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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?


A Civil Defense Corps for the 21st Century

By: Tom Chatham

Large scale disasters happen all over the world on a regular basis. In the U.S., agencies such as FEMA are tasked with providing relief for stricken communities when disaster strikes. This is a blessing and a curse. It is good to have a centralized agency that has the resources at hand to immediately react to disasters to help, but the larger the mandate is, the less effective the relief will be.

During the days of the cold war, local civil defense teams were the norm to help communities to stabilize and recover after a catastrophic disaster such as nuclear war. This placed the resources and manpower to help the community at the disaster location and provided an immediate response to any disaster. Resources and manpower would not have to be shipped to the location from somewhere else before recovery operations could begin.

This almost entirely eliminated the 72 hour period when people would be on their own before they could expect help. A civil defense unit provides the means for a community to help itself. With resources and manpower utilized at the community level, it also provided more personalized help for individuals than the current system which is geared to help people in mass.

The current system is not able to respond properly to catastrophic situations as has been proven in the past decade. It is a bloated bureaucracy that siphons money and resources away from more productive systems. In the event of a disaster of national scale, it would be almost powerless to help the average citizen. In that event, FEMA would almost exclusively render aid to government agencies and personnel. Because of this, it is not realistic for the average citizen to expect government help after a regional or national event.

This is the primary reason a community civil defense unit will be needed in the future if and when things go terribly wrong on a national scale. This type of unit should be made up of volunteers with a diverse set of skills. Every unit should be set up to handle 200 to 500 individuals for at least two weeks. Supplies should be acquired at the local level by donations and direct purchase by members. A standardized SOP should be written and utilized by CD units.

Why would you want to utilize a CD unit rather than small groups of preppers? Even a well stocked prepper community can find itself in distress. The destruction from Katrina, Sandy and at Joplin shows that large sections of housing can be flooded or completely wiped away along with everything inside. In this event, a prepper would be lucky to survive much less with all of their supplies in tact. When this happens, it is good to have a well stocked CD unit, situated in a sheltered area away from the immediate destruction. A well planned unit can determine what dangers they may face and utilize a safe area for storage of supplies. With all of the recent flooding in Colorado, a CD unit with storage on high ground would have been very helpful to victims during and immediately following the flooding there.

A community based CD unit will need certain capabilities.
– Potable water supplies
– Food stores and cooking capabilities
– Temporary housing and work space
– Sanitation and hygiene facilities
– Communications (ham operators)
– Medical services
– Transportation
– Search and rescue capabilities
– Security capabilities
– Clothing supplies

The four primary capabilities needed are food, water, shelter and medical support. These are the primary things the population will need short term to start recovery within the community. Food can be donated by local individuals to help provide an emergency supply of food. Bulk foods that are inexpensive and store well like beans, rice, cornmeal, oatmeal and powdered milk can provide a basic meal to those in need. Basic cooking supplies and wood stoves offer an inexpensive source for cooking. Shelter can be as simple as a hoophouse used for plants or large tents. Portable garage enclosures now sold can provide a good shelter at reasonable expense. Basic medical supplies can be stocked fairly cheap to allow the most basic care until victims can be transported to better medical facilities. Community involvement is vital to provide the resources and donations needed to make this type of system work.

Starting small and building up assets is a multi year project but can reap huge benefits over time. One of the biggest problems now is the governments’ opposition to individual self help where government wants total control. This opposition will likely decrease with time as the government looses the ability to respond to emergencies. A local CD unit should make every effort to keep government at all levels out of the planning and response phases due to the fact that government creep will eventually seek to take control of the operations for political and control reasons. That does not mean the CD unit cannot coordinate emergency operations with local officials.

This type of citizen led unit fits well with the institution of a local citizen militia. The CD unit can provide support to the militia when security issues warrant and the militia can provide manpower to the CD unit during disaster response. This would be similar to breaking military units into support elements and combat elements.

With the economy collapsing little by little, the government will slowly lose the ability to respond to disasters around the country. As that happens, the civilian population will need a backup plan to care for themselves. It is a certainty that disasters will continue and government will become less effective as time goes on. In the future, help will come from within the communities more so that from outside so now is a time to plan for that eventuality.