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How To Create A Work Emergency Bag (WEB) For Urban Survival

An emergency situation can happen at any time. It doesn’t matter where you are, you may be on your own and forced to improvise.

Natural, terroristic, and man made disasters can force offices full of workers to evacuate. In big cities a disaster may also affect public transportation and congest the streets.

Your workplace emergency kit should be in a single, easy-to-carry container in case you are evacuated from your workplace.

In this post I’m going to show you how to make a Work Emergency Bag (WEB) that you should store at work in the event of an emergency to keep you safe and prepared.

Discuss with your family what you may do in an emergency if they can’t reach you by cell phone and make sure you write down a list of emergency contact numbers.

Evaluate where you work and how far you live from work. Coordinate with your trusted co-workers and exchange ideas for creating individual WEB’s ideal for your situation, urban area, and workplace.

Preparing Your Work Emergency Bag (WEB)

  1. Canvas Bookbag –  Get a large, canvas, water resistant backpack with several compartments and padded shoulder straps. Being inconspicuous is key here. A school or work look is what you’re after, you don’t want something that stands out like a camo tactical pack for this.
  2. Water – Keep one gallon of water, preferably in a something easy to carry like a Camden Gear hydration pack with insulated hose (one of very few with an insulated hose to keep your water cool).
  3. Food – Your food stores should be simple and require no cooking. S.O.S. Food Bars taste great, are full of calories and nutrients, and store for up to 5 years. They’re cheap too!
  4. Flashlight – You need a couple of small, powerful, and dependable flashlight. This 5-mode (high/medium/low/strobe/flashing SOS) LED zoomable flashlight by Hausbell rivals other brands three times the price and it fits the bill perfectly. It’s one of my favorite flashlights and is super tough! Also our favorite hand-crank emergency radio has a flashlight (but not as good) and is a great combo item that can provide you with light, information, and power in one little package.
  5. GloSticks – Having a couple of glow sticks is a nice extra in most kits, but it’s important to have them in a WEB. Gas leaks could be everywhere in an urban enviroment and using a flashlight or other electronic device could spark an explosion. Make sure you grab a few as you’ll need a new one every night. The 12 Hour Emergency Glow Sticks (4 Pack) are cheap, made for emergencies, and glow very brightly.
  6. Emergency Radio –  Having a way to communicate to the outside world and keep up to date with what’s going on is vital in an emergency situation. The best emergency radios are hand crank and the best one I have seen is the am/fm/noaa weather radio, led flashlight, and smartphone charger power bank I mentioned above that works by dynamo (cranking), solar panels, and batteries. It’s really a little marvel.
  7. Emergency Blanket – Mylar sheets (a.k.a. space blankets, emergency blankets) are lightweight, waterproof and very thin. They come tightly packed (they come in insanely small boxes), and should be left in their original packaging until you need to use them. They’re very hard to refold once opened and you’ll end up just stuffing it in your pack.
  8. Whistle – A whistle will allow you to make noise for hours if you become trapped. Yelling for long periods of time will dry out your throat and make you hoarse. The higher pitch will also carry far better than your voice. The Made in the U.S.A. Storm Safety Whistle (a.k.a. the world’s loudest whistle!) is the way to go. It’s no dollar store toy and is so loud scuba divers use it under water and it has been adopted by the US military.
  9. PryBar – A prybar is a great tool for your kit and no WEB should be without one. Not only is it great for getting yourself out of a building, but it also makes a decent weapon against a would be assailant. The Big Ugly Emergency Combo gives you a prybar, hammer, and hatchet all in one.
  10. Running Shoes And Socks –  Most dress shoes are so uncomfortable it’s impossible to walk several miles in them. You could even end up with feet so blistered you simply could not walk any more. Don’t believe me? Try running  a mile in them and see for yourself! Make sure you have some good athletic running shoes and socks in your bag ready to go or you’ll regret it later, don’t take this one for granted.
  11. First aid Kit – You can make your own first aid kit or buy a pre-packaged kit. A pre-made kit will usually cover a wide range of emergencies. The best thing to do is buy a pre-made first aid kit and then add to it with your own items.
  12. Poncho – A poncho is easy to carry and super light. Protecting yourself from getting wet is important and a poncho is all you need. Hypothermia can set in faster than you think and having wet clothes can be a death sentence in cold weather.
  13. Dust Mask – Make sure you pick up a pack of dust masks. As 9/11 proved there is A LOT of dust and smoke during most emergencies. A dust mask can protect your lungs from cancer causing particles such as asbestos and also keep some smoke out too. The best masks form to fit your face and have a valve for breathing, such as the 3M Valved Dust Mask. You can also go for a full Civilian Gas Mask if you don’t mind the odd looks. I pack a full gas mask because I know those at Ground Zero would have given anything for a full mask. The odd looks by strangers mean nothing when the entire sky is gray with poisonous dust and smoke.
  14. Maps – Ever tried walking miles home from work during a total SHTF moment? I bet not. Imagine for a moment your disoriented and in shock, and maybe hurt too. Everything is covered in gray dust (including road signs)…Can you remember to count how many roads there are or pick out any landmarks (which could have been destroyed too) until your next turn? If your work is in the city but your house is in suburbia, what if you have to get off the road and into the woods? Don’t count on your cell phone GPS working during an emergency. Not only could your provider be overwhelmed but an EMP or solar flare could render it useless. Pull up Google Maps and print out a map from your work back to your house. highlight the route and also note any important places, such as a hospital, police station, or some place where you can safely rest at night. If you can find a map of your building make a copy of it too, especially any building with more than 5 floors.
  15. Cell Phone – You’ll probably have this on you already, just make sure it’s handy and charged.
  16. Cell Phone Charger – A dead cell phone is useless and luck always has it that it will be dead right when you need it. Plus a two day walk out of town can be enough to finish off your phone. The best cell phone charger works every time and can be used for more than charging a phone. Again the am/fm/noaa weather radio, led flashlight, and smartphone charger power bank fits both these needs. Told ya it’s a real marvel.
  17. Money – Keep a few dollars in your WEB, about $20-50 in small bills. Make sure you hide your money in your bag somewhere. The cardboard bottom of your backpack is a great place. Fold your money up and tape it to the bottom of the cardboard, no one will think to look there.
  18. Moist Wipes – A pack of baby wipes works well. Make sure you don’t open them until you need them or they will dry out.
  19. MultiTool Knife –  You need a knife, don’t underestimate it’s uses. Getting a multitool instead of a tactical knife gives you a lot of options, like having a screwdriver and pliers. A good multitool can be expensive though, upwards of $150, but you can get a decent Leatherman (the creators of the multitool) for under $30 on Amazon that fits all your needs. This is another place where you wouldn’t want to buy a cheapo china-made version. You can put a good multitool through hell, but a Chinese made one will bend or dull with just a few minutes use. Check out the Leatherman Pocket Multi-Tool for a good quality multitool knife.
  20. Extra Keys – Keep extra keys to your house and car in your kit. You should tape these to the same place you put your cash, the bottom of the hard coardboard piece in the bottom of your backpack. Make sure you don’t mark them in any way.
  21. Documents – Make sure you have some form of identification on you. Also grab any special papers or photos you may have at your desk.
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Sergeant Survival

