When it comes to survival, people too often get focused on a big, TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it), kind of event. But there’s only one real truth to survival. It’s going to be far harder than you’ve ever imagined. And the crisis isn’t the only danger to the safety of you and your family. When things go bad, it brings out the worst in people. Creating a number of threats that perhaps you’ve not yet considered, but need to be a part of your emergency planning. Otherwise you’ll be caught off-guard when it happens to you, and that’s never a good situation to find yourself in.
You’ll face constant looting
If supply lines are cut, and there’s no way to bring food and water to your location, it won’t take long for the people who didn’t stockpile anything to realize that their best means of survival will be stealing and taking from those weaker than them. It might be that you’re spotted on a supply run and they take advantage of the situation, or it may be they’ve been casing your home for weeks waiting for the right time to come take what’s yours. In my mind, having a stockpile of your own reduces this threat considerably, as you won’t need to venture out into town (you’ve got everything you need at home), so long as you’ve maintained OPSEC and no one in your community knows that you’re sitting on a goldmine of tinned food and MREs.
You won’t know who to trust
I’ve never had much time for other people, and it’s really hard to get in my inner circles. If I ever spoke to a shrink they’d probably tell me I’m a paranoid introvert, but in a crisis it’s a trait I believe will keep my alive. Be very careful about any strangers you allow into your group. I’d like to make it a hard and fast rule that anyone outside of your core survival group is not allowed in, but this might not work depending on the crisis situation you find yourself in. You don’t know what they’ve done before happening on your group, what’s caused them to leave their previous location, and what things they might be intending to do. I’d like to think that people generally have good hearts, and they do, but it’s not a chance I’m willing to take in the lawless society that exists after the SHTF. It’s just too big of a risk.
You can’t rely on first appearances
It’s almost ingrained in our society to respect those in uniform, whether that’s the military, the police, or even the fire brigade or a doctor. We’ve been conditioned to listen and do what they say, and rightfully so, they’re usually the ones who have our best interests at heart. But when a crisis hits, you can’t rely on those in uniform. Criminals have been impersonating officers to get access to disaster zones to loot homes and prey on the defenseless people inside. Even if they were a police officer before, do not trust in their continued dedication to the badge. When law and order goes out the window, it brings out the worst in people, and if you’re getting an odd feeling in your gut, it’s best to listen to it.
You must be able to defend yourself
Without the rule of law, it becomes almost a lord of the flies situation. Survival of the strongest, the fittest, those who can stand up for themselves and fight back against the seedier characters who are looking for an easy score. Learning to defend yourself is a must, because you just never know which was a bad situation will come from. Perhaps you’re jumped walking to your car after work, perhaps you’ve found yourself up against a couple of criminals who have been waiting for someone to cross their path. Knowing how to throw a punch, and use a weapon like an extendable baton or a strike torch will give you a significant upper hand when it comes to reacting to the threat, and immediately going on the offensive to strike back with everything you’ve got.
You will be cut off from everyone else
When the grid goes down that will generally also mean you’ve got no cell service, no internet, no telephone lines or any of the means of communication that we’ve grown accustomed to. There will be no Netflix or Hulu. No YouTube to take up our time. No TikTok or any of that nonsense that quickly became such a big part of our lives. If you’re alone, it’s going to take a terrible toll on you, the fact that you’re cut off from everyone else. I know (speaking as an introvert myself), that people can get tiring. But after I’ve been holed up in my cabin for a week or two I’m actually craving a conversation. A bit of human interaction. In a crisis, this will be almost impossible to get. Probably the only guaranteed way to stay connected is investing in a HAM radio, and learning how to broadcast.
You’ve got to keep things clean
Now this last one is generally forgotten, but for anyone who’s not taken the trash out for a couple of days and the smell is bringing ants and other critters in to investigate, you can imagine just how bad it will get after a few weeks, or months. We humans generate an obscene amount of waste, from everything we consume. And then comes our own bodily functions. You need a serious plan to keep your home clean. That means cleaning and sanitation products, a place to properly dispose of any trash, and a self-sustainable sewage system that isn’t reliant on the grid or running water to function.
It’s all well and good to prepare for the “big one,” that crisis that it’s almost inevitable will come. But don’t forget all the other threats that you’ll face in the aftermath of an event like this, so you’re not surprised and putting your family at risk in a situation you should have planned for. All of these threats can be mitigated with a little forward thinking. Don’t be the one who is unprepared.