Emergencies – What’s possible? What’s Probable?
If you ask a random sample of preparedness-minded people about SHTF, the topic gravitates toward the long-term disaster situation vs. short term emergencies. There always seems to be a trend for preparing against the most extreme SHTF situation, vs. the one that’s most probable to happen, and the most probable situation to catch one with their “pants down”. Preparing for the most extreme disaster gets the most attention because of the thought – “If I can lift 250 lbs, I can certainly lift 125 lbs”. While this is true in theory, when an emergency happens, you just can’t have much influence over the environmental factors present while lifting the proverbial “weight”. It’s the environmental factors that make handling something as simple as a car breakdown very, very tough in the middle of a riot. Here’s another example: It’s great that I have 10 years of food storage (and everyone should) to weather an economic collapse at my cabin in the mountains, but what if I have to locate one of my family members in the opening stages of looting/rioting or the middle of confusion of an ideological attack? Does my 10 year food supply help me locate, care for and get my loved one to safety? It’s more likely that I’ll have to round up my loved ones in the middle of one of those scenarios, than the “zombie apocalypse” will happen. While I don’t doubt the metaphorical zombie-apoc can’t happen, I can bet you that the way things have been going, you and I are much more likely to see problems in the urbanized areas of the US in regard to racial tensions.
Gear – What’s possible? What’s Probable?
Many people carry “get home bags”, “bug out bags”, etc. And many times you’ll hear “all the [bag] has to do is help me fight /get to my SHTF gear”. Will my “bug out bag” do nothing more than to help me escape to get to my retreat? While it’s true that the bug out bag has to fit that bill, it’s not necessarily true that it’s all I need it for. While it’s not prudent in most urbanized areas to carry a ruck, rifle and load-bearing gear in your vehicle day in and day out, I can think of more than a couple current events that could cause me to be heading into the pathway of trouble to find loved ones than causing me to “bug out”. My “go bag” as I call it, needs to be out-fitted accordingly. What am I probably going to need it for? Most people are so dependent on cellular towers that the thought of being without one’s “celly” causes a shiver to run down one’s back. Twice in my life I’ve experienced mass cell outages for extended periods of time. Do my “go bag” contents address my need for alternate communication? Add on top of that most people don’t keep their loved one’s corralled in their house all day long (that would be a sad existence). In the event of a disaster (even a short-term) black-out, you may have to go out and collect your precious cargo. Does my “go bag” address the need to conduct search and rescue in an urban terrain? Mr. Murphy has a heck of a way of showing up with random complications in the midst of an already unsettling crisis. “Bugging Out” is fine if all my precious cargo is in one spot . . . but what if they aren’t? So instead of carrying a bag that is suited just for getting home (which isn’t really all that hard even on foot), it’s probable that I may need it to help me perform other functions than just “bugging out”.
Here’s an example: During the east-coast black out of 2003, there were several people that ran out of gas (or had an auto break-down) that I knew. Stranded. Cellular service was spotty at best. With pay phones becoming more and more rare . . . now, there’s people with loved ones stranded, without alternate communications, and who probably haven’t established contingency plans. What to do, What to do? The good news is that what I have listed below is an efficient plan for preparedness – in that while preparing for short-term emergencies, the skill-sets below help mitigate the long-term ones too. J
So what can I commit to doing TODAY to better my short-term preparedness skill sets?
- COMMUNICATIONS – HAM / CB – Study FREE references from ARRL to get a Tech HAM license (it’s actually quite easy), get a couple $40 BaoFeng HT radios, learn how to use them and persuade the loved ones to do the same. You can go HERE to start your alternate communications journey – and HERE . Most UHF/VHF Hand Talkies have a 30 mile range. That’s a REAL 30 miles, not the FRS/GMRS clear line of sight crap. The world might not end any time soon, but chances are better that you could have to use an alternate method Comm to locate your family and conjure a game plan.
- LAND / NAV – I can start studying Land Navigation TODAY – GPS devices fail. And even if they don’t, most people couldn’t do much more than mark their current position with a handheld Garmin. DTG offers great tutorials on at their Online Classroom regarding a myriad of preparedness topics, Land Nav is one of them. Even so, in one night you can watch enough online videos about Land Nav to see its value as a skill-set. Getting some “dirt-time” at a land nav course is the way to develop the skill set however. Land Navigation isn’t just about compass work. Maps tell a story
- FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH FIRST AID / TCCC – There are tons of free references on the concepts of Tactical Combat Casualty Care – The principles of TC3 are valid even to citizens that are not on a 2-way range. Can you keep someone alive for up to 72 hours if they’ve suffered trauma and emergency services are spotty? Once you’ve read some information to familiarize yourself with the topic, sign up for a TCCC class with DTG, or Mason-Dixon, or any other competent tactical trainer, and you will guaranteed have a perspective on saving lives that is not taught in your regular Red-Cross or Wilderness First Aid class. Seriously.
- AUTOMOBILE TOOLS – Do you know how to do simple car repairs? Do you carry common tools in your vehicle? You-tube is not a cure-all, but you can learn things like “How to get from point a to point b in a car with stick-shift when the clutch goes out.” (If your clutch goes out in a stick shift, it doesn’t mean you’re stranded). You can learn how to persuade a stuck starter solenoid. Learning all things mechanical doesn’t happen over-night, but you can google simple car repairs and watch some videos this evening instead of “Dancing with the Stars” (not that you’d watch that anyway). Learning to fix things is addicting. Learning to be un-stranded is simply awesome.
- INTELLIGENCE – Here and Here. “Intelligence drives the fight”. If you’re like me, your fight is to keep your family safe in the event of an emergency. What are the most probable threats that my family and I face? Superior intelligence/security is the first step in accomplishing this in a professional capacity. Intelligence is not about knowing all the answers, it’s about knowing the correct questions to ask. There’s enough free information in those links to whet the appetite and get the ball rolling.
- CONTINGENCY PLANNING – If your family is on board, or even if they aren’t. You can start planning accordingly to the disasters or emergencies that you see to be the most probable in your area. What’s your Primary plan in a given emergency? What’s your Alternate plan? Your Contigency plan? And if all else fails, what’s your Emergency plan? In severe summer weather, my primary plan might be to seek refuge at home. What if I cannot make it home in time? Do I have a relative close by? That would be an Alternate plan. What if I don’t have anyone close by and the storm is on me? The mostly brick building across the street . . . is it unlocked? That might be a Contigency plan. And of course if a twister is tearing down the highway, the Emergency plan might be to get into a big ditch or hopefully under the crevices of an over-pass. I think you get the point. PACE contingency planning depends on the environmental factors, time, severity of the issue, equipment available, etc. While your PACE plan may be ever-changing, the trick is to not get caught up in “paralysis of analysis”. Start making a plan today. Use common sense. In any emergency, getting to safety is key. From there, you and yours will be better able to evaluate whatever threat you face and act accordingly.
If you’re reading this there’s a good chance you’ve already thought of these things. If you have, good on ya. If you haven’t, hopefully you will find this post to be a fresh outlook on things you can do that have value both prior to SHTF and after. Even if S doesn’t HTF, someone reading this post will experience an extended power outage, someone will experience a riot, and someone will experience interruption in communications and modes of travel.
May you be a step ahead of calamity,