Local Civil Defense Needs To Be Revived
By: Tom Chatham
The ability to provide emergency assistance to the local population following an event is critical to preservation of law and order, not to mention life. The ability to keep the population calm in the face of mass destruction will make recovery much easier by freeing up valuable manpower for recovery efforts. The ability to provide food and water will be the primary resources that will be needed to maintain control of the situation for long periods of time. A food storage and distribution system will be needed to provide sustenance to local populations very quickly following an event.
The need of civil defense personnel to provide the manpower for this function can not be over emphasized. Following an event such as a nuclear war or EMP strike, communication, transportation and deployment of personnel will be difficult if not impossible. If CD personnel are already present in the local communities nationwide, deployment will be automatic and immediate. There will be no need to find available personnel and transport them to the site. Local CD personnel can begin emergency operations within a few hours of an event providing the stability and direction the community will need to face the event.
A local CD program can be as small or as extensive as the community wishes. It can consist of a few dozen families on the same street or a whole town. It can simply have food stores to distribute or it can provide food, medical assistance, fuel supplies, power generation, shelter and transportation abilities. Food is the most basic need and must be stored before anything else, For a food distribution system, minimal equipment will be required if bulk storage is located locally and CD members have a distribution plan already mapped out for the worst case scenario.
A basic ration that can provide suitable calories to survivors can be packaged and dispersed on a monthly basis at designated dispersal areas. Local individuals can be issued a ration card in the initial days following an event that can be used to receive monthly rations. The card can have designated boxes that can be punched out every month when rations are received. Parents can be issued cards for each child to insure each person will get a monthly ration. A basic ration can consist of the following items.
183 lbs. Hard Wheat 15.25lbs./month
45 lbs. Oats 3.75lbs./ month
137 lbs. Corn 11.4lbs./ month
113 lbs. Beans 9.4lbs./ month
46 lbs. dry milk 3.8lbs./ month
1.5 Gal. Veg. oil 16oz./ month
45 lbs. Sugar 3.75lbs./ month
7.5 lbs. iodized salt .625lbs./ month
These items and amounts will provide one person with a basic daily ration for one year or month as noted. The ability to store these items in bulk will provide an efficient means to store a food supply for a community that can feed them for up to a year. One simply has to multiply these amounts by the number of people you will need to feed to determine the total amount of food you should store for such an event.
A community that knows it will have basic food supplies regardless of the situation will prevent acts of violence and desperation following an event when people will normally panic due to the many unknowns in their future. Providing them with a certain number of knowns will keep the panic to a minimum and allow the community to focus human energies on alleviating their longer term problems.
Power for basic systems can be provided by fuel storage and ultimately by the use of wood gas generators for longer term situations when fuel resupply is not possible. Wood gas can also be used for vehicle fuel if functional vehicles are available. The ability to provide local energy for critical systems like water and sewage pumping will go far in alleviating suffering due to lack of functional infrastructure. It will also provide power needed for any functional communication systems available to the community.
A local civil defense corps can fill many of the needs a community will face following a catastrophic event and is one of the only solutions that can be run by local communities that offers immediate results. Local governments like to think they have a plan to deal with most emergencies but when it comes to the low probability/ high impact events, they are all largely ill equipped to handle them. A power grid failure can cascade into something much worse if the problem is not resolved fairly quickly. It is the potential for these cascading failures to occur that makes modern life so deadly for the population.
Government entities do not possess the ability to care for the entire population of the country if everything stops suddenly. The government has little in the way of food stores that can feed the nation without going to individuals and companies and taking what they have to be distributed in an ad hoc fashion.
Having bulk supplies in every community nationwide is the only way to insure we have the means to survive the worst if it ever happens. By explaining the potential dangers to locals and gaining their support by real leadership, money can be raised in the community and used to construct bulk storage sites and equip a civil defense unit. When our previous civil defense organization was folded into FEMA we lost all local control of any response and the benefits it brought to local communities and individuals.
As with most things, you do not have to do it all at once. Simply buying 9 food grade 55 gallon drums and filling 4 with wheat, 2 with beans, 2 with corn and 1 with oats, you will have sufficient grains and beans to feed over 50 people for a month. This is at a cost of about $310 dollars at current prices. That is a small investment to insure 20 families are working together rather than against one another. It should also be noted that those with the resources following an event will have control over the population. Would you rather some government entity have that control or your community.
While there are no simple answers that will work equally well for all communities, having something to work with in an emergency is a far better situation than having nothing. We often forget that in our just in time delivery system we can go from everything to nothing in a matter of hours. When something goes wrong, how well our communities handle the aftermath will depend on what they have to handle it with. With the many dangers we face today, it is likely only a matter of time before we are forced to respond to an event, and what price will we pay in our current state of readiness?