In the last installments we have touched on what you need to know during the critical first few weeks after a natural calamity, terrorist event or some other type of disaster capable of causing a major upheaval in our lives. We have started a discussion on how to make sure you can keep your family fed, sheltered and hydrated during a time when most of the things and services we depend on are no longer available, but what happens when others may not be as well prepared and the rules of a polite society may not apply? How will keep your family safe and protect the supplies they depend on in a time when the rules are gone?
The Breakdown Happens Fast
Googling the phrases “doomsday prep”, “survival kit” or really any phrase that includes the word “survival” in it will yield thousands of pages of results. There is no denying that prepping for any type of natural calamity is now a very popular topic and for the most part, this is a very good thing. These people will be better equipped to handle anything that happens in the future – from the unexpected loss of a job to a complete breakdown of society. But making basic preparations is not enough, you must also protect them and be able to defend them.
The Risk of Too Much Information
When people are excited about a new interest, they often spend a lot of time discussing it with their friends, coworkers and even casual acquaintances. If the new interest is becoming better prepared to withstand natural calamities or whatever life throws at you, this type of open, honest communication can be a huge mistake.
Historically, whenever our nation suffers a catastrophe of some type or even when public demonstrations are made by activist groups, things seem to quickly go awry. Within hours the media gives us ugly headlines about rioting, looting, assaults, rapes and thefts taking place in the affected areas as people devolve and give in to their baser instincts.
During a natural calamity situation, this type of behavior will be much more prevalent and aggressive. This happens because for every person who has equipped themselves with a bug out bag and other survival supplies, there will thousands who have not. When hunger, thirst, fear or boredom strikes, many of those with nothing to lose will resort to doing whatever they can to survive. Even worse, those who have a shakier moral code will use a catastrophe situation as an opportunity to take advantage of others. Staying safe in these situations is dependent on not only how physically and mentally prepared you are to protect what you have, but also on who knows what you have.
The Value of Silence
Those who are serious about putting together the doomsday preps their family may need to survive must also be very careful about who knows the supplies exist and where they are being stored. In every case, it is important to maintain the lowest possible profile as you make your preparations, as well as during an actual natural calamity or disaster event.
Those of us who are serious about preparing have the advantage of the Internet at our fingertips that previous generations did not have, but this advantage must be used prudently. The Internet makes is possible to shop for anything from a pre-packed bug out bag or survival kit to a pallet of five-gallon buckets filled with beans and rice.
In addition, the Internet makes it possible for us to form and communicate with like-minded individuals or take advantage of the collective knowledge base of those who are willing to share. Unfortunately, the Internet can also create too much exposure. To increase your level of safety when working to become more prepared, consider doing the following:
- restrict security levels on Facebook and other social media platforms so that only immediate family and trusted friends can see detailed information about you, your family and your actual location
- never post photos or details about stockpiled supplies, weapons or other items that could make you a target in a natural calamity or disaster situation
- consider creating another persona when joining social media groups or forums so that you can post freely, without concerns about displaying your identity, personal information, address or details
If you live in a subdivision or urban setting, or you have neighbors who are a little too interested in your activities, you will need to be careful when purchasing large quantities of supplies. It is natural for onlookers to be curious when they see delivery trucks making large deliveries or see you unloading amounts of supplies that are clearly more than just a week or two of groceries. In a survival situation, people who have reason to believe you have quantities of supplies stored will remember seeing the delivery trucks and use that as justification for demanding that you share, or even worse, attempting to take it from you. To minimize this risk, you can:
- order smaller, more frequently delivered supplies that will not draw as much attention
- pull your vehicle into your garage before unloading large quantities of supplies
- educate your children and spouse to maintain a code of silence about any doomsday preps you have stored
- store your supplies in an area of the home that is off limits to guests, such as an enclosed area of the basement, unused bedroom or locked storage shed in the backyard
Building and Vetting a Trusted Group
While the need to keep most of your preparedness activities quiet is vitally important, surviving the aftermath of a natural calamity or disaster that extends for more than a few days will be easier in a group situation. Imagine a scenario that has taken out the electrical grid and made getting help from law enforcement or emergency responders very unlikely. In this type of situation, it is unlikely that one average family of four can effectively guard their home and care for their family for days on end.
This is why it is important to consider joining forces with other family members, trusted friends or a group with members who have been vetted.
Choose people you or someone you trust has known for a long time. To avoid conflicts later, be sure to vet them thoroughly to ensure that their work ethic, moral compass and interests are a good fit for your group.
When forming a group, especially in a long-term disaster scenario, it is important to look for people with skills that will complement the entire group and enhance your chances for survival. A few of the skills that will be in high demand during a long-term disaster scenario include security, weaponry, medicine, veterinary medicine, dental care, food preparation and preservation, animal husbandry, gardening, farming, hunting, construction, sewing and education, as well as many others.
as well as
Equally important in any natural calamity or disaster event is the need for physical security and this need should be planned for and addressed in the same way that you are working to gather critical supplies and food. If you have not yet considered how you will keep your family physically safe during a disaster event, you will need to begin to create and implement a basic training program now for every family member.
A good way to begin is to have each family member, including the kids, take a self-defense class as soon as possible. Choose one that is age-appropriated and capable of teaching them how they can use simple maneuvers and their own level of strength and size to thwart an attack by someone who is bigger and stronger. Even though they will not be able to physically defeat their attacker, this type of training will help them temporarily stave off an attack and give them an opening to escape.
As part of this process, try to work in regular strength and fitness training to further improve their body condition and defensive capabilities in a critical survival situation. Even if a natural calamity never occurs, this type of training will also help to make them more confident about their own physical safety throughout their lifetime.
Next week, in installment 5, we will delve further into the safety aspect and provide information about choosing the right weapons for your family and how to make emergency weaponry and mount an effective defense using common supplies already found in most households.