Many of us have regular day jobs and go into the city every day to get to work. For those who work in an office setting there is no way to bring a BOB. If you drive to work you can leave your BOB in the car. For those who take public transit to work a BOB is just not possible. As 9/11 showed there are a few items that every office worker should have. An emergency can happen at any time, and we should be close enough to gear to get out of the office and on your way to escaping the general area.
This sort of situation requires a small kit that we can keep with us all or most of the time. If we base our mini urban kit on the average office worker we can also apply that to any other work setting. The average office worker has a minimum amount of room to carry things with them, plus those items must fit into the general attire of the office worker.
Regardless of the specific threat, we are likely to face fire or dust, lighting being out, and debris. Since we’re in a city we need a minimum of equipment, even a few blocks is enough to put most dangers far enough away that we can relax for a bit and worry about getting home from there.
The kit itself needs to fit in these small bags yet remain easily grabbed. A small waist or fanny pack of no more than 4 inches thick by 6 inches high by 10 inches wide (about the size of a 1 gallon ziplock bag) is enough room to fit everything we need.
In this kit we can keep the following:
- BIC lighter
- Nitrile and/or gardening gloves (leather palm)
- Small AM/FM radio with bud earphones (shortwave/weather if there is room)
- Compass/whistle/match container with matches
- Small tube of anti-bacterial, waterless hand cleaner
- Small pack of baby wipes
- Flat pack of duct tape (3 to 10 feet)
- First aid kit (extra anti-bacterial wipes and assorted band aids)
- Emergency “space” blanket (2 if there’s room)
- Money: Roll of quarters, $10 in ones & $20 in fives (vending machines/pay phone)
- 20 oz bottle of water (empty 1 liter platypus type bladder if there is room)
- Tea/cocoa/coffee packets, suger and creamer
- Hard candy/granola or power bars (Snickers is what I carry)
- Sunglasses, reading/spare glasses as required
- Windbreaker (folds up into it’s own pouch)
- Knife or multi-tool
- Keychain LED light, 2AA maglite or LED light. Extra batteries if there is room.
- Military type manual can opener
- Safety goggles
- 3 day supply of prescription
Most of the items above are to aid you in getting out of the building you are in, protecting your hands and eyes, making sure you do not breath in dust, and in cleaning yourself up once away from the immediate threat.
In fact the first six items will fit into the first kit I suggest, while the first aid kit (with extras), the emergency blanket and the duct tape will fit into a 1 quart ziplock bag. If you were to purchase a windbreaker with zippered pockets you could fit the all of the items, minus the water bottle into the pockets of the windbreaker. You would have to grab the windbreaker and the bottled water and be on your way.
The knife or multi-tool can be kept on your belt or in your pocket, as can the lighter, keychain LED and sun glasses. A bandana can be kept in your back pocket and the military style can opener on your keychain. This will free up some room in your kit for other things.
If you spend all day at a desk then you can keep a few things in your desk drawer, or in your locker if in a factory, like a polar fleece pull over or light jacket, running shoes or hiking boots, spare socks, pair of jeans, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, some extra food, bottled water and maybe a fleece throw in a small gym type duffel. Grab the duffel and survival kit and get moving until you have time to change.
Many office workers keep a small gym type duffel at their desk with shoes and athletic gear for when they go to the gym during lunch or after work. Many office workers can be seen on the public transit systems with a briefcase/laptop bag and a gym duffel.
The idea behind a mini urban kit is not to keep you alive in the woods, but to get you out of buildings and to your car, on your way home, or to safety. When you think about it, most of the items on the list are fairly common items that we see many office people with.
These should not attract any attention, but can make the difference between life and death or reduced injury. If you do not have room to keep a spare pair of shoes make sure that whatever shoes you do wear have a good rubber sole and are comfortable for walking. With some looking you can find shoes that meet these requirements and remain appropriate for dress wear.
For those times when a waist pack or small duffel is inconvenient or not allowed you could get yourself a photographer’s or fisherman’s vest with multiple pockets. If you’re getting a fishing vest and plan on wearing it in the city you may want to carefully remove the fly patch. You wouldn’t come close to using all of the pockets on the vest and your items would be with you at all times.