The one who possesses the abilities and means to survive in a particular environment lives on. If suddenly an apocalypse dawned upon us and the world as we know it is turned upside down, do you have the abilities and means to survive?
Survival is instinctive; it kicks in the moment we are faced with circumstances that requires us to fight in order to live. But though we have that instinct, our chances of actually surviving any crisis or emergency like a major earthquake or a superstorm that cuts us off from help and rescue for days is rather slim if we are caught unprepared.
Preparing for survival pertains to ensuring that we will have the means (water, food, medicine) and the ability (self defense and survival skills) to live on no matter what difficulty might come our way.
Possible Crisis Scenarios
Before you can start preparing, you need to understand what you are preparing for. Preparation after all is not just about having food and water stashed, but also about fully understanding what you are going up against. This knowledge will enable you to make proper plans – serious plans – that you can follow in preparation for the expected crisis and that you can put to action when the crisis finally hits.
There are a number of possible disasters that can hit the United States.
We have witnessed the onslaught of hurricanes in the recent past. These are more than just costly disasters that destroy nearly everything in their path; they can also be deadly. And that is despite the fact that hurricanes are predictable. A hurricane watch is issued when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours and a hurricane warning is issued when hurricane conditions are expected in 24 hours or less
Hurricanes usually last 2 weeks but they only last less than a day to three days on land because they weaken when they leave warm water and upon reaching cool water, they die. When hurricane Katrina hit Florida, it weakened but when it reached the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico, it strengthened again before it made landfall on Louisiana and wrecked havoc. Such is the behavior of hurricanes.
- water contamination
- damaged buildings/structures
- electrical and communication disruptions
- damaged roads and bridges
- fatalities due to storm surge and flooding
Earthquakes are unpredictable but if a region has a history of quakes, it is very possible for earth movements to occur in the area again.
The Midwest and the Pacific Northwest are particularly prone to earthquakes. Though it has been nearly 200 years since a series of magnitude-8 quakes rattled the Midwest, another one is inevitable. Faults east of the Rocky Mountains cause quakes to be felt from Boston to South Carolina. In the event of a major quake, houses along the Mississippi are likely to sink.
Geologists are saying that it is only a matter of time before a major earthquake strikes between Northern California and Canada. The effect would no doubt be catastrophic. A tsunami similar to that which occurred in Indonesia in 2004 is likely to ensue.
- widespread damage to infrastructure
- fatalities due to collapsing infrastructure
- power and communication disruptions that can last weeks
- damage to water and gas systems
The Gulf Coast, the East Coast, even Los Angeles – these areas are not really safe from the threat of a tsunami. The Caribbean fault can generate a tsunami as devastating as that which hit Japan’s Tohoku region in 2011.
For the Eastern Coast of the US, worst case scenario would be that of a tsunami caused by an asteroid hitting the ocean. Meteoroids hit Earth several thousand times a day. This stuff from outer space range from tiny specks to 10 meters across in size, anything larger is called an asteroid. Asteroids have hit Earth several times in the past already, the first known in history wiped out the dinosaurs. With the vastness of the universe, it is not a farfetched thing for an asteroid to hit Earth again in the future and put our existence in jeopardy.
- destruction of everything in its path: homes, buildings, cars, trees
- populations displaced
- widespread flooding
- water contamination
- disruption to power and communication services
A supervolcano eruption would create a blanket of dust, ash and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere that will keep the sun’s rays from reaching earth. The result will be a cold wave that can last for years killing crops, plants and many animal species.
The supervolcano beneath the Yellowstone National Park has erupted every 600,000 years but it is now 40,000 years overdue. When it finally erupts, scientists say a drastic change to global climate should be expected.
Severe snowstorms are caused by colliding weather fronts and can have the following effects:
- collapse buildings from the sheer weight of snow on roofs
- bring trees and power lines down
- close highways and limit travel
- cause deaths by hypothermia, traffic accidents, falling debris and downed power lines
Terror attacks: chemical, biological and EMP attacks
It is no secret the United States have enemies. Rogue countries and terrorists are threats to the people’s safety.
Chemical weapons can be released into the air from canisters or sprayed from planes and the effects can be widespread and the casualties many. Biological attacks can cause plagues and viruses to spread and with the advancement of science and technology, the potency of biological weapons can be increased.
A high altitude detonation of a nuclear weapon can cause waves or electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that can knock down power grids and destroy everything electronic from gadgets to appliances to vehicles to life supports. A well-planned EMP attack can disrupt our way of life so much that it would be like being flung back to the dark ages.
