Planning and preparing

What are you willing to do to Survive?

Events like power outages, wind storms (trees, branches, and power lines down), snow / Ice storms, flooding / tsunamis, earthquakes, or volcanic eruption are real possibilities in or around my location. There are also some of the other more remote possibilities such as solar flares, terrorist attacks, civil unrest, or invasion from foreign country that could occur.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina attempted to devastate New Orleans, LA. After just a short number of days following this catastrophe, the rule of law structure had diminished, and crumbled to the point that even local law enforcement were more concerned for their own families, homes and valuables, rather than protecting the community. Numerous instances within the first week of this event, and law enforcement officers in uniform looting or using their position of power to take survival items from someone else.

With this in mind what are you willing to do to survive in the event of such a disaster or event?

Let’s build the scenario –

You have read all of the survivalist or prepper articles online, you agree with what they have to say, but you haven’t had the spare money to truly dedicate to provisions. You have maybe three days’ worth of food in your fridge, and could drag out to six with what is in the freezer. Like most folks, you are living paycheck to paycheck with maybe $20-50 per pay period to spend towards prepping supplies. It is March in wherever you live, and during the middle of the night, a windstorm has rolled through and wiped out a large area worth of trees, and power lines. Cell towers are still functioning and energy service providers are on generators. The power company says it could take at least twelve days before power is fully restored to your area. The water company says it could be a bit longer, as the water supply plant has been virtually destroyed. Major road travel is severely impacted for up to twenty miles in most directions. Most local stores have very little to no generator power; and those that do, may only be able to accept cash transactions.

You have read this before, but here is the reminder, grocery stores usually only carry three days’ worth of food on hand. Without major trucking to refill the stores, they will run out of things in a hurry. Your cash on hand is limited to what was in your wallet or home prior to the outage, as none of the local ATMs are working. Like many neighborhoods, the area of the suburbs that you live in is OK from a crime perspective on a normal day, though it has some bad areas surrounding it.

How many people, and at what ages are in your home?

What preparations did you have in place?

How well do you know your neighbors?

How is your trust in people?

Day one –

Repair crews, along with city / county will be out surveying the damage, and devising a plan for repairs. Some folks will be out walking around to see what is open, and what supplies can be purchased. A very mild bit of panic may be in place for some.

Day two –

Repair crews will be clearing debris from roadways, and re-establish functional infrastructure, though this will take days / weeks. More people will now be venturing out looking for supplies.

Day three –

Repair crews continue to clear debris in a larger circle, though the damage is extensive. Store shelves may start to get thinned out of common supplies. Supplies at home and stores are dwindling fast. Local law enforcement is attempting to control the environment and population.

Day four –

By this point you may be starting to run low on supplies and certainly on clean water. You will need to cut back on usage if you haven’t planned out well enough. These cutbacks will cause extra stress. The good news, stores still currently have some supplies and gas stations have some remaining fuel. The bad news, unless you have cash and the store clerks can still process with some older transaction means (using a calculator to determine tax and change for your transaction), very little is obtainable. Local law enforcement may be weaning out, as they focus towards their own family’s needs.

Day five –

If any of the stores still have supplies, groups are starting to form around what remains in in those stores. Best case, these groups are store owners, coworkers and friends, worst case they are improvised gangs controlling the supply. Most nonfood store shop owners will be boarding up or barricading their stores as they are either empty, or ensuring nothing comes up missing. That mild panic from a few days ago, is quickly turning into full panic for everyone that didn’t prepare at all. If it hasn’t already, looting may be starting by this point, and without the rule of law, or local law enforcement enforcing the law at this point, chaos will come quick.

Day six –

Your pets are hungry, your children are cranky, your stomach is growling. Your supplies are running very thin, if not completely out of the simple foods you normally use. Some of your neighbors have escaped the area to more hospitable locations until this is returned to normal. This unfortunately leaves their belongings unprotected.

Day seven –

Looting is in full force by this point, unfortunately there is not much left to be taken from stores, so the looting here will be for items available / visible around homes, in vehicles, along with possible breaking into empty vehicles, homes and businesses. Groups have banded together for good or bad. The rule of law is almost gone, and the depraved that can get away with it, will do whatever is on their list.

Day eight –

Darkness has set in on day eight, and late in the evening you hear voices from outside of your home. It lasts for at least 10 min before you hear a window break. Now is the time to put your home security plan into action. How far will you go to defend your family, your home, and your belongings? This is where major life changing decisions need to be made.

Day nine –

FEMA and the National Guard have arrived to help. They are working to provide clean water and food, though it may be a distance from where you are. Your vehicle has been out of gasoline for a couple of days, so, walking, biking or catching a ride with someone else is your only option. The crowd that has gathered for their supplies is making it difficult, as the panic of everyone getting their supplies before the supply runs out is a concern. Martial law has been declared, curfew enforced to help curb the riots and looting that is taking place around. What’s left is a chaotic mess of what used to be your town.

Day ten –

Power to the nearest gas station / grocery store has been restored. Though at this point it doesn’t matter, as any supplies that the store had have been gone for a handful of days now, and the resupply wont be for another day or more.

Day eleven –

Power to your neighborhood has been restored. Normal supply is returning to the grocery stores, as well as gas stations, though they are running out almost as quick as they are returned. This outage has caused a severe run on supply / demand shortage for your community. It may take another handful of days or deliveries before the run on supplies has calmed down.

Day twelve –

The good news, your power and water bill will be a lot lower this month than other months. The bad news, you have had to restock virtually all of your supplies, which could be fairly expensive. Depending on your job, you may not have been able to work for the last 12 days, for many that is a lot of lost income. Be thoughtful about how you spend your money to restock your supplies, do some actual shopping for best prices, and buy in bulk if possible. Remember that while it took you time to build your supply and only 12 short days to diminish it, this could happen yet again in just a few short days, weeks, or months and you want to be prepared.

If you have read this all the way through, you may have either remembered how things played out during hurricane Katrina / hurricane Sandy, or you have done a little bit of research, you know that what is listed above is not that far fetched from how this will play out in reality. The goal is to ensure that you have the proper plans and supplies in place before disaster strikes (test your plan ahead of time). This scenario was only a windstorm that took out power and some water, the next disaster could be much more catastrophic.

Take the necessary steps, precautions, planning and spending to ensure that you and your family are protected, or impact minimized during these types of events.

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