Friday, March 18, 2011

Disaster in progress

I've been talking about TEOWAWKI for some time now. Perhaps its due to my upbringing with the 'be prepared' mentality from home, or just simple foresight, but normally people shrug it off, and shelf it under 'crazy'. But it is increasingly evident that something is not quite right with the world, and what better example than the quake/tsunami combination in Japan recently?

Countless number of military experts and statisticians have formulated models and scenarios that form the basis of the TEOWAWKI, or The End of the World As We Know It model, from what can possibly happen, the chain of events and how it unfolds to the way we as humans deal with disaster when it strikes. Up to a point that the aftermath of disasters are usually quite predictable, as evident from the quake in New Zealand and now in Japan, first you lose power and running water, both essentials for survival, then the supermarket shelves run dry, and people start hunting for food next. I don't know about you but I know that I consume about 2 gallons of water per day, and you have to understand that your consumption data doesn't change pre or post disaster. Yes you might be able to enforce some level of rationing, but if you have your head in the sand, you wouldn't have any idea of the amount needed to ration, nor would you know how much you have in stock and how long that would last you, and water is just one of the essentials that's needed for survival. You have to think about food, shelter, and fuel among the other things that you would need post-disaster.

Some of you may argue that even if we do keep a stash of food, water and supplies, what happens if you are forced to evacuate or if natural disaster destroys everything? My answer is this, we do what we can to the best of our abilities. We cannot predict and control everything, but whatever is within our power to change, if we have the option and the ability to do it, we should get it done. You see how the products are flying off the shelves of the supermarkets in Japan and you get an idea what its like when you're desperate. The fact is that in a developed country like that, people can still queue up to buy stuff that's really amazing. I reckon in anywhere else, people would have resorted to robbery or looting. You have to take into account that thousands of people are left stranded, homeless and living in the street. Out of desperation and left without a choice, many would resort to violence to be at the top of the food chain.

So what can we do now? Where do I even begin?

Start from the very basics. At least take some time and assemble your 'go-bag', that's what I like to call it. This bag would contain all the essentials needed to survive for maybe 72 hours or more, this would be the bag that you would take if you had to evacuate in an instant, think about what is important to you, and remember that in emergencies you do not have time to go look for your things, the time it took between the quake and the tsunami was only about 25 minutes. Be realistic as well, you shouldn't pack a 50lb go-bag if you haven't done any training to carry a 50lb go-bag. Aside from your valuables, you might want to think about packing a basic survival toolkit. There are some pre-packed kits for you to save you the hassle, but always make sure that it has the stuff you need, and that you know how to use them. For me, I'd pack it with things that I regularly use, and have trained to use them. I'd make sure to have a reliable flashlight, a good solid knife, some high-energy food like candy bars or PowerBars, at least 3 litres of water, preferably in a CamelBak pouch(a go-bag that is hydration-pouch compatible is a must), a reliable multitool like a Leatherman, a basic first-aid kit that includes at least a pack of Quikclot (a clotting sponge to stop bleeding), a change of clothes in a zip-locked bag, spare batteries and some climbing rope. But of course everyone's build different so your mileage may vary.

The idea is of course to not wait until something happens, and react accordingly, but rather take action now so you won't react with a 'deer-in-headlights' look when something actually happens.