Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Better Late Than Never (part 2)

Imagine you’re at a barbeque, enjoying a great burger bash, when someone, who coincidently looks a lot like me, announces that “never before, in the history of humankind, have we been so vulnerable!” 
Frankly, no one would blame you if you rolled your eyes and thought, “jeez, there’s always one drama queen.”  After all, with the possible exception of the mayonnaise that’s been sitting out in the hot sun, there should be nothing that makes us more vulnerable now than in the past.  Today, we’re the dominant species, living in a world loaded with technological advantages that we control.  Right? 
Wrong.  Despite satellites flying overhead, weather radar and an endless array of early warning systems, never before have we faced so much risk.  Puzzled?  Let me explain.
There are different types of disasters; ones that are extinction-level events, ones that are deadly but the impacted area recovers within a few years and ones that initially kill no one but, instead, destroy our way of life and turn back the clock on our advanced civilization. 
The first kind – extinction-level events – don’t require much preparedness.  A nice bottle of wine, perhaps, but that’s about it.  A good risk management strategy is to just accept that you live on a big chunk of rock hurtling through space and that’s that.  (FYI, Earth has already experienced a number of extinction-level events in the past.)  
The second “deadly but recoverable” type of disaster can certainly benefit from emergency preparedness but it’s the third type that many people miss.  Those are the events that, without much warning, rob us of everything we’ve come to rely on, throwing us back into the dark ages in a heartbeat.  We dodged this very scenario in 1859 for one reason only -- we had yet to develop a dependency on the electrical grid (more on this in a later blog). 
In an extended "grid down" scenario, the planet and humankind would continue to exist but, for millions of people, our civilization, technology and lifestyle would evaporate overnight.  And, it's a real scenario that scientists and governments are studying.  Some have even gone public to ring the alarm bells. 

It’s a shocking possibility, especially if you’re just hearing this for the first time, but one that illustrates just how drastically things have changed in the last 100 years.  Incidents that would not have threatened us in the past could now completely eliminate our modern world.  It’s the reason why understanding and managing disaster risk is more important today than it was during your great-grandparents' time. 
You probably didn't stop by to read doom and gloom but, if you're interested, in the coming weeks, I'll be writing more about some of these type 3 scenarios like EMPs (electromagnetic pulses) and CMEs (coronal mass ejections from the sun).  In the meantime, it helps to be aware of the magnitude of some disasters to decide what level you want to prep to. 
If you decide to go full out, you'll be including seeds, gardening items, hand tools and building materials to completely start over.  If you're doing a basic level, you'll be more focused on short-term resiliency that doesn't need those items.  The good news is that you don't have to decide right now.  As we work through the prep for free program, you can decide how far you want to take it.  
However, there is something very important that you can do right this minute and that is to emotionally and psychologically accept that a disaster could happen.  Research has shown that this mental toughness and emotional preparedness is critical to surviving and thriving through an incident.  If you need to, take a moment to reflect on how you view disasters. 
With that said, let's take the first "pre-prep" step together by dedicating some space for your soon-to-be emergency supplies.  Here are some obvious places with a few tips:
  • Garage (A good place for larger supplies that you intend to load into your vehicle before bugging out or for shelter-in-place items.  Remember to consider temperature swings inside when selecting what goes out there along with intrusions by rats and mice.  Also, consider security and break-in potential.)
  • Basement (Be careful because basements can flood so put supplies up off the floor and secure for safety's sake so that no one is injured if something topples over.  Basements are good for long-term, shelter-in-place supplies as temperature swings are minimal but not great for bug out since moving items from the basement can eat up precious time or be physically taxing.)
  • Closets (Cupboards, cabinets and closets are perfectly fine and work well for those with limited storage options.  Try to avoid scattering a bunch of items throughout the house.  Later on, we'll get into why duplication is a good idea but staying organized is equally important.)
  • Under the bed (Many preppers like this option because it's discreet.  There are even beds that lift up to reveal hidden storage including gun racks.  It's an option better suited to shelter-in-place supplies but could hold bug out gear as well.)
  • Vehicles (Always carry an emergency kit in your vehicle (if you don't have one already, you'll create one of these for free) but more extensive supplies should not be stored in vehicles due to extremes in temperature when left outside in summer and winter.)
  • Storage lockers (Designated storage lockers are great use of space but beware of possible security issues.  Also, make sure you're able to access your emergency supplies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.)
  • Front door closet (This is my favorite place to store an evacuation backpack (go kit).  It's out of sight but you can still grab it quickly and go!)
  • A combination of the above (If you decide to increase your supplies as you develop your kits, you may find that a combination of storage spaces works best.) 
  • Last resort (If all else fails, then a corner in a room is just fine.)
Next week, we'll take a look at how to identify hazards and assess risks for your area so that you'll know what to put into your customized emergency kits.  I'll also share a photo of one of my favourite pieces of emergency gear that I got for free.  You'll definitely want this piece of tech in your kits, no matter where you live.
Thanks for reading,
Don't forget to subscribe to this blog or you can follow it by providing your email address.  Also, please feel free to follow my Twitter feed @Plan_Prep_Live  and like my Facebook company page, both of which cover disaster incidents around the world.  And, if we haven't already connected, then here's my LinkedIn profile. 

© Copyright 2015 Nancy Argyle


  1. I'm a fan of free, for sure. Very interested in your methods, as any preparedness people should be. Interesting how people will "prep" inefficiently and expect to OPERATE with efficiency when it really matters. A variation on "no plan is a plan to fail" might be "waste resources now and waste your life later." I'm subscribed, and will follow along on your presentation and instruction.

  2. Thanks, Lifer, for subscribing! It's great to have a pro like you listening in.