Welcome to Survive The Coming Collapse newsletter, brought to you by The Fastest Way To Prepare course–the fastest, step by step way to get you and your family prepared for disasters.
Your comments about the National Geographic movie, American Blackout >HERE<, unveiled difficult issues that are directly related to survival; the first being that no matter how prepared we feel we are, there is almost always room for improvement. As a result, today’s post is all about addressing these issues in more detail.
This time around, I thought we’d open up the various issues with an in-depth discussion amongst the readers. If you’re new to prepping, or are unsure of a work-around to overcome a particular issue, now is an excellent time to ask. David, myself, and many of our readers have years of practical experience and skill-sets that can point you in the right direction!
It was interesting to read the differing opinions about how soon a full-blown meltdown would begin in a grid-down scenario. Which camp are you in…do you believe looting (or worse) would begin within a few days, or weeks, or months and why? This is a golden opportunity to discuss specific potential outcomes after the masses start finding empty grocery store shelves, sinks that don’t work, and toilets that don’t flush.
It was said in the movie the thousands of people who were stuck on subways and trains were forced to find “alternative transportation” which I’m sure we all agree would be close to impossible…unless you count walking as “transportation.” What would your approach be if something similar happened to you? Are you in good enough shape and have adequate footwear with you at work and on your commute to hike for hours or longer to return home? What about safe travel tips and navigating unfamiliar neighborhoods?
Grid-down could open the floodgates of our criminal justice system, allowing criminals to escape as well as giving violent parolees an opportunity to go back to their old lifestyles. This would occur in both urban and rural settings. It’s an issue we’ve touched upon in previous articles, but a discussion worth re-opening. Have you thought ahead for such a possibility? Do you know where the sex offenders and violent parolees are in your neighborhood?
After the blackout, cell phones and computers failed, but throughout the 10-day grid-down vigil, there were ongoing T.V. and radio broadcasts. How realistic do you believe this aspect of the movie was? If you have experience with alternative forms of communication such as ham radio and 2-way radios, your feedback would be greatly appreciated!
Clearly, the movie did not address the issue of the lack of sanitary conditions due to the water and the sewer systems going down, nor did it depict the lack of garbage pickup. Have you planned ahead for dealing with the lack of sewer and water, and have you made provisions to dispose of garbage when it becomes necessary like what David covers in FastestWayToPrepare?
With the use of candles, lanterns, camp stoves and generators, fires were reported as being out of control. People were unable to call for medical help. Are you prepared to handle a medical emergency, or a house fire when emergency services are not available?
(David’s note: Furthermore, do you have a good stock of LED lights and batteries or rechargeable batteries and solar/crank chargers to limit your risk? Take it one step further…if your neighbor burns their house and yours down because their dog knocks down a candle/lantern, your house will be just as burned down as if you did it yourself. If you can, consider stocking up on small LED lights/lanterns that can be recharged and given to neighbors to create a buffer zone around you. Costco has 6 packs of AA powered LED candles right now that we’ve started using on our fireplace mantle in place of candles and we’re very happy with them. FYI, we’re in nighttime potty training mode with our boys and we also use them in the bathroom in the middle of the night and their soft light has been working much better than headlamps or nightlights.)
Those who watched the show probably caught the segment where an unprepared yuppie penthouse couple had snagged a can of peaches, then the man had to fight a desperate father who wanted it to feed his child. After winning the fight over the can of peaches, the couple walks the 46 floors upstairs to their penthouse…only to realize their only can opener was electric. At the beginning of the blackout, cameras panned to people digging around for candles, lanterns and flashlights. Did this segment have you questioning your own dependence on electricity? Have you already planned ahead? If so, please share any tips you may have!
The results of the grid going down 10 days never addressed the threat this would pose to nuclear energy plants. Do you KNOW whether they’d be able to shut down gracefully or have a catastrophic failure? This isn’t an area to guess on or parrot stuff you’ve seen online. People’s beliefs about what they think will cause them to take appropriate action, regardless of whether they’re operating on reality or falsehoods.
