in states across the country. People began to lose their jobs, and grocery store aisles emptied. Now several months from the beginning of this disaster, though nowhere near the end, we can look back and learn a few lessons about preparation.
Who knew toilet paper would become scarce? A combination of genuine scarcity due to delays in the supply chain and nationwide hoarding behavior and panic buying led to shortages of staples like toilet paper, paper towels, soap, and hand sanitizer. Many also experienced weeks of empty shelves when searching for pantry necessities like canned beans and vegetables, rice, dry pasta, flour, yeast, and potatoes. The toilet paper was especially frustrating and comical- why would a respiratory virus cause people to hoard toilet paper?
The lesson to learn here is that you may not be able to anticipate what items will become scarce, and it may not make the most sense. So if you want to be prepped for a wide variety of disasters, make sure that you are completely stocked on all essentials, including those unique to your health situation, like contact solution.
Saving an emergency fund is a must. When states began going into mandatory lockdown, millions of people who were unable to work from home lost their jobs. Several months later many still haven’t been able to access unemployment benefits, and the ripple effects of the impact on the economy are also having a severe impact on those who were initially able to work from home for a time. Beyond storing emergency food, water, and essentials, it’s clear that in the 21st century, saving an emergency fund is necessary. Homesteading and living a prepper lifestyle is useful for those who have access to property and the resources to create a self-sustaining garden, but many of the 20+ million who have lost jobs (likely more, depending on how you count) are now dependent on government-provided unemployment funds.
The popular financial program Financial Peace University recommends saving enough for 3-6 months of expenses. Unfortunately, that isn’t the reality for millions of Americans who are not only stuck in debt, but now out of a job and unable to find a new one in the midst of a global pandemic. An emergency fund is absolutely necessary.
Plan for mental health. Across the globe, reported instances of domestic violence have doubled and sometimes even tripled due to the lockdown. There is also the concern over an increase in COVID-19 related suicides. What is apparent here is that global emergencies are astonishingly stressful, and harmful means of coping with that stress can have disastrous results. A slightly humorous and absurd evidence of the human need to cope with long stretches of quarantine isolation has been the nationwide shortage of puzzles.
So what can you do? Consider your personal mental health challenges and struggles. We can’t always anticipate the form that a severe stressor will take. Last year, a global pandemic that would force billions across the globe into lockdown was not on anyone’s radar, and few were prepared for the implications of being locked inside their home 24/7 for weeks on end. If you could go back and prepare better for the mental load, what would you do? Remember that going forward. Would you stock up on puzzles? Make an appointment with a therapist to make sure you’re in a healthier place before something stressful happens? Start marriage counseling? Take up a new hobby, perhaps start exercising? Your mindset and ability to cope with stress will make or break you during an emergency, so it’s wise to prepare yourself.
It’s a meme-worthy cliche, but there’s a nugget of truth in the statement making the rounds on social media that during a nationwide emergency we’re all in the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat. While you may have been able to retain your job, perhaps your business was impacted by the tremendous civic unrest that followed in the initial footsteps of the pandemic. There are as many unique ways to be impacted by an emergency as there are people being impacted by it. We would all be wise to learn from this pandemic and all that has followed to help us better prepare for whatever the future has in store.
In recent months nearly every state in the country has declared a state of emergency in order to address COVID-19. Although emergencies can be declared for many reasons, the pandemic is unique in the memory of every currently living generation. The sometimes heavy-handed restrictions have caused a lot of trepidation for many. In addition to losing livelihoods, many have been greatly disturbed by the limitations on their ability to freely travel. We've put together a short primer on what a state of emergency is and how it affects your rights.
An official "state of emergency", when declared by the governor of a state, is a legal condition that triggers access to extra material, monetary, and sometimes personnel resources to cope with emergencies like natural disasters and pandemics.
Extra resources, however, are not the controversial aspect of a state of emergency, but rather the extra power it provides the governor to restrict certain freedoms afforded to Americans in the Bill of Rights.
Generally speaking, during a state of emergency states are most likely to restrict the right to travel freely. This includes "stay home" orders like many states have recently enacted to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and it also includes interstate travel restrictions as well as curfews.
