“Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.”
– Denis Waitley
In our modern society, people who prepare for disasters are minimized and looked down upon as “survivalists” and “pessimists”.
While survival enthusiasts can over do themselves and pessimism is certainly not a good general trait, the “ignorance is bliss” mentality is a danger to the man who holds it… and his friends
As men, it is our duty to face our difficulties boldly, not to stick our head in the sand and pretend the danger is not there.
Disasters, whether natural or man-made, are real, and we should be prepared to survive them.
Probably the most common type of catastrophe in the United States, natural disasters vary from state to state.
Depending on where you live, you might be impacted by:
- Volcanic eruptions
- Severe storm
Although many of these disasters seldom occur, their rarity actually contributes to the damage when they do come.
When Mt. St. Helens erupted in the state of Washington, for instance, people were not prepared for volcano eruptions. Although the state government wisely made a danger zone around the mountain political pressure made this area significantly small and dangerously under-enforced.
Just the day before the volcano exploded, a group of fifty cars were allowed to visit their houses and cabins within the danger zone. Amazingly, the last car left just hours before the eruption.
If people were used to volcano eruptions, they would have understood the stunning power and stayed further away from the volcano.
Learn which natural disasters are likely in your area and prepare for them.
Widespread disease outbreaks can affect entire countries – killing millions and disrupting the lives of millions more.
Historically, these disasters have been more common than you might expect:
- Black Death (bubonic plague) in medieval Europe
- American smallpox epidemic of 1775
- Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918
These and many others have claimed millions of victims throughout history, and the disease threat is by no means gone.
To prepare for pandemics, work to keep your body healthy and study ways to avoid specific dangers when they come.
Terrorism is a growing threat to our modern world.
Although 9/11 awoke many to the reality of terrorism, the full potential is still underestimated.
Some of the tools that terrorists could potentially use include:
- “Normal” bombs
- Nuclear weapons
- Sabotage techniques
- Biological warfare
- Chemical and radiological weapons
Although these attacks could occur anywhere, likely targets include:
- Mass-transit terminals (such as airports)
- Freight trains (carrying chemicals)
- Shopping centers
- Food production plants
- Water purification plants
In short, terrorists are looking for ways to do the most damage. If you live in a large city or crowded area, you should be particularly alert to terrorist dangers, but people everywhere should be careful.
Terrorism, though common in many parts of the world, is thankfully rare in the United States. Do not let this calm lull you from watchfulness.
Although Y2K did not turn out to be the earth-shattering disaster some predicted, computer-related disasters should still be considered. Like a sleeping volcano, this threat might become active at any time.
Because computers control so much of our lives (including nearly all financial transactions), a mass computer outage would have a widespread and long-lasting effect. In fact, most vehicles even would stop working since they rely on an electrical system to start and function properly!
“True,” you might say, “but how could something like this actually happen?”
Strange as it may seem, there are ways:
- A major software bug
- A widespread virus
- A terrorist attack (certain bombs, when properly detonated, have the ability to short all the electrical systems within large areas)
Although a computer disaster is not nearly as likely as, say, a tornado or hurricane, this type of catastrophe is a real threat and can only be ignored at our own risk.
As we have seen over the last year, economic disasters are major problems.
Although they can start by themselves, economic disasters are also often repercussions of other disasters. For instance, Hurricane Katrina decimated the economy of New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast.
Although the rest of the nation rushed to help, the massive destruction of private property caused by this hurricane could not be fixed quickly.
Other economic disasters, such as the Great Depression, are caused by bad financial choices.
Whatever the cause, economic collapses can greatly affect the lives of normal American people… unless we are prepared.
Although it has been almost unknown in recent years, civil unrest can endanger the lifestyles and even lives of innocent bystanders.
For instance, when American was first founded, Daniel Shay, an angry farmer, lead a rebellion against the newly enacted whiskey tax. Claiming (perhaps truly) that it hurt his profits from growing corn, Shay lead hundreds of other armed farmers against the United States government.
Although his rebellion was stopped, the civil unrest disrupted the lives of the people in the towns he marched through and threatened to steal the freedom of the American people by overthrowing their new government.
Often following a controversial political decision, civil unrest is a real problem that should be anticipated
While you should prepare for these potential disasters, it is important that you do not let yourself become too pessimistic.
We must find the balance between the optimistic ostrich approach and the pessimistic living-in-a-bunker mindset. Moderation is key.
What have you done to prepare for disasters?