Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
No matter what the next long-term disaster is, one thing is for certain: survival will be everyone’s primary objective. And unfortunately for most people, survival will be very difficult.
The sad reality is that the vast majority of people are woefully unprepared for a long-term disaster. And one of the main reasons for that is they don’t even know what a long-term disaster would look like. Most people spend their time worrying about little things: what to eat, car troubles, the latest football game, etc. But that will change fast when disaster strikes.
When that happens, they’ll all be caught off guard. Even preppers who have been stockpiling supplies and learning about survival for years are likely to be caught off guard. But whether the next crisis catches us by surprise or not, ultimately it will be those who didn’t prepare who are most vulnerable.
The purpose of this article is to paint a basic yet haunting picture of what a long-term disaster will look like. My hope is that it will encourage you to start preparing if you haven’t already. Here, then, are 15 terrifying truths about long-term disasters.
1. Our Power Grid is Fragile
The power grid that over 99% of the U.S. population is attached to is preciously fragile. It would only take a single major event, man-made or natural, to bring it down and throw the world into chaos. Here are some questions to ask before that happens.
2. Martial Law = Firearm Confiscation
After Hurricane Katrina, National Guard forces and law enforcement units confiscated firearms from citizens. Depending on how organized and/or effective the government is during the disaster, this could easily happen again. All it takes is for martial law to be declared and you’ll be wishing some of your gun purchases weren’t recorded.
3. Business Commerce Will Be Shut Down
At least as we know it. Many people will still barter and trade with one another during a long-term disaster, but the primary forms of business that we’re all used to will cease to exist due to supply chain interruptions.
4. We’ll Witness the Breakdown of Infrastructure
Supply chains, transportation, communications, roads, sewage, electric and other utility services, you name it. If the disaster is serious enough, don’t expect to enjoy these luxuries anymore.
5. Public Facilities Will Be Shut Down
I’m talking about public workplaces, schools, libraries, parks, civic centers, and so forth. We tend to take these places for granted, and when they shut down it will have a dramatic effect on how the world operates.
6. ATM Machines Won’t Work
For those of us who regularly withdraw money from ATM machines, we won’t have that luxury to rely on either. That’s why you should set aside some cash in your home, assuming it won’t be worthless due to hyperinflation (which is why it’s also a good idea to have some precious metals).
7. No More Gas Pumps
Gas pumps rely on electricity, so if the power grid goes down, so do the gas pumps. This not only poses a serious problem for those who didn’t set aside extra gasoline, it also affects supply chains that run across the country, which brings me to the next truth…
8. Not Enough Food for Everyone
Grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and anywhere else that sells food will be looted until the shelves are stripped clean. It will only be a matter of days, or hours, before this happens. In addition, millions of people will be patrolling the forests and outdoor areas for game and stripping them clean of deer, elk, turkey, and other animals, so don’t count on being able to hunt for food. Instead, stockpile food!
9. No Clean Water
Once the water towers are empty, the tap water will stop running. At that point, you’ll need to find a way to purify any water that you find. Those who don’t will get sick from drinking contaminated water, and many will die. This is why you need to stockpile water filters in addition to water.
10. Limited Sanitation
Without running water, sanitation will become more important and more difficult. The streets will be dirty and garbage will be everywhere. Sanitation products such as hand sanitizer, shampoo, and soap will become trading commodities that can only be used sparingly. Unless you want to die from a disease or infection, you’ll need to stay as clean as possible.
11. The Police Won’t Be Available
At least not in large numbers. Some law enforcement units will remain on duty, but if the disaster is serious enough, a strong majority of police officers will choose to stay home and protect their own families (and can you blame them?).
12. No Cell Phones or Internet
Even if there are police nearby, you probably won’t be able to call them anyway. It’s hard to imagine a world without cell phones or the Internet, but once the power grid is down and the generators stop running, cell services and Internet connections will be down, too. Because of this, you’ll need some backup methods of communication.
13. Looters Will Be Everywhere
Desperate times means desperate people, and there will no one but yourself and possibly your community to protect you from them. That’s why home security and self defense skills are so important. Even the most moral people will turn into dangerous looters if they’re hungry enough, and it will be up to you keep them at bay.
14. Communities, Not Government, Will Be Your Best Chance of Getting Help
Today we’re used to the federal or state governments sending help and allocating resources in a disaster. But if the disaster is nationwide, it will be up to individual communities to handle these problems. In other words, you probably won’t have federal or state assistance to fall back on, so your next best bet will be your neighborhood or community coming together to solve problems.
15. No More Traveling
If the disaster forces you to bug out, do it fast because before long, the roads and parks will be jam packed with people and vehicles trying to escape the cities. Not only will those people be stuck on the roads and vulnerable, they will make traveling a nightmare if not impossible for everyone else.
I don’t normally post doom and gloom articles like this, but every now and then it’s a good idea to remind ourselves what we’re preparing for. All the things I mentioned above have happened before and could happen again. Don’t be caught unprepared if they do.