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Are you ready to survive an emergency at your location? Is your survival context urban or the wilderness? In recent days, I have read a few articles and watched a few presentations relating to urban or wilderness survival. It is interesting to notice one preference over another. These preferences are due to the leanings of those making their case. One’s environment influences the preferred approach to emergency preparedness. My own experiences with outdoor recreational activities, weather emergencies, military field training, and combat deployments accentuate this truism.

Thus, there are two basic categories of survival that are the most common in the literature: urban survival and wilderness survival. My article on survival approaches further breaks these down. However, in this article, I will discuss the urban and wilderness methods for survival planning from a broader perspective.

The Urban Survival Approach

The contemporary interest in urban survival is a more recent development in the survival and preparedness world. The popularity in the zombie genre of dystopian movies and television program seems to have been the impetus for the interest. The concern about the sudden collapse of modern society intensified with the Y2K scare of the late 1990s. Lofty Wiseman’s book, SAS Urban Survival Handbook (1996) discusses urban survival and is a standard read on the subject. Thus, urban survival became a hot topic in the early decades of the new century. What is urban survival?

The name, urban, implies the context in which one needs to survive: a city, town, or metroplex. The urbanization of the United States is a byproduct of its Industrial Revolution (1865-1920). The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that close to 63% of America’s population lives in urban and suburban areas. Furthermore, strategic thinker and author, David Kilcullen writes of the increasing urbanization of warfare in his book, Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla (2013). Therefore, urban survival planning a viable exercise for those living in that context.

The Uniqueness of the Urban Environment

There are many contrasts between an urban environment and the wilderness environment. The concerns of the urban environment are unique. For example, a person attempting to survive in an urban or suburban context does not have to worry about building a shelter in the same manner as their wilderness counterparts. One can occupy an abandoned building or house if necessary and if it is safe. The stories of urban survival from the siege of Stalingrad to the killing fields of Sarajevo give ample evidence of the peculiarities of urban survival.

A feature of urban survival are the kinds of items necessary for an emergency kit. Thus, urban survival requires some different things that are not present in a wilderness survival loadout. For example, most urban survival kits include a sillcock key. A sillcock key is unnecessary beyond the rural survival zone. Why? There are no commercial buildings with secured outside water faucets in the backcountry that require a sillcock key to access.

It is common for urban survival kits to feature lock picking tools. Again, these are unnecessary in the deep backcountry for living off of the land. Lock picking tools assist in getting into buildings to obtain food, water, or shelter in an urban or suburban survival zone. The movie, World War Z, has a good representation of the importance of accessing a grocery store or hospital pharmacy during a societal collapse. Lock picking tools enable that activity.

Some Observations About The Urban Environment

Additionally, the urban environment offers some infrastructure that is not available to those living near or in the wilderness. Cities and towns provide a utility grid (gas, water, electricity), if operational, which allows access to potable water, refrigeration, communication, sanitation, and emergency medical care. Stable buildings offer shelter and protection from the weather, predation, and criminal activity.

The main weaknesses with the urban environment are the available resources, like food, medicine, and water. In an urban collapse, such as that after Hurricane Katrina, those resources dwindle very quickly. It is estimated that major grocery stores only maintain about a 30-day supply of food and water. However, in a panic, the shelves and coolers in those same grocery stores will be stripped clean in 48 hours.

I witnessed this in Virginia when a named snowstorm was going to hit our area in 2016. The local Kroger’s, down the street from my apartment, was a chaotic mess in two hours. You would have thought the zombie apocalypse was upon us. My oldest son was with me in the store. I pointed out the barren bread shelves to him. I told him that this is what happens when people fail to prepare. They become very selfish and animalistic towards others when they are fearful of their mortality. Therefore, the storage of essential necessities becomes crucial in an urban survival zone.

The Wilderness Survival Approach

The wilderness survival approach is the oldest of the methods. Wilderness or frontier survival is as old as humanity from the Otzi Iceman to the modern bushcrafter. As its name indicates, wilderness survival refers to surviving in an outdoor environment. There are different kinds of survival considerations for various outdoor activities. Wilderness survival preparation may be as sophisticated as a modern ultralight backpacking kit to an extended hunting trip into the Alaskan backcountry. It can also be as simplistic as employing the survival skills and tools of the Native Americans or the Mountain Men of the early 1800s.

The Uniqueness Of The Wilderness Approach

The outdoor environment offers its own set of unique characteristics influencing survival and preparedness. Outdoorsmen must be able to survive and sustain themselves in the field for extended periods in remote locations. There is nothing “remote” about the urban environment. Moreover, wilderness survival requires one to carry all of the survival necessities within the limitations of your pack, pack animal, or both. Furthermore, the wilderness survival approach implies being able to access and create essentials from natural surroundings. For example, flint napping a knife blade or spear point is not necessary for an urban context.

