Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Survivalism and Emergency Management

I have never really been into the whole "survivalism" thing. In Y2K I didn't even buy one extra can of baked beans. I don't think there is a particularly high chance the government is about to collapse or impose martial law, and the world probably won't end in 2012. However, recently I have been looking at some of the "survival" forums out there, in particular Prepared Society and SurvivalistBoards, and have realized that in these sites there is a wealth of expertise in preparedness for long-term catastrophes: not just a 3-day ready pack, put people on there are thinking about how to make it for months and years. In emergency management we tend to discount people with an interest in survivalism as paranoid or fringe, which may be true, but this has made them think a lot about these issues. If we do have a major, long-term catastrophe (e.g. the protracted power outage that I discussed previously) it's these people who will make it if anyone does. Conversely, I think emergency management has something to offer the survivalism community: rational hazard analysis and planning (see my previous post on personal hazard planning). Combining these allows one to make rational judgements about what kinds of events really are most likely put us in a "SHTF" situation (to use some survivalism lingo) and which are unlikely enough to be for all intents and purposes zero-probability. From an emergency management perspective, it would be interesting to take some of this expertise (self-sufficiency, etc) and think about how they could apply on a community level rather than just a personal level.

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