Monday, May 9, 2016

Disaster Planning: Understanding Potential Disasters

Understanding Potential Disasters

What are the potential disasters that we should all be preparing for? The list of potential problems is very long, and even the most exhaustive listing will surely miss any number of disasters that may occur. Disasters are, by their very nature, quite unpredictable.

Generally speaking, most disasters will probably fall into at least one of four categories:

1- Personal Disasters such as a house fire, job loss, financial problems, unexpected death of a close family member, disease, or disability. Typically. a personal disaster only directly affects you and your family.

2- Local and/or Regional Natural Disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, drought, wildfires, floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, or epidemic disease. Typically, these will affect a larger number of people - an entire neighborhood, community, town, or region.

3- Global Natural Disasters such as an asteroid or comet strike, supervolcano, global epidemic disease, or a new ice age. Affects the entire world to some extent.

4- Societal Disasters such as civil unrest, wars, economic downturns, economic collapse, political collapse, loss of freedoms (police state/martial law/dictatorship)... Affects may be local, regional, national, or global. 

Two Challenges

You will face two distinct challenges related to any disaster, which will likely require different plans, skill sets, supplies, tools, and equipment.

1- Surviving in the midst of a disaster – During a disaster you will have chaos, confusion and panic, as well as immediate physical dangers. You will need plans, skills and supplies for your immediate and short-term survival. Water, food, medicine, first aid, shelter, warm clothing & blankets, the ability to make fire, the ability to hide, and the ability & tools to protect yourself are some of the things you may need in the middle of a disaster. You will also need the ability to remain calm, stay focused, and maintain a positive attitude.

2- Surviving in the aftermath of a disaster – After the immediate crisis is over, when things have calmed down somewhat, and most immediate physical dangers have passed, you will still need to survive the aftermath of the disaster. This aftermath may be relatively short-lived, such as the aftermath of a tornado or wildfire, or it may be extremely long-lasting, such as the aftermath of an economic or political collapse. This may require a large quantity of stored supplies and/or the skills, tools and equipment needed to produce those supplies yourself for an extended period of time.

Results of a Disaster

A disaster usually will result in the temporary or permanent loss of many of the “comforts of civilization” we are used to enjoying. Comforts of civilization are those things that are provided to us by modern civilization that we tend to take for granted. It would be difficult for most modern people to provide many of these things for themselves, especially without learning new skills, stockpiling tools and supplies, and preparing well in advance for their loss.

These comforts of civilization we may lose include:

* Readily available running water that is safe to drink.
* Readily available food from stores and restaurants.
* “Flush and forget” human waste disposal.
* Modern medicine and health care.
* Readily available electricity for lighting, heating, cooling, cooking and hot water.
* Readily available natural gas for heating, cooking and hot water.
* Readily available liquid fuel for cars, trucks, tractors and planes.
* Instant long distance communication (phones, email, etc.).
* Ready access to education.
* Ready access to emergency services such as fire, police, and paramedics.
* Most modern luxuries (television, IPods, computers & the Internet, etc.)
* Ability to spend money without having it (credit cards, mortgages, installment plans, etc.)

Too often disasters also involve the loss of life, such as the hundreds who died due to Hurricane Katrina, the hundreds of thousands who died due to the 2004 tsunami, or the tens of millions who died during the Holocaust & WWII.

Disasters can also lead to the loss of certain fundamental (inalienable) rights. This loss would, of course, be both immoral and illegal, but may occur because of the imposition of political correctness, a police state, martial law, or even the development of a dictatorship. The rights which may be lost include:

* Loss of Privacy.
* Loss of Freedom of Speech.
* Loss of Freedom of Religion.
* Loss of Freedom of the Press.
* Loss of Free Assembly.
* Loss of Freedom of Movement.
* Loss of Self-Defense Rights.
* Loss of Due Process.
* Loss of Parental Rights.
* Removal of children from your home.
* Confiscation of land, firearms, knives, personal property, or even your stored food, water, and other supplies.

In making your preparedness plans, you need to consider all four categories of potential disasters, both the immediate and long term survival needs of each, and all the possible results of disasters. Detailed planning, rather than hit-or-miss stockpiling of food, guns, and other stuff,  takes time, but will go a long way towards ensuring the survival of you and your family/community.

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