Some Observations About The Wilderness Environment

The main difference in wilderness survival kits and those for the urban environment are the tools. Those going into the outdoors need a fixed blade knife as their primary tool. Urban survival kits can function effectively with only a multitool. A fixed blade knife is a core item for bushcrafters and hunters. Ferro rods and strikers are the tools of choice for making fires in the backcountry. Whereas, urban survival kits usually feature a Bic Lighter. Thus, there are some differences in kit components to enable urban or wilderness survival.

Some Final Thoughts

Is it urban or wilderness? Your location and type of survival concern will dictate your requirements. However, for those living in the transition survival zones, it is prudent to take a hybrid or blended approach of both urban and survival techniques and kit mentality. Sigma 3 Survival School offers a great blend of both urban and wilderness survival training courses. It is best to avail yourself of that training if you are able. You may have to traverse multiple survival zones to get to safety during a mandatory evacuation. Therefore, it is wise to gain as much field time, formal training, and individual practice in both urban and wilderness survival skills within your budget and time limits. These will enhance your chances of a positive outcome in your survival situation.

Further Reading

PICK THE NEXT SPECIALTY CLASS! Our POLLS determine what classes are offered next according to popular demand! It would be great for us to offer every survival class possible,  but time is limited for everyone and we need to focus on our students most critical needs. What is your top choice for the following classes being offered that you are interested in?

ANSWER the poll below to help define survival training needs & focus.

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CONTACT US if you have any questions or want to suggest other companies you want to train with.

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Greetings, Sigma 3 Family!

As many of you know, Sigma 3 Survival School has been experiencing exponential growth as of late. With this growth comes new and exciting opportunities, new classes, and new skill sets to be mastered. These changes are exciting and refreshing for us and we know that you will be pleased with the direction Sigma 3 is going as well.

We have been given many new opportunities for specialty classes that have previously been unavailable along with access to new instructors and sources of information, and SIGMA will be adding new, different, and exciting courses soon.

Like all growth, though, there are some growing pains as we move into new frontiers and find that some of the things that served us well in the past are not as vital to our continued growth and ability to serve our students and customers.

 

Curriculum Changes

We have some monster changes coming to our training programs and we will be dropping some programs and adding some new ones. We can only run programs that are popular and as the years have come and gone, we have learned what classes our students want the most. So in accordance with what our customers want, we are adapting to the changing business environment by adapting our programs to meet our customer’s needs.

We will be dropping the Tactical Scout Cert program and the SOLO wilderness medic cert program and replacing it with a list of specialty classes. Basically we will be recruiting other top training companies to come showcase their best courses for our SIGMA 3 students. We will be keeping the DSD tactical tracking program and both SERE courses, but all other programs within the tactical scout will be eliminated and replaced. We will replace the courses with specialty classes that are determined by our customers via polling. Some of the potential trainers we will try to recruit for courses include: Travis Haley, Kyle Lamb, Badlands Tactical, Mark Elbroch, Joel Hardin, and many more! Almost anyone you want to train under, SIGMA 3 can get! You will see changes in the website to reflect these changes soon. If you have any questions then please contact us for more details.

 

Maine Location Closing and Moving Farther South

We have found after the initial launch of our location in Maine, that it is too remote and to distant a drive for most people in the Northeast to attend our courses. We have tons of customers in the New York area and it is our goal to move closer to the New York/Pennsylvania line, so that more people from metropolitan areas can join our weekend classes as well as other programs. If you have any land in this area that we can use to host these events please let us know. There is substantial incentive for allowing us to use your land for training. But for now we will not be scheduling anymore classes at the Maine location.

North Carolina Update

We recently launched the North Carolina location that will be run by Eugene Runkis and Sean Walker. The location we originally picked may be in jeopardy due to lease issues with the land owner, so we may be moving the location to farther north on the North Carolina/Virginia border. Still up in the air as to what is going to happen with this training location. And Eugene is in the process of shooting his 3rd season for Hillbilly Blood, so his schedule is still up in the air also. As soon as we get some solid dates I’ll be sure to update everyone. But you can count on us having classes on the schedule for that area very soon. Just waiting on a few things to come through before posting the training schedule for NC!

Children’s Programs

Probably the single biggest question asked, is do we have any kids programs or classes that kids can attend. Our policy has always been to allow children in most courses offered, except for the advanced ones! But to add to that, we are going to start offering family packages that bring father/son and mother/daughter together in these training classes. And we will have special pricing for package deals, so that both parents and children can enjoy the benefit of world class training at a great price. We will also be starting a kid’s summer survival camp in 2014. Send the kids for a week of adventure and they will learn all the need to know about how to survive! More info on this coming soon!

 All in all, we have a ton of changes happening with SIGMA 3 and we appreciate your commentary and continued support. If you have an interest in some type of training, then please let us know what you would like to see on the schedule and we will try and accommodate your interests.

