Long-Term Survival Planning: Community Asset AssessmentPosted on: March 23, 2016
[The following is an excerpt from Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide.]
As we noted earlier, most community leaders, if they think or talk at all about disaster planning, focus primarily on the short-term emergencies that are somewhat common. Few, if any, give much thought to the sorts of long-term disasters that are our focus here. Therefore, I suggest you do some planning for them. Grab a pen and some paper and start making lists of assets within the community. The overall idea here is to get something of a handle on what might be available to the community if the worst were to happen.
Food and Water
There are probably dozens of places within your own community where large amounts of food are routinely kept, especially those foods that are particularly suited for long-term storage.
As soon as it becomes evident this is a long-term event, measures should be taken to protect these assets from looters. While there may not be much left at some of the larger stores, given they are the easy targets, many people will probably overlook the smaller retail outlets and, almost certainly, schools. Taverns and bars will also be hard hit but it is very possible the beer and booze will have taken precedence over food. If there are businesses in town that have their own cafeterias, these should also be included in this category.
Something else to consider are vending machines that might have survived the initial onslaught. Sure, chips and candy bars aren’t exactly nutritious fare, but many vending machines today actually have semi-healthy offerings such as granola bars and such. While you’re thinking along these lines, bear in mind that many workers keep stashes of food at their desks. Not a lot, mind you, but it all adds up. Let’s say the office building has seven floors and fifteen workstations or cubicles per floor, that’s over 100 possibilities for food in just one building.
Those same retail outlets and vending machines will also have quantities of bottled water available, as well as other beverages. Something to keep in mind is, while soft drinks and the like aren’t nearly as healthy as just plain water, they can still slack thirst in the short-term. However, lest I be called on the carpet for neglecting to mention it, many sodas and other canned or bottled beverages may actually work against the body in the long-term. Caffeine, in particular, is a diuretic, meaning it makes you pee more often.
You should also make note of any local natural bodies of water – rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams. While such water will need to be filtered and disinfected, it would not be overly difficult to develop a system for doing so on an ongoing basis for community residents.
In addition to the usual suspects, such as Walmart and Walgreens, as well as medical clinics, there are several other places you’ll find at least basic first aid gear. While you’re at the schools checking the cafeterias, be sure to stop at the nurse offices. There, you are sure to find bandages and other supplies. Most factories and other businesses will have first aid kits socked away as well.
As quickly as is possible, measures should be taken to secure any and all pharmacies within the community. Even if they have been looted, odds are very good that what was taken will have been the narcotics and the healing drugs will have been left behind. These locations would also include medical clinics and dental offices. In fact, dental offices in particular might prove to be especially useful, given the anesthetics and other medications likely to be present.
This is one area community leaders probably have a good handle on, but it pays to be prepared anyway. If the disaster ends up destroying large numbers of homes, survivors will be displaced and in need of shelter, perhaps for some time to come. Give thought to where these folks could be housed. Many churches often offer emergency shelter for the homeless, particularly during cold winter months, but their space is usually severely limited. You need to think bigger.
School gymnasiums are one common option. If there aren’t enough cots to go around, most schools have an abundance of mats that could be used.
Assuming there are vacancies at local apartment buildings as well as hotels, the owners of such might be willing to allow refugees to stay for a while, at least until other arrangements can be made. Even if the actual owners are from out of town and unreachable, there is likely to be a property manager on site.
While it might be impossible to predict ahead of time, worth noting is the possibility of families being willing to take in one or two extra people, provided that enough food and supplies are available for them. This is particularly true in the case of children whose parents have perished or were out of town when the disaster hit. If this option were to be implemented, I’d suggest involving whatever remains of local law enforcement, consulting them to ensure there are no known sex offenders already residing in the “foster” homes.
Land to Repurpose
We mentioned earlier about the idea of setting up food production capabilities within the community after a disaster. Most communities have large tracts of land that could be repurposed as gardens and/or for the raising of animals. Examples include parks and golf courses, both of which will have large open areas suitable for massive gardens. Many schools also have large areas of flat land that could be used. The soil might not be truly ideal but with amendments such as peat moss and such liberated from hardware stores and garden shops, it could be easily improved.
Of course, even small areas of land should be used. The courtyards of condo developments and backyards of apartment buildings should be sown and planted. Every little bit helps. Residents of the community should be encouraged to plant their own gardens as well, with the idea being any excess would be donated to the community’s food storage. However, and let me be very clear on this, this sort of arrangement should not be some sort of taxation in any way, shape, or form. Strictly voluntary is the way to go.
Long-term survival planning should involve far more than just socking away a few cases of MREs and ammunition. Community based plans are the way to go if at all possible.