The goal behind the restriction of rights is only ever to preserve life and property and prevent the citizens of the state from exercising their rights in a way that impedes emergency efforts. Curfews in response to recent riots is one such example.
According to NOLO.com,
"In a 1905 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the “police power” of the states allows “reasonable regulations … as will protect the public health and safety.” Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11. What does this mean? In a state of emergency, the government can restrain and regulate certain rights and liberties—such as the freedom to travel—for the greater good. But actions taken must be reasonable and use the least restrictive means (or methods)."
Because disasters and public health emergencies can vary wildly, there is no definitive standard governing which rights states are barred from restricting and which are fair game.
You can write or call your local governing officials, utilize the media via letters to the editor, or contact a lawyer.
Travel restricted? Not a problem! Get urban survival gear shipped directly to your door.
Which one are you?
The discomfort of the general uncertainty and the looming economic destruction (not to mention the very real impact of the sickness itself on our lives or those around us) brings us face to face with our deepest fears and impulses. This is illustrated well in a graph recently published in the New York Times, which demonstrates that the recent surge in gun sales is second only to the surge seen in 2013 after President Barack Obama's re-election and the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
A publication on crisis psychology from the CDC reveals a telling reason why gun sales surged recently: risk perception. Individuals who bought a gun observed the bigger picture of the crisis at hand (and its implications): that the virus emerged from misty and perhaps suspect origins in a large communist country, shrouded in reports of corruption, cover-ups, and mismanagement. Not only that, but the already-heightened sense of risk was amplified when local governments began restricting rights to mitigate the spread of the virus. So interconnected are the complexities of our lives, that the threat of a microscopic virus led rapidly to the purchase of millions of guns.
Time will tell what are the farthest-reaching revelations and implications of this pandemic, but the uptick in extra business for gun shops and urban survival gear around the country makes it clear that a sense of control and bodily security is massively important for Americans' sense of well-being in a time of crisis.
If you're stocking up on survival gear, don't forget about virtual protection as well. Consider signing up for a VPN service to protect your data and your identity.
A Virtual Private Network is secure connection method used to add security and privacy to networks like the Internet and WiFi hotspots. VPNs are used by corporations and discerning individuals alike to protect sensitive data.
A VPN lends the user a temporary IP address and masks your true IP address from every website or email you connect to. This is important for many reasons:
Do you use the Internet for online banking, paying bills, account management, or any other sensitive material that requires password protection? If you're concerned about the privacy of the data you receive and transmit all day long on your computer and smart devices, a VPN is an excellent way to protect yourself.
For Internet-savvy survivalists we recommend NordVPN. Recommended by 36 major media outlets including Forbes, Wired, and CNET, NordVPN even works in countries like China where access is restricted and strong censorship is in place. A few more reasons we think you'll love NordVPN:
If the SHTF tomorrow, there would be just three things you would need to survive. It's food, water, and shelter, right? It's the most basic things you will have to seek out quickly during an emergency. But there is an even more basic need if you're going to survive for any length of time during an emergency situation.
How do you catch/harvest, clean, and prepare food? How do you make sure your water is drinkable? How do you build a fire?
You need survival tools.
Not everyone has the time, resources, or capacity to spend countless hours becoming a survival expert. But you don’t need to get a master’s in bushcraft to make it through an urban disaster. In fact, in addition to the proper mindset, putting some careful thought into the items you carry on your person and in your emergency kit is the wisest way you can prepare for the unexpected. Read more about how to cultivate a survival mindset here: https://tihk.co/blogs/news/urban-survival-101-how-to-adopt-a-survival-mindset
So when is stuff of such utmost importance? In two areas: your emergency kit, and your everyday carry.
