Our modern world certainly isn’t short on threats — from lone wolf terror attacks to state level threats like a nuclear North Korea to worry about on the global scale and good old-fashioned home invasions and murders to stress over on the local front, it can feel like there’s never been more to prepare for if you’re the type of person that prides themselves on being prepared, but there’s one handy government website that might be able to help.
Ready.gov has been around since 2003, offering an extensive list of potential emergencies you and your family may face and offering guidance on things you can do before hand, during, and after such a catastrophe to improve your chances at survival. The threats addressed on the site range from day to day concerns like a house fire all the way up to disasters with global ramifications like tsunamis, pandemics, and even space weather. When visiting the site, you can click on any of these disaster scenarios on the right-hand side of the screen to learn about the nature of the threat posed and how best to mitigate it.
Lots of the information offered on Ready.gov, of course, comes off a bit like common sense — but that’s the real value of spending a few hours on a site like this. If you’re interested in becoming an expert in one specific type of threat you feel is impending (sort of like the novelty awarded to each lunatic featured on “Doomsday Preppers”) you may want to seek out some peer-reviewed papers on that specific topic, but if you’re interested in ensuring you and your family are prepared for a broad variety of potential disasters, Ready.gov offers an invaluable crash course in multiple possibilities and in reasonable, pragmatic solutions to problems most tend not to consider.
For instance, concerns about active shooter situations are among the most prominent in the minds of most Americans these days, but often, even articles aimed at preparing your such an event focus only on what to do while the shooter is active. In order to survive these scenarios however, it makes sense to put some thought into how you’ll respond immediately following the attack — e.g. getting yourself to safety without presenting yourself as a threat to law enforcement on the scene. Ready.gov, for instance, offers a list of suggestions that include keeping your hands visible and understanding that law enforcement likely won’t be able to address your first aid needs until they have confirmed that the situation has been resolved and the shooter is either dead or in custody.
At the end of each breakdown, the site even offers a list of downloadable PDFs that you can review if you’re looking for some more in-depth information about that particular type of life threatening situation.
For those who haven’t spent much time working to actively mitigate threats professionally or personally, Ready.gov can be a great way to spin yourself up on thinking strategically, improving your situational awareness to counter things like normalcy bias, and give you a bit of background knowledge as to what you should do if the worst should occur. However, there’s a real value to this sort of research for those with experience in the preparedness realm as well. There’s a reason we use so many checklists in the military, and it’s not (always) because our command elements don’t trust us to do our jobs well — it’s because stress can have unusual effects on our ability to address challenges, and a checklist is a great way to ensure you stay organized and on task when adrenaline starts pumping.
Complacency can kill in a combat zone, but it can also truly hinder your ability to prepare for a disaster. There’s no such thing as a bullet proof plan — so refreshing yourself on what to do in a widespread power outage, hurricane or nuclear disaster could help you to identify areas of your preparation efforts you’ve previously omitted. Training doesn’t stop when you become a member of SEAL Team 6 or Delta, nor should your active engagement with preparedness just because you think you’ve got your angles covered.
If you’re just starting to think about putting together a basic survival kit for your house, Ready.gov even offers you a packing list to get started and suggests places to keep your kit inside your house for ready access to the equipment you need. Again, I (and the commenters here on SOFREP) could likely provide you with a limitless number of extra things you may want to consider including in your own kit, but Ready.gov can certainly help you get started.
Preppers may often be seen as silly in the media, but there’s nothing silly about being prepared.
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