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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Four Stages of Disaster

Original Article



One of the biggest challenges for disaster preparedness (survival preparedness) includes the general public acknowledging that there is the possibility of disaster, and then actually forming contingency plans and preparations for a disaster. You yourself may be tuned in to ‘risk awareness’, but how many of your neighbors are?
The more who are prepared in a disaster, the less the danger during the aftermath. Rather than focusing solely on one’s own personal preparation, converting others to the notion of risk awareness and preparedness ‘insurance’ (prepping) is the bigger goal, leading to a higher percentage of survival (even yours).
Preparations vary widely in scope and resources, but at a minimum should be based upon the risks of the local region. In all cases though, the basic and essential principles should be the foundation of your preparedness (food, water, shelter, security).


Disaster sometimes comes with plenty of warning, provided the public has been listening. Other times however disaster will come in an instant, with no warning at all.
When it comes to weather related disasters for example, there is usually lots of warning. In fact, one could argue that there is so much warning and hype over weather related disasters that the public has largely become numb to it all. This is an unfortunate result of the main-stream-media outlets need to make more money – more hype – more ratings.
Really, the best method of warning is the intuition of the individual who instinctively has a suspicion that something isn’t quite right. This requires the discipline of being informed enough to ‘know’ when something is out kilter.
Increasing the odds to surviving a disaster includes recognizing the warning signs as early as possible, or recognizing the risks as early as possible, so as to have a head start in front of the unprepared mass. Don’t wait for the siren to wail before you take action…


This is the stage at which the contingency plans take effect. Emergency services and rescue teams will work to help who they can, but the ultimate disaster response insurance is your own preparation and the actions you have taken prior to impact.
The sad truth is that the vast majority of the public assume and depend upon the government or others to save them, which may lead to a jolt-to-reality when the rescue team isn’t at their door immediately after a large scale disaster.

During disaster impact, a prepared person will be sheltered in place, provided there were warning signs. If there were not warning signs, a prepared person will be better able to act quickly with purpose – having planned ahead.
For the unprepared, the impact stage will be frightful and shocking, often leading to very bad decisions.
During ‘impact’ it is important to remain level-headed, recognize what has happened, estimate the follow-on consequences, and gauge your response and actions to beat the odds. Think quickly, clearly, calmly, and adapt to the impact.


This is the period of time which hopefully will be short,  but may become long and may challenge even the best of prepared. A goal of the disaster-response is to reestablish normalcy including providing supplies and aid to those in need.
This is the stage where preppers win, and may take comfort in their own preparedness. Hopefully there is enough left to help your neighbor.
The aftermath itself will consist of several stages, from surviving the immediate disaster (getting to short-term safety, medical attention), getting to home-base and securing the family – hunkering down, to perhaps a longer term survival scenario where your way-of-life will need to change to adapt to the new ‘normal’.

The aftermath, in a worst case scenario, will require skills that our ancestors had and used in their every day lives. Knowing how to live and survive without the direct support of technological assistance, could be the difference between life and death.

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