More volatility means Increased urgency to prepare
2017 - A Monolithic Natural Disaster Year
2017 was a record year for natural disasters. According to an October report from the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), we experienced 15 billion-dollar disasters from January through September. This number is calculated to include insured and uninsured losses.
The record was set in 2011, with 16 disasters. At the time of this writing, NCEI has not published its final numbers for 2017, which should include the Southern California wildfires that occurred this month.
The data tells us that this is the new normal. From 1980 to 2016, we averaged 5.5 billion-dollar disasters per year. In the last 5 years, the average is 10.6 per year – nearly double. In 2017, not a month went by without a natural disaster. While those who play politics bicker about why this is happening, we know that the responsible thing to do is focus on how we protect our families from these disasters. Politics moves slow, preparedness is swift.
While damages to property can easily be quantified, the human cost is incalculable. Grocery stores ran out of food and water – leaving many to go without – for days and weeks. The effects of these disasters also made it difficult for food delivery and emergency personnel to get to people.
To add to the misery, FEMA Administrator, Brock Long, announced a week ago what many Americans already knew: "FEMA is broke. The system is broken. If this is the new normal, Americans can't rely on a federal cavalry when disaster strikes. They will have to take care of themselves."There's your wake-up call - again. (Read our take on this shocking "FEMA is broke" statement here.)
Many are also still feeling the effects of recent disasters. Even today, as many as 2 million in Puerto Rico are at risk of E. coli-contaminated water in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
These natural disasters taught us – and reminded us, often brutally – many important lessons.
First, that emergency food storage and water filtration are absolutely essential to survival. Without a personal plan, you’ll most likely be left with no other option but to hope help arrives before your situation becomes dire.
Second, you can’t count on the government or FEMA. This is a corollary to the above – you can’t rely on hope you’ll be rescued among the many that need rescuing. So, plan, build out and practice your preparedness thoroughly.
However, friends, neighbors, and family save lives. This was the brightest moment in a dark year of disaster. We – especially the most prepared among us – are in the best position to take care of our own. Further, the more prepared we all become, the faster we’ll all bounce back from these disasters.
Finally, timing is everything. When major emergencies strike, interest in preparedness spikes. Many in our industry were unable to keep up with orders, some even canceling orders and ceasing sales until caught up. This is why we always try to keep as much fresh emergency food and supplies on hand – so we can continue to serve you as efficiently as possible.
However, if you’re thinking about taking the next step in preparedness, we urge you to do so when disaster is not all over the headlines. It’s a tough proposition in this increasingly volatile world, I know.
Yet, taking this into consideration helps us serve you best and create the best possible experience in your preparedness journey.
We believe that massive natural disasters will continue in our near future. One thing we didn’t see much of in 2017 was major earthquake activity. But some of our major fault lines are overdue – and we continue to watch this.
Our Financial Worries are Over?
Earlier this year, I expected that the markets would at least correct, if not take a major dip at some point. Yet, the market continued its run throughout all of 2017.
While I was wrong, I’d rather be wrong than not be prepared for a coming crash. I still remain pessimistic. I now believe we are overdue for a correction. The cycles of boom and bust tell us that the next boom is only 7-10 years from the last, on average.
While this phase of irrational exuberance continues, I’ll focus on preparing my family for the inevitable crash. No matter what the economy looks like, investing in preparedness is critical. The ability to put food on the table when all others are struggling is invaluable.
North Korea and the EMP Threat
Our series on EMPs has lead us to two conclusions:
- Our grid and critical infrastructures are highly vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse.
- North Korea is the greatest EMP threat we currently face.
If you missed any of our Survival Scout articles on EMPs, you can find links at the bottom of this page. To briefly summarize, many experts, including the now government-shuttered EMP Commission, believe that our electrical grid and critical infrastructures are vulnerable and open to failure. In order to protect against failure, these infrastructures need to be hardened, as nations like China and Russia have done. The EMP Commission concluded in their initial report that 9 in 10 Americans would die from starvation within a year of electrical grid failure.
A powerful EMP can be created in many ways, including a nuclear detonation at high altitude. This is where the threat of North Korea comes in.
Since mid-2016, North Korea has ramped up its efforts to build a nuclear arsenal. While many experts believe they are far from “strike capability,” every advancement they’ve made in the past 18 months has taken the “experts” by surprise. This included a successful intercontinental ballistic missile launch earlier this fall.
Some claim that the only motivation North Korean leadership has in nuclear arms is deterrence. If they launched a strike, it would be suicide by M.A.D. – mutually-assured destruction. Yet, I find this to be the most dangerous assumption to make. North Korea is a closed, secretive and paranoid dictatorship. Their intentions and motivations should never be taken for granted. The world should not be content to sit idly by and be taken by surprise repeatedly by this rogue nation. I’m ranting here a bit, but you get the point.
While I’ll have no effect on policy here from my armchair, I take comfort in knowing I have a plan if the world does get caught by surprise by North Korea. I pray that never happens. But I do everything I can and leave the rest to God.
These three themes have dominated our minds throughout this year – they no doubt will play a huge role in what we face in 2018. Personally, I’m bracing myself as I take stock of my preparedness plan and supplies. But because of my preps, I don’t feel an ounce of fear. That’s the solace that the preparedness journey provides. I hope you found this look back on 2017 informative. Looking forward to helping you stay prepared, vigilant and free in 2018.
Have a great weekend and Happy New Year from all of us at MPS.
Preparedness Advisor, MPS
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