Monday, May 23, 2011

"Look Upon My Works, Ye Mighty..."

...And prepare.

Unless you bunkered up and pulled the bunk over to block the door, by now you know that Joplin, Missouri has nearly been wiped off the map; video from the aftermath bears an eerie resemblance to Hiroshima or post-tidal-wave coastal Japan.

Amid the wreckage -- shattered homes, crumpled cars, a hospital turned to instant ruins -- plenty of survivors. Most people made it through.

If you're much minded of what it takes to pull through disaster, this kind of event presents a challenge: how do you prepare for events too sudden to evade, that reduce your transportation to scrap metal and your home to firewood?

Part of dealing with it is to already have some visceral inkling of the plain fact that forces so vast do exist and they can touch you. --Persons of particularly deep and secure faith generally do well with disasters because they've already made their peace with this notion; practitioners of extreme sports come up on the idea from the other side but it's got to be a help.

As a practical matter, this kind of event is a reminder that a "Bug-Out Bag" can just as easily become a Bug-In Bag, grabbed as you head to the basement or root cellar. Too, it's a reminder to ensure your emergency supplies are stored in as safe and secure manner as possible -- and that you should be planning what you'd do if you had to do without.

The survivors of Joplin are up and about, doing what they can for themselves and others because they have to. Our turn may yet come; some version of it will come to each of us and when it does, we've got a choice: face it dazed, with empty hands and an emptier head or with some awareness of what can happen and what we can do afterward.

Your best, most flexible survival tool is between your ears. Everything else you may accumulate is useless without it.

(And the quote is correctly, "Look on my works..." for a proper ten-syllable line).

9 comments:

Bubblehead Les. said...

I could talk about this all day, but you're correct, it ALL starts with the Correct Mindset. Sometimes, I think it would be better for the Human Race if when one called 911, the response would be "Figure it out, you're on your own". Building Homes in Tornado Alley on SLABS w/o Storm Shelters, building Log Cabins surrounded by dry brush in Wildfire Country, building homes on Flood Plains and along Hurricane shores, it never ceases to amaze me how Dumb Humans can be. I need to keep in mind Heinlein's Dictum: "Never underestimate the Power of Human Stupidity".

"Beans, Bullets, Bandaids, Below Ground" should be everyone's Preparedness Starting point.

Tango Juliet said...

More wisdom from Mr. Heinlein:

"At least once every human being should have to run for his life, to teach him that milk does not come from the supermarket, that safety does not come from policemen, and that news is not something that happens to other people."

Number of the Beast, by Robert A. Heinlein

Jim said...

Well put, Roberta.

Jim

Drang said...

"Beans, Bullets, Bandaids, Below Ground" should be everyone's Preparedness Starting point.
In some places, "below ground" is either impractical or even dangerous.

Crucis said...

I of the first things Mrs. Crucis picked up was a cat-carrier for each of our cats. When the siren goes off, the cats get stuck into the carriers and with us to our hide-out under the stairs. It the strongest place in the house. My safe is anchored to the concrete floor so I think it will stay put. All our important docs are in it as well as all the guns except my carry pistol.

We could do more I suppose but then there'd be no room for us under the stairs.

Roberta X said...

:)

og said...

Our bugout stuff is in 5 gallon buckets close to the door. We test them by taking them on brief camping trips. it lets you know what you forgot quickly.

Lergnom said...

IIRC, folks who called 911 during the L.A. riots were told they were on their own. It may be apocryphal, since I don't have a cite for it.

David said...

Decades ago, during my Boy Scout wilderness survival training our Air Force Captain instructor, while reviewing different scenarios and "rules" for how to deal with them got flustered with the number of "what-if" questions he was getting from us. Finally he put down all of the preprepared information that he was trying to present and told us this:

"Every survival situation will be different. What will keep you alive one time, might kill you the next time. Be smart, be flexible, be prepared. But remember this above all else - there are only three hard fast rules that apply in any survival situation. 1) If you panic - you are dead. 2) If you lose hope, or give up, or fail to try and help yourself - you are dead. 3) Without air in 3 minutes, water in 3 days, food in 3 weeks - you are dead. What you do and how you react will depend on your situation, the threat you face, and your level of knowledge and preparedness."

Several times in my life those simple instructions, backed by some knowledge and some simple basic preparedness, have, if not saved my life, at least made my continued survival easier and more assured.