During the movie, a ham operator announced that guns and supplies were being confiscated and noncompliance was met with deadly force. He advised listeners to stay armed and defend those supplies. Do you agree with this advice, or would you walk away? In other words, would you stay and fight in a bad situation or relocate to a fallback position that was more defensible? (Some people WANT to go down in a blaze of glory more than they want to survive, and others are mentally sharp with degraded bodies that can’t relocate. There is no simple, one-size-fits-all answer to this question.)
In the movie, the entire U.S. grid went down, yet on day 10, it was operational once again. How realistic do you feel this would be?
Although it was conveniently glossed over in the movie, hospitals, the fire department, and police were shown being overwhelmed and unable to respond to emergencies. Do you feel it is realistic to expect emergency personnel to continue to show up to their jobs, rather than stay at home to protect their loved ones? Have you planned ahead for fire and medical emergencies, and if so, what are your recommendations?
Several readers posted >HERE< the importance of a group to share responsibilities to survive a long-term crisis. Do you agree, or do you feel your family could make it without outside help?
Now on to the Prepper…
American Blackout showed several different mindsets from the viewpoint of individual characters, but what the family of preppers were confronted with brought up some very important questions for preppers.
When the grid crashed, the father impulsively invites his daughter’s boyfriend, Jason, with them to the family’s bug-out property. As the storyline moves along, it becomes apparent that this young man does not respect the father’s need to protect his family above anything else, nor does he seem to appreciate (at least at first) the help he is offered. Furthermore, he doesn’t appreciate the need for OPSEC (operational security), and disagrees with the prepper’s refusal to tell the neighbor about their supplies and give the neighbor stuff when he asks.
What’s your take on this? Was it wise for the prepper to invite Jason to the family’s bug-out? Would you have done anything differently? How do you feel about inviting extended family members or friends into your home during a crisis when they do not have any training or understanding of what it takes to survive a long-term crisis?
(David’s note: One of the things that my wife and I identified is that they didn’t have any kind of a “contract” for Jason to agree to before coming along. We don’t either, but we’re working on one now that we could have people who want to join us read, agree to, and sign before joining us in the 11th hour. Of course, we realize that people in that situation will sign and agree to anything, so the next layer to the equation is deciding, in advance, how to compartmentalize information so that if these people get stupid, the amount of valuable information they have will be minimal.)
Another difficult issue concerns helping others in need which was addressed in the movie. The producers chose to use this to cast preppers in a bad light for the most part. If your neighbor came for help–hungry and thirsty–how would you handle it? What about helping a total stranger? Would you hand them food and water or do you feel it would be too dangerous to reveal you have anything to spare? Do you have a workable solution towards helping others and still keep your loved ones safe?
In American Blackout, the mother and their teenage daughter appear to be disinterested in the father’s preparedness, even when that some drive and determination is protecting them from hunger and thirst. How do you feel disinterest, or denial among family members impacts a prepper’s ability to prepare?
When Jason is caught handing the neighbor food in the dead of the night, the prepper tells him that his actions have jeopardized their safety, but does not demand that he leave. There are no consequences or explanations…just dictatorial monologue. (Which we all know works INCREDIBLY well on teenage boys) Would that be your reaction, or do you have creative consequences in mind that would put correct incentives in place to encourage good behavior in the future with minimal friction?
Later in the segment, the preppers 11 year old son is threatened when his neighbor and several of his friends tell him he won’t get hurt as long as he takes them to their food storage. The “decoy” food the father put out on shelves for just such a contingency is thus looted. Soon after going to the underground shelter, the father watches from a overhead, outdoor camera as the neighbor and his friends return and discover valuable supplies. The father leaves their underground bunker to protect their supplies alone and is overtaken by knife point by one of the looters. How do you feel a situation like this should have been handled?
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If the movie did nothing but unveil soft spots in our preparedness and wake up those in denial, it was a valuable must-see. Please post you questions and comments below, so as a group, we can become better prepared!
For concrete, step-by-step ways to prepare yourself and your loved ones for local, regional, and national disasters like what we discussed today, check out the SurviveInPlace.com course, the FastestWayToPrepare.com course.
God bless and stay safe,
David Morris and Survival Diva