Immediately following disaster CHECKLIST.
7 actions to take immediately following a disaster
The threat of an disater striking this country is a very well documented one. There are articles published over the Economic Collapse, Riots, EMP, dirty bomb, earthquakes, weather related disasters and their the effect that they would have on our country.
A disater can range from a minor inconvenience to a civilization-killing event. It just depends on how powerful it is. But in the worst case scenario, we could be facing a situation where our electrical grids are nonexistent, there is no heat for our homes, our computers don't work, the Internet does not work, our cell phones do not work, there are no more banking records, nobody can use credit cards anymore, hospitals are unable to function, nobody can pump gas, and supermarkets cannot operate because there is no power and no refrigeration. Basically, we would witness the complete and total collapse of the economy.
So what actions should you take immediately following a disater event? Remember that time will be critical, the first few hours (days at most) will enable you to get a jump on everyone else and set the stage for your success. Your car may no longer be viable, your cell phone won't work, the power will be out everywhere. You will know what to do in this type of disater but the vast majority of the public will be quite literally sitting around waiting for someone to tell them what to do. You won't know how large the scope of the disaster is but you will have to assume the worst, which would be nationwide.
First things first, if you are at work, get home. Your boss no longer has authority over you, your co-workers no longer are a priority. They will be trying to restart a computer, sitting in the break room trying to call 911 and saying things like: This is ridiculous, I'm going to miss my 3pm sales call! You on the other hand will go to you car and if not usable will change into the extra set of clothes and shoes you keep in the trunk. You will don your get home bag, and start walking, hopefully your walk will not take more than a day.
Once home it is time to start implementing your plan. Remember time is absolutely critical and you only have a small window of it in order to set yourself up for success. During these initial hours and days people will still have faith that some sort of government agency will come in to make everything better. They will expect to see the power come back on any minute because someone will surely do something. They will tell each other to sit tight, just hold on for a day or so because eventually the HMMWV's will roll in loaded with supplies and some military officer or government official will explain that this is merely a temporary problem, nothing to worry about, sorry for the inconvenience. You know that reality is that it could be months before systems start to come back online. It will only take a week or two (at most) before things start getting really ugly because people start going hungry. With all of that in mind you take these 7 actions because you were prepared for this to happen.
- Use your cash. In the first few days after a distaster strikes cash will still have value. Take all of your cash and that radio flyer wagon your kids have and walk down to the corner store. Avoid the big retail stores, I suggest finding the corner gas station or local drug store. The owner of the store will no doubt be there, concerned that the items in the store are unprotected during a power outage. Explain to the owner that you are in need of some supplies, can pay cash and do not require change. Tell him/her that you will give them an extra $100 to allow you to 'shop' for a few minutes. Load up your wagon with anything you can find to include medication, candy bars, water bottles, pop tarts, lighters, hand sanitizer etc etc. Of course you would have a list prepared and should be well stocked at home but you might as well get rid of your worthless paper money in exchange for any amount of extra supplies you can get your hands on. You may need these items or they can be something to barter with. In a week (maybe less) most stores will be completely looted so you need to take advantage of this moment.
- Fill up the tub(s) with water. Hopefully you have a water bob for each bath tub in your home in addition to several other water storage devices and water purification/filtration devices. Remember a down grid means that fresh water will stop flowing to your home very quickly. Fill up your tub as soon as you can, that extra hundred or so gallons could prove invaluable. If you are concerned about the quality of the water remember you can add 8 drops of regular Clorox bleach per gallon to help purify what you have in the tub.
- Talk to your neighbors. This step is absolutely critical, you have to get out and talk to your
close neighbors and explain to them what is going on. They may still be in denial for the most part.
Explain to them what is going on and that time is critical, let them know a worst case scenario
means that there will be no help coming for quite a long time. Additionally mention the following
- Discuss a neighborhood watch (with maps and stations). Tell them that in a few days or weeks things will get dangerous with hungry people roaming the streets. It is essential that you define your neighborhood's boundaries and set up a neighborhood watch of sorts, assigning people to different shifts.
- Offer to hold a meeting. (Pre-prepared door-to-door handouts) Set a time that you will have a meeting at your home, say every day after sunrise in your garage. Tell them they are invited and that every day you will be there passing out information. At first you might not have anyone attend these meetings, in a few days there will be a handful and in a week you might have 50 or more hungry, scared, tired people demanding answers. If you are going to assume the role of a leader, be prepared to do just that.
- Tell them to use their cash. Much like you should have already done, tell them that their cash will soon be worthless and that they need to get down to the market to spend it. Most people have no cash on hand, so this probably won't be a real issue.
- Tell them to inventory their supplies. Most people have 3 to 5 days food on hand in their home. You should mention that they need to start rationing what they have, and taking inventory of everything else.
- Start identifying those with skills. I wrote about how to organize a survival community as well as what skills will be valuable after T-SHTF in a few recent articles While making the rounds in your neighborhood you should start identifying who has special skills and make note of it. Cops or military personnel could help with security, Doctors have obvious value, and so on and so forth.
- Start rationing food. Hopefully you have at least a 1 year supply of food for your family, if not more. Start rationing immediately because more than likely you will have to share some of your food with your neighbors. It will be unavoidable, you will need their help to survive as a community and there is absolutely no way that they will starve while watching you and your family live high on the hog. This doesn't mean that you cannot oversee how some rations are distributed, or seek out other sources of food, but just remember nobody gets through SHTF alone.
- Hygiene preparations. Consider where you are going to dispose of your human waste, it might be a good time to start digging that pit. Also consider where you will dispose of your trash and if you will bury it or burn it. Remember the trash man won't be around next Sunday and your toilets will stop flushing very quickly.
- Listen to your weather radio. You should monitor NOAA Weather Radio frequencies throughout the day in case there is information being published which you can use to stay informed. Maybe the disaster only covered a small area and help will be on the way in a week, or maybe there is nothing but static, not a good sign.
- Consider your own security plan. Despite all of the actions you are taking, trying to help those within your community by reaching out to organize them, realize that not everything goes to plan. There could be dissenters within your neighborhood or those outside of your community who might choose to take advantage of the situation. Looting will become prevalent very quickly and no neighborhood will be immune. Consider your security plan, this is no time to rely on the charity and goodness of mankind. Remain suspicious of all activity and never walk around unarmed. Never allow your family members to venture out alone and remember to stay in after dark. All of that said I would caution against using deadly force unless absolutely necessary. Protect yourself and your family but remember that there will come a time when the power does come back on and people will be held accountable for their actions.
An large disaster striking our nation will be an absolutely catastrophic event and while I'm sure all of us hope that something like this never happens, hope is never a course of action. Despite our best efforts to prepare for such an event there is a good chance that many will not survive.
In sports success or failure on the field of play is determined months before the actual game by how much dedication the athletes displayed during practice. In much the same way success or failure following a disaster will have been determined by how seriously we took our prep strategy in the months or years prior, as well as actions which we take immediately after. Life isn't fair, plan accordingly.