While each and every one of us prepares for a certain type of disaster scenario, there are some common threats that follow any type of disaster. Of course that the aftermath of each disaster is specific to the situation, region and level of preparedness of an individual, but there are a few general situations to consider.
It doesn’t matter where you live or how well-prepared you are, chances are that sooner or later you will have to deal with these common threats. How these problems will affect you depends solely on the precautions you took, your survival knowledge and past experiences. Now don’t get me wrong, when I say past experiences I don’t mean that you have to survive through various disasters to be prepared. I’m talking about the real-life practices you experienced under various situations (survival trainings, camping, etc.) where the stress factor may or may not have been present.
Regardless of what you are prepping for, the following general repercussions will be present after the dust settles. While these common threats are bound to follow, their level of impact will depend on few factors such as:
- type of disaster
- preparedness and security methods available in the affected area
- know-how of the general population
- the time needed for things to go back to normal
- population density
Most common threats that follow any disaster:
The severity of the disaster will create economic problems and chances are you can take a major economic hit. You might now be able to access your bank account or use your credit cards due to a regional power outage. You can lose your income due to illness or your workplace might be closed for a long-term due to a natural disaster. Not to mention that the supply and demand of certain items will dictate how the economy will evolve in a certain area. Expect for certain survival items to be overpriced and in low supply. How you deal with this situation depends on how well you prepared for the economic aftermath of the disaster. If you have enough supplies and cash on hand, you can make it through an extended period of time. You also have to think about how you could supplement your income if a disaster hits your workplace. Do you have a backup plan if you were suddenly laid off? When you make a survival pantry and you begin to stockpile survival supplies, you have to calculate the amount of goods you need for long-term survival (6 months and up). Do you have enough to last you in case you are not able to buy more? And last, but not least consider your barter options and the items that would be useful for bartering.
Related reading: Establishing how much food and water to store
Essential services shutdown
Any type of local or regional disaster will cause disruptions in essential services and for example, procuring clean water after a hurricane becomes a real problem. Services shutdown are one of the most common threats you will have to face and you need to be prepared to deal with the disruptions in essential services. Electrical grid shutdown and energy failures, water shortages and shutdowns, and problems in telecommunications occur even during small-scale disasters. This will make it difficult for you to heat or cool your home, light your home or keep food fresh through refrigeration and freezing. You should prepare and learn how to live without these essential services and I suggest learning to:
- Try to survive without electricity and gas for an extended period of time (one or two weeks) with the supplies you have
- Make do without using your credit cards and get your supplies (only the things you lack and need) using hard cash. Think about financial service shutdown and try to live one week without making any electronic payments.
- Use your backup water and sanitation systems for one week and calculate how much time you will be able to last with what you stored if the aftermath prolongs for more than a week.
- Try to cook only with what you have in your survival pantry and only using alternative cooking methods. Notice how your family members adapt to a sudden diet change and rotate/restock your supplies based on your findings.
Breakdown of the food distribution and delivery chain
If you don’t have all the essential supplies needed for survival, it will be almost impossible to obtain them following a disaster. If the aftermath of the disaster causes road closures and breakdowns in fuel distribution, people will have to live off the supplies they stored in their homes. This is one of the most common threats of a disaster and people don’t realize how real it is until it’s too late and the shelves are empty. When panic buying sets in from people who failed to prepare, the grocery stores will be left empty and you’ve seen this recently as hurricane Mathew hit the Southern States. Think about it this way: if disaster struck right at this moment do you have everything you need at home? Even if you go on an emergency shopping trip, do you know what items to buy? How about fuel? Do you have a gasoline supply or enough fuel in your tank to bug out? The distribution chain may have a different impact on people and while some will need fuel, others will need medicine.
Recommended article: Top 10 survival foods at your grocery store
Downfall in social order
When a disaster hits an area, certain individuals of society see it as a good opportunity to re-new their electronics or restock their liquor cabinet. The aftermath of a major natural disaster or economic collapse, brings violence, looting and an increase in criminal behavior. While some will become desperate and try to get their hands on food and water, there will be those looking to increase their wealth. Most people don’t have a mindset concentrated on long-term survival and they expect the government to help and restore order or provide them with the things they need. Unfortunately, until things go back to normal, there will always be those people who love to take advantage of this sort of situations for their own personal gain. If it comes to that, you should be prepared to defend yourself and what’s yours. This is one of the common threats we need to pay attention too because looters can shoot back and a proper force response is required.
Sanitation and health Issues
The lack of adequate sanitation or proper medical care both become common threats in an aftermath of a disaster. This becomes a problem especially for children and the elderly as they would require proper care if health issues occur. If the sewage system stops working and the garbage trucks won’t come, sanitation could become a life-threating problem. The same goes for medical aid and you might not reach a hospital in time. How well are you prepared to deal with a medical situation? Do you have any type of medical training? If you don’t have first aid training, you should at least have a first aid kit and a medical survival book that can teach you what to do when a medical problem arises.
Suggested reading: Survival sanitation and how to deal with it
These common threats will develop during the aftermath of any type of disaster and it’s all up to you to control their impact. How well you prepare for these common threats will dictate how much will you be able to survive and how much the quality of your life will be affected.
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