You’ve got your food and water reserves put away. You’ve got plans made that you hope will help you deal with the chaos you will face when a disaster happens. You have ways to cook when the grid goes down. You’ve looked at what your sanitation needs might be and you’ve got a way to deal with them on a temporary basis. You’ve talked to your neighbors and you have an idea of how prepared they are. You also feel that even those neighbors who are minimally prepared will not likely pose a danger to you and your family. Probably what you haven’t looked at yet is how grim the world will seem after a major disaster.
Survival in a grid-down urban environment will not be fun. In fact, it will be quite dangerous. You will need to use everything you know and every skill you have practiced to keep yourself safe, clean and fed. Post-disaster survival will be your new full-time job and it will be hard work, very likely the hardest you have ever done. There will be little or no leisure time. You will find yourself busy twenty-four hours a day with the necessities of life. Depending upon the magnitude of the disaster you could be without almost all public utilities which include electricity, gas, water, phones, and cell phones. Without electricity, the gas station can’t pump gas into your car, you air conditioner and heater won’t work, your phones won’t work, your computer won’t work, and when the sun goes down it will be very, very dark. Your water pressure is dependent upon electric pumps, so very soon you will be without water. Without water there will be no baths or showers, no way to water your garden, and no way to flush your toilet unless you use the water you have set aside for drinking. You will have to live off of the supplies you have had the foresight to store for just such a contingency. There will be people who don’t have supplies and they will come looking for yours, so you will also have to think about how to keep your supplies so that you do have something to eat and drink. As I said, it will not be fun.
Perhaps your worst enemy will be your morale and the morale of those around you. Apathy and despair will not help you survive. You will need to be alert, aware and fully functional to stay alive. How are you going to maintain a survival attitude when faced day after day with the problems of finding somewhere to dispose of your sewage, of dealing with the bodies of those who die, of dealing with the scavengers who would kill you and take what you have? It would be very easy to give up. Those that do will quickly succumb. You will have to do better than that.
How will you keep your morale up? Realize one thing, right now. You are already way ahead of anyone who hasn’t given a thought to being prepared for a disaster. Just by looking at what you might have to endure and what you might need to survive, you have taken a big step in the direction of handling anything unexpected that might befall you. Morale is dependent upon your ability to do something about the situation in which you find yourself. If you can do something to help yourself and those around you, you will have no problem with morale. If you can create a hot meal and feed your group, everyone’s morale will improve. If everyone keeps themselves and clean as possible, still maintaining adequate drinking water supplies, morale will improve. If everyone has a job that helps the group survive, you will have no problem with morale. Morale problems will only arise with those individuals who refuse to do their part, who don’t contribute to the survival of the group. If you have a group where everyone has a job and is working hard to help each other, you will have no morale problems.
As a part of getting prepared, you ought to talk to your neighbors. Find out what skills they have. Help them get started putting their supplies together. Begin forming your survival group. You can’t survive alone; there will be way too much to do. You will need lots of help. If you’ve laid the groundwork for survival after a disaster by getting yourself, your family, your friends and your neighbors prepared, then you will have that help. You will have a group with the ability to do something for themselves in the event of a disaster. As a bonus, you might find that the morale of your whole neighborhood has improved as a result of your efforts to help everyone be prepared.