Community Preparations for Catastrophic Events
By: Tom Chatham
Many people now feel that pending trouble is in the air. They may not know what or why but they can feel it deep in their bones. For these people the urge to prepare for potential problems is now incorporated into their everyday lives. When something far reaching and catastrophic happens the ability of groups and communities to pull together is one way to deal with the aftermath and work through the problems to remain safe and healthy.
When something happens that may prevent outside help from reaching you, it is necessary to have the infrastructure and supplies to help yourself until the situation stabilizes. For the group or community there are certain actions that can be taken beforehand to insure the group can sustain themselves for the duration.
A potable water supply must be present to sustain the group for as long as necessary. The water source must be available when current systems may be interrupted or destroyed due to the emergency. A water filtering system must be available when necessary to filter any suspect water from potentially contaminated sources.
A supply of food must be stocked to insure the group can maintain their health and strength. It is easy enough to store food for individuals or small groups but there must be a system in place to store extra for those that have no supplies for various reasons. If the community can be fed after an event it will greatly decrease the potential for acts of violence and help maintain order. This can be accomplished by storing bulk items for use by large populations. Grain bunkers can be constructed to store bulk grains for this purpose. A minimum of one bushel each of wheat, oats, corn, beans and rice per person per year for the expected population will provide the basics for feeding the affected population following the event. Any food items beyond this would be of additional benefit.
A team to assist those in need that may be trapped or injured must be available. This is where the local civil defense unit would be useful following an event. The local CD unit should be able to provide search and rescue, shelter, medical help, food and leadership after an event that may destroy local infrastructure and leadership.
A team to provide security for the group must be available to insure the groups safety. The local volunteer militia group, with the necessary training would work with the CD unit to maintain order and security to the population after an event. Some events have the ability to destroy local law enforcement abilities or at the least overwhelm their abilities to maintain order causing even more chaos.
Energy systems to provide power for necessary infrastructure to rebuild and repair systems to enhance and support a decent quality of life for the group. Electrical power to provide heat, cooking, lights, communications and water pumping are essential to long term living. Liquid fuels to provide transportation and generating capability will be needed in the days following any event. The ability to provide at least some power from sources such as solar and wind will greatly reduce the need to store large quantities of fuel and lesson the impact of loosing these supplies.
Safe shelter is necessary to provide protection from the elements and potential hazardous conditions that may exist as a result of the emergency. In these modern times the threat of an NBC event is as likely as any natural catastrophe. Many of the sheltering needs are similar in these events and any overlap will reduce costs in preparing for these eventualities.
The ability of the government to respond to emergencies is limited and requires days before help arrives in many cases. Any large scale event that affects a wide region or the whole nation will overwhelm government resources to the point that many localities may not get the necessary help. In this event it will be up to each locality to provide their own emergency management and solve their problems locally. In most cases emergency management is directed to survival of government operations and civilian populations only receive excess resources from government entities.
In some cases such as an act of war, events may eliminate government at some or all levels and necessitate that communities help themselves. If the community relies solely on government preparations and leadership and suddenly finds that entity gone or even hostile to the people, chaos can grow very quickly destroying any continuity that still remains among the population. Having a civilian group outside of government control to administer to the community today is not only logical but imperative given the nature of events that continue to unfold.
Of all the preparations that should be addressed by local communities, the need to have bulk food supplies available is the most pressing. Storing several hundred bushels of grain may seem too much for the average citizen but it is not beyond the abilities of many farmers. In the event of any supply disruptions, locally available food supplies will determine whether the community can maintain continuity for the duration. As it stands now, most large cities will collapse and most small towns will follow during any supply disruption. The government no longer stores sufficient grain to supply the civilian population in the face of any catastrophic event. It is therefore up to each community to take the necessary steps today to insure survivability if the worst should happen.