On Nov. 18, Federal Way emergency management coordinator Ray Gross presented a seminar at City Hall titled “Long-term disaster survival: Beyond the first 72 hours.”
There are several varieties of catastrophic events that most us would never contemplate.
The governmental infrastructure, including police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel, will be overwhelmed during catastrophic events. It could take a week for help to arrive — or much longer. Keep in mind that historically, social breakdown is never far away.
Life will go on after a catastrophe. You will have to pay your mortgage. You will need copies of legal records and professional credentials to claim your home and keep your loved ones out of the government system. Stay in control of your family’s physical needs, including food, water, shelter and protection.
You can barter food and water. Ammunition will be in demand and outdoor clothing, tents, generators, firewood and seeds are goods that you and your neighbors will need. Make sure to have a tarp to seal any holes in your roof. The tarp will also work well for making a temporary shelter if you need to camp out.
You need a long-term supply of food, water, medicine, clothing and tools and a kit kept ready in your vehicle in order to leave quickly. First-aid supplies will be important and you should anticipate the possibility that you will have bodies of loved ones about you without any normal means of dealing with the bodies.
Grief, injuries, aggressive animals and unemployment are all exacerbated when there is a lack of community. Many of us barely know our neighbors! How will your neighbors react if they see you eating well during a time when their larders are bare?
The time to create community is now, and one place to start doing it is in the churches.
Pastors and church leaders in Federal Way should organize with other churches and emergency response officials for emergencies. Community-minded people (especially those of faith) will keep up morale better than those who only care for themselves. Make plans to secure your home and neighborhood. During a time of social breakdown, you may run from your home, but may never be able to return.
Most government emergency materials contain lists of all the things you should have in an emergency: Extra water, flashlights, batteries, water filters, whistles, bandages and aspirin, to name a few. Gross, a former U.S. Marine, asks whether you will know how to handle a weapon if you choose to exercise your Second Amendment rights.
You need to be realistic as to your capacity to react to violence with deadly force. You can only be a neighbor with arms outstretched to share light, food and warmth with your neighbors if you are also prepared to resist those that would take by force.
Think about issues like hygiene, garbage disposal and first-aid. Talk to your neighbors and assess their strengths and weaknesses. Encourage them to engage in planning now. Obtain a Concealed Pistol License, get some professional firearms training. Stock up on extra ammunition. You can never have enough bullets!