Psychology professor's survival plan for life on the edge, especially for pet owners with "Normalcy Bias" who need essential reality in today's turbulent times!
DISASTER SURVIVAL PLAN (1)
by Roberta Lee, DD., PhD., ND. TheDogPlace Science Editor
If you have children and/or pets, you must become self-reliant because as a teacher (and student) of human behavior, I know we are seldom prepared for disaster.
Here's why. Most humans have a disorder called "NORMALCY BIAS" which is defined as a trick of the mind that causes people to underestimate both the likelihood of a disaster and its possible effects. Normalcy bias is a calming conjecture that modifies panic, allowing a person to believe that things will always function the way things normally do.
As a doctor, let me ask you a question to determine if and/or illustrate that you have it. You come home and find out your electricity has been turned off. How many times do you flick the light switch? Three? Four? You go out and get into your car and the engine is dead. How many times do you turn the key? Twice? Three times? This unthinking behavior is called "NORMALCY BIAS."
It is caused by a lifetime of programming. We expect certain things according to the way we have lived our lives. If we have always worked, we can't imagine being without a job. If we've lived in the lap of luxury our whole lives, we can't conceive of hard time. We talk about the "Big One" but our perception depends on where you live. In California it is the BIG earthquake. Mid-West it would be a tornado of huge proportions. In the Gulf States it is a hurricane. But in our minds we don't really believe that kind of disaster will ever affect us, not really.
There has always been talk about End Times and the "end of the world" but we don't really believe it will be in our lifetime.
We can't imagine the end of our country either. Each one of us has lived a life with the United States Of America as the strongest, the richest, most powerful country in the world. The U.S. dollar is accepted everywhere in the world. We have heard rumors that our economy will fail but there's that Normalcy Bias thing again, we don’t worry about it because the world’s currency has always been measured by the U.S. dollar.
Not long ago we couldn't imagine riots in the streets but people already teetering on the edge turn to violence and protest when things go wrong. That is not "normal" human reaction to crisis but it has become all too common this year.
How many of you are prepared? Not very many I'll wager. We are too busy, the budget doesn't allow for extras, and deep down, we don't believe WE will need a survival kit.
That is NORMALCY BIAS.
Is "the end" coming? I don't know but I do know this, there is a time of turmoil coming. Chaos will be the rule of the land and if you are not ready you will not survive well, if at all. If (when) our monetary system fails, the result will push us over the lip of civility in this country. "But what do I do?" you ask. You take steps today to survive a shift in our reality, to make life safer and a little more tolerable for your family and your animals. You do not click out and think "I'll do that later" - THAT is NORMALCY BIAS.
Family Survival Kit Essentials
First of all, if you live in a city, make sure you have picked a place to go where you will be safer. The less people the better. Plan to spend about six months there. It will take that long for basic civility to return. If you don't believe me just pay attention to the news tonight and see all of the robberies, murder and mayhem and most of all, the riots in other countries which are occurring right NOW!
Editors note: this was written in May of 2016 ~ since then riots are commonplace around the world which is what demanded this 2019 update)
Imagine what it would be like if there was no money, no food, no gasoline and no medicine. It wouldn't matter if you had those things or not, you would be challenged for what people believe you might have. Forget about doctors. They will be in the same situation as you are. Pharmacies and hospitals will have been robbed first.
So plan now: Find the safest place you can get to without a long drive. Then assemble medical supplies for your survival kit. If you or anyone in your family, including your pets, are on prescription medication, stockpile it. Depending on location and ownership, then stockpile duplicate disaster supplies at that location.
Each shopping trip, begin to assemble the disaster packing list of essentials I've prepared for you below, starting with a dozen tubes of Neosporin! It will become your best friend. In the not very distant past, many people died from common infections that are unheard of with today's medicine and without proper sanitation, they will re-emerge.
Now a word about your car. NEVER let it get below half a tank. There will be little warning and you saw the mile-long lines gas during Hurricane Sandy and other disasters. Half a tank will take you out of the city but keep a 5 gallon gas can in reserve, alternating it to keep it fresh.
Once you run out of gas, chances are you won't be able to get more but DO NOT get rid of your car. It can serve many purposes. Your locked car can be a place to sleep out of the elements. When it is cold outside even a little sun will warm the inside of the car. This could be important to your survival.
Keep at least a partial survival kit (blankets, bandages and batteries) in the car at all times. Now that you are thinking, add to that vital survival items (rotate prescriptions and other items for freshness) in a backpack. If you have more than one car, duplicate the survival backpack in each car.
Stock up on water. It takes about 3 gallons per day per person and if you have pets, even more. That isn't counting bathing (which will be a luxury) but it will be enough for brushing your teeth. Buy bottled drinking water to store. Collect other water in garbage cans. Part 2 has much more details about clothing and other items for your disaster preparedness checklist.
Disaster Survival With Pets
Now for our pets. Most can not survive without you. The wild has been bred out of them and they will slowly starve and die alone. You have to make plans for their survival too. That means veterinary medicines including antibiotics so be sure you stock pile starting now.
You know how much your pets eat so plan on a six months supply. Dry foods are best as they are light weight and compact compared to canned food. No matter how spoiled your pets may be, dry food is preferable to starving! Do I need to say your dog may have to share with YOU?
Water long-term could be a serious problem so make sure you have notes on clean natural water sources along your route and where you will be staying. Take extra "pet containers" to collect water from ponds or streams so that you can save the bottled water for your family.
Pack extra collars, leashes, or harnesses in your pet's survival kit. And speaking of harnesses, if you have strong dogs, purchase canine back backs! They may need to literally “carry their weight” if you wind up walking. Remember this isn’t a vacation, it is survival.
We will talk about survival food and first aid in Disaster Survival Plan 2. This is a lot to absorb and if your basic reaction is "she's nuts" just smile and read part two and the packing list anyway and at least think about taking precautionary steps now.
Remember, just because the talking heads on the TV don't tell you these things doesn't mean it isn't going to happen. NORMALCY BIAS affects them too. Plus they can only read what is on the script and our leaders will avoid mass panic as long as possible.
I provided Disaster Survival Plan 2 and a printable Disaster Survival Plan Packing List so that it is always handy for you and your family. You can add to your Survival Bags according to your individual needs, age of your children and pets you have.
Be sure to share this page with family and friends. Tip: for friends who may be over-endowed with Normalcy Bias and therefore won't follow your advice to look up all the information. Good luck and God speed.
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