This can take many different forms depending on where you live, where you work, what skills you possess, what kind of transportation you take to and from work each day, etc. But at the end of the day, you need some sort of emergency kit available to grab at a moment’s notice with enough to sustain you for- at the very least- 24 hours. 3 days is better. There are two basic types of emergency bags: a get home bag (for getting home from wherever you are) and a bug out bag (for leaving home when it has become unsafe). Here are the basics that should be in your emergency bag, no matter what you call it:
Read this article to learn more in depth the items that should be included in a bug out bag: Urban Survival 101: How to Build a Bug Out Bag
The items you carry on your person every day need to support your preparation and survival. That means you are carrying more than just your cellphone and your chapstick. There are a multitude of sleek and minimalist everyday carry options available that will provide you with extra peace of mind every day, without weighing you down or bulking up your pockets. Here are some tiny and inconspicuous options for every day carry that pack a serious survivalist punch:
Read more about how to customize your perfect everyday carry: Choosing the Best EDC For You
The items you carry with you every day are a reflection of your expectations for life. You expect to receive text messages, to get on the bus or drive your car, to unlock doors and use your debit card.
But what about when things don’t go the way you expect?
This is why we carry other stuff too- stuff like a pocket knife, a mini flashlight, maybe a multi tool. Just in case. Now consider all the times you have the potential to get locked out during the day: your car, a gym locker, your backyard tool shed, your own front door. With the number of locking doors surrounding us every day and our own human capacity for failure, not to mention the potential for accidents outside of our control, it’s surprising that more of us aren’t carrying a small lockpick set.
At a bare minimum, a useful lockpick set will include a rake, a pick, and a tension wrench.
While you can pick a lock pin-by-pin with just a hook or other pick, a rake is especially useful for beginners in emergencies. As evidenced by the name, this tool is literally raked along the pins to bump them up into their appropriate place.
There are a wide variety of picks- your set should have something like a half-diamond or a hook pick, meant to individually bump the pins into place. With practice you’ll be able to interpret the feedback you feel in your hand through the pick to tell you whether the pin is in place or not.
A tension wrench is necessary because it maintains tension on the lock, which is what enables you to set the pins and turn the lock once you’ve picked it successfully. Without a tension wrench, picking a lock is impossible.
Lockpicks are not just for locksmiths and criminals. You’ll want to check the laws in your region before you make a purchase, but in most cases it’s perfectly legal for you to own the means to open any lock that you own in an emergency when you don’t have a key. This is a perfectly reasonable right that has much less to do with insidious intent than it does wishing to be prepared for emergency situations.
Carrying a set of lock picks gives you peace of mind that if you need it, you’ll have a backup plan in place. It also makes you available to help others in need at a moment’s notice. Being prepared is far preferable over helplessness.
Some lockpick sets are easy to carry on your person every day without a second thought. So bulk or inconvenience becomes a non-issue.
Lockpicking is a skill worth learning, especially if you’re interested in being prepared for any emergency in an urban environment. Honing the skill can take a lifetime, but there are tons of resources available online to get you started. Check out our list of the top 20 resources for lockpicking beginners.
We also created a brief tutorial to get you started picking locks. Read through it, understand the various parts at play, and then get your hands on a set and start building muscle memory.
Most lockpick sets are bulky, too big, or otherwise hard to carry on your person, with more picks than you’ll ever need for a simple pin tumbler lock. The key to success is to find a lockpick set that doesn’t take up much extra space and includes only what you’ll need in an emergency.
To that end, the best way to incorporate something seamlessly into your EDC is to include it as part of something you already carry- in your wallet or on your keyring or belt loop.
When we discovered that there weren’t any lockpick sets on the market that were small and light enough to carry every day, we made one.
The PicoPick is TIHK's answer to bulky lockpick sets that are hard to comfortably carry on your person. The matte black case is inconspicuous and easy to forget about on your keychain... until you need it.
The smallest lock pick set on the market, the PicoPick is just over 2 inches long, under half an inch wide and a quarter of an inch thick. Don't let the unassuming size fool you... it has everything you need to pick most tumbler locks in an emergency situation.
In addition to a w-rake and half-diamond, the PicoPick set includes a removable tensioner, all stainless steel.
For any seemingly impenetrable object out there, there's someone who has looked at it and thought to themselves... "I should shoot that." Handcuffs are no exception. Supposedly this video is a myth-busting endeavor meant to prove whether or not handcuffs can be shot open like they occasionally do in the movies, but we're pretty sure the underlying motivation is... well, it's fun to shoot stuff.
