There have been studies done on this issue of widespread, extended power outages. In the case of an EMP attack or a computer virus, which wipes out our power grid, it’s estimated that 90% of Americans will be dead within a year to two years. 270 million people. Even a short-term loss of power, in terms of weeks, leads to looting, hoarding and society beginning to break down.
How prepared are you?
You can answer that question right now by looking around your house and seeing how prepared you are. The vast majority of people aren’t prepared. Every natural and man-made disaster proves this over and over again, yet the message just doesn’t seem to get through. It’s understandable as human nature is to lean toward the glass half full. There is a middle ground.
The paranoid, overly prepared person, wonders why there is still even water in the glass if it isn’t poison. The image to the left is when Hurricane Sandy blasted the Northeast. Imagine the entire screen black via a solar flare or EMP nuclear blasts.
I wrote the original section about preparing for a power outage in the Green Beret Survival Guide in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Millions of people were without power for an extended period of time. Some for weeks. The key there, though, was that the rest of the country had power and could send aid. Every disaster that has hit this country, whether it was Katrina, Sandy, Mount St. Helens, the Mississippi flooding; etc. while tragic, was localized; where, eventually, aid was able to come in from places and people outside the disaster zone. If the disaster zone is nation or worldwide, it becomes a very different scenario.
Too many people have the mindset that someone will swoop in to save them. Here’s a cold reality: all the “swoopers”, whether it be police, military, medical, etc. have their own lives and families. Most will do their jobs. To a point. But when the tipping point comes where they realize that the system their jobs are part of is gone, then their jobs no longer exist.
And when people lose hope and realize that the life they knew will not come back, it will turn bad very quickly.
I picked three weeks as the tipping point between levels of emergencies because it’s a transition time. Where those who are prepared will settle in to life for an extended period if there is no change. And those who aren’t prepared will grow desperate and in many cases, die.
On a positive note, it is amazing how adaptive we are as humans. Some people think they couldn’t do without the Internet or their cell phone for a day. Go a couple of days, and you won’t even remember them. Trust in that. We can adapt. We can survive. But the most important factor is the correct mindset. And preparation.
Here’s another harsh reality. The bad people will win– while I have many issues with The Walking Dead, this is where the series has gone and it is doing an excellent job of showing that now. The person who is willing to shoot first, before asking. The person who will not share. The person who will take and leave someone to starve. They will be the winners. That’s not a moral judgment or an opinion; it’s just the facts as evidenced by history. Accepting that gives the good people a chance at fighting back and defeating the bad people.
Preparation in all aspects is critical. You can’t prepare once the bad thing happens. Talk to people who survived Katina, Sandy, etc. Ask them what they had wished they’d done beforehand.
Because the fundamental truth is you can’t prepare after the fact.
Originally published at www.writeitforward.com on April 24, 2016.