EMP effects include:
- no electricity for weeks to months depending on damage to the power grid and lines
- no long distance communication for weeks
- limited transportation
- threats to water safety
- quickly dwindling fuel and gas supply
- limited food supply due to lack of power, disruptions in production and limited transportation
- immediate deaths (planes falling from the sky, falling elevators, road accidents due to malfunctioning vehicles, life supports failing)
- cell phones, house appliances and almost anything wired will be rendered useless
The US dollar weakens as our debt increases. At present, we now owe more than $13 trillion and out of this debt, $5 trillion is owed from foreign countries. Japan owns more than $800 billion in U.S. Treasuries and China owns more than $1 trillion! If our foreign lenders for whatever reason decide to start dumping dollars, then there goes our economy.
Effects of an economic collapse:
- another Great Depression
- interest rates will skyrocket
- inflation will occur
- import prices will go through the roof
- our exports will be dirt cheap
- widespread unemployment
These are the possible disasters you should be prepared for. They are not mere products of imagination but events that can actually happen and when they do, the effects they have can even be more than anyone anticipated.
WHAT TO EXPECT
In the aftermath of a disaster, whether natural or manmade, these are likely to occur:
- Death and destruction
- Chaos as law and order are disregarded
- No food and water supply for days to weeks
- Basic services will be limited
- No power and communication
- Limited to no transportation
- Lesser value of money
- Uncertain future
Depending on the nature of the disaster and the ensuing crisis, some or all of the above may occur and change our way of life. The question is, are you prepared?
Natural disasters have always taken lives, and acts of terror like the 9/11 attacks are always meant to take as many lives as possible. So death is among the things that must be expected in the event of a huge disaster or crisis, and the one thing that must be prevented at all cost.
The destruction of homes, buildings and infrastructures also tend to happen in the event of major disasters, and that is something we already know. Floods weaken and damage building materials. Earthquakes topple buildings and destroy other infrastructure like roads and bridges. Strong winds wreck houses, uproot trees, knock down power lines. Floods can submerge fields, roads, cars, houses.
Losing your place of shelter is one of the things that could happen in the event of a disaster. If that is likely to happen to you where you live, you must be prepared: strengthen your house or have another place to go to.
In the wake of hurricane Katrina, chaos reigned. When the storm abated and the number of dead people and the amount of damage had become evident, the survivors started to panic. When help was slow to arrive due to the floods, limited transportation and mistakes committed by unprepared and untrained local government officials, the panic turned to hysteria and the looting began.
When people fear for their lives, they will do anything to survive; they will disregard rules and will kill if they think that is the only way they can live.
Food and water supply are the first commodities to be compromised after a disastrous event. Water can be contaminated by flooding or due to damage to the water infrastructure. Food supplies will dwindle fast as people rush to buy and stores cannot get fresh stock from their suppliers fast enough. Medicine supplies will also become scarce as more people will need medical attention. The lack of access to these basic things – water, food and medicine – is what will drive people into panic. A mob of hysterical people will act irrationally and they are very, very dangerous.
Travel will likely be limited due to blocked or non-serviceable roads or the lack of fuel. Limitations in transportation will strand people in a place with no basic commodities and help and rescue personnel will be slow in arriving.
When Hurricane Sandy (2012) hit New York City, it knocked power networks down leaving hundreds of thousands without electricity for days. No power especially in a city would mean that the things that make a day normal will stop working:
- Gas stations cannot pump gas
- Wastewater treatment plants may cease to work properly
- Foods went to waste
- Water purification systems may not function fully
- Heating and cooling systems fail
- Business transactions will come to a standstill
Aside from power networks, communication systems will also be affected when disaster strikes. At an age when technology defies distance, communication is often taken for granted. But when we are suddenly cut off from those we love, we realize how much we rely on our mobile phones and the internet to keep in touch with people.
Major disasters cost billions of dollars and can really hurt the already ailing economy. It is very possible for a huge crisis to topple our economy and when this happens, the purchasing power of the dollar may weaken as prices increase. There will be higher expenses for less food, medicine, fuel and other commodities; there will be increase in the value of consumer debts as debtors become less able to pay; business companies will be unable to keep many of their employees; the value of properties and savings will be decreased.
Accepting the possibility of a catastrophe happening and knowing what to expect when it occurs will enable you to plan accordingly. Proper planning is important; it increases your readiness making you more capable to face the challenge. With correct planning and preparation, mistakes that can later cost you dearly are minimized or avoided.
No matter what disaster might occur, doing the following can increase your survival chances:
- Store water
- Store food
- Have an evacuation plan
- Learn first aid skills
- Learn self defense
- Acquire a weapon and learn how to use it
- Learn invaluable survival skills
- Always have a backup plan