Why prepare? This is the most common question, in some form or another, we get asked by friends, family, coworkers and just about everyone else. If you are already part of the preparedness community, you have either answered this question for yourself, or it never crossed your mind not to prepare. However, if you are wondering why you should bother to stock up on water, food and supplies, prepare for emergencies, develop your self-reliance and self-sufficiency, consider the following fact-based examples:
- The earthquake in Japan has caused catastrophic devastation.
- Job losses continue to plague people all across the United States, with little relief in sight for the near future.
- Localized natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods and snowstorms cause short-term, but devastating effects on their respective communities.
- Food and energy prices are rising rapidly.
- The entire food and energy distribution network in the United States and other countries depends on the flow of reasonably priced crude oil. This infrastructure is fragile and its reliability is getting worse.
- Urban areas are giant centers of consumption, and cannot sustain their populations without massive imports of resources. While the urban environment allows for relatively efficient distribution of resources, a simple disruption of the inflow of goods and energy causes immediate and devastating shortages.
- It is almost a cliché by now, but Hurricane Katrina is a perfect example of how a natural event can disrupt life for an extended period of time.
We purchase disaster insurance all the time and many times it is required by law. We have fire, flood, theft and natural disaster insurance for our homes and vehicles. We have life insurance for ourselves. But we cannot purchase food and resource insurance for times when they are in short supply. While your homeowner's insurance might reimburse you financially to replace your freezer's and refrigerator's supplies of food if you lose power long enough, there is no way to insure the local supermarket for a continual stock of groceries if the food distribution network suffers shortages or interruptions. The simple threat of a looming disaster can cause panic purchasing, which renders supermarkets devoid of consumables within 12-24 hours. Supermarkets only have enough stock on hand to last about 3 days at normal market trends. If their supply networks fail, where will you get your food?
Some folks have asked, "Don't we pay the government to save us if things get bad?" As government employees, we can attest to the fact that it often takes governmental agencies considerable time to organize and implement rescue efforts. Governments at all levels recommend that individuals and families have, at a minimum, 72 hours of emergency supplies. While our tax money does pay for considerable life-saving, life-sustaining and certain rescue resources, it is not the government's job to take care of people. Furthermore, governments are made up of small groups of people, when compared to the overall population. In large scale events, the small rescue teams can be easily overwhelmed by the sheer number of victims needing assistance.
We at UrbanReadiness.com are definitely not doomsdayers. The most catastrophic events are also the most infrequent and most unlikely. A systematic approach to increasing readiness starts by first identifying the most common threats to our way of life. The most common threats are usually short-term, small-order threats that can be handled with small, inexpensive preparations. Once you have covered the basics, you can then move on to supplemental preparations that build upon the previous ones. Ultimately, you work toward a more comprehensive suite of preparations that leave you well-equipped for a variety of situations, whether simple or complex, minor or major.
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