The flip side of all our preparations pre-disaster, is actually putting them to use based upon what we believe we could see if we are unfortunate enough to live through some actual event. Our prepping supplies and gear are designed, purchased and intended for the purpose of assisting us in dealing with the ramifications of the disaster.
Our preps should be directly addressing problems you could face on the other side of a crisis. We stock up water and acquire water filtration tools to make sure we have a way to drink healthy water and stay hydrated. We stock up on food so we maintain our health, energy and don’t go hungry if the stores are unavailable for any one of a dozen reasons. We have supplies for shelter, security; first aid and hygiene because of real and foreseeable problems that people throughout history have lived through.
What I haven’t heard discussed too often are the steps you might take immediately after the end of the world. What do you do before the stores are sold out, the riots start and the criminal gangs are heading down your street? What can you do after the disaster has happened, but before everything we have feared starts to take place?
Assuming you have been a good prepper and you have been able to set aside provisions, to gain training and have been paying attention; the crisis will be when the rubber of your prepping meets the road of the disaster. The minutes and hours immediately following any crisis or emergency are what you have been prepping for so how can you best utilize your resources, any advance time before things get worse, or your awareness of what could happen, to your advantage?
For the purposes of this article I probably need to clarify what I mean exactly when I say the end of the world. TEOTWAWKI or the end of the world as we know it doesn’t have to literally mean the end of the world. If something so devastating caused the entire planet to explode somehow, your preps aren’t really going to save you are they? Conversely, I don’t consider losing your job to be the end of the world either. Could this be devastating to you personally? Of course, but the rest of the world keeps on spinning. Could your prepping supplies directly contribute to making your life easier even after a job loss? Absolutely, but I am talking about a much more drastic scenario here.
For this article let’s assume something big has happened. For all intents and purposes, our nation has experienced a collapse event and virtually everyone is affected. Additionally, this isn’t something like a slow slide into economic apathy. This event happens quickly and I will assume that everyone you can potentially come in contact with has been affected by this crisis. You aren’t able to get assistance from any local, regional or national government for the foreseeable future. It may be that the rest of the world is OK and assistance could be provided to some but you can’t count on that.
What do you do when you know?
1 Minute after the end of the world
Make sure everyone is safe – I think the first thing you have to do after a crisis is to make sure all of your family is accounted for and safe. This might be harder to do when distance separates you but some communication could still be possible. It will be highly likely that phones and the internet will be down in a true collapse. During Katrina, they lost cell phone service in areas, but were still able to send text messages with their phones. Let family elsewhere know what your situation is and this may take place over days in some cases.
Assess the threat level to your family and location – Assuming you are in the location where you plan to ride out the crisis initially, what are any security issues you have? Are you living in an urban area where dense population and rioting are already threatening your neighborhood? Is looting already being witnessed? If so, now might be the opportune time to put your neighborhood watch plan into place.
Determine if your location is going to be tenable or if you have to bug out – You haven’t left yet, but are you able to bug out if needed? Do you have a place to go? Are the roads congested already? Do you have vehicles that can transport you and all of your supplies? I personally plan to remain at home for as long as possible, but I am prepared to leave it the situation dictates that my family’s survival depends on getting out.
5 Minutes after the end of the world
Sandbags would look odd now, but after a collapse, they make handy bullet stoppers.
Gather Information about the crisis – If the news is still broadcasting, you should be getting as much information about the crisis and any fallout as possible. Ham radio is always recommended for cases when the traditional news media outlets are silent, but it requires you to have some knowledge of its use before the end of the world.
Talk to neighbors for information – This can be beneficial in several ways. Maybe you have never spoken to your neighbors but this tragedy brings everyone out into the street. I wouldn’t be wearing my Rambo outfit yet, but talk to everyone nearby. Do they have information, gossip or news to share? Do you have news to share you picked up on your Ham radio? Are any of your neighbors in need of assistance due to health issues? It is good to know all of these things as soon as possible because you might have to deal with them one way or another soon. Are stores still open? Can you stock up on additional supplies? Can you get more fuel for the vehicles? Can you get cash out of the ATM?
2 Hours after the end of the world
Prepare for defensive measures –Hopefully this is somewhat done already but I know the strange looks you would get if you boarded up your windows and started placing sandbags around the doors while everything is fine. What security provisions have you set aside for that “just in case” scenario? I plan to barricade doors and move supplies from an external shed indoors, potentially break out the barbed wire and black out the windows. If the risk to your family’s security called for it, what would you do?
Talk to family members about present reality – If things are really bad enough you might have to sit your family down and give them some of your perspective about how life could be different. Children will have questions obviously but they might not understand new rules for their safety or precautions around new equipment that is around the house. Bad people could be coming and I am not advocating scaring anyone, however; in some cases you need to share the facts on the ground and explain the good the bad and the ugly about what they could experience. What should they do if someone comes to the door? What if people ask if they have food? Why can’t they go out by themselves anymore? Why is Mommy walking around with a Glock on her hip in the house?
1 Day after the end of the world
Reevaluate everything you thought you knew based upon your current reality – After a disaster of this scale, I can’t imagine any day being normal for a long time. I don’t believe a routine will be able to get started until the panic and hysteria and likely a lot of violence have burned out. Each day will require you to start over and think about how things have changed. Each interaction with another person can impact your life. I doubt you can count on simply tending your garden, getting eggs from the chickens and eating your stored food in peace while the rest of the world sorts this mess out.
Remember that garden you planned to get ready in the spring? Now there is much less time than you had. Your supplies are likely what you were able to get before the collapse and there aren’t any runs to Wal-Mart possible at this time. Are you going to work today? What devices can you recharge with your solar charger? Do you use gas for the car or the generator? Is the generator secure where it is or could someone easily steal it? Are your doors locked or are you oblivious to what is happening outside?
Many of you reading this hopefully will be able to figuratively sit back because you have made plans that take all of these examples into consideration. You have food aplenty, live in a remote area and already walk around with your gun on your hip when you go into town to get a latte. I do think that even with years of preparation, allowances will need to be made for new wrinkles in your plan. What if 2 relatives that you didn’t count on taking care of were visiting you when it all went south? You couldn’t kick them out, could you?
What if the crisis required you to bug out but you don’t have an alternate physical location and your supplies certainly can’t all go with you?
Prepping is a way that I can think, plan and anticipate bad things happening. In the best scenario, I will be able and ready to meet any crisis armed with what I have been able to learn and store, acquire, grow or fabricate. It may give me an advantage over my neighbors but that advantage might end up being a whole lot less than I thought. We do the best we can now to prepare, but we are all going to have to play the hand we are dealt when disaster strikes. Will that turn out exactly like you thought or will you have to adjust, possibly in ways you couldn’t imagine before?