As preppers, we all make plans and preparations for a certain type of disaster scenario.
While there are certain similarities between our prepping plans, there are, for certain, some common threats that will follow any type of disaster.
In general, the aftermath of a disaster is very specific to the location, type of event, and level of preparedness of individuals, but even so, there are a few general situations we must consider…
A smart prepper must acknowledge that no matter how well-prepared he or she may be, the chances are that you will encounter one of the situations described in this article. How these situations will affect them depends solely on the precautions they took, their survival knowledge and skills, but also past experiences.
Before we go further, I must clarify that when I’m saying past experiences, I’m not talking about having to survive through various disasters and becoming better prepared (although such experiences will become an “added bonus,” if you will, to your survival knowledge).
I’m talking here about real-life practices you’ve experienced in various situations. Maybe you have some survival training, and maybe you like to go camping, maybe you have first-aid training, etc. Situations where the stress factor may or may not have been present, and overall, you manage to get something out of such experiences.
Regardless of what you are prepping for, the general repercussions we will cover in this article will be present once the event is over. I have to stress this once more; the level of impact of any disaster is directly dependent on factors such as:
- Type of disaster,
- Population density,
- Preparedness and security methods available in the affected area,
- The time needed for things to go back to normal,
- Know-how of the general population.
I also believe that it’s a good exercise to compare and analyze the impact of these threats by looking at past disasters in your area, but also by looking at current situations developing around the world (like the coronavirus pandemic in China).
Here are the most common threats you will encounter after an SHTF event
The severity of the disaster will certainly create economic problems for the affected area, may it be regional or national. You can take a major economic hit if the situation escalates, and there’s no telling how it will affect your budget.
In certain cases, you will not be able to access your bank account or use your credit cards. You may lose your income due to illness or your workplace might be closed for a long time due to the event.
Even more, the supply and demand will dictate how the economy will evolve in certain areas, and it may take a long time for local businesses to recover. You can expect certain survival products and even products we take for granted to be in low supply or not available at all. How you deal with this situation depends on how well you prepared for the economic aftermath of the disaster.
Having enough cash and supplies on hand will help you survive longer than others, but you also have to figure out ways to supplement your budget if the event extends longer than expected.
Do you have a backup plan if you were suddenly laid off?
Do you have enough to last you in case you are not able to buy more?
And last, but definitely not least, consider your barter options and the items you have that could be useful for bartering.
What’s going on in China?
If we look at the current situation in China, we can see that not only the Hubei province has taken a major economic hit, but the entire country. A lot of people will end up bankrupt after all this blows off and the major problem is that China is the biggest supplier of materials and finite products for most businesses around the world.
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This means that if you depend on them to provide the required resources to operate your business, you will have to find other suppliers, increase prices and cost operations, and so on. And let’s face it. Nowadays, everything is “Made in China.”
Essential services shutdown
Any type of local or regional disaster will cause disruptions in essential services. For example, let’s look at how hurricanes affect certain areas and how procuring clean water becomes a problem in the aftermath of such a natural disaster. Services shutdown is one of the most common threats you will have to face and you need to be prepared to deal with the disruptions in essential services.
A serious prepper should acknowledge that a grid shutdown, water shortages, and shutdowns, and problems in telecommunication occur even during a small-scale disaster. During a prolonged event, you will have problems with heating or cooling your home, providing light for your family or keeping food fresh without refrigeration and freezing.
A few suggestions to prepare for such aftermath would be to:
- Try surviving without electrical power and gas for an extended period of time (one week) and see how well you can manage with the supplies and knowledge you have.
- Make do without using your credit card and procure the supplies you need (not want) using only cash. Can you survive one week without making electronic payments?
- Implement a backup water and sanitation system and use it for one week to see how well they can handle your needs. You will have to calculate how much time you will be able to last and how to ration what you have.
- Try cooking meals for your family using only what you can find in your pantry and by using alternative cooking methods. Observe how your family members adapt to a sudden diet change and rotate and restock your supplies based on your observations.
What’s going on in China?
After doing a little research online, I found out there are only a few areas that have a problem with water distribution and there’s nothing major about it. However, power outages and gas shutdowns are known to take place (some buildings are being cut off from gas lines since locked up residents threatened to blow up their apartments).
Cash seems to be disappearing since they are destroying the bills that they don’t manage to disinfect, and it’s becoming more and more difficult to pay for supplies.
Sanitation may become a problem as many pets are locked in homes without food and water, and the outcome may lead to health risks. Also, cleaning services are not working full service since there’s a fear of contamination.
Breakdown of the food distribution and delivery chain
This is perhaps the hardest situation the “unprepared” will encounter after a disaster hits their area. If you lack the essential supplies your family needs for survival, it will become impossible to obtain such supplies following a disaster. If a disaster causes road closures and breakdowns in fuel distribution, people will be forced to rely on the supplies they stored.
This is one of the most common threats of any disaster, and people seem to ignore it completely. They don’t realize how real this is and how fast it can affect them until it’s too late and the shelves are empty.
Panic buying is the result of people being unprepared and uninformed, and we’ve seen it in the United States on various occasions. If you think you are covered and you have everything you need to survive it’s still better to cover the following:
- If disaster struck right at this moment, do you have everything you need at home?
- Even if you go on a last emergency shopping trip, do you know what items to buy?
- How about fuel? Do you have enough to last for running late time errands or bugging out?
- How about your medical needs? Do you have enough medicine, or can you get medical assistance in case needed?
The breakdown of the distribution chain may have a different impact on people, and while some will need fuel, others will need medicine.
