YORKTOWN, Va., Dec. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — December 21st has finally arrived, and fortunately, the five-thousand-year-old Mayan prediction that the world would end in cataclysmic doom didn't come to pass. Numerous possible scenarios were cited including a massive solar storm, the sudden reversal of the Earth's magnetic field, a supervolcano eruption, or the collision with an unseen planetary body (a.k.a. Planet X). While scientists and scholars alike were right to scoff at such prophecies, it does provide an opportunity to ask, "What if the Mayans were right?" What if our world had experienced a serious and far-reaching disaster? How would we as a species have fared? Perhaps more important, how well would your own family have survived?
Dr. Arthur Bradley, author of the bestselling, "Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family" and the "Prepper's Instruction Manual," claims that in all but the worst-case scenarios, mankind would likely survive. He says, "We possess the intelligence, technologies, and medicines to help us adapt and survive under all but the most adverse conditions. People would die, civilizations might fall, and life would certainly be disrupted, but with careful preparations, and perhaps a bit of luck, some would live to rebuild."
What steps can be taken to ensure your place as one of the survivors? The Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests that people start with a simple set of supplies to help meet their needs for three days (see Ready.gov). Dr. Bradley agrees that this minimal preparation is a good place to start but points out that it falls far short of meeting an individual's or family's needs for an extended crisis. He suggests drafting a plan designed to carefully document how your family will address each of their 14 needs, which include: food, water, shelter, light, heating, air, sleep, hygiene and sanitation, medicine, communication, electricity, financial security, transportation, and protection (see Disasterpreparer.com). Addressing these needs requires setting up micro-infrastructures capable of supporting your family for an extended period of time. Dr. Bradley states that a reasonable first goal is to be self-sufficient for 30 days. This requires setting up a small food cache, ensuring access to clean water other than from your tap, having supplies to keep warm under the most adverse conditions, and being capable of generating a modest level of electricity using generators or inverters.
He goes on to say that most people are ill prepared for even mundane interruptions in the nation's most critical infrastructures (i.e., electricity, food and water distribution, emergency services). "People have become far too dependent on our nation's support systems. Like many events before it, Hurricane Sandy left millions of Americans scrambling to meet their most basic needs." He believes that generations before ours were far better prepared. "Not only did they feel the sacrifices required by world wars, they also experienced the hardships of a long-lasting depression. Food lines, gas shortages, and devastating unemployment were all very real threats."
"We should all be thankful that 2012 will be remembered for the catastrophe that it didn't bring. What shouldn't be forgotten, however, are the countless disasters that did occur, including Hurricane Sandy, the worst drought in our nation's history, and the numerous earthquakes, floods, typhoons, and wildfires experienced all around the globe. There is no doubt that disasters, both natural and man-made, will continue to challenge mankind. Whether it's an influenza pandemic, a deadly tsunami, or a radiological accident, the human race is constantly reminded not to become too complacent. Despite yet another failed doomsday prophecy, perhaps today's lesson is that now really is the time to get better prepared," concluded Dr. Bradley.
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