Thursday, January 21, 2010
"Just In Case"
Regular commenter here at the AEC, Kathy Harrison of History Channel fame, has an excellent best seller called "Just In Case".
We bought the book last year, and have just gotten around to reading it (we have been somewhat overwhelmed by the recent additions to the family, both of whom are still in diapers). Actually, to be fair, my wife (who lived in Kobe, Japan during the 1995 earthquake that killed 7,000 people in that city and left them without water or electricity for over 3 months - this has left her very motivated to have preparations on hand) had pointed out that while our farm is about as well stocked as it gets, our florida home was not prepped at all (and we live in "hurricane alley").
Stay with me, I am getting to the point...
During the big hurricane seasons in the middle of the last decade we saw people in lines for water and food the very day after the hurricane struck. Even our officials, who normally don't require much in the way of personal responsibility, were dumbfounded that so many people did not have any ability to provide for themselves for even a few days until emergency crews could get on the ground.
Like them, I was dumbfounded too - until I spent the last few days making sure our Florida home was properly stocked:
To prepare a home for a family with children in a hurricane vulnerable area like Florida will cost between $1000 and $4000 (and that's the bear minimum; I am not talking comforts and generators and such) and will take you several days of time. In a nation with 17% REAL unemployment and ZERO savings this just ain't gonna happen, and can you imagine what would happen to food supplies, etc... if millions of people decided to have several months worth of supplies on hand? That means storing propane, food, water, fuel (gasoline or diesel), first aid, emergency lighting, etc... Our "just in time" retail distribution system has 3 days of consumption in inventory. So, even if the government sent every home a check and people actually complied with the spirit of the check, it could not be done.
The military has a saying that goes something like: "Amateurs talk strategy; professionals talk logistics". Or as Napoleon famously quipped: "An army marches on its stomach."
Every talking head on TV gives air to the idea that the response to Haiti or Katrina or the next disaster was fumbled by incompetent, bumbling idiots... and that is not the case at all... responding to events of this magnitude is simply not going to happen in a time frame that will ensure that the next meal won't be somewhat late... or even to ensure that the next 21 meals won't be missed entirely. Think about that.
If you have children or seniors depending on you, this is something to take into consideration.
Posted by The Short Story Man at 4:03 AM