What’s going on in China?
You’ve probably seen online how panic buying is affecting all China, and how they are fighting over toilet paper and other items that, as said before, we take for granted. While the Hubei province is the most affected region and fresh produce is a rarity, the panic buying situation has spread over the border, including in the United States. I think there’s no point in mentioning anymore how face masks and sanitizers are hard to find these days.
While city entrances and exits are being blocked is interesting to follow how the Chinese army will manage to supply the residents of Wuhan with even the basic supplies. Not only will we learn how the government can take care of the people, but also how the people will start acting when they no longer get what they need.
A downfall in the social order
If a disaster hits an area, certain elements of our society will see it as a good opportunity to renew their stuff (electronics, clothes, etc.) or to restock their liquor cabinets. Any aftermath of a major natural disaster will bring violence, looting and increased criminality in the affected area. Some people will become desperate to obtain food and water, while others will figure out ways to increase their wealth.
Since most Americans don’t have a mindset for long-term survival, and they are expecting the government to take care of their needs, you can imagine what will happen if the government doesn’t deliver.
Unfortunately, until things go back to normal, there will always be people who love to take advantage of these sorts of situations for their own personal gain. If it comes to that, you should be prepared to defend yourself and what’s yours. This is one of the common threats we need to pay attention to because looters can shoot back and a proper force response is required.
What’s going on in China?
Except for Hong Kong, where people are still protesting even tough restrictions have been imposed. The situation In the Hubei is calm and desperate at the same time. In large cities, people can’t protest because those that do not follow the party’s “recommendations” are locked inside their homes. This may very well lead to them dying locked in like animals in cages because there will be no one to check on them.
On the other hand, in smaller towns, people are fighting with their neighbors for resources and there’s a lockdown imposed where outsiders are removed by force and those willing to visit relatives or friends are being denied entrance.
Sanitation and Health Issues
The lack of adequate sanitation and proper medical care are common threats you will encounter after an SHTF event. This becomes a problem for regions that lack the supplies and medical personnel that can provide proper assistance. Not to mention that children and the elderly may be the first affected if health issues occur.
Think about the sewage system not working and the garbage trucks stopping, and you will understand while sanitation could become a life-threatening problem.
Also, in case fuel is in short supplies or roads are damaged, you may not reach a hospital in time. What would you do in such a case? How well-prepared are you to deal with such a scenario? Do you have any medical training?
Even basic first-aid training may save your life or the lives of your loved ones, and having a medical kit or a medical training survival book is priceless when a medical problem arises.
What’s going on in China?
As the pandemic is causing health problem due to is nature, one of the main thing people fail to realize is that people that might suffer from other illnesses or are suspected of coronavirus infection will eventually get in contact with already infected patients. This is due to the fact that hospitals are full, medical personnel is not enough to handle a large number of patients (they are literally dying of exhaustion), and overall, there’s a general panic and people don’t follow protocols.
You may have a medical issue that is not life-threatening, and by searching for medical aid, you will end up with something worse. Also, the lack of proper quarantine measures will just lead to the virus spreading more and more. The Diamond Princess cruise ship is a perfect example of that.
A Last Word
Before you start criticizing my decision to bring the coronavirus situation into this article and play the old record of the “The flu has killed more people,” stop, take a break, and think why I did so. My intention was not to scare anyone, but instead, to show readers that these common threats are real and are happening right now as you finish riding this article.
Rather than concentrating your time and effort on arguing with people on the internet, concentrate your energy on figuring out how well-prepared you are for such threats and what you can do to improve your situation—just my two cents.
Armin | March 2, 2020
You make some very good points, Bob. Thank you for that. Never in a million years did I think that the developing crisis would take the form of a fairly innocuous virus that the Chinese have genetically modified and apparently it “escaped” by accident. If this was deliberate then someone has surely dropped the ball. Did the Chinese want to see what would happen knowing full well that it more than likely would end killing many of their own people? What has the world come to? I’m slowly starting to come around and, yes, maybe these are the end times.
William Glass | April 4, 2020
Everyone laughed at the “preppers”. They were called fanatics, gullible suckers, wacko extremists, dangerous (because of their guns and ammo). They were roundly mocked and ridiculed for their SHTF preparations. Well kiddies. THE SH*T HAS HIT THE FAN ! Who’s laughing now? I’m in the twilight of my life so this doesn’t scare me like it does for someone who has the majority of their life ahead of them. What is being done now is basically rearranging the deck chairs after the Titanic has struck the iceberg. We are heading into uncharted territory as a nation. A dystopian future (like “The Road” ) is a real probability for this country. To those of you who are young. May God give you strength and courage. You’er gonna need it.
AlexOL | May 27, 2020
My take: there are two levels to this situation. One is as a species, society and civilization. Mankind has dealt with, fought and conquered viruses much worse, wars much worse and crisis much worse. Yes the night is darkest just before dawn and the price paid to cross turbulence and deep changes such as this is usually huge, I’m talking about destruction of wealth and lives. But eventually it’ll pass and there will be a virtuous cycle until next crisis and so on.
The second aspect is the individual level. Every loss is hard, sickness, death, loss of wealth, of comfort, of friends and family and houses of health, it’s hard to witness all the suffering around but it’s part of life. Many will march on, and for me having a sense of both being able to be and do my best at all times, and having a sense of belonging to this broader tribe of humans and life on planet earth, just a speck in this enormous chain… that’s what keeps me going and a bit more positive in these times.
Have strength, think positive, do your best, be brave and we’ll survive and thrive. Good luck to y’all!