Saturday, January 01, 2011

Prepare for diverse magnitudes of mega-disasters

Disasters happen.  It is fortunate that most of us don’t experience them often if ever.  And when disasters occur, they seldom last more than a few seconds (auto accidents), a few minutes (tornadoes/earthquakes), or a few hours (hurricanes/severe ice/snow storms).  Granted, the after-effects can last for days or weeks, but emergency assistance and essential infrastructure (water, sanitation, electricity, transportation) are usually restored within a few days.
Most of us can endure a disaster that lasts for a few days up to a week or so with little additional preparation.  Water is the most critical resource.  A day or so without water won’t kill us.  Beyond a week probably will.  Fortunately most of us have a lot of water substitutes on hand:  soda, fruit juice, beer, bottled tea to last us a week or longer.
But what about a mega disaster –
one that puts local, regional, or national infrastructure out of commission for several weeks or months?  What might cause such calamity?  An electromagnetic pulse attack, a severe solar storm, a conventional nuclear attack, or civil unrest brought about by the foregoing or by a severe financial collapse are the most likely causes.
If you think one or more calamities have a significant probability of occurring within the next few years, you are motivated to prepare.
The question then arises:  How do you prepare?  Where do you start?
There are several factors to consider before you stuff your garage with survival gear and supplies.
Here are some of the most important points to consider:
  • What are the most likely disaster scenarios that might occur and how motivated are you to prepare for them?  What are their most likely challenges to survivability? Stay abreast of world events, especially the Islamic threat, rogue terror groups, and world financial conditions to perform your own periodic assessments.
  • How long (weeks/months) might the disaster keep you from accessing food and water from normal daily sources (public water and sewer supplies, electric wells, lack of refrigeration, grocery stores being looted and closed?
  • What are the most likely forms of exchange that will be readily accepted for disasters lasting various durations?  Cash?  Barter for food?  Medicine?  Weapons?
  • Disasters of either huge immediate impact or long duration will result in normal civil human behavior becoming animalistic.  Will you share everything you have with whoever asks or demands?  Or will you defend what you have?  How?
  • Where do you live?  In a city?  In a suburb?  Small town?  Rural farm or mountain hideaway?  Your needs will greatly vary depending on your current reliance on public infrastructure, food distribution network or natural habitat.
Here are some of the most likely consequences to your normal routine to expect from, say, an EMP or nuclear attack impacting your region:
  • Loss of electricity for weeks or months
  • Loss of refrigeration; what you have will last just a few hours
  • Loss of access to public water and ability to pump from private wells (for 99.9 % of us)
  • Loss of sanitary sewer;  those on septic systems fair much better.
  • Inability to get gasoline for motor vehicles or electric generators.
  • Non-functional electronic components including computers, radios, TVs, internet, phone systems, both land lines and cell.
  • People who are less prepared than you who become more desperate sooner than you and shed their former civil behavior in exchange for their lust to survive.  You will have more visitors with ill-intent than you ever had neighbors asking for a cup of sugar.  Even those who are reasonably prepared will likely behave differently than you are accustomed to because of the changed circumstances and fear of the unknown.
  • Those dependent on medications, especially those meds that require refrigeration, will suffer the consequences of not having them within a few days.
There will be an immediate urge to understand “what happened?”  How widespread is the disaster?  Did it just happen here, the whole region, nation, or world?  How long will it last?  You likely won’t know.  You have no communication, no news, no internet.  We will need to accept the fact that we may not know for quite awhile.
Under these circumstances, it may be best to revert to “survival mode” immediately.  Survival mode means assume the worst until you know better.  Assuming the worst means immediately going on a subsistence diet as if the 5 days of food and water needs to last for a month; or the 30 days of food and water needs to last for 6 months.  Button down the hatches and prepare to defend your home because they will be coming.
Evacuation?  Where to go?  Is there a way out?  You may not know.  Most likely those in cities will want to head out to the countryside.  Those in suburbs may also want to head for the hills.  The countryside and hills are likely to get quite crowded to the point where survival there might be even more difficult.
In addition to my own research, I have several friends and acquaintances who have expressed good reasons why they believe a major event will occur within the next few years.  This is enough to make me believe that my community should offer a short course in disaster preparedness.  No, not of the short term variety of disaster, like for hurricanes and floods, but for the mega-disaster that we have difficulty comprehending could ever happen.  Such course might involve a one or two hour session once a week for a month or so.
Technology has made our society unbelievably vulnerable to all sorts of mischief.   This brings to mind the ancient story of the capture of the great city-state of Babylon by Persia by lowering the water level of the Euphrates so the troops could enter the city through the river bed.  Our technology is like that river.  We are that vulnerable.  There are thousands if not millions of people who would like to destroy our way of life and they have numerous ideas on how to make that happen.  It is a matter of when, not if.
Here are several sites for additional information on mega-disaster preparedness.  These are not necessarily the best.  I welcome recommendations on other solid sources of information to help us prepare and survive.
Mega-disaster Planner
Christian perspective
What Mormons do
Preparedness pro
Prophezine preparedness
There are several sites with laughable concerns such as one that warns about the “dire consequences of global warming” or civil unrest from disgruntled tea partiers.  Record cold, record snowfall, and record tea party victories make these “disasters” something to really ponder.

1 comment:

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