In this video we found thanks to Guns.com, Edwin Sarkissian uses a Glock to try and shoot open a pair of S&W cuffs. As to whether or not he is successful, well... you'll just have to watch the video.
The short answer is, of course, yes- if you shoot a gun at a pair of handcuffs there's a good chance that (at least on the third or fourth try) they'll come apart. As to whether that's a viable option in an emergency... you're probably better off investing in a universal handcuff key that you can keep on your person. Less risk of shooting your hand off.
A prepper in Ohio apparently surprised the press by divulging that he's purchased farmland with a small group of other preppers as a sort of "insurance policy" should it all hit the fan. This behavior doesn't really surprise anyone in the prepping community.
Being able to buy rural land to escape to in the event of a total societal breakdown is every prepper's dream, but obviously it's not a reality for the vast majority of Americans. The article acknowledged this as well, and the interviewee shared the top 6 items you will need no matter where you are in order to survive the unthinkable.
Can you guess what they are?
The first item, unsurprisingly, is water. This is followed by food, shelter, medicine, and communication. Number six is, of course, protection.
"You have to be able to protect yourself. People go a little nutty," Buescher said. "You know the worst sound in the world to somebody breaking into your house," he said as he made the loud cocking sound of his shotgun. "Is that."
But what does protection really look like?
Is a gun all you need to keep you from harm?
What if you can't escape to "the farm", so to speak?
If a disaster occurs when you're smack in the middle of a downtown urban area, will you have what you need on your person to see you to safety?
For preppers in a modern urban setting, these questions are tough but essential.
Now is the time to make sure that you're prepared for everything.
Now your EDC can blend in even better with the new HK2 Colors- now available in jean blue, dark gray, and light khaki.
Forbes recently reported on a press release from F-Secure sharing that researchers had discovered a hack that would allow them to create a master key card that could open any hotel door with a single card.
Yes, you read that right. Any hotel room. One key.
The only material the researchers needed in order to create the master key was a single discarded key from their target location- it didn't matter how old or expired the card.
They were able to use information still on the card to create a master key that gave them privileges to literally any door in the entire hotel.
F-Secure worked with the lock manufacturer in question, in this case the Vision electronic system by VingCard.
This is great, but it exposes the fact that other lock manufacturers likely have similar vulnerabilities.
Let's be honest: most of us aren't looking too closely into the lock manufacturer when we book a hotel for a weekend getaway or a business trip.
The bottom line here is that as electronics continue to become an ever-more pervasive part of the world around us, there will always be instances where they fail.
Unfortunately, we may not become aware of those vulnerabilities until it's too late.
This is why it's so important not to put your full faith in electronics.
Have a backup plan:
Check out our collection of urban survival gear and ensure that you're doing everything you should be to maintain your safety and security no matter where you are.
Motherboard just shared a video in which locksmith and YouTuber MM Developer shows how easy it is to break into a hotel room. It's so simple, in fact, that you can do it with the takeout menu you usually find by the phone in your hotel room. It doesn’t even have to be a plastic one; as you can clearly see in the video below, he simply uses a paper menu folded over.
This method of lock picking is not actually picking a lock at all, but rather bypass entry. You may have seen someone get into a locked room with a credit card in the movies and thought it was just a movie trope, but it *is* possible.
You can't bypass a deadbolt this way, but your average hotel room door is shockingly easy to break into. This is really important information to know if you are the type who travels frequently, whether for business or pleasure, and especially if you're traveling out of the country. (Read: Why Travelers Should Carry Handcuff Keys). Do you have a plan in place for what to do if someone breaks into your room?
Some commenters on the video argued that it’s irresponsible to put a video online that shows how to bypass a locked door; but we think this is extremely important information for the average citizen to know. The better knowledge you have about your vulnerabilities, the better action you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your property.
One way to give yourself a little more peace of mind when you’re in a vulnerable situation like staying in a hotel room is to keep small, useful escape & evasion items on your person and stashed around your gear. This is the purpose we had in mind when we created our line of Urban Survival Gear. You can’t control the quality of the locks on your hotel room door, but with a practice, knowledge, and the right gear you can be your own best defense.
Last Updated: October 10, 2017
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