I spread the news of disaster preparedness and homesteading skills to the masses. My mission is to teach the keyboard commandos out there some real life skills.


  1. Instead of a dust mask, or in addition to it, I would recommend the addition of a shemagh. It’s a 44×44 square of cotton. It’s part dust mask, part sun shade, can keep heat in you or help it escape you (by wetting it), it can also be tied as a sling for an arm or used to slow loss of blood. Multipurpose to the extreme! They are reasonably priced on amazon, and come in many colors and designs. Also, the supertool 300 or wave, both from leatherman, are excellent tools, for about $70-80. I have the supertool, and cannot recommend it enough. It’s amazingly robust.

  2. @Kyle – I completely agree about the shemagh. Should be a basic part of anyone’s survival kit.

  3. How about a sillcock for outdoor faucets

  4. I suggest the addition of a Life Straw. Your options of water might be limited.

  5. Actually, I really did have to walk (more like run) home from work after the towers collapsed on 911. I was miles away from home, and I was wearing high heels (I had to stop in the next town and buy a pair of flats). It would have been nice if I were more prepared for that scenario.

    I appreciate your advice in this post. My only questions are:

    1. How can I run while carrying, in addition to everything else, a gallon of water?

    2. Where in my tiny cubicle would I find the space to stash these provisions?

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