Most of us have been watching the news coverage of the recent protests, civil unrest and government breakdowns in many of the Middle Eastern nations. My local newspaper, the Duluth News Tribune, gave an account of the events in Egypt, seen through the eyes of American tourists from Minnesota.
For most of the visit, they had a great time. Touring the pyramids, and cruising from Luxor to Aswan on the Nile River.
They returned to Cairo, and heard about the demonstrations happening downtown. Then they realized all internet and cell phone service was shut down. They saw army tanks drive into the neighborhood. The next day, they were told to stay indoors. Their hosts (niece and her husband) went to a grocery store and saw looting. The couple began packing to leave.
The couple made it to the chaotic airport, and after much trouble, they were able to join a small group of Americans and Canadians. The group stayed there all night, with the men in the group taking turns standing guard while others in the group tried to sleep. They were able to be flown out, after some arrangements were made with the U. S. State Department.
Emergency preparedness for a disaster can be for many different situations, and these riots point out another reason to be prepared in advance. Earthquakes, hurricanes, blackouts, civil unrest, tornadoes, pandemic disease, blizzards, floods and unemployment are just a few examples of things that could happen. Survivalist gear, storage food, water and proper shelter are some of the basics that could help you ride out these troubles, while keeping you safe and relatively comfortable.
Also, as mentioned in the story, you need to be prepared to stay in place or evacuate. You may have to stay at your home, office, school or you may have to grab and go. It is best to have an emergency plan for these situations, with storage food, water and survival kits designed for different locations. These supplies can also be a great source for bartering or helping others, if needed. When chaos hits, people need the basics, but they also crave the things they love. Candy, coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, household necessities all make great items to stock up on for barter goods. Hand tools, nails, tarp and other hardware store items are also needed during power outages or emergencies.
U. S. grocery stores have a just in time supply of food, enough for two days maximum. Any disruption of supply chains could cause shortages, especially if people panic. Just how much food you should stock is going to be up to you. Also, it is important to consider the shelf life of the foods. Purchasing long term storage food means less care is needed in rotating the supply. The longer the shelf life of the food you store for an emergency, the less time you have to spend replenishing and rotating it. If you buy storage food with a nearly infinite shelf life, you can put it away and forget it.
Having emergency survival kits at home, the office, school or grab and go gives you a great advantage during an unexpected disaster. Should a dangerous situation arrive, this will permit you to remain in place instead of facing crowds of frantic shoppers. As people panic and get reckless, it is often safer to remain in place. Once an emergency starts, it is often too late to gather items for your checklist.
We live in a beautiful, but sometimes dangerous world. Just like insurance, we hope for the best but plan for the worst. There are many more areas to consider for emergency preparedness, such as: medical needs, security, heating and cooking to mention a few. Those are topics for another time. Remember, the most important resource you have is your brain. We are vulnerable to the dangers of this world, but with some advance preparation, we can learn to help ourselves and others.