Grid Down (continued)
Given the specific differences in this scenario, the steps would vary post-event. This event will be different in its onset. With an EMP event, panic will set in much more quickly. When everything ceases functioning simultaneously, even if people don’t know what’s happened, they are going to know something has happened, and mobs don’t usually react with calm reasoning. If the power goes out, even a widespread outage, it isn’t a huge cause for alarm initially because people are used to power outages. Thus, you’ll have a bit more time to get things in order.
What to do:
- Get fuel. This is of first importance, because the shortages will likely set in quickly. The challenge will be whether or not the pumps will still work, but give this a shot first. You might get lucky. This is also a good reason to keep fuel on hand in your storage cache.
- Get supplies. (See EMP scenario.)
- Get home and contact your group. While the grid may be down, land line phones should still operate. Ham radios and CB radios should also continue working. The longer the event lasts, the worse it will get. If communications are down for 24 hours, pre-determine a place to meet your group and make a determination as to where you’ll going to ride it out.
How it could play out (a reasonable look):
The beginning will seem like a vacation for many people. They will see it as an excuse to stay home from work and enjoy the down time. There will probably be less-than-usual activity at grocery stores and other retail establishments, as they will likely close and send employees home.
Many people will start to realize that they don’t have much food and nothing is open to re-stock. There will start to be massive lines at gas stations and grocery stores.
The first bit of desperation will begin. Some people will have run out of water to drink and likely be near the end of their normal food supplies. Looting will likely have started, causing violence in the streets. Writer Alfred Henry Lewis once said, “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy.” Day three would represent this threshold.
With looting and other criminal activity, fires will likely be set, which may not be responded to in a timely manner or at all by the Fire Departments. Police will be stretched extremely thin. As bad as the activity will be, the lack of information might be even worse. We are accustomed to knowing everything that is going on around the world in real-time. Many people will react badly when they no longer know what is happening during the most significant crisis of their lives.
By this time, it will likely start to sink in that this is not simply a short-term crisis. Many people will have exhausted their food and water supplies and will have come to the realization that finding food and water will be extremely difficult. If they can be found, it is likely that food and water are only available from non-traditional outlets and for exorbitant prices. Parents desperate for the welfare of their children may become irrational in their need to provide.
Countless people will assuredly be waiting for the government to arrive. Ask the people of New Orleans how that worked out. FEMA was ill-equipped to manage a disaster that affected a single city. They simply cannot immediately and indefinitely provide for an entire country or even part of it. (Note: Do not under any circumstances allow yourself to be relocated by the government to a FEMA camp or any other installation.)
Natural Disaster (flood, snow/ice storm, tornado)
This is the one we would all be the most familiar with. There’s no need to go into lengthy explanations. I just have a couple of things to note. In almost all scenarios, stay home, assuming your home is intact. If a tornado wipes it out, it will be localized, and you can stay with nearby family. If it is a flood, the same thing applies. Hunker down in ice and snow storms. We are not likely to be seriously impacted by an earthquake. If a super volcano erupts or an asteroid hits the earth, we’re all doomed anyway. Being ready for natural disasters is pretty much all about being ready in advance. Have a source of food, water, and heat (in the winter).
Some would argue that this has already begun. We have the steady accumulation of debt, rising interest rates that will trigger inflation, slow new home buys, a derivatives market that in almost unfathomable, continued pressure from the Chinese, and threats from the Middle East. The threats to our economy are almost limitless. A global or even domestic collapse would likely have to be triggered by some event and supported by cascading events and would take time, but it could be no less catastrophic.
Much of the preparation for this kind of collapse would also need to take place in advance. Some of these pre-event preparations include:
- Money. As inflation rises your dollar will be worth less tomorrow than it was yesterday. Many pundits and the global elite are flocking to silver and gold as safe harbors for their wealth. There is even a small boutique industry that helps convert your 401K(IRA) to physical gold! While that may be a bit drastic for most, if the dollar evaporates, you’d be the one laughing last. Short of that, holding some amount of precious metals is prudent in any case.
- Food. Stocking long-term food is a good idea, but in this scenario so is growing food. In each case, those who have not will come looking for those who have, so you will have to be prepared to defend what you have, whether stored or grown.
- Defense. Stockpile standard calibers of ammunition for your weapons (assuming you’ve stockpiled weapons). Ammo will be difficult to come by after the collapse. Investing in reloading equipment and supplies is a good idea. While you’re stockpiling, be sure to practice. They won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to use them. Then practice cleaning and repairing them.
- Fuel. Fuel is difficult for most people to store for any amount of time. Simple solutions for most would be to fill up before you get to ¼ tank in your car and keep four or five 5-gallon containers of gas on hand. It won’t last long if the pumps go dry, but it is better than nothing.
This is the one event that you’ll see coming from the farthest away. It may be the easiest to overlook, because everyone will be telling you that, a) it’s not that bad, and b) it’ll get better soon. That will lead most to wait much too long to do anything about it.
What to do:
- Get your money out of the bank and convert it to things that can be used as currencies: gold, silver, food, ammo.
- Talk to your group and come up with a plan. Depending on the velocity of the event is could be a very slow descent or could erupt and escalate quickly. Either way, it shouldn’t interrupt communications. Get in touch with your group, and figure out what you want to do. Should you get together in one place, bug out, et cetera?
This one is difficult to predict. Aside from 9/11, the attacks on U.S. soil have been limited in scope. Any small scale attack will be dealt with by local law enforcement and will have almost no long-term impact. A large-scale event will likely have no personal impact; however, the fallout could take any number of forms, including grid failure, EMP, and martial law. See those sections for how to approach the situation.
This one is probably the most insidious. The government has been preparing containment camps for years. While I think it is far less likely under a Trump administration than an Obama/Clinton administration, the possibility exists, should one of the other events above call for it. Given the level of social unrest that exists in the country today, it is not unrealistic to think that martial law could be declared following a major uprising.
What to do:
I think it is fairly unlikely that Martial Law would be declared nationwide. Should it happen locally, find someplace to go. Do not let yourself be detained by the government.
- Get in touch with your group and come up with a plan.
- If you have to leave, take as much with you as you can and get your money from the bank.
- Avoid detainment at all costs.
This one is really tricky. The very nature of a dangerous pandemic is that we have not yet anticipated it. Your steps for avoidance will depend on the nature and communicability of the disease. Clearly, staying away from others is of paramount importance. Contact your group immediately and determine a stay or go plan depending on the information available.
If you stay, get inside and begin sealing your house. Consider creating a clean room by sealing it off with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Have your masks and nitrile gloves handy, and use them at all times. Sterilize everything and ensure your water sources are clean.
If you go, avoid others and go directly.
I realize that this may all seem like the plot of a dystopian movie, but as the saying goes, “Hope for the best, plan for the worst.” I definitely did not cover every single scenario and likely missed some steps, but you’ve now been warned. It’s up to you what you do next. Be intentional about your planning, and remain situationally aware. A dam burst in California recently forced the immediate evacuation of nearly 250,000 people. I’m guessing many of them are wishing they would have had a plan just in case.