Developing an Urban Survival Intelligence Plan

Survival is an evolution. It’s a fast-paced mutation that you must stay ahead of. Though hurricanes bring wind damage and floods, these things quickly evolve into power outages and clean water disruptions. If these conditions last too long you will see chaos like we saw in New Orleans after Katrina. It is your job to stay on top of the ever-changing nature of your own survival.

The bugout is most often the preppers go to method for making a serious impact on their survival. This is the idea of relocation to an area that is safer than the one you are currently in. In my opinion, the bugout has been exploited and trivialized. The decision to leave your home should hinge either on an inescapable threat or thorough intelligence of your area.

The big problem here is that urban survival intelligence is a piece of the prepper puzzle that is often missing. We pack two-way comms, meds, weapons, food, water and other affects but rarely do we focus on the importance of intelligence and information.

In the rapidly evolving world of a survival scenario you will be tasked with evaluation and reevaluation of your status. As new threats appear or disappear your priorities will shift. In the same way that coastal regions evacuate long before a hurricanes landfall, you will want to have as much lead time on disaster as well.

What I recommend is preparing yourself with information streams during and after the disaster to assure you can make the best decision for yourself and your family. This can only be achieved through developing an urban survival intelligence plan.

Your Urban Survival Plan

Collecting intelligence is not a task that is relegated to the CIA. In fact, you collect intelligence in your daily life all the time. If you work on reports at work you are gathering intelligence. If you are looking through your kids’ room or on his phone you are collecting intelligence. It’s just a term for collecting helpful data that will affect your decision making.

One of my favorite things to collect “intelligence” on is high tech, tactical gear. My wife would prefer I didn’t spend so much time on collecting this type of intelligence!

When we are talking about building your plan you must have methods and tools for procuring that intelligence. You must also have options for reacting. The information will do you no good if you have no place to go.

Three Types of Urban Survival Intelligence

National Intelligence

Information on the full scope of the disaster will best be had from national, big budget, news outlets. Through things like national radio, television and even HAM radio you will be able to glean information on what’s happening outside of your local area.

Depending on the type of disaster this crucial information could tell you whether help is on the way. If the nation is paralyzed in a large-scale attack or natural disaster, aid to your area may be drastically reduced.

Local Intelligence

Once you have a grip on the scope of the disaster at a national level it will do you good to start gathering local intelligence. This information will come from local news, radio and maybe even cellphone communications. (if you have signal)

Local intelligence is incredibly important because it will offer you a more in depth look at the threats in your immediate area. What are you facing with power, water and local disaster recovery? Are resources coming to the state from the federal government, or not?

Community Intelligence

Finally, you will want to learn about your immediate area. There could be threats to your immediate area that will not be reported on local or national news. Things like localized flooding, isolated violence and riots, or damage to roads in your neighborhood that will impede your own evacuation. Community intelligence can be the most valuable. In the event of a serious societal collapse it will likely be your only form of intelligence.

Put up the radios and the comms units for this type of intelligence. This is ground floor work. You will need a good pair of shoes and some optics. You are going to be talking to people and looking with your eyes. In the previous two types of intelligence gathering you were depending on reporters. When it comes to community intelligence you are the reporter.


Now that you understand the urban survival intelligence game plan let’s talk about equipment. You are going to need some specific gear to combat a disaster and rise above the loss of power, loss of wifi and other services that we pull our news from under normal circumstances.

National Gear

  • Wind Up Radios
  • USB Powerbanks (Charged)
  • HAM Radio and alternate power source (Gas Generator, Solar Battery and)

Local Gear

  • Wind Up Radios
  • Powerbanks
  • Alternate Power Source
  • Police Scanner

Community Gear

  • Smaller Recon Backpack
  • Powerful Optics
  • Good Shoes and Pants
  • Firearm
  • Camera
  • Drone with Camera

Reducing It Down

At some point, you will be left with plenty of information from your various sources. From there you will need to put together a SIT REP or a summary of your current situation.

What resources do you have access to?

What do you need access to?

What are the imminent threats you face?

What are the perceived threats?

These questions will culminate in a final decision for your next move. Do you stay in your home or are resources in threats a reason to bugout? Only with this type of information can you make a well-informed decision like this.

I wish I could tell you that is the end of your intelligence work. The truth is once you make a decision you will go right back to observing again. Pulling more information about the conditions around you is the only way to stay up to date on recovery. This constant balance of information and planning should last the duration of the disaster.

Start building your urban survival intelligence plan today.