Thanks,

Robert Allen

President

SIGMA 3 Survival School

We at SIGMA 3 are super excited to announce, after long anticipation, the OFFICIAL DSD TRACKING COURSE DATES! We want to thank everyone who has signed up for being so patient with us, and to encourage anyone who has been thinking about signing up to do so quickly, as this class is filling up fast!

In case this is the first time you’ve heard of this class, or if you don’t know who David Scott Donelan (DSD) is, then you should take the time to do some research, because you will be truly amazed at the opportunity SIGMA 3 has managed to arrange. DSD is the premier expert in the world on dangerous man tracking operations and is responsible for many of the current US military tracking programs in use today. He literally wrote the current manuals that almost every tactical tracking organization in the world currently uses. This man has spent more time hunting down people than almost anyone on the planet! David was an elite member of the Rhodesian SAS Selous Scouts as well as many other elite special forces units over his long career as an operator.

Read this Article about David Scott Donelan. Click Here!

The Selous Scouts are the premier tracking and guerilla warfare experts known all over the world for their ability to track a dangerous enemy over long distances in thick bush in order to destroy them. The selection process is probably one of the toughest selections the SOF community has ever seen, and usually only about 5-10% of their best crack troops finished Selous Scout selection. They were a very small elite unit and they were so effective that they are reported to have been responsible for approximately 70% of the enemy KIA. There primary expertise was tracking, tactical bushcraft, and counter insurgency operations. SIGMA 3 only recruits the top tactical instructors in the country and DSD is one of the most decorated SOF vets to ever grace our training grounds.

Read DSD’s Tactical Tracking Manual used all over the world. Click Here!

The class will be 5 days, 100% in the field but there will be some limited lecture time in our GP Medium Army Tent Classroom. The 5th day will be an all day FTX, with airsoft force-on-force. Be prepared to be in the field with hostile weather conditions, bugs, and tough conditions. This will be an intensive class but is definitely something the person of an average fitness level can participate in. Bring any tactical equipment relevant to your training needs. Contact Us if you have questions.

Being certified under The Scott Donelan Tracking School is truly a privilege and something that very few people can say they have attained outside the special forces community. I hope that you join us in this once in a lifetime opportunity to train with the most recognized expert on the planet in tactical tracking. It won’t be one you forget.

Date: September 26-30, 2013

Location: Huntington, AR Survival Camp

Instructor: David Scott Donelan & Assistant Instructors

Cost: $995 Early or $1200 Late Registration (payment plans can be arranged, get registered early though)

Items Needed: Outdoor clothing preferably camo, boots, bug spray, food and water, overnight camping gear if you intend to stay at our camp otherwise check our locations tab for hotel info, bring any tactical equipment relevant to your training needs

About a month ago I decided to go do some storm work in OKC, since the Fort Smith area seems to be dead for construction right now. I decided to camp out instead of getting a hotel room and save some money. So for the last 3-4 weeks I have been camping out by the lake and going to work in the morning. But I have an interesting survival story to tell about some of the things that went down while we were camping. The location isn’t exactly remote in fact it was within city limits on a little spot called lake arcadia. We found a somewhat secluded spot to set up camp and basically just slept out on the ground with nothing but a small pad and sleeping bag. No shelter, no tent! It was great except when there was a lot of condensation on the ground from overnight dew. But I thought it would be a great idea to get some survival training in while I’m out of town. So, I went traveling around the lake looking for food and found some delightfully ripe mulberries. They are so tasty! Their were many wild edibles, to many to mention, but needless to say someone could feed themselves quite easily with just a little gathering.

But what I really wanted to talk about in this story is the crazy fish! Their are more carp on this lake than any other I have ever seen in my life. At dusk and dawn the fish are just everywhere, not to mention all the snakes that like to swim by 4 feet from my bed to say hey at night time. But the fish were nuts! The water was up into the woodline around the lake so you could wade up in the shallows and see them moving everywhere. So needless to say I grabbed my survival walking stick which converts into a spear, fish gig, or blowgun. I screwed on the fish gig around 3 in the mornin and went out in the full moon and started stalking the fish. It was quite amazing to see them in the moonlight and you could stalk up to within a few feet without them seeing you. Before the little hunt was over I had speared two carp around 4-6 pounds and called it quits after that. Don’t like to kill more than neccessary. But I could have easily killed 20-30 fish if I wanted. It was like spearing fish in a barrel. For those of you who have never spear fished before, it is very difficult and this was a rare situation where it was relatively easy. It takes extreme patience and stealth to spear fish in less than the most optimum of conditions, so this was quite a treat to say the least. Seems I learn something new every time I go out! I love survivalism, it truly is the ultimate sense of freedom to know that no matter what happens that you will be able to provide for yourself and others.

I think survivalism is very much like martial arts in a lot of ways. For those of you who have trained in any kind of fight sport, then you know that sense of confidence that training installs in your mind. Survivalism gives you that exact same confidence, but on a whole other level. It not only gives you a sense of confidence, but also teaches you an entirely new way of living that will bring about a higher state of health for the body and the mind!

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